It looks like we’re going to end 2017 on a positive note. Fantasy owners just got back Blake Griffin, Devin Booker, and Steph Curry, while the season debut of Isaiah Thomas is right around the corner. Thomas is the one I want to chat about here for a second. His return is both exciting and intriguing. There’s plenty of excitement from his fantasy owners that drafted him back in the fall and have held onto him all this time. I’m not included in that, but I’m sure I’d be pretty darn excited to get a player of his magnitude into my lineup mid-season.
The intriguing part of this is how will Thomas adjust from being the man in Boston to sidekick to LeBron James. It’s likely the scoring will settle back into the low-20’s, but the assists should take a small hit since he won’t have the ball in his hands as much.
Games Played by Team This Week
4 Games: CHI, LAL, MIL, MIN, NYK, PHO, POR, SAS.
3 Games: ATL, BKN, BOS, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, LAC, MIA, OKC, ORL, TOR, UTA, WAS.
2 Games: CHA, IND, MEM, NOR, PHI, SAC.
Milos Teodosic (PG/SG – LAC)
This isn’t the first, or second, time that Teodosic has been mentioned here. He was a pre-season sleeper, then missed time due to injury, and has performed decently since returning without much help around him. Well, he damn sure has some help now with all-star Blake Griffin returning to the lineup. In Griffin’s first game back, Teodosic went for 11 points, five rebounds, seven assists, two three-pointers and a steal. This is coming on the heels of his first double-digit assist effort in the NBA.
Teodosic is still widely available and is deserving of a long look if you need assists or a point guard in general. Now that Griffin is back, you should see more and more all-around strong games from the Serbian rookie.
Frank Ntilikina (PG – NYK)
Ever since he was drafted, the upside with Frank Ntilikina has been apparent. The only thing holding him back was his lack of experience. Over the first few months of the season, the Knicks have been allowing him to get plenty of experience under his belt, and he is now playing 25-30 minutes most nights. He’s still very raw with his game, but Ntilikana is showing that he has a bright future in this league.
Arguably his best game as a pro came on Thursday against San Antonio when he scored nine points with three rebounds, 11 assists, and three steals. It even sounds like he might be moved into the starting lineup within the next few weeks. Don’t go hog wild trying to get him on your roster. However, he’s one to keep an eye on moving forward and a great player to stash if you can afford it. His best games this season are likely still to come.
Caris LeVert (SG/SF – BKN)
The fantasy world has been a little slow to grab Caris LeVert. So I’m going to give everyone another little nudge here. All LeVert has done since I recommended him is slowly get better across the board. Over the last week, he’s averaged 16.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 1.8 three-pointers on 54.3% shooting. The fact that he’s still unowned in over 50% of leagues is just astounding. It’s because he’s a Brooklyn Net, isn’t he? They’re not all bad over there, ya know. His minutes have been holding strong in the 20’s and lower 30’s as the backup point guard with some wing minutes thrown in as well.
Isaiah Thomas (PG – CLE)
There’s a decent chance that the long-awaited season debut of Isaiah Thomas happens as early as Tuesday night against Portland. Like I mentioned above in the opening, his points and assists will likely take a small hit playing second fiddle on offense, but Thomas is still a top-50 player due to his scoring and three-pointers. Welcome back, IT.
Stephen Curry (PG – GSW)
After a nearly month-long absence, Stephen Curry returned to the lineup Saturday night and shook off the rust in about two seconds. His minutes were limited to 25, but what did he do in those 25 minutes? Just score 38 points and sink 10 treys. Nothing much. It’s safe to say that his ankle injury is in the rear-view mirror.
Blake Griffin (PF – LAC)
Like Curry above, Blake Griffin didn’t need much time at all to get back to his dominant ways. He scored 24 points with six rebounds and six assists in his first game back Friday night and appears to be 100% healthy for now. There’s always an injury risk with Griffin, but for now, he should post top-25 value.
Damian Lillard (PG – POR)
A hamstring injury has now forced Damian Lillard to miss the last four games. However, his time out should soon be coming to an end. The Trail Blazers have a back to back set on January 1 and 2, so expect Lillard back in one of those two games. Shabazz Napier will continue to have so added value until Lillard is back to 100%.
Victor Oladipo (PG/SG – IND)
The Indiana Pacers have been without Victor Oladipo for the last two games with due to soreness and swelling in his knee and likely won’t have him back for today’s game, either. Oladipo has been arguably the most improved player in the NBA this season and has been a top-10 fantasy asset. After today, he gets a couple more days to rest before Indians suits up again on Wednesday. That is looking like the game Oladipo returns to the lineup.
Lonzo Ball (PG – LAL)
After early season shooting struggles, Lonzo Ball was finally starting to turn the corner before suffering a shoulder sprain against Portland on December 23. He’s already been ruled out for today and tomorrow and likely will need to miss another game or two after that. Those in weekly leagues should keep him on the bench this week.
I hope you can use this article to your advantage and get a leg up on your fellow league members. Got a question about a player not covered here? Then follow me on Twitter @EricCross04 and ask me there.