Fantasy 30: Stephen Curry, Lauri Markkanen nearing return to action

Fantasy managers should be ecstatic about the improving health of Stephen Curry and Lauri Markkanen. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

From injury updates on Stephen Curry and Lauri Markkanen to lineup changes for the Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns to hot and cold streaks around the league, there is much to get to -- as always.

Here is a look at the most fantasy-relevant news and notes for all 30 teams around the NBA:

Atlanta Hawks: Trae Young has impressed early and often during his nascent NBA career, but his shooting has fallen off during the month of November. In 14 games, the rookie has made just 36 percent of his shots, including an icy-cold 18.9 percent from 3-point range. He has still managed to put up 14.1 points and 8.4 assists per game during that span, making it clear how much fantasy upside he has once his shot starts to fall again.

Boston Celtics: Marcus Smart moved into the starting lineup in place of the injured Jaylen Brown on Monday, and the move seemed to spark the Celtics on both sides of the ball in their 124-107 win over the Pelicans. Smart's defensive presence was one thing, but his presence also allowed the Celtics to move Kyrie Irving off the ball more. Stay tuned, because this might end up leading to more minutes for Smart.

Brooklyn Nets: An adductor strain caused Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to miss the entire preseason and begin the regular season on the bench, but the defensive-minded forward has started two of his past three games, and the lift he has provided defensively could lead to a more permanent spot in the starting five. It's easy to overlook that Hollis-Jefferson ranked second on the team last season with 13.9 PPG and first with 6.8 RPG. His value is on the rise.

Charlotte Hornets: Kemba Walker gets almost all of the attention in Charlotte these days, and deservedly so -- he's playing out of his mind -- but don't forget about Jeremy Lamb. The veteran swingman quietly ranks second on the team in scoring, and in 12 games this month, he has averaged 17.1 PPG on 47.1 percent shooting, adding 6.6 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.4 SPG and 1.6 3PG. Those are the numbers of a top-100 fantasy player.

Chicago Bulls: Lauri Markkanen is closing in on a return to the court, and on Tuesday, Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg clarified just when that might be. Hoiberg explained that Markkanen will need a week's worth of pain-free practices before he can play in games. Once the stretch big man returns, you can expect all the other main scorers on the team, namely Zach LaVine, Jabari Parker, Wendell Carter Jr. and Justin Holiday, to see a slight decrease in scoring.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Tristan Thompson was supposed to take on a bigger role once Kevin Love went down with a toe injury, and the veteran had done just that. Available in many fantasy leagues when Love was injured, Thompson has averaged 13.6 PPG and 12.7 RPG this month, finishing with double-doubles in eight of his past 10 games. Love is out of his walking boot and is expected back in January, so you might want to consider selling high on Thompson in the upcoming weeks while you can.

Dallas Mavericks: Dennis Smith Jr. ranks fourth on the Mavericks in scoring with 14.1 PPG in his second NBA season. Even though that's slightly down from the 15.2 PPG he averaged as a rookie, Smith is playing much more efficiently so far in Year 2, improving his shooting percentage from 39.5 to 44.3 and his 3-point percentage from 31.3 to 39.3. It helps to have Luka Doncic creating and leading to better shots.

Denver Nuggets: Wearing vintage uniforms on Tuesday, the Nuggets crushed the Lakers 117-85. This was the latest example of a vastly improved defense by the Nuggets, a team that had been near the bottom of the league during the past three seasons under coach Michael Malone. Denver now ranks third in the league in defensive efficiency, allowing 101.9 points per 100 possessions; only Oklahoma City and Boston are better.

Detroit Pistons: Andre Drummond has taken many parts of his game to a new level in his seventh NBA season, but after shooting a career-high 60.5 percent from the free throw line last season, that area has taken a hard fall this season. When Drummond faces the Bulls on Friday in the Pistons' next game, he will enter the game shooting 49.0 percent from the line. That's a crusher in roto leagues.

Golden State Warriors: Stephen Curry could be back on the court as early as Thursday's nationally televised game when the Warriors face the Raptors, but if not Thursday, then Saturday against Detroit sounds likely for the two-time MVP. "... I think we're very close to the time where we can say, 'All right, there's been enough time.' He's pain-free, the symptoms are gone, and ultimately [director of sports medicine and performance] Rick Celebrini will make the decision when he's comfortable putting him out there," coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday with Damon Bruce on 95.7 The Game. "My best guess is Detroit, but we'll see what happens."

Houston Rockets: James Harden may have scored 54 points in Monday's loss to the Wizards, and Eric Gordon may have finally found his shooting stroke with 64 points and 13 3-pointers during his past two games, but don't let that overshadow the play of Clint Capela. The big man has seen his minutes jump from 27.5 MPG last season to 34.6 this season, and in his past five games, he's averaged 21.6 RPG, 15.2 RPG and 3.8 BPG while making 73.1 percent of his shots. Yowza!

Indiana Pacers: Victor Oladipo already has missed the past five games because of a sore right knee, and he isn't likely to play Thursday against the Lakers. Oladipo is considered day-to-day by Nate McMillan, but the Pacers coach said that Oladipo will need to go through a full practice before returning to the court and Indiana only has a walk-through scheduled before Thursday's game. Oladipo's next chance to play would be Saturday against the Kings.

LA Clippers: Nineteen games into his first full season with the Clippers, Tobias Harris appears to be well on his way to a breakout campaign. His 21.5 PPG would be a career high. His 52.5 FG% would too. Ditto for his 42.7 3FG%. Same goes for his 8.7 RPG. While the 26-year-old will never be confused for a defender -- his contributions in blocks and steals are minimal -- he is doing just about everything else on the court right now for the Western Conference-leading Clippers and is playing like a top-30 fantasy player.

Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball injured an ankle in the loss to Denver on Tuesday and X-rays were negative. He is considered day-to-day, and his status is worth watching closely leading up to Thursday's game against the Pacers. The second-year point guard has made minimal improvement this season, dealing with inconsistent play and spotty shooting, and if this injury impacts his performance on the court, Ball probably isn't worth keeping on your roster in 10- and 12-team leagues.

Memphis Grizzlies: Jaren Jackson Jr. isn't playing like a rookie. In fact, he's playing like a veteran. The former Michigan State star continues to flourish in the lineup next to Marc Gasol, providing scoring, rebounding and defense. In fact, his 15 blocks in the past five games have upped his season average to 2.1 BPG, moving him up to sixth in the league. That is even ahead of Joel Embiid (2.0 BPG).

Miami Heat: While James Johnson is finally back in the lineup, the Heat remain without starting point guard Goran Dragic. On Tuesday, he missed his fifth consecutive game due to a right knee injury -- already the eighth game he's missed this season. He remains day-to-day as he tries to get the swelling and stiffness down, but it's clear that the Heat miss him on the offensive end of the court. Entering Tuesday, Miami had scored 108.4 points per 100 possessions with Dragic playing and 101.3 points per 100 possessions without him.

Milwaukee Bucks: OK, let's tap the brakes on that Brook Lopez 3-point experiment just a little. The 7-footer is just 5-of-28 from long range during the past five games, and that included a forgettable 0-12 performance in the shocking loss to the Suns. Lopez has attempted only six 3-pointers in the two games since then, but he's still shooting 37.3 percent from distance on the season, so expect him to keep launching.

Minnesota Timberwolves: We all know that Robert Covington gets a lot of steals in addition to scoring, rebounding and draining 3s. But a closer look reveals that the new Timberwolves forward is tied for the league lead in steals per 48 minutes (3.1) along with Jimmy Butler and Paul George. He has put up 3.0 SPG in the seven games since joining Minnesota, indicating no signs of slowing down.

New Orleans Pelicans: Finding players who can dish out a lot of assists is becoming more difficult in today's NBA, but the Pelicans have one in Jrue Holiday -- a guard known more for his scoring than his distributing. Holiday has averaged 9.1 APG this season, and his 12.0 assists per 48 minutes ranks third in the league behind only Kyle Lowry (14.5) and Trae Young (12.7).

New York Knicks: In a season during which the Knicks are just trying to find pieces they can use for the future, they may have found one in Allonzo Trier. The 22-year-old rookie out of Arizona put up the type of game Tuesday against Detroit that could propel him to better things, finishing with 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. That last number is the one that probably matters most, as Knicks coach David Fizdale has been on an endless search for distributors and had to like what he saw out of Trier. Another game or two like this and it would be wise to add Trier before someone else does.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Offense was the name of the game in Oklahoma City in previous years, but no team is better on the defensive end this season than the Thunder. Their 100.6 points allowed per 100 possessions ranks first in the league, right ahead of Boston, Denver, Indiana and Memphis. If you're considering which comparable player to use on a given day and one is facing the Thunder, this is a good reason to opt for the other player.

Orlando Magic: What a return to the court Terrence Ross has made this season. In fact, his 4.7 3-pointers made per 48 minutes ranks near the top of the league. The No. 8 overall pick by Toronto in 2012, Ross is on pace to set career highs in scoring (14.1 PPG), field goal percentage (46.1) and 3-point percentage (42.5). He is one of the better streaming options out there whenever you need 3-pointers.

Philadelphia 76ers: One concerning trend early on in Jimmy Butler's time with the 76ers is his drop in field goal attempts. After averaging at least 15.4 shots a game in his final two years in Chicago, last year in Minnesota and again the first part of this season in Minnesota, Butler has attempted just 13.9 shots a game since joining the 76ers. His assists (3.0) and rebounds (4.7) are also down from previous years. Small sample size? Needs some time to adjust? Perhaps. But there's also a good chance this is just how it is playing next to Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Phoenix Suns: Moving Devin Booker to point guard in recent games has changed the dynamic of the Suns' starting unit, and the Suns have been more competitive, even picking up a win against Milwaukee. Given that and the lack of quality point guards on the roster, there's a decent chance this move sticks, with the Suns using rookie Mikal Bridges as the starting off guard and going to an abbreviated bench that includes Josh Jackson, Jamal Crawford, Richaun Holmes and Isaiah Canaan.

Portland Trail Blazers: CJ McCollum has been a vastly better shooter on the road this season (48.5 FG%) than at home (43.8 FG%), but before you get too concerned, it's worth looking at least season, when he was actually a tick better at home (45.1 FG% vs. 43.5 FG%). Look for McCollum's home and road splits to even out over the course of the season, as they did last season.

Sacramento Kings: Willie Cauley-Stein isn't a complete player yet. He misses a lot of free throws (50 percent at the line), he doesn't block as many shots as you'd think (0.5 BPG), and he hasn't expanded his range out to the perimeter like many other big men around the league. What Cauley-Stein has improved in, though, is his scoring and rebounding, posting careers highs of 14.5 PPG and 8.1 RPG so far this season. This makes him more valuable in leagues that use double-doubles as a category. He has six this season.

San Antonio Spurs: Bryn Forbes continues to serve a role as a knock-down 3-point shooter on the Spurs. In fact, his 45.6 percent shooting from long range ranks 10th in the league. He has made at least three 3-pointers in three of his past five games and is worth considering as a streamer in 10- and 12-team leagues.

Toronto Raptors: Quietly, very quietly, Danny Green remains a strong force from 3-point range on a Raptors team where Kawhi Leonard and Lowry get all the attention. The veteran Green leads the team in 3-pointers per game (2.5) and 3-point shooting (43.0 percent) and remains a factor in the steals department, too, swiping 1.1 per game. On weeks when the Raptors play more games than most teams, Green can be very valuable in roto leagues.

Utah Jazz: Usually, young star players like Donovan Mitchell see their numbers improve from Year 1 to Year 2, but when the bar is set as high as Mitchell's after the incredible rookie season he had, that isn't always the case. Mitchell is seeing that firsthand. While his scoring has stayed in the 20.6 PPG range, his rebounding has dropped from 3.7 to 2.6 RPG, his FG% from 43.7 to 41.8 and his 3FG% from 34.0 to 29.2 There is time for a turnaround, but so far Mitchell hasn't lived up to his billing as a top-30 fantasy option in 2018-19.

Washington Wizards: Dwight Howard isn't with the team during its two-game road trip and is set to meet with a nerve specialist in Los Angeles. That means the earliest he could be back in the lineup is Saturday, though unlikely, and in the meantime Markieff Morris should continue to see an uptick in production. Given the time Howard has missed this season, it isn't worth keeping him on your roster unless you're able to stash him in an IR spot.