Another injury to Blake Griffin and a spot at the end of the bench for players such as Nerlens Noel and Nikola Mirotic are just some of the fantasy tidbits to be on top of when you set your fantasy lineups this week.
Here's a list of the most fantasy-relevant news and notes for all 30 teams heading into the ninth week of the season:
Atlanta Hawks: Kent Bazemore is moving back into the Hawks' starting lineup, expected to replace Tim Hardaway Jr., after coming off the bench in his first three games back from a minor knee injury. Bazemore is a superior defender to Hardaway, and this move isn't unexpected, but there are two takeaways: 1) Bazemore has to shoot better than his current clip of 36.7 percent to become a legitimate fantasy asset this season. 2) Hardaway's minutes (he has averaged 33 MPG the past three games) and fantasy value stand to decrease if he is in fact moved back to the bench.
Boston Celtics: Much has been made of the hot start and smooth transition Al Horford has had in Boston this season, but one area of concern is his lack of rebounding. The 30-year-old big man averaged 9-10 rebounds per game in his first five full seasons in the league, but those days appear to be in the past. He was down to 7.2 RPG two years ago in Atlanta and 7.3 in his final season with the Hawks, and now he is down to 6.4 this season. That puts him behind starting shooting guard Avery Bradley (7.5) for the team lead.
Brooklyn Nets: Jeremy Lin returned to the court on Monday and played in three of Brooklyn's past four games, averaging 14.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists and one steal in 20.7 minutes per game. That gives us an idea of the type of production we can expect out of Lin once he's back to full speed and his minutes increase to north of 30 per game. If he can stay healthy from here on out, Lin has a good chance to be a top-60 fantasy player, as he's one of the go-to guys on one of the league's worst teams.
Charlotte Hornets: Kemba Walker has scored in double figures in each of his 27 games this season and is averaging career highs in scoring (22.4 PPG), field goal percentage (46.4) and 3-point percentage (41.4). The former UConn star has struggled in December, though, scoring only 18.9 PPG in nine games.
Chicago Bulls: Nikola Mirotic hasn't been very good this season, shooting just 38.1 percent in 22.1 minutes per game, and his career in Chicago has seemingly stalled. Mirotic was a healthy DNP-CD against Milwaukee on Thursday and was left on the bench for a second straight game Friday, after he missed the pregame walkthrough. If Mirotic remains on the bench going forward, second-year forward Bobby Portis will see more opportunity to play; Portis averaged 21 minutes while Mirotic was out of the lineup the past two games.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Kevin Love (knee) has been ruled out for Tuesday's game against Milwaukee and is questionable to play in the rematch against the Bucks on Wednesday. Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson are among the players who will play more than usual while Love is out of the lineup, but LeBron James and Kyrie Irving also become more valuable as their usage rises without Love.
Dallas Mavericks: J.J. Barea has been upgraded to questionable for Monday's game against Denver after missing just over a month due to a calf injury. That's the good news for the 7-20 Mavericks. The bad news is both Dirk Nowitzki and Andrew Bogut remain out against the Nuggets, and neither is likely to return before Christmas.
Denver Nuggets: Jusuf Nurkic was moved to the bench Thursday against Portland and managed only five minutes in a high-scoring win over the Trail Blazers. Two days later, he remained in a bench role and played just eight minutes, with the Nuggets again outscoring their opponents and beating the Knicks 127-114. Nurkic wasn't getting the minutes or playing that well prior to the demotion, and now that the team is winning with him at the end of the bench, he can be sent to the waiver wire in 10- and 12-team leagues.
Detroit Pistons: Stan Van Gundy has openly stated his disappointment regarding the Pistons' starting unit and its struggles so far this season, but any change to the starting five won't happen Monday against Chicago. Part of that could be due to the injury to Jon Leuer, a player rumored to be a candidate to slide into the starting lineup if and when a change is made. Leuer missed Saturday's loss to the Pacers due to a back injury and is questionable against the Bulls.
Golden State Warriors: Zaza Pachulia's recent four-game absence due to a wrist injury opened the door for JaVale McGee to take on a bigger role, and McGee responded with several impressive games in a row. Pachulia returned to the lineup Saturday, but this is a position battle to watch going forward, as McGee provides more of the rim protection that the Warriors are sorely lacking in the post-Andrew Bogut era.
Houston Rockets: Clint Capela is experiencing a lot of pain in his left knee and is doubtful to play Tuesday against San Antonio. Nene Hilario and Montrezl Harrell are two options to fill in for Capela if he's unable to play against the Spurs, with Nene being the favorite to start.
Indiana Pacers: Monta Ellis has already missed four games due to a groin injury, and he is expected to miss at least several more. In fact, according to Ellis' recent quote in the Indianapolis Star, it sounds like he isn't planning on returning to game action until after Christmas. "It feels good. It's getting better and better every day," Ellis told the Indianapolis Star. "I haven't been doing anything [in practice]. Maybe some time this week I'll start doing something, but I've just been in the weight room getting stronger, and I'll probably start doing court stuff later this week." Glenn Robinson III has averaged 31.8 MPG as the fill-in starter in Ellis' absence.
Los Angeles Clippers: Blake Griffin needs arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and is expected to miss three to six weeks, which means the Clippers will spend a chunk of the season without their star power forward for a second straight year. Doc Rivers has several ways he could shift the rotation to adjust for Griffin's absence; Marreese Speights can be expected to log more minutes and possibly even start, but the Clippers could also insert Jamal Crawford or Austin Rivers into the starting five and go to a small lineup, leaving Speights in the bench role he thrives in.
Los Angeles Lakers: A balky knee and inefficient shooting have made D'Angelo Russell somewhat of a disappointment so far this season, but one area in which he is already a major factor is from beyond the arc. The second-year guard is making 2.4 3s per game while shooting 38.7 percent from long range, which is an encouraging part of his skill set as we look ahead.
Memphis Grizzlies: Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal reports that the Grizzlies are listening to offers for defensive-minded veteran Tony Allen, who has stepped up nicely in recent weeks in the absence of Mike Conley and Chandler Parsons. Allen is averaging 13.6 points, 6 rebounds and 2.2 steals in his past five games, playing just under 33 MPG in that span, but his fantasy value doesn't figure to improve if he is dealt to another team. In fact, there's a good chance it will decrease if he ends up being traded to a team that uses him only 20-25 minutes a game. In other news, Parsons is reportedly only days from returning to the court.
Miami Heat: Hassan Whiteside is tied with Russell Westbrook and James Harden for the league lead in double-doubles with 21. Next on the list is Andre Drummond with 19. Whiteside leads the league in rebounds per game (14.8) and is fourth in blocks per game (2.32) behind Anthony Davis, Rudy Gobert and Myles Turner.
Milwaukee Bucks: Malcolm Brogdon was selected No. 36 overall this past June, and so far, the 24-year-old point guard looks like one of the biggest steals of the 2016 NBA draft. He enters the week as one of the league's best rookies, averaging 7.6 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 21.3 minutes per game.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Ricky Rubio might never be the shooter or scorer that many of his point guard colleagues are, but one thing he continues to do well is distribute the basketball without turning it over. Rubio enters the week averaging 1.9 turnovers per game, and his 3.48 assists per turnover ranks seventh in the league.
New Orleans Pelicans: The Pelicans are taking it slow with Tyreke Evans, and if he's on your fantasy team, you're going to have to continue to be patient. The veteran guard averaged just 13 minutes in his first two games of the season, and he has already been ruled out for Tuesday's game in Philadelphia to give him additional rest following his 15 minutes on the court Sunday against San Antonio. The Pelicans play the Thunder on Wednesday, and Evans is expected to suit up for that one.
New York Knicks: Derrick Rose plans to return to the court Tuesday against Indiana after missing three of the past four games due to back spasms. Rose's return will send Brandon Jennings back to the bench and reduce the need for Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony to handle the scoring load.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Here's a stat you didn't expect to see when the season started: Rookie power forward Domantas Sabonis ranks ninth in the league in 3-point percentage (43.5) and is averaging one made 3-pointer per game, despite attempting only 2.3 3s per game. Although Sabonis isn't a big fantasy option this season, he has the look of an intriguing option for years to come as a power forward who can score, rebound, pass and -- as we highlighted -- shoot from long range.
Orlando Magic: Serge Ibaka is kind of a forgotten man in fantasy circles these days, as his rebounding and shot-blocking have fallen off considerably from his early days in Oklahoma City. But don't completely write off Ibaka, who enters the week with a 17.99 PER and is quietly having a pretty solid season. His 14.7 PPG is his highest in three years, as is his 48.4 field goal percentage. Ibaka is making a career-best 1.3 threes per game while still chipping in with 6.5 RPG and 1.8 BPG. Basically, he's Horford without the assists.
Philadelphia 76ers: Nerlens Noel played only 10 minutes in his first game of the season two Sundays ago and has made it back to the court for one game since, playing eight minutes as a deep reserve in a loss to the Lakers on Friday. On Sunday, he received a DNP-Coach's Decision, and it's looking increasingly likely that the 76ers are going to have to find a way to unload either Noel or Jahlil Okafor. Noel has very little fantasy value at the moment, but that could change in an instant if he is traded and starts on another team.
Phoenix Suns: The Suns got a big lift Saturday with the return of TJ Warren, who had missed 13 games following a head injury. Warren played only 14 minutes in the loss to the Thunder, and the team is expected to bring him along slowly, taking the caution necessary with any head injury, but once he's back to full speed, Warren is capable of putting up Harrison Barnes-like numbers with fewer 3s and more steals.
Portland Trail Blazers: Effort on the defensive side of the ball continues to be a big problem for the Trail Blazers, who rank last in the league in defensive efficiency, allowing 110.3 points per 100 possessions. The players on the team are starting to speak out about the problem, namely Damian Lillard, but until the team improves on that side of the court, they will continue to be a great team to start players against in season-long and daily fantasy leagues.
Sacramento Kings: The days of Arron Afflalo being a decent puzzle piece on fantasy rosters are over. The 31-year-old's 7.3 PPG is his lowest since 2009-10 in Denver, and his 8.89 PER ranks among the lowest in the game. On top of that, he has played just 25 minutes in the Kings' past four games and reportedly refused to enter the game against Houston on Wednesday.
San Antonio Spurs: Patty Mills is in the discussion for Sixth Man of the Year this season and is also a good streaming option in fantasy leagues. His 11.3 PPG, 3.7 APG and 2 3PG make him a useful asset in season-long leagues any time the Spurs play four games or whenever Tony Parker is out of the lineup.
Toronto Raptors: DeMarre Carroll isn't the same fantasy player he was a season ago, with his numbers down across the board. Compared to last season, he is playing 4.3 fewer minutes per game, taking 2.4 fewer shots, scoring 1.1 fewer points, grabbing 1.3 fewer rebounds and swiping 0.7 fewer steals. The 30-year-old veteran isn't more than a streaming option at this stage in his career.
Utah Jazz: Alec Burks and George Hill are getting closer to returning to the court for the Jazz. Although neither played in Sunday's game in Memphis, both traveled with the team and went through pregame warm-ups. Burks hasn't played yet this season, as he recovers from a surgically repaired ankle, and his return could still be a ways off. Hill has been limited to 11 games due to a toe injury that has kept him out of the past nine games. Once Hill returns, you can expect Dante Exum's and Shelvin Mack's minutes to take a hit.
Washington Wizards: Bradley Beal scored 41 points against the Clippers on Sunday, one below the career high he set last month, and in nine December games, he is shooting 49.3 percent from the field, 46 percent from 3-point range and averaging 24.6 PPG. This is the player everyone has been waiting to see since he was selected No. 3overall in 2012, and it'd be one of the better stories of the season if he can stay healthy and continue to play near this level.