A sleepy two-game Tuesday schedule still saw two productive young forwards for the Wizards shine in a loss in Denver. Washington's Davis Bertans and Moritz Wagner each produced 14 points in efficient manner on Tuesday, helping their team remain competitive until the end against a thriving Denver team.
Specialists who thrive in key categories are vital to fantasy basketball; we need them just as much as the superstar tier to help drive successful outcomes in competitive leagues. Bertans is just that, a savvy shooting specialist who led the NBA in 3-point percentage last season in San Antonio and is now eighth in the league with 3.3 3PG, thanks to a sizable leap in shooting volume with Washington.
Deemed the "Latvian Laser" per Basketball Reference's indispensable nickname section, Bertans is rostered in just 16.3% of ESPN leagues and yet can help fuel shooting success for those in need of an infusion of efficiency from beyond.
Wagner is more of a versatile performer with solid assist and rebounding rates complementing an extremely efficient scoring profile that includes a silly 71.7% field goal clip on 14.7 PPG during his past six outings. Wagner is available in free agency in nearly 90% of leagues as of Wednesday morning and can prove helpful as a utility asset in deeper formats.
Paul Millsap, Denver Nuggets: 8 points (3-9 FG), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks
George and Kawhi Leonard have played four games together this season and have increased their combined point total with each game played, eclipsing the 50-point mark for the first time as teammates with 54 on Tuesday. The Clippers held the Mavericks to just 38% shooting, the ninth time they have held their opponents to 40% shooting or worse this season, the most in NBA. As George rounds into top defensive form, the Clippers will pose as one of the more avoidable matchups for streaming and DFS investments.
On the offensive side of things for the Clips, it was entirely unsurprising to see Lou Williams tally 21 points off the bench in the victory last night, good for his 11th game this season scoring 20 or more points off the bench, six more than any other player in the NBA.
The Nuggets have won six straight games and 10 of their past 11 games overall. Jokic produced his first 20-rebound game of the season but has scored just eight points in back-to-back games, his fewest scored in a two-game stretch this season. Any potential buy-low offers for Jokic would be wisely sent.
The Mavericks suffered the team's first loss by 10 or more points this season, as they were one of only three teams to not have done that this season coming into tonight. The Clippers' smothering perimeter defense held Luka Doncic to just 4-of-14 shooting, marking just the second time this season he was held to four or fewer made field goals.
Injuries of note
The Bucks' George Hill is listed as doubtful for tonight's matchup with the Hawks.
Miami's Jimmy Butler is dealing with an illness but traveled with the team to Houston and should be available tonight. Justise Winslow is slated to make his return to the floor for Miami after a long absence with a concussion. Winslow is widely available and has been productive in a point-forward role for the Heat.
Ja Morant took a spill into the camera section on Monday and is considered questionable with back pain for tonight's meeting with the Clippers. Tyus Jones makes for a meaningful streaming option if Morant sits.
Analytics advantage for Wednesday
All but two NBA teams are in action tonight ahead of a small holiday reprieve on Thursday. This means we'll want to identify a few choice games for streaming and stacking purposes. In such scenarios, I often lean on that massive data model we call Vegas to appraise which games could host the most offensive upside on such rich 14-game slates such as tonight.
One game that stands out has Atlanta entering Milwaukee as heavy underdogs riding a seven-game losing streak, but in a game with a robust opening total of 239.5 points. With Hill ailing, punt shares of Donte DiVincenzo and Pat Connaughton are interesting in DFS play, and DiVincenzo even merits streaming consideration, given the likely return of Khris Middleton to the fold for Milwaukee. For the Hawks, we still can find Jabari Parker floating in free agency in more than a third of leagues.
The other potentially high-scoring outlier of the slate is found in Phoenix, with the Wizards playing a second night in a row in a game with a video game-like total of 242.5 points. Which is to say, the Wizards could score 120 to the Suns' 122 and this game still goes under.
Streaming with Thomas from Washington, as he is due for some positive regression in the shooting department, or the duo of Bertans and Wagner could pay off tonight. For Phoenix, Mikal Bridges brings an elite steal rate to the floor, while Dario Saric is coming off a season high in rebounding production sans Baynes from the floor.
Top players to watch tonight
With the 2019 offseason defined by star player turnover, that means 2019-20 will be the season of return games. Perhaps the most notable return will take place on Thanksgiving Eve with Anthony Davis playing his first game in New Orleans since requesting a trade and subsequently being dealt to the Lakers. Davis leads the Pelicans all-time in points, rebounds and blocks, one of seven players who are currently a franchise's all-time leader in each (steals and blocks have been official since 1973-74).