JAMES Harden is a fantasy god (sorry Embiid), Tyrod Taylor is benched, we might be seeing Kawhi sooner than expected and Case Keenum might actually be fantasy relevant. All that and more in this week’s Fantasy Friday!

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*All fantasy stats and numbers are based on ESPN format fantasy leagues.


NBA

  • AT the beginning of November, Gregg Popovich told reporters that Kawhi Leonard was rehabbing slowly from his quadriceps injury. However, since then Pop told us that Leonard will now be back ‘sooner rather than later’, welcome news for owners who used an early draft pick on him.
  • THERE isn’t anyone in better form than James Harden right now. The Rockets star is cementing himself as the MVP front-runner with an absurd 37.5 PPG and 10 APG while making 52 free throws (at 92.8%). Joel Embiid might have something to say about that though with his averages boosted by a career night in LA. Embiid balled out with 46 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and seven blocks.

Fantasy Friday - 17th November 1Image from clutchpoints.com

  • MYLES Turner (Pacers, PF/C) and Dwight Howard (Hornets C) are the two most popular players who struggled last week. Turner averaged just 11.3 points in three outings last week, struggling to have an impact on the game. Howard is making owners tear their hair out putting up six points and seven turnovers against Boston and following it up by fouling out with eight points and four turnovers against the Cavs. Making matter worse, Dwight shot just 4-15 from the free throw line too. Ouch.
  • THE shot doctor needs to pay a visit to Lonzo Ball (Lakers, PG) and Ricky Rubio (Jazz, PG) with the two shooting dreadfully from the field lately. Ball (32.6%) and Rubio (29%) have looked OK in patches throughout the year, but are clanking up shots with little success in the last week.

MUST ADD – Nicolas Batum, Charlotte Hornets, SG/SF
MAKING his season debut for the Hornets against Cleveland, Nic Batum balled out. The Frenchman had 16 points, six assists, five rebounds and a pair of steals in his first game back, looking like himself again in 32 minutes. Stop reading and add him now.
Other candidates: Dewayne Dedmon (Hawks, PF, 36.0%) & Donovan Mitchell (Jazz, SG/PG, 31.4%)

MUST DROP – Kelly Olynyk, Miami Heat, C
THE newest Miami Heat big man looked to be in impressive touch early on. Olynyk had impressive averages through the month of November, but since Whiteside’s return he averages just 7.3 points and is seeing the floor 15 minutes a game on average. No thanks.
Other candidates: De’Aaron Fox (Kings, PG, 62.5%) & Jae Crowder (Cavaliers, SF/PF, 57.9%)

INJURY NEWS – FANTASY owners of Rajon Rondo (Pelicans, PG) and Nicolas Batum (Hornets, SG/SF) can rejoice now that they have made a successful return to the starting lineups. The same can’t be said for those who own Rudy Gobert (Jazz, C) with the big man out for 4-6 weeks with a knee injury. Clippers duo Patrick Beverly (PG) and Danilo Gallinari (SF/PF) are also hurting having missed a string of games while Derrick Rose (Cavaliers, PG) continues to deal with a lingering ankle issue.

NFL

WEEK 11 BYE TEAMS: New York Jets, Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, San Fransisco 49ers

  • CONFUSINGLY after he helped the Bills build towards a playoff spot Buffalo has benched quarterback Tyrod Taylor in favour of rookie Nathan Peterman. With less than five minutes to go against the Saints last week, Peterman came in for Taylor and went 7/10 with a score.
  • ANTONIO Brown (Steelers, WR) is a cheat code. Pittsburgh dominated the Titans 40-17 for their fifth straight win and arguably the best wideout in the entire game caught three touchdowns to go with his 144 receiving yards (32.4, 42.4 PPR). Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers, QB, 29) was also putting up beastly fantasy numbers with 299 yards and four TD passes.
  • WITH just 451 receiving yards on the year heading into last week Robert Woods (Rams, WR, 29.1, 37.1 PPR) went OFF against the Texans for 171 and two scores. Cam Newton (Panthers, QB, 35.7) shone brightest for the quarterbacks and a three TD game from Mark Ingram (Saints, RB, 31.1) saw him top the running back numbers.
  • FINALLY Ezekiel Elliott (Cowboys, RB) will serve his suspension after a puzzling season for owners. Zeke withdrew his appeal against his six-game ban and after missing last week against Atlanta he will miss most of the fantasy playoffs, returning against the Seahawks in Week 16.

MUST ADD – Case Keenum, Minnesota Vikings, QB
THIS is not a typo, Keenum is forcing my hand. After an impressive showing from the former perennial backup and with Sam Bradford placed on IR, Keenum seems like the Vikings play caller moving forwards and he is thriving in that role. In the Vikings fifth striaght win Keenum had four passing TD’s for the first time in his career and threw for 304 yards (4th most yards for his career). FYI Keenum vs. Goff is gathering the most attention heading into this weekend. What a time to be alive.
Other candidates: Austin Ekeler (Chargers, RB, 16.6%) & Jamaal Williams (Packers, RB, 60.7%)

Fantasy Friday - 17th November 2Image from dailynorseman.com

MUST DROP – Mike Gillislee, RB, New England Patriots
BEFORE the season began I had Gillislee tabbed as a sleeper and someone to keep your eye on. He rewarded owners with three touchdowns on opening night, but has just one rushing TD since then and was a healthy scratch last week. Given the revolving door policy that Belichick has at running back, he isn’t worth the heartache.
Other candidates: Darren McFadden (Cowboys, RB, 29.2%) & Will Fuller V (Texans, WR, 66.2%)

INJURY NEWS – THE Green Bay Packers have had their running back depth take a hit with both Ty Montgomery and Aaron Jones out of action now. Montgomery (ribs) may still suit up even though it remains unlikely and Jones will miss the next 3-6 weeks with an MCL sprain. Devonta Freeman (Falcons, RB) suffered a concussion last week that will likely see him miss the game against Seattle and Rob Kelly (Redskins, RB) is also doubtful for Week 11 action.