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Hold Them or Fold Them: Week 11

James Harden has returned to the court and shown his MVP form once again, but with the return of KD and Kyrie, what do you do with him?



Fantasy Basketball - James Harden

Gordon Hayward, SF, Charlotte Hornets
Gordon Hayward had an electric start to the month, averaging 22.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game in his first seven games of December. However, when the holidays started to roll around, he slowed down, averaging 7.8 points, three rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. Those who were lucky enough to trade Hayward away right before his 41 point game really dodged a bullet. At this point, it’s probably too late to trade him away, since you won’t get much profit from trading away a 31 year old who’s been averaging rookie numbers lately. All you can really hope for right now is for Gordon Hayward to get back on track.

Payton Pritchard, PG, Boston Celtics
In his second NBA season, Payton Pritchard has been playing a depth role with the Boston Celtics. He averages a very modest 4.1 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game on the season. But after a 24 point, eight rebound, six assist and one steal game in the Celtics’ loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, he’s been trending in fantasy. Unfortunately, in a game where Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, and Dennis Schroder are out, someone has to put the points on the board, and on Monday Pritchard was that guy. I wouldn’t expect him to repeat this anytime soon, so I wouldn’t follow the trends.

Draymond Green, PF, Golden State Warriors
Draymond Green is in his tenth season with the Golden State Warriors, and he still plays an important role in their success. This season, he averages a well-rounded 8.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7.5 assists per game, helping Golden State reach the top seed in the West with a 27-6 record. It’s generally good to have an anchor on your team who can consistently put up a decent amount of fantasy points each week, no matter the stat line. If you are willing to get rid of Draymond, he should bring some decent value in return, but that’s not really worth it.

Devin Booker, SG, Phoenix Suns
Lately, Devin Booker has been a pretty inconsistent scorer. One game, he’ll put up 30 points, and another game he’ll score just ten. This unreliability has been an issue for fantasy managers, who’ve been trying to trade him away. But this decision is tougher than you think: Although the Phoenix Suns are filled with scoring talent, Booker is clearly their best scorer. They’re built for him to put up all the points, with Chris Paul leading the league in assists, and Deandre Ayton seventh in the league in rebounds, all Devin has to do is score. If the Suns want to maintain a high seed in this very competitive Western Conference, they’ll need him to step it up a little more, and lately he’s began to. It couldn’t hurt to keep Devin Booker on your roster.

Pascal Siakam, PF, Toronto Raptors
After missing some time due to Covid, Pascal Siakam is officially cleared to play, and is listed as questionable for the Toronto Raptors’ match-up against the Philadelphia 76ers. The last time we’ve seen him play, the Cameroonian averaged 21.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game in his past six. We’ll have to see how he plays when he returns, but it’s safe to say that he’ll have an immediate impact. It might take a game or two, but Siakam should be back in rhythm, but I can’t imagine him going past this stat line. If that’s all you need for your fantasy team, then that’s great, don’t get rid of him. But if you’re looking to fold, wait until Pascal Siakam proves that he can keep up these numbers.

Willy Hernangomez, C, New Orleans Pelicans
With Jonas Valunciunas out for some time with a non-Covid illness, the New Orleans Pelicans needed someone to temporarily fill in that place. Thankfully, Willy Hernangomez was able to do so, averaging ten points and 9.3 rebounds per game in his pas three match-ups. But now that Valunciunas is likely to play on Tuesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, it seems like Willy’s job here is done.

Desmond Bane, SG, Memphis Grizzlies
Over the past two weeks, Desmond Bane has really stepped it up, averaging 19.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game, as opposed to his 17.2, 4.3, and 2.2 season average. Most recently, he scored 32 points, six rebounds, three assists, one block, and one steal in the Memphis Grizzlies’ win over the Phoenix Suns. This sudden surge in points doesn’t have too much to do with injuries on the team, since Desmond actually put up better numbers when Ja Morant returned. However, Dillon Brooks has missed some time, and is expected to be back soon. When her comes back, that might be a good time to trade away Desmond Bane, since the Grizzlies won’t need him to score as much with another dominant scorer in Brooks joining the rotation again.

Julius Randle, PF, New York Knicks
Although his numbers aren’t as great as they were last season, Julius Randle still nearly averages a double-double on the season, with 19.9 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game. Recently, he’s focused more on scoring, averaging 21.3, 9.1, and 4.4 over the past two weeks. If the points Randle provides helps you win your fantasy match-ups, then keep him. If not, then it’s probably not his fault: He’s a consistently high scorer and rebounder each week, what more could you ask for in a fantasy forward?

Khris Middleton, SF, Milwaukee Bucks
After missing the first half of November, Khris Middleton had a relatively slow return to basketball. But when December came rolling around, he stepped it back up, and averages a solid 20.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. This is likely going to be his stat line for most of the season, and that’s actually pretty good for fantasy, especially since he puts up a decent amount of three pointers. If you feel like selling right now, go ahead, but it might make more sense to wait until a big injury for the Milwaukee Bucks that will force him to put up bigger numbers.

James Harden, SG, Brooklyn Nets
After a disappointing season last year, the Brooklyn Nets are on a serious mission to win the Finals. Despite missing Kyrie Irving for the first half of the season, they’ve been able to claim the number one seed in the East so far, thanks to an MVP caliber year from Kevin Durant so far. James Harden has also done his part though, averaging 22 points, eight rebounds, and the second most assists in per game with 9.8. With Kyrie back though, Harden might play a slightly smaller role, even if Irving only plays in away games. You might consider selling high right now, but The Beard will still definitely score a lot of points, and he might even dish out some more assists. If you want to sell James Harden, now would probably be the time, but I don’t recommend it.

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