james-harden

Week 11 of the NBA's 2021-22 season was interesting, to say the least. The league's usually star-studded Christmas Day slate took place without several of the world's biggest stars. Luka Doncic, Kevin Durant, and Trae Young were among the players ruled out due to health and safety protocols, but other notable names put on impressive performances on the big stage.

Now 2022 is upon us, and while 10-day-contract players seem poised to flood the hardwood because of COVID-19 outbreak, Fantasy managers should take note of several household names surging into the new year on a high note. Here are a few takeaways from Week 11 that could help you approach Week 12 in Fantasy basketball.

Who's hot

James Harden
PHI • PG • 1
PPG22.8
APG9.9
SPG1.4
3P/G2.5
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"The Beard" hasn't been a massive disappointment this year, but he didn't kick off like the fantasy superstar he usually is. That will likely change in 2022. The Nets guard returned from health and safety protocols in tip-top shape and appears ready to stuff the stat sheet for the foreseeable future. Harden's averaged 35.5 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists per contest on 46.7 percent shooting since Christmas Day. He's also made more than 11 free throws per game during that span. Kyrie Irving's impending debut could cut Harden's scoring some, but fantasy managers should expect him to be a nightly triple-double threat now that he's rediscovered his burst and ability to get to the charity stripe.

Kevin Love
CLE • PF • 0
PPG14.6
RPG7.6
BPG.21
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Love's last two years have been riddled with injuries and he was hardly on the floor enough to be a reliable asset. He's looked like the real deal over the last two weeks, though. The Cleveland Cavaliers' stretch four has averaged 23.8 points and 9.2 points since Week 10. He's tallied 27.2 minutes per contest during that span. While his scoring is sure to go down once Darius Garland is back in the mix, a double-double threat with his three-point shooting prowess is sure to be a hot commodity. Love could be positioning himself to be a priority trade target ahead of the deadline, so fantasy managers who've held onto him until now should feel like winners. 

Marcus Morris
LAC • PF • 8
PPG15.4
APG2.3
SPG.56
3P/G2
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No Paul George? No problem. The Los Angeles Clippers forward has flourished without his team's superstar, who's set to miss a few weeks with an elbow injury. He's scored at least 20 points in six of his last seven games and made multiple three-pointers in five of those outings. He'll be a major contributor on the boards as well and should climb the fantasy rankings until George's return.

Who's not

Talen Horton-Tucker
UTA • SF • 0
PPG10
RPG4.2
BPG.45
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The Lakers' supposed star of the future was a major disappointment in December. He averaged 9.6 points on 38.7 percent shooting and took a back seat to Malik Monk ahead of the new year. While it's unlikely that he'll remain this bad for long, his ownership has dropped to 30 percent in CBS leagues and Anthony Davis's return will likely make him even more of an afterthought if he keeps trending in the wrong direction.

Waiver wire spotlight

Nicolas Claxton
BKN • C • 33
41% rostered
PPG8.6
RPG5.3
BPG1.4
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Nic Claxton entered Monday averaging 13.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks over his last five contests and has benefitted from the resurgence of a healthy Harden. His playing time is on the rise despite Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Paul Milsap being available. The Nets big has only played 15 games and seems poised to keep trending up.

Top drop

Hamidou Diallo
DET • SG • 6
PPG10.4
RPG4.1
BPG.44
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Diallo has found himself out of the rotation for the struggling Detroit Pistons for a good chunk of the 2021-21 season but had his first hot run in a long time ahead of the new year. He's logged at least 30 minutes in six consecutive contests while averaging 21.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 3.3 steals while shooting 53.3 percent from the field. While he's become an enticing waiver-wire target lately, I expect a steep dropoff now that Cade Cunningham and Saddiq Bey are back. The fourth option on the NBA's second-worst scoring option probably won't shine much more.

Rookie Report

Josh Giddey
OKC • PG • 3
PPG11
RPG7.3
BPG.55
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Evan Mobley and Scottie Barnes have dominated this year's Rookie of the Year conversation, but Oklahoma City's Josh Giddey had put together the most impressive Week 11 performance among first-year players. The lanky point guard became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double at 19 years and 84 days old. Giddey notched 17 points, 13 rebounds, and 14 assists against the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday, following a three-game layoff. The Thunder are struggling, but their young corps remains promising.