Week 1 of the fantasy season is now in the books, and while it’s still too early to make any definitive statements about the outlook of players around the league, we can begin to get an idea of where things might be heading. I broke down Monday’s Dose a little differently than normal. Rather than doing a game-by-game breakdown, I decided to break this Dose up into 10 sections: 1. The best performances from Sunday 2. The guys who have been consistently good this season 3. Guys that put themselves on the radar as potential adds 4. Slow starters 5. Guys that simply had an off night Sunday 6. Worrisome situations 7. Guys that aren’t getting it done 8. Season debuts 9. Injury report and 10. A schedule breakdown for the upcoming week.
Stars of Sunday Evening
Al Horford: The Silent Monster
Al Horford was a slow starter last year, as he worked his way back into the flow of things after spending most of the 2013-14 season on the sidelines; however, this year has essentially been the exact opposite of that. Horford has gotten off to a phenomenal start, and he looks like a guy that’s about to have a career-year as he’s put in averages of 17.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.0 steal, 2.5 blocks (career-high) and 1.3 three-pointers (career-high) through Atlanta’s first four games on 51.7 percent shooting from the field and 71.4 percent from the stripe. Contract years tend to have this effect on players, and if he can keep up the shot blocking and 3-point shooting he could easily have himself a top-15 season. The 3-pointers are no joke, as he’s attempting 4.3 per game and connecting on those attempts at a 38.5 percent clip, so yeah, this is definitely something he has consciously added to his game.
Nicolas Batum easily had his best game of the season, dropping in 16 points with five boards, eight assists, two steals, two blocks, four 3-pointers and just two turnovers through 36 minutes of action. Through Charlotte’s first three games Batum has posted a usage rate of 21.5 (career-high), and he looks all set up for not just a bounce-back year, but also a career-year as he enters a contract season with the Hornets. Congrats if you snuck him during the mid-rounds on draft day.
LaMarcus Aldridge finally had his breakout game in the Silver and Black on Sunday, putting up 24 points (8-of-18 FGs, 8-of-10 FTs), 14 rebounds, five assists, one steal, one block and two turnovers through 35 minutes. It was only a matter of time before San Antonio’s big-money free agency signing got his, and he was a major factor in everything the Spurs did on Sunday, posting a usage rate of 30.5. Obviously that usage rate is going to fluctuate from night to night playing in San Antonio, but Aldridge showed on Sunday that he’s still more than capable of flirting with early-round value.
Kawhi Leonard continued his assault on the fantasy landscape, and the jump he’s taken in his development this season has been otherworldly. Through San Antonio’s first three games Kawhi has posted a gaudy usage rate of 31.6, which ranks sixth in the league amongst qualifiers. This is a substantial jump from last year’s usage rate of 23.1, and it has translated on the stat sheet to averages of 22.3 points (on 18.7 shots attempts), 7.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.3 steals, 1.3 blocks and 3.0 turnovers per game. Yes, Kawhi was a two-way player before this season, but now he’s establishing himself as one of the better offensive players in the league. The only thing that will keep Kawhi from top-5 value in 9-cat leagues will be health, so fingers crossed.
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Skinny K. Low
Lowry lost a noticeable amount of weight during the offseason, and he’s come out the gates firing to get the 2015-16 season underway with averages of 17.3 points, 7.3 assists (career-high), 5.0 rebounds, 1.0 three-pointer, 3.0 steals, 0.7 blocks and 3.0 turnovers per game, wow. Lowry has been a bit of an injury risk over the years, but perhaps the weight loss will help him stay on the court. There’s still a lot of basketball to be played this season, but if Lowry is able to keep up his current pace, he’s on track for an early-round finish to the season. Don’t sell-high.
Flashes of Fournier
Evan Fournier followed up Friday’s 22-point performance with another solid outing on Sunday, scoring 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting with two 3-pointers, five boards, two assists and one turnover in a whopping 35 minutes of action. Fournier has played very well as the team’s starting small forward, and while the Magic currently own a 0-3 record, all of their games have come right down to the wire. Fournier’s strong play isn’t great news for Aaron Gordon who is currently trying to play his way into the starting five, but his 2-of-7 shooting performance from Sunday night didn’t do much to tilt the odds in his favor.
The Skiles Effect
Nikola Vucevic continued to rack up the defensive stats for head coach Scott Skiles, and he finished the night with 15 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, two steals, three blocks and five turnovers in 34 minutes of action. Vuc essentially has zero competition for playing time, and through the first three games of the season he’s averaging career-highs in steals (1.3) and blocks (3.3), while shooting 53.8 percent from the field and 81.8 percent from the stripe. He looks all set up for yet another career-year after last year’s breakout campaign, and owners have to be happy with what they’ve seen so far.
Victor Oladipo also looks ready to take another step forward in his development, as he finished Sunday’s game with 13 points, three rebounds, five assists, two steals, three blocks, two 3-pointers and three turnovers in his 39 minutes of action. Dipo’s stellar play on the defensive end will keep him on the court under Skiles, and the fact that he’s only 23 years old means that he’ll be comfortable playing a ridiculous amount of minutes. Despite shooting just 33.3 percent from the field, Oladipo is currently cranking out top-15 value in 9-cat leagues, and given that he’ll obviously shoot better than 33.3 percent on the season, his arrow is pointing up.
The Greek Freak Treats
Giannis Antetokounmpo had another stellar outing on Sunday night, scoring 20 points to go with nine boards, two assists, one block and one more 3-pointer and it’s looking like all the talk about him developing that long-range shot wasn’t just hype. He’s a building block for the Milwaukee franchise, and the addition of the 3-pointer could have him turning in early-round value on the season. Enjoy.
Marcus Smart had his best game of the year on Sunday, and the hustle he brings to each and every game is a fun thing to watch. He finished Sunday’s contest with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting (2-of-4 from the stripe) to go with two boards, three assists, four steals, one block and one turnover in a whopping 39 minutes of work. He’s not your traditional point guard in that his assist numbers are pretty low, and he typically doesn’t shoot a very good percentage from the field, but he’ll offer enough 3-pointers, and defensive statistics to warrant ownership in most leagues. He’s also been playing alongside Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley, so he’s one of the few guys in Boston where the depth isn’t affecting his minutes.
The Return of the Whiteside
Hassan Whiteside went off on Sunday to the tune of 25 points (12-of-15 FGs, 1-of-3 FTs), 15 rebounds, three steals, two blocks, one assist and three turnovers, and the calf injury from the preseason is now looking like a distant memory. He did get cut above his left eye, and it was bad enough that it required stitches, but the fact that he played through it would indicate that he’ll be just fine for Miami’s next game against the Hawks on Tuesday. Whiteside is in a contract year, and is playing like a guy with something to prove. He should have a very nice season in Miami.
The Durantula Seeks His Throne
Kevin Durant picked apart the Nuggets’ Swiss cheese like defense, and went off for 25 points on 8-of-11 shooting (6-of-6 from the stripe), adding two boards, five assists, one block, three 3-pointers and two turnovers through 28 minutes. His foot is healthy, and he looks ready to prove that he, not Anthony Davis, and not Stephen Curry belongs atop the fantasy throne.
The Dunking Deutschman
Dirk took full advantage of his matchup with the Lakers and went off for 25 points (10-of-13 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs) with nine boards, one assist, one steal, three 3-pointers and one turnover in 30 minutes of action. Rick Carlisle tends to let Dirk get his minutes during the early goings of the season, and then gradually tallies them off as the Mavs approach the playoffs. In other words, this would be a nice sell-high moment for a guy that could spend the final stretch of the season on the sidelines (particularly if Dallas falls out of the playoff race).
Julius Randle put forth the best game of his young career, exploding for 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting (4-of-8 from the line) with 15 rebounds, four assists, four steals, one block and two turnovers in 34 minutes of floor time. He’s now sandwiched Friday’s lame three-point outing between two very solid performances, and while it could be a bit of a roller coaster ride owning Randle this season, the ups will be very intriguing.
Jeff Teague did his thing, scoring 18 points on 6-of-16 shooting (4-of-4 from the stripe) to go with six boards, four assists, two 3-pointers one steal and just one turnover through 32 minutes of action. Turnovers had been a bit of an issue for Teague through Atlanta’s first three games, but he got things under control on Sunday. I suspect that part of the reason Teague’s turnovers have gone slightly up this year is that his usage rate has jumped to 27.9, and that’s probably because he’s being asked to do a bit more with DeMarre Carroll now in Toronto. As a side note, Teague went to the X-ray room following the game to have his hand examined, but the results came back clean, and he’s dealing with nothing more than a sore finger. He should be fine for Tuesday’s game against the Heat, and he’s on his way to having himself another top-30 season.
Avery Bradley was the main man on offense for the Celtics on Sunday, putting up 18 points, four boards, three assists, one 3-pointer and one turnover in his 30 minutes of play. He did shoot just 7-of-18 from the field, but as a career 43.3 percent shooter, some off nights are to be expected. He also went to the locker room before the time expired after hurting his finger on one of the best dunks of the 2014-15 season, but it didn’t seem like anything too major, and I’d expect him to be out there for Boston’s next game against the Pacers on Wednesday.
Isaiah Thomas didn’t have a great game in terms of shooting, as he connected on just 4 of his 18 shot attempts, but he still brought meaningful statistics to the table with 15 points, five assists, one rebound, one steal, one 3-pointer and two turnovers in his 27 minutes of action. As one of the best scoring options for the Celtics, Isaiah shouldn’t have any issues with his minutes, and he’s currently clocking in with third-round value in standard 9-cat leagues. I selected IT4 as one of my favorite breakout candidates this season, and so far, so good. If at any point this season there’s an injury to either Smart or Bradley, get ready for some thrilling performances from the Pizza Guy.
Dwyane Wade has looked very good to start the 2015-16 season, and he had another solid outing on Sunday putting up 20 points, eight assists, two steals, two rebounds, two 3-pointers and just one turnover in his 33 minutes of floor time. As always health is the biggest concern for Wade, but when he’s on the court, he’s a very fun guy to own. Unfortunately, Wade only made it through 62 games last year, and 54 the year before that, so I’m not very confident he suddenly is able to put together a healthy season. I think he’s a good sell-high candidate
Jonas Valanciunas went to work on Sunday, scoring 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting to go with eight rebounds, two steals and two turnovers in his 29 minutes of floor time. While Dwane Casey still hasn’t yet played him significant fourth-quarter minutes, that likely has more to do with the fact that Toronto has been blowing out their opponents and less to do with a lack of trust between coach and player. Jonas signed a big money, four-year extension this offseason, and his 28 minutes per game are an encouraging sign. He’s gotten off to a nice start with averages of 15.3 points and 11.0 rebounds over Toronto’s first three games, and I expect his shot blocking numbers (0.3) to trend upward. It looks like this is the year Jonas finally realizes his early-round potential.
Greg Monroe swatted away two more shots on Sunday night, finishing the game with 14 points, six rebounds, five assists, one steal and an unfortunate six turnovers in his 28 minutes of action. He’s off to a great start in Milwaukee, and with very little competition for playing time, there’s no reason why he can’t have himself a top-20 season. He’s currently averaging career-highs in points (19.3), steals (1.7), assists (4.0) and blocks (1.3) and it’s safe to say Moose is happy no longer playing under Andre Drummond’s shadow in Detroit.
Nikola Mirotic drained three more 3-pointers on Sunday, but he also had his first less-than-stellar shooting performance going 4-of-12 from the field. That’s easy to forgive considering he also racked up 16 points, three boards and two blocks, and through the first four games for Chicago, he’s operating at a top-30 rate.
Pau Gasol put forth another solid outing despite playing just 24 minutes, and ended his night with 16 points, eight rebounds, one assist, one steal, one block and one turnover. Yes he’s 35 years old, and yes, he still 100 percent has got “it.” Jimmy Butler struggled with his shot, going 4-of-10 from the field, but still turned in an elite stat line with 14 points, four boards, five assists, four steals and two blocks. Jimmy Buckets is right on track for yet another career-year in Chicago.
Russell Westbrook made flirting with a triple-double look pedestrian on his way to 15 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, three steals, one 3-pointer and four turnovers. The Thunder finally have an offense in place that doesn’t involve handing either KD or Westbrook the ball and watching, which has given Russell more room to operate. It’s early, but he’s shooting a career-best 50.0 percent from the field and he could have a career-season under head coach Billy Donovan.
Serge Ibaka had his best game of the season, racking up 18 points, seven boards, four assists, and five blocks on 61.5 percent shooting. He hasn’t connected on a 3-point attempt yet, but he’s already making those that passed him up on draft day regret the decision.
On the Radar
Baze-less? No. BazeMORE
Kent Bazemore had his second straight fantasy worthy outing, scoring 20 points (6-of-12 FGs, 6-of-6 FTs) with four boards, one assist, three steals, two 3-pointers and a block over 28 minutes. Bazemore is stepping into the largest role of his career with Atlanta, and he hit some big-time shots for the Hawks during this win. If he can put up a similar performance on Tuesday vs. the Heat, he’s going to look like a must-add guy in all formats. Someone has to do what DeMarre Carroll did for Atlanta last season, and Bazemore may very well be that guy. What’s even more encouraging about his Sunday morning performance was that he was able to do this with both Kyle Korver (31 minutes) and Thabo Sefolosha (18 minutes) getting a healthy heaping of minutes. Sefolosha could push Bazemore for playing time, but he simply doesn’t offer the same offensive output that Bazemore does, and Bazemore is no slouch on defense either.
Marvin Williams on the other hand has gotten off to a very fast start for the Hornets, as the team’s starting power forward, putting in averages of 12.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.7 three-pointers through Charlottes first three games of the season. However, I’ve seen this far too many times to get too excited about the former No. 2 overall pick. He’s capable of getting hot for stretches, but 11 years of data would indicate that his next cold streak is right around the corner. If you’re in a deep league and the worst guy on your team is truly awful, it couldn’t hurt to swoop up Marvin, but don’t be surprised if he suddenly becomes incapable of grabbing a rebound or making a shot (he’s never averaged more than 6.3 boards per game and his scoring has been confined to the single digits for the past three years).
Old Man Manu
Despite being 38-years-old, Manu Ginobili has gotten off to a nice start for the Spurs averaging 12.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.7 three-pointers, 2.0 steals and 2.3 turnovers through San Antonio’s first three games. I don’t imagine that he’ll be able to keep up his current pace, and it’s likely that the next injury is right around the corner, but I he’s worth an add while he’s hot. Just don’t drop anyone with long-term value for him.
Patrick Patterson finally put forth a decent game on Sunday, tallying 16 points, three boards, one assist and four 3-pointers in his 24 minutes of play, and perhaps he’s decided to finally stop being terrible. With Luis Scola currently holding down the starting power forward position (and not doing much), it’s possible Patterson is ready to reclaim his place amongst the starters. He’s not a must-add guy just yet, but another outing like this and he’ll be on the radar.
Joakim’ll show ya
Joakim Noah had one of his better games through 24 minutes of playing time, scoring eight points on 3-of-6 shooting with nine boards, four assists, one steal, one block and two turnovers. Unfortunately for Noah, the guys in front of him have been playing phenomenally, so he basically has zero shot of returning to the starting lineup. As a reserve, Noah’s fantasy value will be limited to deeper leagues.
D.J. Augustin banged in four more trey bombs, and Sunday marked his second consecutive fantasy worthy outing as he put up 14 points, three assists and two rebounds. If you’re in a deep league and searching for a 3-point specialist, D.J. could be your guy.
Zaza Pachulia double-doubled during Sunday’s win over the Lakers, putting up 16 points, 12 rebounds, an assist, a block and three turnovers in his 30 minutes of action. Pachulia can serve as a rebounding specialist in deep leagues, but he doesn’t have much appeal in standard formats.
Big Al off to a slow start
Al Jefferson’s slow start continued, as he was only able to muster up 10 points, 10 rebounds, two blocks and two assists in his 29 minutes of action. Big Al is in a contract year himself, and he did come into camp 20 pounds lighter, but so far that hasn’t translated to the stat sheet. Charlotte still has 79 games to play, so the sample size is far too small to make any legit analysis of what’s going on, but after a down year this isn’t the best way to start the season.
Don’t Panic on Danny
Danny Green has also gotten off to an unimpressive start, but he did the same thing last season and ended up finishing the year as a second-round asset in standard 9-cat leagues. The important things to note with Green are that: 1) he’s not going to shoot 28.0 percent from the field on the season 2) he doesn’t have anyone else on the roster to truly challenge him for the starting shooting guard position and 3) his true value is derived from his defensive statistics and he was able to chip in four steals and a block on Sunday. Green isn’t someone that’s going to be a 20 points a night scorer, but he’s a necessary component to the San Antonio offense as their primary floor spacer, and it’s only a matter of time until his shot starts to drop. Don’t panic on Green, his minutes are currently at 28.2 per game, which is right around where they were last year, and understand that his value comes from the 3-point shooting (which will eventually happen), and defense (he averaged 1.2 steals and 1.1 blocks per game last season). He’ll be fine, but now would be the time to float out some buy-low offers on Danny.
Trevor A-three-za is Coming
Trevor Ariza has gotten off to yet another slow start to begin the 2015-16 season, connecting on a putrid 25 percent of his shot attempts, but this is more or less how he began the year last season. While his shot isn’t falling, he’s still been able to average 2.0 three-pointers, 4.7 rebounds and an elite 2.0 steals per game (which is where his value comes from), so I’m not very worried about the slow start. Remember, Ariza was an early-round asset after the All-Star break last season, so don’t hesitate to fire up some buy-low offers to potentially frustrated owners.
The Curse of the Kardashians
The Rockets have gotten off to a 0-3 start this year, and that can be directly linked to the struggles of James Harden. Through the first three games of the season Harden has connected on just 12 of his 54 shot attempts (22.2 percent), and three of his 32 three-point attempts (9.4 percent), although due to his insane ability to get to the stripe, Harden has still been able to average 18.0 points per game. His other averages of 6.0 assists, 6.3 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.3 blocks per game are right on target for elite value, so it’s really only a matter of time until his shot starts to drop, and The Beard re-establishes himself as a top-3 play in fantasy leagues.
Kyle Korver had an off night, missing all four of his 3-point attempts and finishing the evening with just six points, two rebounds, two assists and a turnover. He’ll be better than this more often than not, and his underwhelming performance can probably be attributed to the stellar defense of Nicolas Batum. That being said, Korver is likely to continue to sit out back-to-back sets for the foreseeable future, so with the Hawks set to see two back-to-backs this upcoming week, those in weekly formats may want to consider benching the 3-point sniper. Korver’s fantasy value is pretty low right now, so this would be the time to float out some buy-low offers for owners who feel dissatisfied with their mid-round selection from draft day.
Chris Bosh also failed to do much in his 25 minutes of action, putting up 10 points, eight rebounds, two 3-poitners and two blocks. Look for him to get things back on track on Tuesday vs. Atlanta.
Danilo Gallinari led the Nuggets in scoring on Sunday with 15 points, but he also shot just 3-of-13 from the field, and didn’t bring much else to the stat sheet with two 3-pointers, four boards, one steal and a turnover. The Rooster came out swinging during the regular-season opener, but he’s gone for 7-of-26 from the field in his past two outings. Gallinari has been a feature part of the offense before, but he’s never quite been the clear-cut No. 1 creator on offense at the NBA level to this point in his career, so some growing pains are to be expected. He looked great during EuroBasket, and he was a first-round guy after the All-Star break last season, so I’ll give him a little bit more leash as he figures things out. A top-12 season isn’t really realistic, but given Gallinari’s skill set, a top-50 finish isn’t out of the question.
Kenneth Faried entered the game with a back issue, which perhaps can help account for his no-show outing of eight points, two rebounds, two blocks and one assist. It probably didn’t help either that he was going up against Serge Ibaka, and the game was a blowout, but I also can’t completely write off the fact that Faried has struggled with consistency throughout his career. I’ve never been that high on The Manimal, and Sunday’s outing did nothing to sway me in his direction.
The Dragon is…. Sleeping?
There are a lot of mouths to feed in Miami’s first-unit, and that fact has really hurt Goran Dragic during the early goings of the 2015-16 season. Dragic had yet another off-night on Sunday, tallying a meager eight points on 3-of-7 shooting to go with six assists, one steal, three rebounds and one turnover in his 24 minutes of action. While the early season struggles are a bit troubling, it’s just too early to make a definitive statement on Dragic, and one has to think that he’ll eventually figure out a way to be successful in Miami. He signed a massive five-year, $85 million deal over the summer, and he was able to put in respectable averages of 16.6 points, 5.3 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.9 three-pointers on 50.2 percent shooting playing alongside Wade and Deng last season. He’s simply too talented to not figure this thing out. Yes, Bosh wasn’t a part of the equation when he was compiling those numbers, but he’s made things work next to heavy usage rate guys in the past (Eric Bledsoe), and I think it’s really only a matter of time until he returns to mid-round form. If he’s still not performing after the first month of the season, then it’s time to start worrying.
The Lawson Experiment
Ty Lawson was brought to Houston this offseason to add another playmaker to the Rockets starting unit, and propel them to being recognized as true championship contenders; however, the experiment has not gone to plan up to this point. Despite averaging 36.6 minutes per game as Houston’s starting point guard, Lawson has failed to do much of anything, compiling forgettable averages of 9.0 points, 5.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and just 1.0 three-pointer per game on 28.6 percent shooting from the field. His usage rate is currently at 14.3, and it’s clear that there is going to be an adjustment period here as he learns how to play alongside James Harden. Is he going to be this bad the entire season? Probably not, but it’s safe to say that he won’t be anywhere near the fantasy player he was during his days in Denver.
Old Man Rivers and his debilitated sidekick
Tim Duncan managed just seven points, nine rebounds, five assists, one block and four turnovers through 29 minutes. Tony Parker’s underwhelming season continued as he tallied just six points, four boards, one assist and three turnovers in 27 minutes.
I am genuinely concerned about the old guys in San Antonio. Duncan is currently in his 19th season of professional basketball, and the question has always been at what point will his statistics start resembling his age? I think that number is 39 for Mr. Duncan, which would be an obvious statement for anyone other than The Big Fundamental. The addition of LaMarcus Aldridge partnered with the development of Kawhi Leonard has resulted in Duncan averaging just 8.0 field goal attempts per game (a career-low), and with the added depth of David West, I think Duncan might just cruise to the playoffs this season with a healthy heaping of rest days. As for Parker, he didn’t look very good at all playing for France during the EuroBasket tournament, and his usage rate of 24.7 from last season has fallen all the way to 17.1 during the early goings of the 2015-16 season. I think it’ll be tough for Parker to be a consistent factor in the Spurs offense, and given that he’s never been one to bring the defensive stats, his value is going to take another hit this season after ranking outside of the top-150 last year. There’s still plenty of time for these guys to figure everything out, but given the way the Spurs offense has looked thus far, I don’t have very high hopes for the two-some.
Depth: The Fantasy Nightmare
Boston preached depth as their biggest asset during the offseason, but the extreme depth in Boston has resulted in extremely sporadic production from a majority of the roster. Basically the only guys you can currently trust on the Celtics are: Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart and Isaiah Thomas. Other than that, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will see consistent minutes on any given night, and if the guy you own in Boston isn’t one of the aforementioned players… good luck to you sir/madam.
David Lee looked really good for Boston during the preseason. The offense was running through him, Brad Stevens constantly praised his passing ability, and it was looking like he was on track for a bounce-back year with the Celtics. Unfortunately once the games started to matter, Lee has become an afterthought in standard leagues. Through Boston’s first three games Lee has compiled averages of 5.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists on a dreadful 25.0 percent shooting clip. It really can’t get much worse for Lee, he’s obviously not going to shoot 25 percent from the field on the season, but it’s unclear how much better it can get with Amir Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller all vying for frontcourt minutes. If you’re in a standard league, and you own one of these Boston bigs, it’s probably time to move on to an asset with more upside.
The small forward position in Boston is equally murky with Jae Crowder, Evan Turner and Jonas Jerebko all fighting for playing time, and none of those guys produced any statistics worth mentioning on Sunday.
Kris Middleton Sputtering
Middleton has been hit-or-miss this season, and Sunday night was a miss as he shot just 3-of-10 from the field on his way to eight points, two boards and two turnovers in his 29 minutes of action. Unfortunately for Middleton owners this situation is complicated. He really came alive after the break last season, but that was sans Jabari Parker and Greg Monroe. Moose is going to eat, The Freak is going to get his, and Jabari is one of the young faces of the franchise, so Middleton could be on the outside looking in with regards to touches on offense.
Not Getting It Done
P.J. Hairston has continued to play horribly in the starting role, and while head coach Steve Clifford has praised his effort on defense, statistics paint a different picture. Hairston owns a defensive differential of 6.4 percent, meaning the guy that he’s guarding has shot 6.4 percent better than he usually does. To me, it seems like only a matter of time until Clifford has had enough of Hairston’s awful shot selection, and general inability to alter the outcome of a game, and I think Jeremy Lin will be next in line to potentially slide into the starting lineup. Lin didn’t have a great game on Sunday, hitting just 2-of-9 shots to go with seven points, two rebounds, four assists, one 3-pointer one steal and two blocks, but he’s a much better defender than Hairston, and his passing ability separates him from the other potential starting candidate Jeremy Lamb (nine points on 4-of-11 shooting).
Gerald Green: The Shot Missing Machine
Gerald Green looked promising during the preseason, and he went off for 19 points with five treys on opening night, but his play has fallen off greatly since then. He put up a meager seven points on 2-of-7 shooting to go with one 3-pointer and nothing else on Sunday. Because Green doesn’t do much else aside from score, he can be extremely frustrating to own on the nights his shot isn’t falling. I’m a particularly patient guy so I’m willing to give Green one more game to figure things out as Miami’s sixth man, but if he fails to perform on Tuesday, I won’t hesitate to send him to the waiver wire.
Derrick Rose’s slow season continued, as he managed just six points on 2-of-8 shooting to go with seven boards, eight assists and three turnovers. Rose basically hasn’t been worth owning in standard leagues this season with averages of 11.8 points, 5.5 assists and 3.0 turnovers per game on 35.2 percent shooting. This is more of the same from last season, but that is unlikely to alter the fact that the former MVP is owned in 93 percent of Yahoo! Leagues. Good luck if you’re expecting a sudden breakout for some reason.
Achilles injuries are no joke
Wesley Matthews is playing, just not very well. He knocked in three 3-pointers during Sunday’s win, but also shot 3-of-10 from the field and didn’t bring much else to the stat sheet. Wesley is coming off a major injury, and his minutes have been held to the low-20s, so currently he’s not a must-start guy. It is encouraging to see him on the court, but I don’t have very high hopes for Matthews this season who is coming off an Achilles injury and playing for a team that could be out of the playoff hunt early.
The Wack Mamba
Kobe is playing very similar to the way he played the previous season, in which he jacks up plenty of shots and misses most of them. He finished Sunday’s game with 15 points, five boards, one assist, two 3-pointers and one turnover, but the 3-of-15 shooting is what stands out for me. Kobe is well past his prime, and while it’s nice to see him back out there for what could very well be his final NBA season, I’m happy to not have him on my roster. Additionally, given Kobe’s injury history the past three years, I’m not confident at all that he’ll make it through even 70 games this year.
The Curse of the No. 2 Pick
I wasn’t very high at all on D’Angelo Russell on draft day knowing the situation he’d be in (fighting for touches with Kobe Bryant and Jordan Clarkson) and he’s done absolutely nothing to prove me wrong up to this point. Russell had another forgettable outing on Sunday, scoring 10 points on 4-fo-13 shooting to go with two 3-pointers, three boards, one assist, one steal, one block and one turnover. Point guards typically struggle to perform playing alongside Kobe, and Russell just isn’t getting it done for his owners right now shooting 36.7 percent from the field to go with averages of 9.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.3 three-pointers and 1.7 assists per game. He’s by no means a must-own guy in standard formats, although that could change if Kobe suffers an injury at any point during the season.
Chandler Parsons managed just two points, three assists, three rebounds and one steal on 1-of-6 shooting from the field. It was nice to see him back on the court, and he’ll get better with each game.
Joffrey Lauergne left Sunday’s game after experiencing some back tightness and was unable to return. Nikola Jokic is also dealing with a back issue, and both should be considering questionable for Tuesday’s matchup with the Lakers. If neither is available, the Nuggets will likely go with a healthy heaping of Kenneth Faried, J.J. Hickson and Darrell Arthur, with Faried offering the most upside.
Kendrick Perkins is out indefinitely with a right pectoral strain, and this will have zero consequence in fantasy leagues.
Kirk Hinrich missed Sunday’s game with a sore toe, so I’m going to consider him questionable for Tuesday’s game against the Hornets. He’s played four minutes this season, so there’s not a league where his absence is relevant.
Terrence Jones missed Sunday’s game due to a lacerated eyelid, and it’s looking like he’ll be a game-time decision for Monday’s matchup with OKC. If he’s unable to go, Montrezl Harrell and Clint Capela will pick up his minutes.
O.J. Mayo (hamstring) will remain sidelined for Monday’s game against the Nets.
Robert Covington (knee) is being listed as probable for Monday’s game against the Cavs.
DeMarcus Cousins was diagnosed with a strained right Achilles, and he is being listed as day-to-day. The Kings next game comes on Tuesday vs. Memphis, and he should be considered questionable for that one.
Teams with 4 games played
Teams with 3 games played
There’s only one team with a two-game week during Week-2 and that is the Boston Celtics.
Thursday and Sunday are the lighter game days this week, so lets take a look at who is playing on those days so you can start strategizing about potential streamer options
OKC vs. CHI
MIA vs. MIN
CHA vs. DAL
UTA vs. DEN
MEM vs. POR
IND vs. CLE
LAL vs. NYK
TOR vs. MIA
PHX vs. OKC
DET vs. POR