Week 3 Schedule: Games Played
4 games: ATL, CHA, GSW, IND, MEM, MIL, MIN, OKC, ORL, PHI, POR
3 games: BOS, BKN, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, HOU, LAL, MIA, NOP, NYK, PHX, SAS, TOR, WAS
2 games: LAC, SAC, UTA
This week was absolutely brutal on the injury front with Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Myles Turner and Trae Young being the head-liners, so finding talent on the waiver wire is especially important over the next couple weeks. I've included some long-term adds and some short-term streamers, but if you have a specific question don't hesitate to ask me on Twitter here!
45%-36% Owned in Yahoo Leagues:
Bobby Portis (45%)- He’s not for everybody and I have zero shares even though I’ve looked at him on the wire a couple times in my leagues, as I really don’t want anything to do with coach David Fizdale’s rotations. As someone who once compared Lance Thomas to Draymond Green and Chandler Parsons to LeBron James, Fizdale probably thinks Portis is the second coming of Dirk Nowitzki lately and he’s been riding the hot hand with 26.7 minutes over his last four. He’s been a top-70 player in 9-cat in that span, averaging 15.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.8 triples, 1.0 assists and 0.8 blocks. I’m not expecting Portis to take Mitchell Robinson’s job or anything like that, but Robinson can’t stay out of foul trouble with 6.7 fouls per 36 minutes and the majority of Portis’ minutes have been at the five. So until Robinson stops clobbering guys in the paint, Portis will be relevant.
Kevin Huerter (44%)- You won’t find him on the wire of many competitive leagues now that the Hawks have finally eased off his restrictions a bit. He played a season-high 26 minutes on Oct. 31, and should be cleared for 30 by this week. He’s still finding his rhythm which is understandable, but the playmaking is what has caught my eye as Atlanta’s secondary ball-handler. He’s averaging 5.8 dimes per 36 minutes, way up from 3.8 per 36 as a rookie. He’s already getting four pick-and-roll possessions per game in just 20 minutes, so there’s so much to like here since we already know what he brings to the table from beyond the arc.
Luke Kennard (43%)- He was in my Waiver Wired column last week and is still balling with season averages of 16.4 points, 3.7 dimes, 2.6 rebounds and 2.9 triples. He’s similar to Kevin Huerter because they can both run the pick-and-roll for their teams (Kennard is getting nearly five pick-and-roll possessions per game) and shoot lights out from deep, but I do worry about his numbers when the Pistons get Blake Griffin (hamstring) back in the next few days.
Maxi Kleber (38%)- Here’s a guy who is quietly returning 9th-round value in 9-cat for his shot-blocking upside and ability to hit the three. Kleber is averaging 8.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.2 triples in 28.6 minutes. I don’t think the workload holds because the Mavericks are ramping up Dwight Powell’s minutes, but Kleber is getting run at both frontcourt spots which means 25 minutes isn’t out of the question. He’s a hold if you need blocks and will be an excellent streamer when Kristaps Porzingis inevitably gets a maintenance day.
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35%-26% Owned in Yahoo Leagues:
Danuel House (35%)- Eric Gordon is still on vacation after his agent convinced the Rockets to extend him for $54M this offseason, hitting a laughable 28.6% from the field. Meanwhile, House continues to look like a crucial player for Houston, averaging 12.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.0 blocks and 2.8 triples on 47.6% from the field in 30.7 minutes. Those are top-40 numbers in 9-cat, and even though James Harden and Russell Westbrook soak up so much usage, there’s still plenty of value to go around with Houston leading the NBA in pace.
Kent Bazemore (33%)- Just like last week, Bazemore’s jumper is still as elusive as Bigfoot, but he continues to hold low-end value on the back of his 1.2 steals, 1.2 blocks and 1.0 triples. I tend to be more patient with 1-1-1 guys like the Bazemores and Danny Greens of the world, and now that the Blazers are even more shorthanded with Hassan Whiteside (knee) hurt and Zach Collins (shoulder) out indefinitely, the Blazers will have to play smaller and that will benefit him and Mario Hezonja (more on Hezonja later).
Eric Paschall (28%)- The Warriors are putting together one of the most elaborate tanks in recent history. We’re talking Sam Hinkie and The Process levels. Stephen Curry (hand) is out for a minimum of three months, so I knew it was just a matter of time before some “phantom injuries” started popping up. Draymond Green described his finger injury as a “ligament thingy” while trying to keep a straight face, and then D’Angelo Russell sat out Saturday with an “ankle sprain” after coasting for 30 points the night before. Needless to say, they are going to be super shady for the rest of the season and the one guy that I’m absolutely sold on emerging from this dumpster fire is Eric Paschall with Green out several games and Kevon Looney out indefinitely.
The rookie is getting about 60% of his minutes at center and the other 40% at power forward, and with Marquese Chriss reverting back to his Phoenix days with missed dunks, lapses on defense and constant fouling, Paschall has a clear runway to 30+ minutes. His play has been inconsistent, but his per-36 averages of 17.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.6 blocks give him some decent upside. “Eric’s powerful, confident and he’s got an interesting game,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s an undersized 4-man that can put the ball on the floor and bull past people.” He’s the one guy that Kerr has constantly raved about, so I’m going to add him in as many leagues as I can to see if he can build on this momentum.
25%-16% Owned in Yahoo Leagues:
Bryn Forbes (25%)- Forbes isn't a player that makes me excited to log on and plug him into lineups, but he’s still a serviceable fantasy asset with 10th-round value in 9-cat leagues. He’s averaging 14.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.0 dimes and 2.8 triples with nothing else, so the triples are the only eye-catching stat here. It’s worth mentioning that coach Gregg Popovich hinted that he’ll eventually try to get Derrick White and Dejounte Murray more run together, so Forbes’ value does have an expiration date.
Jordan Clarkson (23%)- Darius Garland has been ice cold from the field, so Clarkson has been picking up most of the slack for Cleveland. He’s getting a lot of usage off the bench (24%), and while he’s getting about four shots less than he did last season, he has churned out averages of 15.2 points, 2.8 assists, 1.2 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.2 triples. The Cavs are going to keep him very involved in the hopes of dealing his expiring contract at the deadline for a draft pick, so his role is safe in the short term.
Markelle Fultz (24%)- The Magic are 2-4 and looking for a spark, so it’s no surprise that Fultz has been named their starting PG. His production has trailed off a bit since his terrific start to the season, but he’s doing enough on a per-minute basis in assists and steals to warrant ownership in certain roster builds. On a per-36 minute scale, he’s averaging 15.0 points, 5.2 dimes, 2.8 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 0.8 triples, and his percentages have been rock solid too with most of his shots coming inside the paint.
“It gives our lineup more balance,” coach Steve Clifford said. “With both the first unit and the second unit, we have a better chance to play better.” Clifford noted how Fultz’s driving ability opens the floor for the other starters, so it’s clear that this will be a permanent switch and we can expect Fultz’s workload to trend up.
Nerlens Noel (22%)- Feel free to disregard this if we get good news on Steven Adams (knee). Adams has missed two games with a contusion, and his status for next week is up in the air. Noel has been a monster as expected in his fill-in starts, averaging 11.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 3.5 blocks in 25.0 minutes. There are maybe a handful of players with Noel’s upside in defensive stats, so he’s a no-brainer stream every time Adams sits. I’m also planning to stash him prior to the trade deadline since Adams is a prime candidate to be moved.
Jahlil Okafor (20%)- Derrick Favors (knee) has been out since Oct. 28 and is known for being a slow healer. This is a guy who missed a month of NBA action for sleeping on a bad mattress a couple years ago, and maybe this injury explains why he looked like he couldn't jump over a credit card early in the season. Jaxson Hayes isn’t ready for consistent minutes because of his lack of rebounding and defensive awareness, so the Pelicans will keep going back to Okafor for now. In his last two games “Vegan Jah” put up 20.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.5 blocks. If you can handle a hit to your FT% then Okafor is a strong add.
Matisse Thybulle (19%)- He's the definition of a defensive specialist. Thybulle is putting up historic steal/block numbers with 5.0 steals and 2.5 blocks per 36 minutes, numbers that are consistent with his college production. I've never seen a player quite like him and he's absolutely worth owning in category leagues despite all the holes in the rest of his stat set.
15% or Less Owned in Yahoo Leagues
Glenn Robinson III (11%)- The stats have to come from somewhere on Golden State’s injury depleted roster. GR3 already has two duds to his name in six games, but he’s still been a 9th-round value in 9-cat with 10.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.5 dimes, 1.0 steals and 1.0 triples on 46.3% from the field. His workload has never been more secure too.
Goga Bitadze (11%)- The rookie got his first extended look on Friday and didn’t disappoint with 10 points (3-of-7 FGs, 3-of-3 FTs), nine rebounds, one triple and four blocks in 25 minutes. The shot-blocking prowess he showed in Europe has translated to the NBA in a small sample size of 38 total minutes with 4.7 blocks per 36, and we know he has 3-point range too. The big takeaway from Friday’s game though was that Goga played 14 minutes next to Domantas Sabonis, so he’s going to have a nice workload in the short term with Myles Turner (ankle) considered week-to-week. Just don’t drop someone you will miss.
Nemanja Bjelica (10%)- He has been a nightmare defensively but the Kings have to rely on him pretty heavily because Trevor Ariza has turned into Dante Cunningham. Bjelica is getting a lot of burn next to Sacramento’s new starting center Richaun Holmes, and his last three games have been sneaky good with 11.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks and 2.7 triples. You won’t find many players with as much variance as Bjelica considering he had stretches of top-25 numbers last season only to go off the grid completely for weeks, but you might as well pick him up while he’s hot.
DeAndre’ Bembry (4%)- Counting stats have never been an issue for this guy, and the main reasons why the fantasy community is so hesitant on him is because of his turnover rate and ugly FT%. Trae Young (ankle) could be back for Atlanta’s next game, but if not then I’ll obviously be looking to add Bembry wherever I can after he put up an 18-10-8 line with two steals in 28 minutes vs. the Heat. He was essentially the primary playmaker with Trae out, rocking a 26.8 usage rate compared to his season average of 16%.
Mario Hezonja (3%)- He’s one of the best pickups of the week if coach Terry Stotts goes back to him with Hassan Whiteside (knee) banged up and Zach Collins (shoulder) out indefinitely. Hezonja scored 11 points (4-of-10 FGs, 1-of-2 FTs) with 12 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in a whopping 37 minutes on Saturday, and maybe that workload sticks since Rodney Hood (thigh) is hurt now too. Historically, Hezonja has been a volatile guy in fantasy, but he was also a triple-double threat with New York and we know he can stuff the stat sheet. If the minutes are there, I think he could be the difference in a lot of weekly matchups.
Skal Labissiere (2%)- Sticking in Portland, the Blazers have very little depth up front for the reasons listed above. Skal was a training camp standout and drew praise from Damian Lillard, and he also went bonkers in the season finale of 2018-19. On Saturday, Skal scored a season-high 15 points (7-of-9 FGs, 1-of-2 FTs) with four rebounds, two assists and one block in 23 minutes. I’m not adding him unless we get some bad news on Whiteside though, so prioritize someone like Hezonja.
Daniel Theis (2%)- Boston’s revolving door at center has been mostly about who is healthy, and right now Theis is the only center left standing. He got 27 minutes on Friday with five points, eight rebounds and four blocks, and typically he’s been a great per-minute guy in the past.
Here are some guys to keep an eye on:
Troy Brown (9%)- He’s one of the few youngsters that Washington has to develop. I love his stat set and think he can be a 15-4-4 guy after the new year, but for now he’s got to get his legs under him.
Frank Ntilikina (8%)- It’s his turn to make a case for the full-time starting PG job, but the only two categories he pops in are dimes and steals.
Jarrett Culver (8%)- The Wolves finally figured out that they have one of the best rookies in the NBA and it took a Karl-Anthony Towns suspension for them to use him properly as a pick-and-roll ball-handler. Keep him on your watch list.
Ky Bowman (1%)- He had a career-high 16 points with seven rebounds, four assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in 39 minutes vs. Charlotte, but it sounds like D’Angelo Russell (ankle) will be back any day.