After going in somewhat blind last week we were still able to identify a number of sneaky-good players. Now we have more of an idea on rotations things should be a little clearer.
SACRAMENTO KINGS (5 games)
Obviously Demarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay are the premier plays here in a huge 5 game week, but as mentioned last week Ty Lawson has been more than serviceable. Darren Collison is out for all 5 of this weeks games so roll Ty out there with confidence. Matt Barnes is the other one I like here, and despite coming of the bench he is playing 27 minutes currently and is a favourite of Coach Joergers. Plug him in
ATLANTA HAWKS (4 games)
There was some interesting numbers to come out of Atlanta this week, however there was only 2 games and one of them was a blowout against the 76ers. Keep an eye on Mike Muscala as he is the first big off the bench and has put up 11.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists to go with 1.5 steals and 2.5 blocks. This might be unsustainable but in a 4 game week, why not. Thabo Sefolosha is the other one to start surprisingly well with averages of 12 pts, 5.5 reb, 3 ass and 3 steals and he could also be worth a look, but like Muscala he likely won’t be as good as he has been. Tim Hardaway Jnr is the other one who has averaged 14 points in just 21 minutes
CHICAGO BULLS (4 games)
Taj Gibson has started well and he is averaging 15 with 9 boards thus far, which seems about right now he is the starter. Doug McDermott is putting up 14 points on 2.5 3’s made, however the minutes will likely remain in the low 20s while Jimmy Butler is healthy. Still, he is a candidate to fill it up from beyond the arc on any given night
DENVER NUGGETS (4 games)
After a dud first game Nikola Jokic went bang in game 2 putting up 23 and 17 to justify the preseason hype. His partner in crime Jusuf Nurkic is averaging 17.5 and 9, while Kenneth Faried seems to be embracing his bench role as they form a 3-headed monster in the Nuggets front court. Will “The Thrill” Barton has started particularly well with averages of 19, 5.5 reb and 2.5 assists, however Gary Harris figures to be back soon and eat into his value. Emmanuel Mudiay will be ok this season but he has had 11 turnovers in his 2 games so far and needs to get that under control.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (4 games)
Blake Griffin has been huge across the first 2 games, but like I said last week, there is nothing to report here in terms of sneaky fantasy value, and nothing is likely to change barring an injury to CP3, Blake or Deandre Jordan.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS (4 games)
Julius Randle has been super early, averaging 15, 6.7(reb) and 3.3(ass) with a block and a steal. D’Angelo Russell will no doubt have some huge games but he will be inconsistent. Apart from that, Luke Walton plays too many different lineups for anyone else to be a sure bet.
MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (4 games)
James Ennis had sneaky value in week 1 and should be able to provide low-end value until Chandler Parsons decides to lace ’em up. Z-Bo has been awesome off the bench but it’s hard to know what will happen if the Grizz ever get back to full strength. Wade Baldwin had a sensational statistical debut with 7 pts, 5 reb, 6 ass, 3 steals and 3 blocks, although he didn’t do much in his next two games.
MILWAUKEE BUCKS (4 games)
As I said last week Giannis Antetokounmpo is going to rack up some huge lines this season and he is the standout in Milwaukee, but Matthew Dellavedova is providing sneaky value as predicted and can provide low-end value. Rashad Vaughn had a career high 22 points against the Nets this week but I wouldn’t expect to see that too often
NEW YORK KNICKS (4 games)
There is a distinct lack of fantasy value in New York outside of the Latvian phenom Kristaps Porzingis, and even Melo hasn’t really hit his straps yet. Jeff Hornacek has played a lot of guys and it appears a bit of a raffle for minutes outside the big 2 and Derrick Rose
PHOENIX SUNS (4 games)
Everyone was expecting Devin Booker to take over in Phoenix this season, but 3 games in it has been all about TJ Warren who has been enormous with averages of 23.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2 steals. Eric Bledsoe has also been pretty good and can contribute in multiple categories. TJ is the early leader in the “most improved” race. If he’s available in your league he shouldn’t be #rundontwalk
PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS (4 games)
As mentioned last week, it’s a lottery to see who will have value outside of Damian Lillard (averaging a whopping 35 points) and CJ McCollum (21.3). Mason Plumlee has had a couple of good games after a dud first outing and Allen Crabbe will have some big nights but the bench role means he will be inconsistent.
TORONTO RAPTORS (4 games)
It looks like being a coming out party for the big Lithuanian Jonas Valanciunas this season. He has started like a locomotive, putting up 21 and 14 and if he can keep it up, Fantasy owners got a steal. Demar Derozan has been dominant on the offensive end with 36 points per game but he doesn’t do much in other categories and has 4.5 turnovers a game. Still, you will take his production any day of the week. Demarre Carroll has had a nice start after an injury-plagued 2015/16 and he will put up consistent value. Pascal Siakam is starting at Power Forward currently but playing under 20 minutes so his numbers will be low-end
UTAH JAZZ (4 games)
The Jazz are pretty banged up at the moment, which gave Joe Johnson a chance to turn back the clock and put up a huge second half of 27 points against the Blazers. Joe will have value while Gordon Hayward is out but can be a bit unreliable in recent seasons. Rudy Gobert and George Hill have been more than solid for an undermanned Utah, but the Jazz have struggled offensively thus far and will be sweating on the return of their stars.
BROOKLYN NETS (3 games)
In our latest podcast J-Lee declared Trevor Booker the pickup of the week and he didn’t let us down, going out the next night and putting up 14 and 14 with a smattering of other stats. “T-Book” is a double-double threat every night and is also in the mix for most improved in the early going. Jeremy Lin has been superb, scoring 17 with 5 rebounds and 7 assists. “Linsanity” is back. Justin Hamilton has been great also with 11 points and 7 boards, including 2 treys per game. As I alluded to last week Bojan Bogdanovic is a scorer off the bench and will have some games where he scores high 20’s, but again the bench role makes him hard to trust.
BOSTON CELTICS (3 games)
Avery Bradley has far exceeded expectations so far and has been on fire from behind the arc, hitting 12 3’s across 3 games. Jae Crowder has also been exceptional, but outside of these 2, Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford there is no consistent fantasy value to be found in Boston.
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (3 games)
Not much to see here with the big 3 dominating the stat lines in Cleveland. King James showed he was still the king with a triple double opening night, while Kyrie looks awesome and K-Love has started well too
DALLAS MAVERICKS (3 games)
JJ Barea has been the surprise fantasy stud this week out of Dallas, putting up 16.7 points and 5.3 assists per game. He got more run in games 2 and 3 after Dirk fell ill. Speaking of Dirk, he started the season with a bang, scoring 22 (4 triples) with 8 boards, 2 steals and 2 blocks. He should be back next game. Harrison Barnes has showed some signs, scoring 31 in one matchup, but not doing much in the other 2, and Wes Matthews has been productive to begin the season.
DETROIT PISTONS (3 games)
Andre Drummond has been his usual beastly self (16 and 16) and Tobias Harris has been very good, but the sneaky value has come in the form of John Leuer. SVG likes his ability to spread the floor, but it’s low-end value here
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (3 games)
Kevin Durant’s numbers have been huge in week 1 (31/10/5/2.7st/1.7blk), Draymond Green is his usual self, while Steph Curry and Klay Thompson have taken a little hit so far. They should work it out. There is no one else that’s fantasy relevant here
HOUSTON ROCKETS (3 games)
James Harden had a ridiculous opening night (34 points, 17 assists) but has been a bit quieter since. Trevor Ariza has enjoyed the up-tempo system and Eric Gordon has looked good (17ppg). Clint Capela is a double-double threat on a nightly basis.
INDIANA PACERS (3 games)
Myles Turner has been huge (21 and 10, 3.3 blocks), PG13 has done his thing and Thad Young has been more than serviceable. Jeff Teague has been disappointing so far, not much else to see here.
MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES (3 games)
Gorgui Dieng has been super with 13 and 13 averages so far. KAT has been solid and Zach Lavine has continued his upswing with 20 points per game. Andrew Wiggins is a gun offensively (27ppg) but he doesn’t do anything else
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS (3 games)
Anthony Davis put up a stat line that had to be seen to be believed opening night (50 points, 16 boards, 7 steals, 5 assists, 4 blocks) and he can stuff a stat line like no one else. Tim Frazier is the only other reliable contributor here so far. He has been a pleasant surprise, averaging 13.7 points, 9.3 assists and 5.0 rebounds.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (3 games)
Russell Westbrook has been ridiculous early (38.7/12.3/11.7) and despite the Thunder’s soft early schedule, he is an absolute beast and a triple-double threat every time he steps on the court. Andre Roberson has stepped into a meaningful fantasy role, doing a bit of everything, while Steven Adams is yet to fully hit his straps.
ORLANDO MAGIC (3 games)
The Magic have been terrible so far, apart from Nikola Vucevic (12/12) and the versatile Aaron Gordon. Serge Ibaka has been underwhelming to say the least.
PHILADELPHIA 76ERS (3 games)
“Spanish Chocolate” Sergio Rodriguez and “The Process” Joel Embiid have both started well. Sergio should be used in most leagues, while Embiid will be on a minute limit for a while. Philly aren’t very good
SAN ANTONIO SPURS (3 games)
Kawhi Leonard has started his MVP campaign well, putting up numbers in all categories. Lamarcus Aldridge has been pretty good, while the sneaky pick here has been our own Patty Mills who has hit 13 3’s already. DeWayne Dedmon has been putting up big numbers in limited minutes and is one to watch.
WASHINGTON WIZARDS (3 games)
Predictably, John Wall is the main man in Washington, averaging 17 points and 11.5 assists. Markeiff Morris has been surprisingly good in multiple categories (16.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block). As I said last week, Andrew Nicholson can provide some value off the bench but will need an injury to get enough minutes to be fully relevant
CHARLOTTE HORNETS (2 games)
Kemba Walker has picked up where he left off last year and wants that allstar jersey this season. My boy Marvin Williams has been reliable and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has been a multi-cat contributor who can be plugged in with a fair amount of confidence,
MIAMI HEAT (2 games)
Hassan Whiteside (21.7 points, 14.7 rebounds, 3.3 blocks) has been a machine early on and Goran Dragic has lived up to his preseason hype, while Justise Winslow appears to have grown into a reliable fantasy option and he does a bit of everything. Plug him in
Good Luck in week 2, Let us know who you think can still break out this season