October 26, 2019, 4:57 am
With four days of the 2019-2020 NBA season in the books, most teams have played at least once or twice giving fantasy managers their first look at the players we debated, scrutinized and ranked ad nauseum all summer long. If that sleeper you picked in the top-100 had a monster first few games (looking at you Brandon Ingram owners) you’ve certainly beat your chest to your league mates while whoever drafted Mike Conley is sitting quietly in the corner questioning why they even play fantasy sports in the first place.
So which performances should you dismiss as unsustainable and who can actually keep it up? That’s the million-dollar question and we will attempt to make some sense of all the knee jerk reactions in a bit.
Add(s) of the Night
Jalen Brunson, G, Dallas Mavericks – 29 minutes, 14 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two 3-pointers, 6-of-11 FG
After a slow start to the season as a part of the starting lineup, Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle decided to replace Delon Wright with Jalen Brunson in the starting five and the early returns were quite promising for both players. Wright looked as good as he has since donning the Mavs blue, but he’s generally someone that was drafted this season. Take a look to make sure Wright is rostered as well, but the real opportunity here could be adding Brunson who is owned in under 25% of leagues. Brunson managed to find a role on this team last season and it’s clear Carlisle trusts the guard to produce alongside Luka Doncic. It’s yet to be determined if this lineup change will stick, but it’s worth adding Brunson and seeing where things go.
Josh Okogie, G, Minnesota Timberwolves – 26 minutes, 14 points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal, one 3-pointer, 5-of-6 FG, 3-of-3 FT
Okogie lead the Wolves in minutes off the bench as his strong defensive play earned him a team-best plus-28. He won’t shoot this well from the field every night, but it seems he is earning the trust of head coach Ryan Saunders and with trust comes minutes. There was only one defensive counter tonight, but at his best Okogie can provide some 3-and-D production with scoring. He’s worth a look as an end-of-bench piece with upside in 12-14 team leagues and larger.
If you’re looking for more potential adds, check out our Pickups of the Night, part of the Hoop Ball Gametime Premium package.
We’re not saying that you have to drop any of these guys, only that you should at least consider it depending who’s on your waiver wire. Your mileage may vary based on league size and team build, but for the most part we’ll try to cut dead weight in the 12-team range.
Dennis Smith Jr.
Dennis Smith Jr. played only five minutes tonight, which was the fewest minutes on the team. Head coach David Fizdale is known for changing his lineup and rotation up often so while there may be some hope for Smith to rejoin the rotation at some point in the near future, his production to this point hasn’t warranted burning a roster spot to wait for that to happen. Cut bait with Smith for now as several attractive pickups are out there. Keep him on your watch list if you want to but nothing more.
Another New York Knick, another drop. It is difficult for role players to find fantasy value on this team considering how volatile the minutes are from game to game and Portis is no exception. As someone who requires a heavy minute load to produce numbers, cut him loose because there’s no way to tell when he will play enough to be relevant.
De’Aaron Fox suffered a hip injury on Friday and is questionable for Saturday’s game against Utah.
Bojan Bogdanovic sat out Friday’s game with a left ankle sprain that he played through during the second half of Wednesday’s game.
Week 1 Knee Jerk Reactions
Is Brandon Ingram a top-20 guy this year?
Brandon Ingram is enjoying a red-hot start to the season so far, averaging 23.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, four assists, three 3-pointers and 2.5 blocks – good for a top-15 ranking through two games. He’s shooting a solid yet sustainable 46% from the field, suggesting it isn’t some crazy hot streak buoying his value. The question is can he continue blocking shots and hitting threes at a high enough rate to raise his floor on poor shooting nights? I’m not prepared to say that just yet. Shop Ingram and see if you can get a top-50 player back as that is his likely ceiling for this year.
Is Trae Young a first rounder now?
After posting an impressive 38 points, nine assists, seven rebounds, six 3-pointers and one steal in his first game of the season, the Trae Young hype train has officially left the station. Pegged as a top-25 pick by many in the preseason, Young holds the keys to a talented young offensive team that will look to play with pace which is the perfect ecosystem for him to produce elite fantasy numbers. I’m buying Young and it’s starting to look like that top-25 ranking was selling him a bit short.
Will Mike Conley ever hit a shot again?
OK, so Conley HAS hit a shot. He has actually hit four shots. Out of 27. YIKES. Many expected Conley to be one of the more impactful additions from this past offseason as he was projected to take some of the ball handling and playmaking pressure off of Donovan Mitchell and provide a calm veteran presence that would improve the Utah offense. So does all that go out of the window after a couple of poor shooting performances? I don’t think so, and I’d actually be looking to see if I could acquire Conley for pennies on the dollar from a spooked manager who took him in the top-50. Offer a top-75 type player and enjoy the roster upgrade.
Anthony Davis playing….CENTER?!
An interesting thing happened at halftime of the Lakers/Jazz game on Friday night. Javale McGee, who started the game at center, started the second half on the bench as Anthony Davis slid over to the center spot and head coach Frank Vogel inserted Alex Caruso into the starting lineup at guard. Vogel’s reasoning was twofold: he wanted to add more shooting to the lineup and he wanted to find a way to draw Rudy Gobert away from the basket on defense. The adjustment worked quite well as the Lakers won the third quarter by a score of 31-18 en route to their first victory of the season.
This is surprising since Davis is known for preferring to not play center despite his skillset fitting in perfectly at that spot in the modern game. This definitely seemed like a matchup-dependent lineup tweak and Davis went out of his way to tell reporters after the game that it is something he only expects to use situationally moving forward. However the fact the Lakers were able to get Davis to make this tweak only two games into the season suggests he is slowly warming up to the idea of spending more time at center, which would not only give the Lakers their best five-man lineups but have some fantasy implications.
The main thing to keep an eye on here is how it could impact the playing time of Javale McGee and Dwight Howard. If Davis is playing center more there could be a minutes crunch there that will leave many who selected McGee somewhere in the top-125 a little nervous, especially when Kyle Kuzma returns. Conversely, this could open up some more playing time for wings and guards on this team like Quinn Cook, Troy Daniels, Rajon Rondo and Alex Caruso. This is a situation to monitor moving forward.