October 28, 2019, 9:24 am
Our first official fantasy week is now complete. How did you all do? Do you believe you are an unrivaled genius and draft master ready to beat this NBA season to a pulp? If not, then perhaps you are ready to question everything you’ve ever known about basketball while contemplating if all this agony is an essential part of the meaning of life.
Regardless of how you’re feeling about your team this Sunday night into Monday morning, you’re going to want to try to stay ahead of the curve or start to make some adjustments. Whether you’re taking that celebratory morning sip of coffee or breaking out the smelling salts while pull yourself off the mat, here’s some pointers no matter what type of fantasy mood you’re in.
Add(s) of the Night
Dennis Schroder, G, Oklahoma City Thunder – 25 minutes, 22 points, eight rebounds, six assists, four steals, one 3-pointer, 9-of-13 FG, 3-of-3 FT
If you’re in a league with people who read Hoop-Ball, then chances are Dennis Schroder is an owned asset already. If you’re in a league with people who do not read Hoop-Ball and you have a panicky owner who saw Schroder’s first two games and went ‘to hell with this’ then you should come in and swoop him up because if he has another night like this then you will not get another chance to grab him again.
We like Schroder around these parts because his role is pretty secure, he’s aggressive with the ball in his hands, and a track record of top-100 upside at almost zero cost to you dear fantasy owner. His efficiency can be worrisome at times, but the Thunder will continue to need his 25-30 minutes of scoring energy off the bench. When Chris Paul’s inevitable injury or trade comes, then there’s even more possible upside for Schroder.
Kyle Anderson, G/F, Memphis Grizzlies – 23 minutes, 13 points, four rebounds, one assists, two steals, two blocks, 4-of-6 FG, 5-of-6 FT
Kyle Anderson is a perfect example of a post-hype sleeper. He had that dreaded sleeper tag last season and all of the industry know-it-alls, including ourselves, believed that Anderson would take his new role with the Grizzlies and run with it. We all know how that went as a shoulder injury cost him much of last season.
Anderson is now healthy and a line like this makes you remember why we were smitten last year. Anderson doesn’t have to score a ton of points to be an effective fantasy contributor. He’s great on the defensive side of the ball and won’t kill you in percentages. He’s another player with top-100 upside that went mostly unloved this draft season and his first two games didn’t exactly make you regret not drafting him. His third game was a completely different story and should make you take notice.
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.
Tyler Herro had himself a nice NBA debut after it was announced that Jimmy Butler would miss the first few games due to the birth of his child. This came after a lot of hype from Butler himself and a preseason performance that made people go with the eyes emoji on Twitter when discussing the Heat’s rookie guard. Herro’s second game wasn’t as good, but the usage was there and the Heat stunned the Bucks in the process. However, his third game was a disaster. The shooting was poor and the turnovers even worse. With Kendrick Nunn not cooling off and Butler due to return, Herro is the one who is likely to suffer most.
This one might be a little bit too much for some of you this early into the season, but I’ll make my argument here. Steven Adams looks like a complete fantasy liability so far this season. He has yet to crack the 30-minute mark this season. He no longer has Russell Westbrook to barrel down the lane for easy handoffs or putbacks to boost his field goal percentage. You didn’t pay a mid-round pick for a big man you could stream for rebounds with mediocre defensive stats. At this point, his free throw shooting makes Dwight Howard look like Steve Nash.
It was a really brutal week for Adams, but he could easily pick things back up as he gets used to life without Russ. At the same time, if you think this could be the new norm and continue to be worried about trade rumors, then I wouldn’t blame you if you cut bait.
Zach Collins separated his shoulder and has already been ruled out for Monday. He’s scheduled for an MRI which will determine how much more time he could miss. Mario Hezonja and Skal Labissiere would be the likely recipients of his minutes.
Cody Zeller left Sunday night’s game with a cut around his eye, but returned and played well in a loss to the Lakers. He should be fine and remains worth owning.
It’s not an injury, but Dennis Smith Jr. may not be available on Monday due to a death in the family. It’s been a really rough start to the season for DSJ and our condolences go out to him.
Jrue Holiday is questionable for Monday’s game with a knee injury. If he plays, he’ll get a tasty matchup against a struggling Warriors team. If not, then Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, and Brandon Ingram will have a chance to continue their strong starts to the season.
Ricky Rubio is listed as probable for Monday’s tilt against the Jazz so get him back into your lineups for a possible revenge narrative game.
Dwight Powell did not play on Sunday night but is expected to practice on Monday. You may want to exercise caution and keep your eyes and ears out for more news updates before starting him this week.
Wendell Carter Jr. is probable for Monday against the Knicks despite a thumb sprain, which should come as delightful news for his fantasy owners.
His teammate Otto Porter Jr. is also probable for Monday. Porter could really use a solid game after a tough first week.
Harry Giles continues to have knees that bark like they were chasing down mailmen and not basketballs. He is questionable for Monday.
Jeremy Lamb has a hip pointer and is iffy for Monday’s game against the Pistons.
Joel Embiid is doing very little to quell the concerns his drafters had about playing a full season. He’s questionable again with an ankle injury and the Sixers are going to be in no rush to play him at less than 100% this early in the season.
Reggie Jackson is doubtful with an achy back. Reggie Jackson is now me trying to get out of dealing with my kids.
John Henson will miss 2-4 weeks with a hamstring injury, which means as much Tristan Thompson as you can possibly handle.
Finally, some good news depending on your perspective. Lakers coach Frank Vogel left the door open for a DeMarcus Cousins return for the playoffs. That’s regular playoffs, not fantasy playoffs so don’t go tripping over yourselves to race to the wire.
If You Have An Itch, It Could Just Be A Reaction
There are a couple ways to go about building your team after the first week of action. You could continue to believe in the team that you drafted and wait patiently for the right opportunities to come your way through free agency or trades. Or you could do whatever it is everyone thinks you’re going to do and totally freak out man!
Typically, I choose the former. In my leagues, I’m trying to remember that Mike Conley isn’t going to shoot 24% for the remainder of the season. I’m trying to remember that T.J. Warren has a really long track record of success and just needs some more time to get things figured out in Indiana. I’m trying to remember that teams are going to be overly cautious with players like Joel Embiid or Jrue Holiday at this time of year and they’ll be back to their regularly scheduled dominance.
I may make a move here and there, but it’s with the mindset that if it doesn’t work out, then I’ll quickly move on yet again. But I’m certainly not ready to hit the panic button with Delon Wright or Otto Porter Jr. In those cases I am trusting the way I built my team through the draft and that proven players will balance their performances out over time. There’s never been a championship awarded after one week of play and this season is no different. Try to remember that if your trigger finger is itchy after only three out of a possible 82 games, then it’s not the waiver wires you need to it, it’s your medicine cabinet.
Pleading The Fifth
One of the fun things about overreaction Monday is that you can poke holes in conventional wisdom even while ignoring my advice of letting the season play itself out. I know you all heard about the first-round narrative all through draft season. If you get anywhere within the fifth pick of the draft then you can crow about it non-stop to anyone who will listen. If you don’t then close your eyes real tight and hope for the best.
Well guess what, if you didn’t get a prime spot early in the first round, then perhaps things weren’t so bad after all! I know Karl-Anthony is reigning terror on the league, but in much of the H2H leagues I’ve seen he was in the latter part of the top-5 or even slipping into 6th spot if someone decided to make an egregious reach. Kyrie Irving was a fringe first rounder and he looks like a happy and healthy MVP candidate in his new Brooklyn home. Damian Lillard looks like he’s picked up right where he left off when he laid waste to OKC and Denver in the postseason. Bad commercials aside, Kawhi Leonard has looked like a terminator without needing to play massive amounts of minutes. Andre Drummond went ham for those who rolled the dice on his top-5 finish from last season. Finally, LeBron can make free throws? Who knew!
Conversely James Harden is shooting in Mike Conley territory, Seth Curry is more valuable than his brother Steph, and Giannis remains a liability at the stripe. Yikes.
This is all to say that, yes, losing out on a top-5 pick sucked at the time. Now that the games are being played, you’re seeing if you didn’t panic when you got stuck toward the end of the first. If you were really strategic then perhaps in some cases you might have even gotten yourself two first round values early on in the season.
Again, it’s one week. Harden and Curry will be fine. Kyrie Irving may not finish as a top-5 player and certainly neither will Brandon Ingram. But all what happened this first week should make you remember for future drafts that you shouldn’t be upset over draft positions and top-5 narratives that are largely left to chance. You should go out and make your own luck.