October 30, 2017, 1:17 pm
The NBA season is off to a wild start as Week 3 arrives. The Greek Freak has dominated, the Grizz, Magic and Pistons weirdly sit atop their respective conferences, “What’s wrong with the Cavs?” echoes throughout your Twitter timeline and Boogie and Otto look like they should have been top five picks in your fantasy draft. But enough about the past, let’s take a look at the Week Ahead:
Games Played Breakdown
Four Games: Blazers, Celtics, Clippers, Grizzlies, Heat, Hornets, Jazz, Knicks, Lakers, Magic, Mavericks, Nuggets, Pacers, Pelicans, Raptors, Rockets, Spurs, Suns, Wolves
Three Games: Bucks, Bulls, Cavs, Hawks, Kings, Pistons, Sixers, Thunder, Warriors, Wizards
Two Games: Nets
While being fully aware that this is a no-brainer statement, it does need to be mentioned that this could be a great week to be a LeBron James owner. One could argue that every week is a great week to be a LeBron James owner and there’s not much of an argument against that. However, with the Cavs reeling and the media ready to roll out the hot take cannon and fire off concerns about the team, these are the times that James shuts everyone up with his usual unbelievable performances. The Cavs schedule this week isn’t overly impressive. They play three games while the majority of the league plays four. They’ve got home games against the Pacers and Hawks and a road game against the Wizards sandwiched in-between. But with LeBron in “Shut up, we’re fine, if you don’t believe me, watch me drop 30-12-10” mode, you have to love the upside of the Cavs this week. This should be a very good week to own shooters on the Cavs like Kyle Korver.
A schedule to be overly impressed with though is that of the team that took it to the Cavs last night – the New York Knicks. The Knicks have a four-game week and they’ll all be played at Madison Square Garden. They square off with the Nuggets, Rockets, Suns and Pacers, all of which are currently in the bottom half of the league in defensive efficiency to start the season, something that could make Kristaps Porzingis’ eyes light up. He’s gone for 30+ in four of five games to start the season. A major thing to watch here is the Knicks rebounding efficiency. They’re fourth in the league in total rebound rate and are facing a couple of teams that love shooting from deep. The rebound opportunities should be there and guys like Enes Kanter will crash the glass with authority. Thus far, Kanter is averaging an eye-popping 15.6 rebounds per 36 minutes.
The Nets are the only team playing two games this week which puts their guys at a distinct disadvantage in fantasy this week. But it’s not quite as bad as the game breakdown makes it appear. The Nets square off with the Suns and Lakers this week which could set up for big fantasy numbers when they do take the floor.
Josh Richardson, SG/SF, Miami Heat
The concern with Richardson entering this season was not about if he could help out and throw up consistent numbers for your fantasy team. Instead, it was about playing time. The Heat have a good amount of depth and seem to be loaded with role players. Through Richardson’s first five games, those concerns have been dispelled as he’s averaging nearly 36 minutes per game and has gotten the start in the last four games. Richardson is a must-own as he helps everywhere. He’s averaging 13 points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block and two 3-pointers thus far.
John Collins, PF, Atlanta Hawks
As has been mentioned before, the Hawks have a pretty shallow roster and are certainly not the Horford-Millsap Hawks of old. But with that comes opportunity for young guys to step up and this rookie out of Wake Forest is showing signs of a very bright future and a pretty good present. In just 20 minutes a game, Collins is putting up 11.4 points with 7.3 rebounds and nearly a full block per game. With the Hawks almost certainly in tank mode and their starting power forward Ersan Ilyasova out for the week and possibly beyond, Collins is a good add.
Alex Len, C, Phoenix Suns
The Suns have become the strangest team and organization in the league and have found themselves in the thick of almost all trade rumors in the early part of the 2017-18 campaign. Amid all the Eric Bledsoe drama, rumors have swirled that the Suns intend to include starting center Tyson Chandler in a Bledsoe deal. Enter Alex Len. The Suns are already thin down low and Len is already seeing plenty of minutes. He’s averaging 23 minutes a game and over his last four contests, he’s putting up 12 points and nine boards per game. Len should be owned in deep leagues but if and when a Bledsoe and Chandler trade happens, Len’s minutes and chances to put up solid numbers will skyrocket. If you’ve got an open spot, it’s worth taking a look at the Suns’ big man now before his value goes way up.
An early November return for Kawhi Leonard (quadriceps) has not been ruled out. The Spurs kick off a six-game home stand on Thursday night against the Warriors. Kawhi’s situation is something to be monitored on a game-by-game basis.
Hassan Whiteside (knee) will miss his fifth consecutive game when the Heat meet the Wolves on Monday night. Coach Erik Spoelstra has said that Whiteside is “making progress” though he has yet to progress beyond non-contact. It could be another full week before Whiteside makes his return.
Myles Turner (concussion) has been ruled out for Tuesday night’s game against the Kings. We’re going on two weeks of Turner being out so this concussion was clearly more serious than originally thought to be. He will return when he is symptom-free and there is no timetable for that at this time.
Joel Embiid (hand) says he will play against the Rockets on Monday night.
J.J. Redick (back) is questionable to return to the floor against the Rockets after missing Saturday night’s game against the Mavericks.
Richaun Holmes (wrist) is expected to return this week with Friday against the Pacers targeted as his return date.
Lastly in Philly, Markelle Fultz (shoulder) is out indefinitely and will be re-evaluated in three weeks.
Greg Monroe (calf) will be out anywhere from one to two weeks.
Elfrid Payton (hamstring) has been ruled out of Monday night’s contest versus the Pelicans. Payton is questionable to return this week.
Jonas Valanciunas (ankle) was originally thought to be out longer but his status has been upgraded to “TBD” for the Raptors’ game against the Blazers on Monday night. With that news, one would have to expect JV to make his return this week, if not tonight.
Marcus Morris (knee) is expected to return soon but it could be longer than owners hoped as the Celtics sent Morris for assignment to their G-League affiliate earlier today.
Speaking of the Morris brothers, Markieff Morris (abdomen) could return this week. However, even if healthy, it will have to come after a one game suspension for leaving the bench during Bradley Beal and Draymond Green’s brawl on Friday night.
February 17, 2019, 11:20 pmKawhi Leonard - F - Toronto Raptors
Kawhi Leonard (knee soreness) suited up for the All-Star Game on Sunday and scored 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting in 19 minutes of action in a Team LeBron win over Team Giannis.
He added five rebounds, five threes and two assists to the box score. Leonard has been in and out of the lineup for the Raptors quite a lot this season, but hopefully he can have a healthy second half of the season. If he can stay on the court, he should continue to hover around top-5 value in all formats. Expect Leonard to return for the Raptors' first game after the break ends.
February 17, 2019, 11:19 pmGiannis Antetokounmpo - F - Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo hit 17-of-23 shots on Sunday to score an All-Star game-high 38 points and 11 boards in the 164-178 loss to Team LeBron.
Steph Curry logged 29 minutes with 17 points but it wasn't enough as his teammates Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson combined for 51 points tonight. Giannis was second on his squad in minutes with 27 and everyone should be well rested coming out of the All-Star break.
February 17, 2019, 11:11 pmKyrie Irving - G - Boston Celtics
Kyrie Irving (right knee strain) put up 13 points on 6-of-13 shooting with nine rebounds and six assists in a Team LeBron win over Team Giannis in Sunday’s All-Star Game.
He hit a 3-pointer and made some clutch plays down the stretch to help his team seal the win. Irving missed two games from this injury and should be good to go after the break for the Celtics and is a top-10 option for the remainder of the season.
February 17, 2019, 11:08 pmKevin Durant - F - Golden State Warriors
Kevin Durant added some hardware to the mantle at home by taking Sunday night’s All-Star game MVP trophy.
Durant scored 31 points with six triples in the come from behind victory for Team LeBron 178-164 over Team Giannis. Durant got into it with Joel Embiid a few times, while swatting two shots in their matchup.
February 17, 2019, 11:03 pmAnthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis made an appearance in the All-Star game on Sunday, logged only four minutes.
Davis finished with five points in four minutes, all in the first half, while appearing disinterested in giving it his all. Now owners will have to wait and see if the Pelicans try to shut him down despite the NBA’s insistence that he’s on the court if he’s healthy.
February 17, 2019, 7:48 pmAnthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis confirmed in a live TV interview that he’s playing in Sunday’s All-Star game.
Davis owns the All-Star record for most points and while he might not push himself too hard tonight, he might still be motivated to put on a show. Davis can cast plenty of shade at the Pelicans if he plays well, as it’s rumored to Pelicans want to shut him down after the All-Star break, and the NBA wants to keep their top players active.
February 17, 2019, 7:05 pmAnthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis (left shoulder contusion) is "good to play" for Sunday's All-Star game, according to Marc Stein.
The Pelicans probably don't like this as they don't want him on the court for regular games. If you're playing DFS for the All-Star game, count on Davis playing, and we respect your dedication to the game.
Source: Marc Stein on Twitter
February 17, 2019, 4:38 pmTyus Jones - G - Minnesota Timberwolves
In an article on The Athletic, Jon Krawczynski noted that Tyus Jones (left ankle sprain) should be returning in the Wolves' first game after the All-Star break.
The Wolves return to action on Friday at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks. Krawczynski also noted that Robert Covington (knee) should not be far behind Jones' return, which will give the Wolves much-needed depth as they make a playoff run.
Source: Jon Krawczynski on The Athletic
February 17, 2019, 4:28 pmJared Dudley - F - Brooklyn Nets
Jared Dudley (left hamstring strain) tweeted that he will be back for the next game as long as "everything goes according to plan."
The Nets will resume their season on Thursday as they host the Blazers. Dudley won't be on any fantasy radars, but he could be a pest by stealing minutes from Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Rodions Kurucs.
Source: Jared Dudley on Twitter
February 17, 2019, 4:23 pmGiannis Antetokounmpo - F - Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo plans to play for Greece in the FIBA World Championships this summer.
Giannis said the only way he won't play is if he has any injury concerns. He should be able to dominate the championships that start on August 31st in China.