October 23, 2017, 10:13 am
We’re one week in to the NBA season and what a fun week it was. But that’s all it was. Just one week. The tiniest of sample sizes. You may be sitting at home after dominating your league in the first week of play, thinking you have the greatest collection of talent ever put together in the history of fantasy basketball. Or, if you’re like me, you go the opposite direction and wish you had just taken the money you’ve spent on fantasy basketball and just set it on fire for a similar result.
Either way, you’re wrong. It’s far too early to analyze nearly anything. It’s especially too early to give up on guys you trusted on draft night. The best thing one can do right now is try to recognize trends this early in the season and capitalize on them, which typically means embracing the use of a streaming spot on your roster. Stay committed to the guys you “had a feeling about” as the season began but never stop looking for that guy that has snuck up on everyone with tremendous value.
In the short-term, we’re here to help. Let’s take a look at the week ahead:
Games Played Breakdown:
4 Games: Cavs, Grizzlies, Hawks, Hornets, Mavericks, Nets, Nuggets, Pistons, Rockets, Spurs, Warriors, Wizards
3 Games: Blazers, Bucks, Bulls, Celtics, Clippers, Heat, Jazz, Kings, Knicks, Lakers, Magic, Pacers, Pelicans, Raptors, Sixers, Suns, Thunder, Wolves
Like I said earlier, it’s tough to analyze this early on with such a small sample size. We still have to take last season’s performance from these teams and the players on them into account. But a few trends have developed to help us out a little.
The Nets, featuring one of the more underwhelming rosters in the league, are filling up box scores in a hurry to start the season. They became the first team since the 1988-89 season to score 115+ points in each of their first three games to start the season.
If you can, pick up a Net or two for this week’s matchup. They have a four game slate this week and I don’t see the scoring going away any time soon. They play the likes of the Magic, who they already collided with in a dizzying 126-121 contest this past Friday night. They also play the Knicks who have given up 108 points per game in the young season. Plus, they’ve got the Cavs and the Nuggets who both occasionally suffer from being defense-optional.
I also love the Wizards schedule this week as they take off for a four-game West Coast road trip. They take on the Nuggets, Lakers, Warriors and Kings. All teams that want to get out and run. In a running affair, John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter should feast. Kelly Oubre could also be a guy to watch this week with this schedule.
On the other hand, I’m not a fan of the Mavericks schedule here in Week 2. They have the unenviable task of playing an angry 1-2 Warriors squad to kick off the week. Then a back-to-back against a stout Grizzlies defense. They wrap things up with a home game against the Sixers on Saturday night, the only game that shows some promise for the Mavs this week.
Lauri Markkanen, PF, Bulls
When Bobby Portis‘ fist connected with Nikola Mirotic‘s face, it signified an obvious rift in the Bulls locker room and the beginning of a very rough Bulls season to come. It also signified the beginning of the Lauri Markkanen era as he was the only power forward on the roster. And the kid is holding his own. In two games, Markkanen is averaging 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 2.5 3s in 35 minutes per game. The opportunity is there and the rookie is taking advantage. Pick him up and enjoy while Portis serves the rest of his eight-game suspension.
Terry Rozier, PG, Celtics
The Celtics are ravaged by injuries to start the season. First, it was Gordon Hayward‘s horrific ankle injury and then Marcus Smart has been held out with an ankle injury as well. In need of someone to step up in the rotation, Brad Stevens called on Terry Rozier and he has answered. In the past two games, Rozier is averaging 14.5 points, seven rebounds and four assists in 29 minutes per game. Rozier is a good compliment to Kyrie Irving and should be owned in all formats while the minutes are there.
Trevor Booker, PF, Nets
Trevor Booker is just one of the Nets that is in the middle of a statistical breakout. This team is playing at a phenomenal pace and everyone is reaping the rewards. Booker is averaging 17 points, nine rebounds and two assists while shooting 59 percent from the floor. Booker is among many Nets that warrant your attention. D’Angelo Russell and Allen Crabbe should already be owned in your league but Booker, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Caris LeVert, DeMarre Carroll and Spencer Dinwiddie all deserve a look.
Kawhi Leonard (quadriceps) has been ruled out of Monday’s game against the Raptors. That doesn’t mean Leonard will miss the full week as it seems to be a decision made game-to-game. Gregg Popovich told reporters after the Spurs’ win over the Bulls on Saturday night that Kawhi “is progressing. I’ll just leave it at that.” We can always count on Pop to give us plenty of detail.
The big news out of La La Land this weekend is Clippers point guard Milos Teodosic will be “sidelined indefinitely” with a foot injury. It seems safe to say he won’t play this week.
The Rockets are taking an extra cautious approach to Chris Paul‘s knee injury. He’ll miss anywhere between the next two to four weeks.
After missing two games, Myles Turner (concussion) is expected to make his return to the Pacers lineup tomorrow night against the Wolves.
Dennis Schroder (ankle) will miss Monday’s game against the Heat. He should, however, be back in time for the Hawks to meet the Bulls on Thursday.
Hassan Whiteside (knee) will sit for the second game in a row when the Heat meet the Hawks on Monday. Consider him day-to-day.
Marcus Smart (ankle) is expected to make his return this week but is listed as day-to-day.
Jonas Valanciunas (ankle) is out for the time being and there is no timetable for his return. He is traveling with the team for their six-game road trip and is being evaluated for his return.
Kris Dunn (finger) is expected to make his Bulls regular season debut this week.
Derrick Rose (ankle) is listed as day-to-day.
After the injury initially looked like it could be very bad for the Jazz, Rodney Hood (calf) is listed as day-to-day and is likely to return this week.
Dennis Smith Jr. (knee) is expected back this week though I would expect the Mavs to be cautious with their skilled rookie. Seth Curry (leg) could also make his return to the Mavs this week but it won’t be Monday night against the Warriors as he’s listed as out.