• 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.

    Wire Watch:

    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.

    Injury Report

    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.

    Cody Zeller (knee), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (personal) and Michael Carter-Williams (knee) are all expected to return to the court for the Hornets this week.

    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.

    Aaron Gordon (ankle) and Elfrid Payton (hamstring) are both listed as day-to-day and could miss multiple games before returning to the Magic.

    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.

Fantasy News

  • Ben Simmons - G/F - Philadelphia Sixers

    Ben Simmons paced Team World in Friday's loss to Team USA in the Rising Stars Challenge with 28 points on 14-of-17 shooting, five rebounds, six assists and three steals.

    Everyone knew that defense would not be one of the highlights of this game, but his .823 shooting from the field was just crazy good. He did miss his only shot from the line which was in a way, Simmons' artistic signature on his line for the night. Bulls' Fantastic Finn Lauri Markkanen chimed in with 21 points (9-of-17 shooting), six rebounds, two dimes and three triples.

  • Kyle Kuzma - F - Los Angeles Lakers

    Kyle Kuzma led Team USA to a 161-144 victory over Team World in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday with 35 points on 15-of-27 shooting and was named the game's MVP.

    Kuzma added six rebounds, two assists, three triples and a block to the box score in what was a for-fun yet still competitive game that ended Team USA's two-year drought. Special mentions go out to Jayson Tatum, who chipped in 30 points (12-of-24 shooting), nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and six 3-pointers, as well as rookie Trae Young who double-doubled with 25 points (six 3s), seven rebounds, 10 dimes and a block.

  • Rodions Kurucs - F - Brooklyn Nets

    After missing the Nets' last game with a left elbow strain, Rodions Kurucs took to the court in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday and posted 10 points (4-of-9 shooting), four boards, five dimes and two triples in 16 minutes for Team World.

    It's a once in a lifetime experience and it was good to see Kurucs healthy enough to make an appearance. He's been a low-end asset in fantasy thanks to his lack of consistent production but is one to watch especially if you're in deep keeper or dynasty leagues as he's shown some flashes of upside when he's had the chance to shine.

  • Kyrie Irving - G - Boston Celtics

    Kyrie Irving (right knee strain) is "very, very close" to a return and the Celtics would not be opposed to him playing in Sunday's All-Star game.

    Irving made the trip to Charlotte with his personal trainer a the team's physical therapist. Although he's missed the last two games, the Celtics wouldn't mind him participating in Sunday's game and Danny Ainge things that an exhibition contest might actually function as a good workout. Brad Stevens speculated that Irving would've been able to play on Friday or Saturday had the Celtics had a regular game, so it sounds like he won't miss much more time.

    Source: Boston Herald

  • Emmanuel Mudiay - G - New York Knicks

    Emmanuel Mudiay (strained left shoulder) is unsure of how he'll fit into the rotation when he returns from his injury.

    Mudiay was locked in as the starting point guard but Dennis Smith Jr. has since joined the team. Beyond that, Mudiay is also an impending free agent whose cap hold will be renounced if the Knicks do deliver on their wildest dreams and land two max free agents. He's not going to be a priority for the rest of the season, and a timeshare seems like the best-case scenario here. Mudiay isn't worth holding onto outside of very deep leagues.

    Source: New York Post

  • Anthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans

    The Pelicans have fired GM Dell Demps.

    Since this news broke it's come out that Demps had been on thin ice in New Orleans for a while now, so it's not as though the Anthony Davis trade discussions — which certainly play a role here — were the root cause. It's more likely that the failure to surround Davis with enough talent that he'd want to stay, at least up until the last season and a half or so, was the bulk of the problem. The Pelicans want a new GM to take the helm and make the call on a final Davis trade, which will change the course of the franchise for years to come.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Anthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans

    Anthony Davis has been diagnosed with a muscle contusion in his left shoulder after undergoing an MRI.

    Davis' injury is reportedly "not too bad" but he didn't return to Thursday's game and the Pelicans might milk any chance they get to rest their star. His participation in Sunday's All-Star game is up in the air and he'll receive treatment over the next couple of days before determining if he can play. To add some fuel to the fire here, Davis reportedly left the building after he got hurt, which is likely to rub his teammates the wrong way considering they picked up a big win over a hot Thunder team. The saga will continue to unfold until the offseason.

    Source: Ramona Shelburne on Twitter

  • Jrue Holiday - G - New Orleans Pelicans

    Jrue Holiday led the Pelicans in their 131-122 win over the Thunder on Thursday with 32 points on 12-of-27 shooting with five rebounds, seven assists, two steals, three blocks and three 3-pointers.

    Holiday crushed the box score tonight and he's going to continue to do so as long as he's on the court. He's the best player on a Pelicans team that might shelve Anthony Davis (shoulder) so an early-round value with some top-15 upside is well within reason.

  • Kenrich Williams - G/F - New Orleans Pelicans

    Kenrich Williams scored nine points while corralling a team-high 12 rebounds to go with four assists, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer on Thursday.

    Williams went 4-for-7 from the floor and saw 34 minutes of action on Thursday and is also going to benefit from Anthony Davis (shoulder) missing time. His rebounding numbers are most of his value, but he also has the potential to give you a triple-one like tonight. It's baffling that he didn't get drafted as he has the talent to play in the NBA and is a standard-league player as of now.

  • Julius Randle - F - New Orleans Pelicans

    Julius Randle led the Pelicans in scoring on Thursday with 33 points on 11-of-21 shooting while adding 11 boards, six assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers.

    Randle's been playing well with Anthony Davis (shoulder) out of the lineup and it looks like that run might continue. Keep him out there as he's now an integral part of the Pelicans offense.