Fantasy Basketball: Week 3 Analysis + Waiver Wire Adds
Week 2 is closing in on us, and we’re going to get you prepared for Week 3. If you have been struggling with your team, preach patience just a bit. It's easy to overreact to early season struggles and fluky performances. Remember that fantasy basketball is a marathon, not a sprint. If you in fact do feel like you have some dead weight and have an opportunity to pick up some hot free-agents, go for it. Fantasy is about gambles sometimes.
Week 3 Schedule:
2 Games: Nets
3 Games: Hawks, Bulls, Cavaliers, Pistons, Warriors, Bucks, Thunder, 76ers, Kings, Wizards
4 Games: Celtics, Hornets, Mavericks, Nuggets, Rockets, Pacers, Clippers, Lakers, Grizzlies, Heat, Timberwolves, Pelicans, Knicks, Magic, Suns, Trail Blazers, Spurs, Raptors, Jazz
Week 2 Breakout Players:
DeMarcus Cousins, PF/C, New Orleans Pelicans: Cousins is absolutely killing it out there, picking up the slack with Anthony Davis out and dropping a triple-double in a win against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He’s been the #1 overall player this week in 9-category leagues, with averages of 36.3 points, 16.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.3 blocks. Who cares if he’s averaging 4.3 turnovers during that span? The Twin Towers experiment with Anthony Davis is proving to be effective as both Cousins and Davis will continue to feast for this New Orleans team.
Evan Fournier, SG/SF, Orlando Magic: Fournier has been red hot to start the season, with averages of 26.5 points, 5.5 boards, 3.0 assists with two steals and three 3-pointers per game this week. He struggled mightily in the preseason, but looks to be rolling right now. Those who got him in the late-rounds of most drafts should continue to roll with him, especially if he’s this hot. Fournier has posted 1st round value this week and there’s no reason to sell high on a player who has flashed this type of upside.
Al-Farouq Aminu, SF/PF, Portland Trail Blazers: The lanky forward from Portland has had a nice start of the season where he’s been flirting with top 20 numbers of 10.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.8 3-pointers with 1.2 steals and 1.3 blocks. There were some leagues in which he was on the waiver wire to start the season. If he’s somehow on the waiver wire, you know what to do.
Ben Simmons, SF/PF, Philadelphia 76ers: It’s pretty crazy that Simmons is arguably a rookie. He’s shown tremendously poise to his game early on in the season and he will almost definitely win Rookie of the Year if he continues to play like this. Ben Simmons is a clear front-runner among all rookies this year with 17.5 points, 9.5 boards, 7.5 dimes with 1.7 steals per game. #TrustTheProcess
Steven Adams, C, Oklahoma City Thunder: Adams has been a pleasant surprise early on in the season. With all the attention to the Thunder’s “OK3”, Adams has quietly averaged early-round value thanks to 14.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.5 blocks per game on an ultra-efficient 67 percent shooting. I’m not sold on the fact he can keep this up the entire season, but there’s no reason to believe there’s going to be a huge drop off in production. The 3 All-Stars on the team warrant a lot of attention for opposing teams, where Adams can roam freely to cut to the basket.
Wesley Mathews, SG/SF, Dallas Mavericks: Wesley Matthews is having a revival year in Dallas so far, thanks to averaging 14.0 points with 1.7 steals and 2.9 3-pointers. Matthews has bounced back nicely after recovering from Achilles injury two years ago, and as long as he’s healthy on a Dallas Mavericks team that is desperate for outside shooting, he seems like a fine player to have on your roster going forward.
Standard Leagues Waiver Wire Pick-Ups:
D.J. Augustine, PG, Orlando Magic (28% Ownership): I’m not sure why Augustine isn’t picked up in more leagues. Elfrid Payton has already been ruled out another a couple more games due to a left hamstring injury, as this leaves the Magic with Augustine and Shelvin Mack as the only true point guards on the team. Augustine has always had the ability to run a team and drop dimes, evident to his 12 points and 10 assists game in a win over Cleveland on October 21st.
Marco Belinelli, SG/SF, Atlanta Hawks (29% Ownership): Belinelli has been red hot for the Hawks to start the season, where is he averaging 3.2 3-pointers per game. Belinelli has posted over an uncanny 20 percent usage rate in five of the six games this season and owners can only hope this hot shooting can continue. He’s doing what pretty much Tim Hardaway JR. owners hoped to do.
Tyreke Evans, SG/SF, Memphis Grizzlies (29% Ownership): The former Rookie of the Year in 2009 has been a forgotten man thanks for injuries. The Memphis Grizzlies signed him this off season, in hopes that he can be the team’s Sixth Man and provide a much-needed spark off the bench. Evans has shown this ability thus far this season with averages of 12.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.7 3-pointers, good for late round value. Not bad for a guy who you can get off the waiver wire right now.
Kyle Kuzma, SF/PF, Los Angeles Lakers (61% Ownership): It’s pretty much inevitable at some point this season that Kyle Kuzma will be inserted into the starting lineup. Kuzma is already averaging 27.7 minutes per game this season off the bench, and coach Luke Walton has been closing out games with Kuzma at the expense of Brook Lopez. Kuzma is a prototypical modern-day power forward hybrid that can even play the small forward positions at times. It won’t be long before he’s playing 30 minutes per game. Kuzma is currently averaging 13.7 points per game on 51 percent shooting.
Austin Rivers, PG/SG/SF, Los Angeles Clippers (32% Ownership): Rivers is starting for injured Milos Teodosic and will likely continue to remain in the starting line up now that he’s played well over the last couple of games. With daddy Doc Rivers coaching the team, Rivers has played over 33 + minutes per game since October 21st. He’s a fine add right now in standard leagues, especially with his PG,SG,SF eligibility on Yahoo!
Alex Len, PF/C, Phoenix Suns (33% Ownership): With Earl Watson getting the axe last week, interim head coach Jay Triano has went back to more traditional lineups, starting Marquese Chriss with Tyson Chandler. Len will be looking at 25 + minutes nightly, and could eventually take the starting role from Tyson Chandler before we know it. Don’t forget, Eric Bledsoe is surely going to be traded soon, and the Suns would love to package Chandler in with Bledsoe. Treat Len like a stash for now, with the hopes that he can maintain value while we know more of Bledsoe and Chandler.
Deep Leagues Waiver Wire Pick-Ups:
Tyler Ulis, PG, Phoenix Suns (7% Ownership): Ulis has been in a position battle with Mike James in Phoenix, as the two point-guards are likely to cancel out each other’s value until further notice. It only gets murkier if Phoenix decides to bring back a point guard in the inevitable Eric Bledsoe trade. However, Ulis has been playing fairly well and deserves a long look in competitive leagues.
Kris Dunn, PG, Chicago Bulls (37% Ownership): Kris Dunn was originally projected to start before he dislocated a finger back in September. However, Grant has been holding down the fort and has been playing fairly well in his absence. In order for Dunn to carve out value, he would have to shoot the ball well and continue to rack up steals on a consistent basis. Coach Fred Hoiberg did mention the starting role is “open” after Saturday's game, although it smells like an ugly timeshare between the two point-guards.
Jarell Martin, PF/C, Memphis Grizzlies (4% Ownership): Martin has played fairly well in the absence of JaMychal Green. Martin has played over 20+ minutes all season and has seven blocks over his last three games. You can certainly do worse for a deep-league flier.
Jameer Nelson, PG, New Orleans Pelicans (8% Ownership): With Rajon Rondo out of commission and no true point-guards on the team, the Pelicans signed Nelson for his play making abilities. He has done just that, especially with 18 points and 6 assists against Kings on Thursday. Look for Nelson to provide low end value until Rondo returns.
Tony Snell, SG/SF, Milwaukee Bucks (13% Ownership): Snell is a sneaky player to own due to his contributions in 3-pointers and steals. Snell has averaged 31.4 minutes per game since the start of the season, and that’s likely the trend going forward until we hear more of Jabari Parker. Coach Jason Kidd loves him as a floor space next to Giannis Antetokounmpo. Don’t expect many flashy stat lines, but his ability to make 3-pointers and rack up steals without hurting you in turnovers and percentages makes him worthy of a roster spot.
Jakob Poeltl, C, Toronto Raptors (23% Ownership): Don’t let his look fool you. With Jonas Valanciunas sidelined due to an ankle injury, Poeltl has really picked up his play as of late with two double-doubles in two of his last three games. Poeltl is an active rebounder and is capable of blocking shots, something the Raptors will lean on as long as Valanciunas is out.
Time To Say Goodbye:
Jae Crowder, SF/PF Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavaliers are a mess right now they are allowing the most 3-pointers in the NBA. With his recent demotion to the bench, things are not looking good for Crowder’s outlook. There might be a time where Crowder will have value once again later on during the season, but he’s a cut candidate in most leagues for a hot free agent.
Wilson Chandler, SF/PF Denver Nuggets: Chandler is in a major slump right now, averaging just seven points on 33 percent shooting this season. Paul Millsap’s arrival has taken a hit on Chandler’s value, where he is only attempting seven shots per game. Don’t wait for a bounce back.
Gorgui Dieng, PF/C, Minnesota Timberwolves: Taj Gibson has killed Gorgui Dieng’s value and I’m not sure coach Tom Thibodeau sees what Gibson can do better than Dieng. Dieng is averaging just 13.6 minutes per game and as fantasy friendly Dieng might be, that’s not enough to have any value. Cut him loose and cut your losses.
Willy Hernangomez, C, New York Knicks: The arrival of Enes Kanter figured to be more damaging to Willy's value than we thought. Hernangomez is completely out of the rotation right now and has only played 43 total minutes in five games this season. Don't expect anything to change unless an injury happens to the Knicks front-court or (if and when) coach Jeff Hornacek is fired.
Chris Paul, PG, Houston Rockets: Chris Paul is still without a time-able to return due to a bruised left knee, but he is making progress. Paul will be reevaluated next week and this may be a time where Paul’s value is at an all-time low. It wouldn’t hurt to gauge the interest of the frustrated owner to see what it may take to land CP3 on your squad.
Kyle Lowry, PG, Toronto Raptors: Lowry still hasn’t busted out this season but did have a triple-double against the Lakers on Friday. Lowry is still shooting just 35 percent from the field and one has to believe he will break out of his funk soon. Lowry is currently just sitting at 5th round value, but he’s still a legitimate top 20 player when he’s playing the way we’re used to him playing.
Eric Gordon, SG, Houston Rockets: The injury to Chris Paul and Trevor Ariza has opened up extra minutes for Gordon, and Gordon has been taking full advantage of it. Gordon has been lighting it up lately with averages of 24.8 points and 3.5 3-pointers. These numbers have fluke written all over it and we recommend selling him for a player with a better rest of the season outlook.
Darren Collins, PG, Indiana Pacers: Collison has been playing out of his mind lately with his new team, thanks to averages of 15.6 points and 8.4 dimes on an unsustainable 53 percent shooting from the field. He’s sitting at 2nd round value right now and I would look to trade him to a team that is looking for a nice point guard.
LaMarcus Aldridge, PF/C, San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs are still without Kawhi Leonard, and it’s hard to trust any other Spurs when he does come back. However, Aldridge has been playing phenomenal basketball and it makes sense to get a top-30 player in return if you can. He's been a very nice bargain pick considering he was drafted in the 4th and 5th rounds in most leagues. You can hold Aldridge and hope he keeps this up, but don’t expect Aldridge to be this good when the Spurs are fully healthy.
Things To Watch For:
Jahill Okafor, C, Philadelphia 76ers: The former #3 selection in the 2015 draft finds himself the odd man out in Philly since he has been involved with off-court issues. It doesn’t help that Joell Embiid is fully healthy now, where Okafor had a hard time beating out Richaun Holmes in the rotation last season. However, Okafor is still a young center with upside, and he should be worth a very long look if he gets traded to a team that is in need for a true center. Are you listening, Boston Celtics?
Phoenix Suns Point Guard Position: Eric Bledsoe’s next destination is still unknown, and there is no telling how the fantasy value of Mike James and Tyler Ulis might look when that happens. If the Suns don’t receive an impactful point guard in return, then James and Ulis would look to be in a position battle all year long. Both would be worth owning, at least until one of them beat out one another for the starting gig.
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