Steve Alexander

The Week Ahead

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The Week Ahead

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


This column will highlight each team’s weekly schedule, as well as tidbits about the upcoming week of NBA basketball with a goal of helping you set your weekly fantasy hoops lineup. Here are the games played for each team in Week 1, which thankfully starts tonight (Tuesday)!! Going forward, this column will run on Mondays.

 

Games Played Week 1


3 Games: ATL, BOS, BRK, CLE, DAL, DET, GSW, HOU, IND, LAL, MIL, MIN, NOP, OKC, ORL, PHI, PHX, POR, SAC, UTA

 

2 Games: CHA, CHI, DEN, LAC, MEM, MIA, NYK, SAN, TOR, WAS

 

Teams generally play anywhere from two to four games per week this season, with the occasional 1-game or 5-game week thrown into the mix. But because Week 1 is a short week running Tuesday through Sunday, the most any team plays is three games.

 

Opening Night

 

Tuesday night should be a blast, with the Celtics and Kyrie Irving visiting the Cavaliers and LeBron James to kick things off. After one of the most drama-licious summers in professional sports history, the NBA schedule makers couldn’t have come up with a better opening-night slate.

 

After we see how much Kyrie and LeBron don’t like each other, and figure out if Brad Stevens' Gordon Hayward-infused Celtics have enough firepower to stop the Cavs, the late game should be just as fun. The Rockets, with Chris Paul now at point guard, visit the Warriors, who are the odds on favorites to win it all again this season. Golden State hasn’t messed with the formula that’s brought them so much success over the past three seasons, but the Rockets will be an interesting study now that James Harden has to share the ball with CP3.

 

Both games are on national television (TNT) tonight and I can’t recall a better opening-night lineup.

 

Injury Tidbits

 

While LeBron James is listed on the injury report, according to J.R. Smith (and me) he’s locked, loaded and ready to go tonight. LeBron is going to miss his fair share of games this season in order to stay fresh for the playoffs, but there’s no way he’s missing opening night against Kyrie because of a sore ankle, even though coach Ty Lue has said that he’s not sure if LeBron is playing. How I know he’s going to play and his coach doesn’t is beyond me, but whatever. Keep an eye on the news feed tonight just to be sure, but I would be utterly shocked if LeBron isn’t a go.  Kevin Love is also on the list with a sore knee, but he’ll be out there too. Isaiah Thomas, the other huge piece to the Kyrie trade, will not be playing and we won’t likely see him until after the new year thanks to his hip injury. That should mean big minutes and relatively big things for Derrick Rose, who will run the point for the Cavs until Isaiah is ready to roll. I actually like Rose as a fantasy sleeper and am guessing he’s going to play with a chip on his shoulder after several miserable seasons.

 

The Celtics will be without Marcus Morris for the first three games of the season due to knee soreness, so look for Jayson Tatum to start at power forward until Morris is ready to roll. Morris better hope that Tatum doesn’t go off, or he might be out of a job. And if you’re looking for a cheap DFS play tonight, Tatum isn’t a bad place to start looking.

 

The Rockets are looking injury free and while the Warriors have a few names showing up on the injury report, Draymond Green (back) and Kevin Durant (illness) should be ready to roll tonight.

 

Other Injuries

 

Kawhi Leonard’s quad injury is expected to keep him out of San Antonio’s season opener against the Timberwolves on Wednesday. Beyond that, we really don’t know the severity of Kawhi’s injury or when he’ll make his season debut. But what I do know is with him already ruled out for Wednesday, it’s now a one-game week for Leonard. If you set a weekly lineup, play someone else. Rudy Gay and Kyle Anderson are the winners if Leonard continues to miss games.

 

Nicolas Batum is hoping to return to the Hornets from his elbow injury around Thanksgiving, which will be here before you know it. Jeremy Lamb, who is dealing with a groin injury, should play on opening night and be the guy who fills the void left by Batum.

 

Seth Curry is dealing with a leg injury that is a “week-to-week” situation right now. He’s not likely to play at all this week, but it’s possible he makes his debut on Oct. 23. Yogi Ferrell looks like a decent DFS bet as long as Curry’s sidelined for the Mavs.

 

Patrick Beverley sounds like a game-time decision for the Clippers due to a sore right knee and if he misses any time, fire up the Milos Teodosic bandwagon. Danilo Gallinari is also on the injury report with a sore foot, but made it through practice on Sunday, meaning he should be good to go this week.

 

Lonzo Ball was a full participant in Monday’s practice so he should be good to go for the Lakers on Thursday. Julius Randle is more of a question mark with his rib injury, not too mention that it appears that Larry Nance might have won the starting power forward job with or without Randle’s injury. Kyle Kuzma is getting a lot of hype, as well as crazy high rankings on some sites, but Nance looks like the real sleeper here.

 

Kristaps Porzingis (hip) practice in full on Saturday, which tells me he should be good to go for the Knicks’ season opener. Porzingis should be primed for a monster season in New York.

 

Joel Embiid will see his minutes limited in the teens to start the season and the Sixers have a back-to-back this Friday-Saturday, so there’s a pretty good chance he’ll miss one of those games. Hopefully his minutes are approaching 30 per game by Christmas, but given his history, I’m not going to hold my breath. The only good news to report here, other than the fact that his Twitter account is still up and running, is that the Sixers don’t have another back-to-back scenario until the very end of November, so the schedule makers are taking care of Embiid.

 

C.J. McCollum will miss the opener for Portland after being suspended for one game for leaving the bench during a fight. That still gives him two games this week and he should be primed for another monster year. Just don’t plan on using him Wednesday night.

 

For the rest of the injury rundown for every player in the league, click here. The Rotoworld Injury List is a great place to quickly find out who’s injured and how badly before setting your lineup. I love that you can simply scroll over the player’s notepad and get the gist of his status without having to open a new page.

 

Music

 

I don’t write too much about music these days but if you’re looking for something new, check out Manchester Orchestra’s new record, A Black Mile to the Surface. It’s the best thing I’ve bought in a long time.

 

Twitter

 

Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!

 

Next Week

 

Jonas Nader normally does this column on Mondays, so look for it next week. Have a great opening night, opening week and season!

 

 



Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for Rotoworld.com and a contributor to NBCSports.com. The 2017-18 NBA season marks (at least) his 16th year of covering fantasy hoops for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.
Email :Steve Alexander



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