Jonas Nader

The Week Ahead

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The Week Ahead: Week 2

Saturday, October 21, 2017


Week 2 Schedule

 

4 Games: ATL, BKN, CHA, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, MEM, SAS, WAS

 

3 Games: BOS, CHI, IND, LAC, LAL, MIA, MIL, MIN, NOR, NYK, OKC, ORL, PHI, PHX, POR, SAC, TOR, UTA

 

For NBA news and fantasy advice, find me on Twitter here!

 

Top 3 Pickups of the Week

 

Jaylen Brown: The injury to Gordon Hayward cast a shadow over Boston, but the emergence of Brown has restored at least some of their hope. Through the first three games, Brown has put up 17.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.7 triples. He’s playing just under 35 minutes per game and shooting 45 percent from the field, but the only real concern is his free throw shooting — he’s 5-of-10 from the line and hit just 68.5 percent as a rookie. Considering how much he attacks the rim and gets to the line, that could really limit his upside for owners not punting that category. "I think that he's a good player," coach Brad Stevens said. "I think he'll continue to grow on both ends. But we're going to ask him to do an awful lot.”

 

 

Norman Powell: Fantasy owners were rushing to the wire to grab Brown this week, so if you missed out on him there are still great options such as Norman Powell (he’s owned in 27 percent of leagues as I’m writing this). He get the nod in the starting lineup in Toronto’s opener, putting up 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting with four rebounds, one assist, one steal and three 3-pointers in just 25 minutes. If C.J. Miles didn’t have the hot hand and if that game wasn’t a blowout, Powell probably would’ve flirted with 30 minutes. 

 

 

Kyle Kuzma: Personally, I thought Kuzma was the best Laker at the Summer League and I could argue the same thing about the preseason. I can’t remember the last time that three power forwards on the same team were all worth owning in fantasy, but Kuzma has played so well that he’s even getting minutes at small forward — that’s also an indication of how versatile he is. After some nervous jitters on opening night, Kuzma calmed down in his second NBA game with 15 points, three rebounds, two assists and a 3-pointer in 28 minutes. When it’s all said and done, I think Kuzma will be the top Lakers forward to own in fantasy down the stretch and the time to pick him up is now (he’s still available in about half of Yahoo Leagues).

 

 

The Drop List

 

Ish Smith- After outplaying Reggie Jackson by a considerable margin in the preseason, it’s been all Jackson through the first two games. 

 

Ersan Ilyasova- He has six points on 2-of-8 shooting in a combined 45 minutes through two games. John Collins is coming for his minutes. 

 

Willy Hernangomez- I love Willy and I think he’ll finish the season really strong, but for now he’s in the doghouse. Coach Jeff Hornacek said it’s because of his defense, yet he’s starting Enes Kanter… Until Hornacek wakes up or Willy moves up the depth chart (he’s No. 3 behind Kanter and Kyle O’Quinn), he’s just a stash. 

 

Jeremy Lin and Gordon Hayward- Both players are expected to make full recoveries and should be ready for 2018-19. 

 

 

Buy-Low Player of the Week

 

Marquese Chriss- We’re only two games in, but fantasy owners are panicking about Chriss’ slow start. His first game was a disaster, as he played just 12 minutes and pouted the whole time. After coach Earl Watson took him out to dinner to talk about his new role off the bench, Chriss looked more energetic against the Lakers on Friday. He still only played 18 minutes, but he blocked three shots with five points, six rebounds and a dime. The Suns need defense after averaging 128 points against through two games, so expect Chriss’ role to grow going forward.

 

“It was honest, it was direct, it was truthful,” head coach Earl Watson said of his talks with Chriss. “[Marquese] knows he’s a starter in this league and there’s things we want him to accomplish consistently so he can have a long, impactful NBA career. We’re protecting him. It’s no punishment at all. It’s just teaching, and once he gets to that level he knows he’s a starter.”

 

 

Sell-High Player of the week:

 

Jonas Valanciunas- The 25-year-old big man followed up his strong preseason with a monster opening performance, leading the Raptors in points (23), rebounds (15) and shot attempts (17) with a pair of steals and assists. So why sell high? First off, he did this against arguably the worst team in the league. J-Val also has never averaged more than 8.9 shot attempts, and his minutes were trending down in each of his last four seasons. Maybe he’s finally ready to take off, or maybe this was a one-game fluke and he’ll go back to his inconsistent ways. With so few quality big men in fantasy these days, it’s not a bad idea to float J-Val’s name out there because this could end up being his best game of the season. 

 

 

Rumor Mill

 

Jameer Nelson cleared waivers on Friday, and it didn’t take long for him to be linked to a contender. With Chris Paul (knee) rumored to be out for close to a month, ESPN’s Chris Haynes reported that the Rockets have interest in Nelson. This would make too much sense for both teams and I’d expect them to reach an agreement pretty quickly. James Harden will obviously run the offense, but Nelson would at least have some low-end fantasy appeal for the next month if picked up. 

 

According to ESPN, the Bucks have been dangling John Henson and Rashad Vaughn in trade talks. Vaughn actually had a nice preseason after two forgetful years in the NBA, but he’s not in the regular-season rotation and the Bucks are willing to attach a second-round pick to get him off the books. As for Henson, it’s safe to assume that Greg Monroe is also still on the block, though his trade value would be low considering this is the final year of his bloated contract. If Henson or Monroe are moved, that would free up Thon Maker to actually play decent minutes. 

 

 

Recent Injury News

 

*Accurate as of 12:00 PM EST on Oct. 21

 

DeAndre Bembry suffered a right wrist fracture, but he won’t be re-evaluated until Monday. He’s likely out at least several weeks, but his dynasty owners should continue to stash him. I’m expecting big things from Bembry after the new year with the Hawks tanking. Look for Kent Bazemore and Taurean Prince to play even heavier minutes in his absence.

 

Marcus Smart sat out Friday’s game vs. Philly after rolling both of his ankles, but his comments before the game suggest that he will be fine moving forward. “So we're just kind of taking it easy right now,” Smart said. “Like I said, it's the third game of the season so we're just trying to take every precaution and every step that we need necessary to make sure that when I do come back, if I do not play tonight, my health will be 100 percent.” Terry Rozier looks like a nice pickup even if Smart is healthy as the Celtics are deploying a lot of two-PG lineups. 

 

Chris Paul is day-to-day according to coach Mike D’Antoni, but he also said he wouldn’t play the superstar PG until he’s 100 percent — his knee soreness continues to persist. That means the Rockets could sit him down for a few weeks, and this makes sense considering Marc Stein of The New York Times reported that the Rockets fear that CP3 could be out for about a month. There are no fantasy pickups at the moment, but Jameer Nelson could have deep-league appeal if the Rockets pick him up. 

 

Derrick Rose sprained his left ankle on Friday vs. the Bucks, and he was spotted with a sleeve on his ankle after the game. The good news is that he was walking under his own power. However, coach Ty Lue said he is "kind of assuming" Rose will miss Saturday’s game vs. Orlando and it’s possible his absence stretches into Week two. If he misses time, Jose Calderon will start at PG and Dwyane Wade play more point as well. 

 

Dennis Smith Jr. was a late scratch on Friday night with what the Mavericks called “left knee effusion,” but that’s basically just a fancy word for swelling. Coach Rick Carlisle didn’t sound concerned about the injury, but I think it’s a bit worrying because he did tear his left ACL during his senior year of high school. DSJ has already been ruled out of for Saturday, but I wouldn’t rule out a return early next week. 

 

Myles Turner missed Friday’s game with a sore neck, but the Pacers also diagnosed with him a concussion two days after the incident. He’s not going to play on Saturday and is now officially in the concussion protocol. His owners can expect another update on Monday morning. 

 

Hassan Whiteside has a bone bruise in his right knee and will not play on Saturday, but we're still waiting to hear about the severity unfortunately. Kelly Olynyk gets a bump if Whiteside misses additional time, James Johnson could mix in at center and we may even get a look at promising rookie Bam Adebayo. 

 

Aaron Gordon tested his sore ankle prior to Friday’s game and didn’t like what he felt, so he opted to sit that one out. “Going out there and not being able to give my all to my team would be holding us back,’’ Gordon said. “Other guys will step up and they will hold it down. I’ve just got to be patient and be healthy and make sure I feel good when I’m out there.’’ The Magic won’t shootaround on Saturday, so he’ll be a game-time call vs. Cleveland and is day-to-day moving forward. 

 

Elfrid Payton strained his left hamstring on Friday and didn’t return for the second half. We still have no clue about the severity, but the Magic will play it safe and hold him out against Cleveland. D.J. Augustin is worth a look if Payton’s absence extends past this weekend.

 

Kawhi Leonard drew some headlines after a video surfaced of him struggling to get up a flight of stairs to a plane, but context is everything. He just finished a rehab session prior to boarding, and he was likely wearing an ice pack around his knee/quad which would restrict his movement. Reports out of San Antonio the following day indicated that he was walking around just fine, so I wouldn’t worry too much about that video. To be clear, there’s still no timetable for his return, but did you really expect to get one from Popovich?

 

Rodney Hood was diagnosed with a left calf strain during Friday’s game and didn’t return, and he was scheduled to be re-evaluated on Saturday afternoon. He had to be carried off the floor, so while the initial diagnosis was good news, I’d be surprised if he played Saturday.




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