October 24, 2022, 1:27 am
What an opening week! This new season has already been full of surprises and I’m feeling equal parts vindicated and verecund about it all. Some of my picks worked out as expected, while others–including but not limited to De’Anthony Melton, Dorian Finney-Smith and Norman Powell–have caused me to question who else was available at their respective positions in the draft. As I hope each of you reading this also did, I was fortunate enough to find my share of sleepers and steals as well. It all works out in the end if you play your cards right!
Careful strategy is the best way to win any game and fantasy sports are no different. The second week schedule lends itself very well to streaming strategies, as there are only two really busy days and they are squarely in the middle of the week. A two-day streaming window is available on the Monday-Tuesday stretch before manages can likely expect to rest their weaker players on a busy Wednesday. There’s hardly any action on Thursday, allowing another streamer to come into play, resting once on Friday before hopefully being active for a Saturday-Sunday double-header. If possible, there should be a way to effectively stream two roster spots twice this time around, even in league formats that limit managers to four per week. We’re going to dive into some options to pull this off in your league later on.
There are 15 teams with a four-game week, so we’re going to be seeing games at a quicker pace than we have so far. In particular, the Mavs and Warriors are looking at what I believe to be the most fantasy-friendly schedules of the bunch. Due to overcrowding, I’m a little less enthusiastic about the busy slate ahead of the Nuggets, Rockets, Wolves, Knicks, Magic and Spurs. They’re active every other day this week, but only on the days that lots of other teams are as well.
If you read this article and learn nothing else, I hope that this is it: Kings players are going to crush your chances in head-to-head formats this week. Anybody not named Barnes, Fox, Huerter, Murray and Sabonis can be considered expendable, and I’m not so sure about Barnes right now. With apologies to Terence Davis, who has been impressive early on, we are still talking about a player averaging less than 20 minutes a night. The Kings have a two-game schedule that starts on Thursday (!?!) and ends on Saturday. Please excuse me, but I think I’m going to be sick. That’s a three-day window of relevance. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t get much better in the following week, so don’t stash anyone who isn’t worth stashing.
Two Games: Kings
Three Games: Hawks, Celtics, Hornets, Cavs, Clippers, Lakers, Grizzlies, Bucks, Pelicans, Thunder, Suns, Blazers, Raptors, Wizards
Four Games: Nets, Bulls, Mavs, Nuggets, Pistons, Warriors, Rockets, Pacers, Heat, Wolves, Knicks, Magic, Sixers, Spurs, Jazz
Wednesday-Thursday: Nets, Heat
Friday-Saturday: Hawks, Hornets, Bulls, Pacers, Bucks, Sixers, Jazz
Saturday-Sunday: Mavs, Warriors
Sunday-Monday (Week Three): Pistons, Rockets, Clippers, Wizards
Let’s try something funky this week. Using a purely schedule-based approach, we’re going to target players from the Nets and Heat for the early edge on games played. Once we hit Thursday, it’s time to flip the Heat players for some of the Mavs and Warriors guys listed above. Nets should be retained due to their weak Saturday game followed by a Monday-Tuesday back-to-back that could pay dividends in the following week.
If we strike out on the worthwhile Nets or Heat players early, the next move is to go for Pistons or Thunder players. Both teams will be active on weak days and are filled with up-and-comers that might not be rostered yet, but the Pistons have an extra game this week and a Monday-Tuesday back-to-back around the corner, so they get an edge.
This week’s “Quick Adds” will focus on players from these teams, but it will not be an all-inclusive list. Managers should take note of what categories they were most and least competitive in this week, and use that information to weigh the risks and rewards of rostering some others that may be overlooked. Most players on the wire carry some sort of risk, so be sure that you are taking the right risks with your moves.
The key this week is to take players from the Nets, Mavs, Pistons and Warriors into the weekend. If you get stuck and have to carry someone from the Heat or Thunder into a Saturday matchup, there is still an opportunity to flip them for another player that is active on Sunday for one final boost. Any manager that can afford to turn over at least one roster spot this week should find several opportunities to stream their way to success. Teams that roster star Kings players may have to go this route.
Best Schedule: Mavs (@Pelicans, @Nets, vs. Thunder, vs. Magic) and Warriors (@Suns, vs. Heat, @Hornets, @Pistons)
There’s not much to say here. Both teams play on the same days and those days are the ones with the least activity. They’ll play tough games on the Tuesday-Thursday stretch before heading into matchups with less competitive teams that they will be expected to beat. A weekend back-to-back against teams that Las Vegas expects you to beat is a recipe for a rest game, so I do have some concerns about the Warriors on this front.
You’ve heard of the fantasy heavyweights on both squads, so I won’t bother to restate their values here. In fact, both teams’ stars will probably have inflated values this week. There are also some other Mavs and Warriors to consider streaming this week, depending on league size. Managers in need of scoring might already be considering Spencer Dinwiddie and Tim Hardaway Jr., whereas those in need of defense might prefer JaVale McGee or Maxi Kleber. On the Warriors side, there are specialists like James Wiseman (FG%, REB) and JaMychal Green (REB, 3PT).
Worst Schedule: Kings (vs. Grizzlies, vs. Heat)
This schedule sucks and I’m still not over it. Barnes and Sabonis have already disappointed with their results so far, while I’d prefer to keep the momentum of Fox, Huerter and Murray’s performances rolling instead of letting them have nearly 96 hours of downtime between games. There is some opportunity to squeeze some value out of those two Kings games due to their position as weak days on the schedule, but I would prefer to get those days plus one more from the Mavs or Warriors.
Royce O’Neale, SG/SF, Brooklyn Nets
The best streamers are the ones that are consistent. O’Neale is doing what he always does, but he’s on a new squad and doing it slightly better than before. With stable value in treys, boards, assists, steals and free throw percentage, O’Neale has been a part-time fantasy asset for years. This time around, he is proving to be a defensive monster for the Nets. His on-court impact may not be as great as his fantasy value implies, but he has five blocks and five steals in two games so far. Any player that joins the 1-1-1 Club (*) belongs on a roster, so don’t overcomplicate the decision if O’Neale is still floating around in your league.
* The 1-1-1 Club refers to players that regularly produce one trey, one block and one steal
Joe Harris, SG/SF, Brooklyn Nets
Klay Thompson, Kyle Korver, Ray Allen, Steph Curry and Steve Nash – what do they all have in common? A lower career 3-point percentage than Harris, who is only behind three players on the all-time accuracy list. With an average of over five attempts per night since joining the Nets in the 2016-2017 season, Harris offers some really impressive volume to go with his accuracy. The reason he might still be available on your wire? Harris is returning from an extended absence due to trouble with his left ankle and foot. He didn’t have a very impressive first game back, either. However, Harris still ranks highly on the Nets’ depth chart and offers an essential skill for any teammate of Ben Simmons: shooting. Alongside an elite playmaker and two offensive juggernauts, all Harris needs to do is stand on the floor to get open looks. He has proven time and again that he can and will make them, leaving teams a great option to find bargain-bin points and treys production from a player that is non-damaging in shooting percentages or turnovers.
Day’Ron Sharpe, PF/C, Brooklyn Nets
Blocks, boards and field goal percentage will carry Sharpe’s value on any fantasy squad. The sophomore pivot is on the edge of the Nets’ rotation but he could carry enough specialist value even at his current pace of around 16 minutes a night to be worth consideration. With a busy schedule ahead of him, Sharpe’s cumulative production by week-end might outrank some other centers that have better averages than him. His current blocks and boards production already meets standard league criteria, while there is some intrigue with Sharpe’s potential in steals. The 6’9” center had seven steals in four preseason games this year and has as many steals as games played so far in the regular season. The value of picking up Sharpe increases as the size of one’s league does, but he’s a name to watch in all head-to-head leagues.
Dorian Finney-Smith, SF/PF, Dallas Mavericks
Normally, he wouldn’t be on this list. DFS has been a standard league guy for a few years now, but his decidedly un-sexy stats have been easy to overlook at the best of times. His early season could not be defined as “the best of times,” and I have already seem him dropped in multiple leagues. This is still an efficient-shooting player getting starters minutes while producing better than a steal and trey per contest. Nobody should be rostering Finney-Smith for his points or assists production, and he’s really not too far off the mark in other areas. I can guarantee that nothing Finney-Smith does will ever put you over the edge, but he’s got a rock-solid floor that you can rely on in most formats and team builds.
Tim Hardaway Jr., SG/SF, Dallas Mavericks
The second-generation swingman can help you as much as he hurts you, so this is a suggestion for teams that can accept the risk of boosting points and treys at the expense of field goal percentage. Hardaway doesn’t turn the ball over much, gets to the charity stripe and converts his chances at a solid rate, but he won’t do much other than score. Production in assists, rebounds or blocks isn’t going to be found in Hardaway’s profile, while he is a low-end steals option at best. At his current pace of 12.5 points and 1.5 treys each game, Hardaway would likely account for about 50 points and 6 treys by the end of the week, which could make him a worthwhile addition for teams lacking in those areas.
Bojan Bogdanovic, SF/PF, Detroit Pistons
He is still available in 24% of Yahoo leagues and 57% of ESPN leagues, for some reason. What more do we need to see from Bogdanovic? He is sinking nearly four treys per night while making almost half of his shots. While registering around 19 points each contest is nice, I’m not sure it’s sustainable. It’s hard to argue with the fact that his scoring is consistent with his recent averages. Regardless, the key is that Bogdanovic is a high-volume shooter that is making his shots, so he’s a positive influence in treys and shooting percentages for as long as that’s true. It’s rare to find this combination of high scoring and low turnovers in players that may not be rostered, so Bogdanovic’s stock is probably going to start surging. Get him while you can.
Isaiah Stewart, PF/C, Detroit Pistons
A double–double big that can get you a block and a trey per-night? Yes, please. People slept on Beef Stew after he failed to meet expectations in his sophomore year, but the same potential that brought about such optimism still exists. Further, the third-year player is quickly developing a bond with his new frontcourt mate, Jalen Duren, which could yield positive results in terms of their ability to share the court. Stewart clearly entered this season with a level of awareness about the floor-spacing concerns that previously existed with his game, as he is now regularly launching and making attempts from range in order to give himself an extra edge.
Jalen Duren, PF/C, Detroit Pistons
Duren is a physical behemoth, so I’m not sure how only 10% of ESPN managers and 50% of Yahoo managers have taken notice of him. I won’t sugar coat it: his free throws are rough, but there’s a long list of centers that we can apply this label to. Duren is 18 years old and already averaging 7.7 rebounds per-game to go with 1.7 blocks and a .583 completion rate on his shots. He is a classic rim-running bully big playing alongside two dynamic pick-and-roll playmakers and a guard core with remarkably low shooting percentages. There should be no shortage of opportunities for Duren to do what he does best on this squad, so I’m betting that the still-raw prospect manages to produce enough on-paper value to validate a roster spot in any league.
JaMychal Green, PF/C, Golden State Warriors
Follow the playing time. There are only four Warriors getting more run than Green, including Klay Thompson. He’s good for one or two treys, a net-positive contribution in rebounds and has collected one steal in both games so far this year. The Warriors love team-first veterans and Green has carved out a career by filling in where and when he is needed. Despite internal competition from bigs like James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Kevon Looney, Green seems be coach Steve Kerr’s preference, and four games at his current pace would yield some competitive production: about six treys on nearly-average shooting with 24 rebounds, four steals and as many assists as turnovers. Center-needy standard league teams and deeper league teams, in general, may find Green to be worthwhile in the short-term. If any Warriors rest on the weekend back-to-back, he seems to be one of the likelier candidates to absorb playing time.
Caleb Martin, SF/PF, Miami Heat
This is a B150 player that others may still be sleeping on. Players that start and get heavy rotational minutes are generally worth rostering, so this is a safe play for most managers to consider. The starting power forward for the Heat hasn’t been too statistically-impressive so far but, like his predecessor PJ Tucker, Martin has proven able to generate a little bit of everything on the stat sheet. As the sample size begins to expand, I expect Martin’s numbers to show passable production in treys, rebounds and steals. Those that value efficient production would surely also appreciate it if last Martin could repeat last year’s 50.7 field goal percentage and 0.9 turnovers per-game. He doesn’t have major upside but Martin is worth a streaming spot in most leagues.
Max Strus, SG/SF, Miami Heat
He has scored 20 points in 2-of-3 games so far, so Strus is worth talking about. While it’s likely that he will fall back to last year’s averages which weren’t standard league-worthy, Strus’ current production is certainly on the radar. As with a few others on this list, Strus should mostly be considered a points and treys specialist, but his recent increase in value can also be attributed to growth in rebounds over last year. I’m expecting something in the range of 40-to-60 points and 8-to-12 treys on efficient shooting from Strus over the coming week, but I can’t promise it will come with any rebounds, assists, steals or blocks. If that’s enough for your team to get ahead of the competition, then Strus is worth a look.
Darius Bazley, SF/PF, Oklahoma City Thunder
Disclaimer: I cannot abide inefficient players on my team. I am typing this Bazley recommendation through gritted teeth. However, he is producing standard league value regardless of that truth. Bazley will splash a trey or two, collect some boards and be disruptive on defense. What separates them is Bazley’s stronger track record of scoring. There was a stretch in March of last year that saw Bazley score 25-plus points in three consecutive games and 20-plus four times in a six game stretch. That also included a few double doubles. While I don’t disagree with a decision to roster him, I will warn managers: don’t make this move if you want to win shooting percentages or turnovers.
Lu Dort, SG/SF, Oklahoma City Thunder
What was I saying about inefficient players? Well, it’s also true for Dort, who offers solid points, treys and steals production at the expense of competitiveness in field goal percentage. While not a net-positive producer in the category, Dort does have solid assist totals and a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio so far this season. His current shooting percentage looks closer to a batting average, which is never a good sign, but his current above-average rebounds production would be a new wrinkle in Dort’s fantasy profile. The Canadian guard should be available in most leagues and finished just short of a top-125 valuation on a per-game basis last season. He’s worth a look if you can stomach the shooting.
Tre Mann, PG/SG, Oklahoma City Thunder
Over his final 15 games last season, Mann averaged around 16 points, two treys, five rebounds, three assists and one steal per-game. He’s starting this season at a similar pace and already receiving 20-plus minutes each night. The dynamic scoring guard should have relative freedom to shoot at will with the lowly Thunder this year, so getting him on a four-game schedule when he’s already rolling should be an easy decision. As with most Thunder players, beware of the field goal percentage impact.
Honorable Mention: Derrick White (PG/SG, Celtics), Dennis Smith Jr. (PG/SG, Hornets), Jordan Clarkson (PG/SG, Jazz), Kelly Olynyk (PF/C, Jazz), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SG/SF, Nuggets), Kevin Love (PF/C, Cavs) and Walker Kessler (PF/C, Jazz)
Bogdan Bogdanovic (right knee) – Injured on April 23, 2022. Out on Sunday.
Al Horford (lower back) – Injured on October 21, 2022. DNP on Saturday, but already cleared for Monday.
Seth Curry (left ankle) – Injured on May 8, 2022. Day-to-day.
LaMelo Ball (left ankle) – Injured on October 10, 2022. Day-to-day.
Terry Rozier (right ankle) – Injured on October 20, 2022. DNP on Sunday.
Cody Martin (left quadriceps) – Injured on October 19, 2022. DNP on Sunday.
Darius Garland (left eye laceration) – Injured on October 19, 2022. Out for Sunday, targeting return on Friday.
Bruno Fernando (left knee) – Injured on October 21, 2022. DNP on Saturday, already out for Monday.
Myles Turner (left ankle) – Injured on October 18, 2022. To be re-evaluated on October 27, 2022.
Chris Duarte (face) – Injured on October 19, 2022. Day-to-day.
Dillon Brooks (left thigh) – Injured on October 16, 2022. DNP on Saturday, questionable for Monday.
Victor Oladipo (left knee) – Injured on October 17, 2022. DNP on Saturday, ruled out for Monday.
Kyle Anderson (back) – Injured on October 21, 2022. Out for Sunday.
Jalen Williams (right orbital bone) – Injured on October 19, 2022. To be re-evaluated in late October. He takes on some extra interest…
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (hip) – DNP on Sunday, could be B2B rest.
Josh Giddey (right ankle sprain) – Left game on October 23, 2022.
Jalen Suggs (right ankle) – Injured on October 19, 2022. Day-to-day, Magic say his return will be determined by response to treatment.
Gary Payton II (abdomen) – Injured on July 15, 2022. Week-to-week.
Chris Boucher (left hamstring) – Injured on October 7, 2022. DNP on Saturday, questionable for Monday.
Scottie Barnes (right ankle) – Injured on October 22, 2022. Day-to-day, questionable for Monday.