Toronto Raptors SG DeMar DeRozan was held to 23 points in Sunday’s loss against Sacramento, snapping a five-game streak of 30 or more points to start the season. He became the first player since Michael Jordan in the 1986-87 season to start the season with 30 or better in each of his first five games. DeRozan is averaging a ridiculous 33.7 points per game (PPG) with 4.8 rebounds per game (RPG) and 2.7 assists per game (APG) while hitting 52.4 percent of his shots from the floor. DeRozan had an Average Draft Position (ADP) in the mid to late second round, but he’s performing like a first-rounder so far.
Houston Rockets SG James Harden joins DeRozan as one of four players averaging more than 30 points per contest so far on the early season. He is averaging 31.5 PPG with 12.3 APG, and he leads all NBA players with 22 3-pointers through six games, hitting over 40 percent from behind the arc. Portland Trail Blazers PG Damian Lillard is right on his heels, hitting 20 triples while averaging 32.0 PPG.
DeRozan, Harden and Dame are expected to product big-time offensive numbers, however, as they were early Fantasy picks in most leagues. How many people saw Phoenix Suns SG Devin Booker getting off to this kind of start? He is averaging 23.0 PPG with 3.0 APG and 3.0 RPG, and he has bagged 10 3-pointers through six games while hitting 44.3 percent of his attempts from the field. Booker was expected to take a step forward after moving into the starting lineup, but he has really hit the ground running and is well ahead of schedule. Booker has a four-game schedule for Fantasy owners in cumulative leagues, so he’ll have another big week. It also helps that two of his games are against the defensively-challenge Trail Blazers and Warriors, teams allowing more than 109.3 points per game (PPGA) each.
TEAMS WITH FOUR GAMES
Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Golden State, Indiana, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Minnesota, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Utah, Washington
TEAMS WITH THREE GAMES
Atlanta, Boston, Brooklyn, Cleveland, Houston, Miami, New York, Sacramento, San Antonio, Toronto
TEAMS WITH TWO GAMES
Dallas, Memphis, Milwaukee
WEEK 3 SCHEDULE ANALYSIS
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS: The Pelicans are in good shape for the upcoming week, as all four of their opponents are allowing 101.4 or more points per game. It will be a very good week for Fantasy owners of PF Anthony Davis, who is off to a great start with 30.0 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 2.2 SPG and 3.2 blocked shots per game (BPG) while averaging 38.0 minutes per game. PG Tim Frazier and SG E’Twaun Moore have emerged as useful Fantasy options, too. Frazier is surprising with 13.0 PPG and 7.0 APG through the first six starts. Moore is a bit more one-dimensional, serving those in standard Fantasy formats better than Rotisserie leagues.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS: The high-flying Spurs have just three games in the new week, but a home-and-home with the defensively-challenged Houston Rockets will almost make it seem like a four-game week. SF Kawhi Leonard is an obvious must-start in all Fantasy formats, as is PF LaMarcus Aldridge. C DeWayne Dedmon has emerged as a solid option in deeper leagues, giving C Pau Gasol plenty of rest early on, as the Spurs look to preserve the veteran for the long haul. Dedmon is averaging 5.6 PPG, 6.4 RPG and 1.7 BPG, helping Fantasy owners in Rotisserie formats looking for a look depth among the bigs.
HOUSTON ROCKETS: There is obviously no reason to ever consider reserving Harden when he is healthy, but he might have a difficult week with a home-and-home against the lockdown defense of the Spurs. PF Ryan Anderson, SF Trevor Ariza, C Clint Capela and SG Eric Gordon are as certain of Fantasy options in cumulative formats for the upcoming week. If you have more four-game options available, you might want to think about benching the aforementioned players.
MILWAUKEE BUCKS: The Bucks have just two games on tap, so you’ll only want SF Giannis Antetokounmpo and PF Jabari Parker active in cumulative Fantasy formats, benching the rest of your Bucks. The good news is that the Bucks have three or more games in each of the next 13 weeks. In leagues averaging points per game in a scoring period, Antetokounmpo, Parker and C Greg Monroe are each Fantasy must-start options, as they’ll post big numbers against the Pelicans, who struggle on the defensive end allowing 107.5 PPG.
— Lakers SF Larry Nance Jr. (concussion) has already been ruled OUT for the game Tuesday against the Mavericks. He hit the floor hard in Sunday’s game pursuing a loose ball, and he is in the league’s concussion protocol. The biggest beneficiary will be F Julius Randle, who is likely to see a bump in run. F Tarik Black also could see a little extra playing time, but he remains useful only in the deepest of Fantasy leagues. The Lakers are on tap for four games, but Nance is still a very risky play in all but those formats averaging points per game in a scoring period.
— Nuggets swingman Wilson Chandler (hamstring) checked out of Sunday’s game early due to tightness in his left hamstring, although head coach Mike Malone told BSNDenver.com that the injury is “not serious.” Still, Chandler is a risky Fantasy play heading into Week 3. If you have healthier alternatives you should use them.
— Lillard (finger) injured his left index finger after a fall in Memphis and was wearing a splint on his left hand due to swelling. Lillard said told CSNNW.com on Sunday that he is OK, but most players are overly optimistic. Still, even if he misses one of the four upcoming games in the new week, he remains a must-start Fantasy option.
— If you’re looking for triples, Bucks SG Rashad Vaughn can help. He is averaging 2.0 3-pointers per game while playing just under 17 minutes per game off the bench in Cream City. Vaughn is averaging 8.0 PPG, but he doesn’t play enough to help in many other categories for now.
— Hawks SG Thabo Sefolosha is making a habit of thievery, posting 2.8 steals per game (SPG) with 2.7 APG and 7.5 PPG through the first six games. He is owned in roughly 15 percent of all leagues, so if you need help in the steals department, Sefolosha should be available.
— Lakers SF Nick Young is owned in just about 15 percent of all Fantasy leagues, but Swaggy P is filling up the stat sheet and will be a popular pick-up going forward. Young is averaging 13.7 PPG with 3.0 RPG while bagging 15 3-pointers in seven games so far. He is a bit more attractive to Fantasy owners in standard formats rather than Rotisserie leagues, as his 43.1 field goal percentage can hurt.
— Kings PG Jordan Farmar is worth scooping up in deeper Fantasy leagues. In two games since joining Sacto, the veteran Farmar has averaged 6.0 PPG with 4.5 APG, 1.5 RPG and 1.0 SPG while totaling 35 minutes.