The 2013-14 regular season in the National Basketball Association is off to a fast start, and we’ve already seen quite a few surprises during the early going.
Did you know that Miami Heat SF LeBron James has just 42 points through his team’s first two games, the fewest points he has scored in his first two games of any season in his career. Thanks to the Elias Sports Bureau for that interesting nugget. Will that type of production continue for King James? It’s doubtful. He’ll step it up, ripping off a string of double-doubles and perhaps even a triple-double or two, and you’ll remember why you drafted him No. 1 or No. 2 overall. He should get on track in the upcoming week in Toronto, against a Raptors team that hasn’t been great defensively over the past couple of years. Home games against L.A. Clippers and Boston should also mean more strong stat lines for the Fantasy stud.
It’s been a slow go for James, but not so in Philadelphia, where PG Michael Carter-Williams nearly went for a triple-double against James’ Heat in an upset victory Wednesday night. MCW was efficient, hitting six of his 10 field goal attempts, and he snagged seven boards to go along with 12 assists and nine steals. In fact, there was a chance if the game had gone to overtime, maybe we’re talking about the rare quadruple-double. Now THAT would be quite a debut. Anyway, Fantasy owners certainly took notice, and are flocking to pick up the Philadelphia rookie. Just know that with rookies come growing pains, and we might not see another dominating performance like this all season.
Teams with four games (15): Boston, Cleveland, Dallas, Golden State, Houston, Indiana, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Minnesota, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, Toronto, Utah
Teams with three games (12): Atlanta, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Denver, Memphis, Miami, New York, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Portland, Sacramento, Washington
Teams with two games (3): Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee
TV TIME (national broadcasts in the upcoming week)
MON Houston-L.A. Clippers (10:30pm NBATV)
TUE L.A. Lakers-Dallas (8:30pm NBATV)
WED Chicago-Indiana (7pm ESPN), Dallas-Oklahoma City (9:30pm ESPN)
THU L.A. Clippers-Miami (7pm TNT), L.A. Lakers-Houston (9:30pm TNT)
FRI New York-Charlotte (7pm NBATV), Sacramento-Portland (10pm NBATV)
SAT Indiana-Brooklyn (730pm WGN, NBATV)
* All Times Eastern (ET)
In cumulative Fantasy leagues, those which do not average points per game in a scoring period, it could be a very nice week for Fantasy owners of the Portland Trail Blazers despite the fact they have only three games. While the Houston Rockets should be much improved from a defensive standpoint this season, the Blazers will get a crack at the defensively lax Sacramento Kings in a home-and-home.
Fantasy owners will be very happy with the four-game schedule for the San Antonio Spurs, too. They have a mix of two home games, and two road games. But one of their road game is in Denver, and could be an up-and-down game, and home dates with the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns are sure to be high-scoring games pushing a total of 210 points in each.
As far as unfavorable schedules are concerned, the Golden State Warriors are on the road for all four games in the upcoming schedule. Games against the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies on the road should tamp down the scoring totals, and make it seem more like a three-game week than a four-game bonanza for Fantasy owners in cumulative leagues. Those in Rotisserie formats won’t notice much of a difference and should keep all of their Warriors active.
As far as those two-game teams like the Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks, it is a good idea to reserve all players on these teams in cumulative leagues, except for perhaps Bulls G Derrick Rose. A two-game week is a killer for cumulative owners, and even if you have a player on a team with four games who is half as good, it’s always good practice to go with the guy who has more opportunities to explode for big points. The same rules do not apply to Rotisserie owners, but those in points-based head-to-head formats need to pay mind of that schedule, too.
We’ve covered injuries pretty thoroughly during the preseason, but if you are trying to decide on guys, we have a special color-coded system we will be introducing this season. It is rather self-explanatory, but GREEN will be must-start, ORANGE is proceed with caution and RED means must-sit.
(* editing note – for the green, yellow, red, etc. — I will be coding these with HTML – it will not ‘say’ the color all spelled out)
Ryan Anderson, PF, NO (foot) – ORANGE
Gustavo Ayon, PF, ATL (shoulder) – RED
Harrison Barnes, SF, GS (foot) – RED
Patrick Beverley, PG, HOU (rib) – RED
Avery Bradley, SG, BOS (concussion) – GREEN
Trey Burke, PG, UTA (finger) – RED
Andrew Bynum, C, PHI (knee) – ORANGE
Kobe Bryant, SG, LAL (Achilles’) – RED
Wilson Chandler, SF/SG, DEN (hamstring) – RED
Glen Davis, PF/C, ORL (foot) – RED
Carlos Delfino, SF, MIL (foot) – ORANGE
Tim Duncan, PF, SA (back) – ORANGE
Jeremy Evans, SF, UTA (shoulder) – ORANGE
Kenneth Faried, PF, DEN (hamstring) – ORANGE
Danilo Gallinari, SF, DEN (knee) – RED
Danny Granger, SF, (calf) – RED
Devin Harris, PG, DAL (toe) – RED
Tobias Harris, SF, ORL (ankle) – ORANGE
Nene Hilario, PF, WAS (calf) – RED
Al Jefferson, PF/C, CHA (ankle) – ORANGE
Brandon Jennings, PG, DET (tooth) – RED
Solomon Jones, PF, ORL (knee) – RED
Terrence Jones, PF, HOU (shoulder) – ORANGE
Andrei Kirilenko, SF, BRK (back) – ORANGE
Brandon Knight, PG, MIL (hamstring) – RED
Carl Landry, PF, SAC (hip) – RED
Shane Larkin, PG, DAL (ankle) – RED
C.J. McCollum, PG, POR (foot) – RED
Nerlens Noel, C, PHI (knee) – RED
Luke Ridnour, PG, MIL (back) – RED
Rajon Rondo, PG, BOS (knee) – RED
Brandon Rush, SG, UTA (knee) – ORANGE
Rodney Stuckey, PG, DET (thumb) – GREEN
Ekpe Udoh, PF, MIL (knee) – RED
Dwyane Wade, SG, MIA (knee) – ORANGE
Gerald Wallace, SF, BOS (foot) – ORANGE
Earl Watson, PG, POR (calf) – RED
Russell Westbrook, PG, OKC (knee) – RED
Lou Williams, PG/SG, ATL (knee) – RED
Brandan Wright, C, DAL (shoulder) – RED
In future weeks when some trends develop, we’ll post Fantasy free-agents who are proficient in certain categories. These players will be able to help your Fantasy team, particularly in Rotisserie formats.