As we move into Week 3 of the Fantasy Basketball season, things are slowly falling into place. Andre Drummond has exactly 122 points and 122 rebounds through six games (averages of 20.3 per game) just like we drew it up, James Harden has scored 89 points in the last two games and, unfortunately, if you drafted DeMarcus Cousins, you’re likely off to a rough start. Boogie is expected back this week, while the likes of Nerlens Noel, Bradley Beal, Chris Paul, and Michael Carter-Williams battle injuries of their own. If your roster is banged up or you just need an extra jolt of life, you’re going to want to check out some of the names below.
No matter how long you’ve been playing Fantasy hoops, you already know to expect the unexpected. Two weeks into the season and T.J. McConnell is fifth in the league in assists per game with 7.6. While McConnell might be more of a short-term pickup (Tony Wroten and Kendall Marshall will return at some point), this man can fill up the stat sheet. He’s the modern day Andrei Kirilenko at the point guard position. McConnell has had at least five rebounds and eight assists in four of his last five games. He’s had a steal in five different games with multiple steals in three games thus far. He’s yet to score in double-digits this season but his real value lay in all the other categories. McConnell is a savvy basketball player who played four years of college ball, averaging 6.3 assists and 2.2 steals per game in his senior year at the University of Arizona. Marshall and Wroten are projected to return at some point late in November, possibly even December. While they’re out, McConnell is a viable point guard and should be owned in 12-team leagues and deeper.
Looking Deeper: Sacramento had big plans this offseason but had to settle for the likes of Marco Belinelli, among others. The Italian international has played well thus far, however, scoring 11 or more points in five of his last six games, dropping a season-high 22 against the Warriors. George Karl is still trying to find a rotation he likes but as long as Belinelli keeps this up, opportunities will be there for him. His shooting percentages are down but he’s attempting more three-pointers than ever in his career. His previous career-high was 4.3 three-point attempts per game in 2011-12 but he’s launching 5.1 attempts per game this season. As long as the minutes are there, Belinelli will provide some points and three-pointers made.
There is no denying Doug McDermott is one of the best long-range shooters in the NBA today. The problem has been minutes for the 2013-14 College Basketball National Player of the Year. The Bulls are still working out the kinks but one thing is certain: they lack three-point shooting when McDermott is not on the floor. Coach Fred Hoiberg wants to run a potent up-tempo offense, and for him to successfully do that, McDermott has to get his minutes. Despite averaging just 21.4 minutes, McDermott is averaging 2.4 three-pointers made per game on 58-percent shooting from downtown, good enough for third in the league! He’s started the past few games and if his minutes consistently rise to 25-plus per game, we’re looking at an elite three-point contributor for Fantasy purposes. People may have forgotten already, but McDermott was one of the best scorers in college basketball just a few years ago, hitting nearly three three-pointers per game in his senior season. He’s worth adding now before those minutes rise and another owner jumps at the opportunity. Those in need of three-point shooting could throw five percent of their FAAB on McDermott.
Looking Deeper: Nets rookie Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has started the past few games at shooting guard, despite being small forward eligible as well. The Nets may already realize their roster is devoid of talent, opting to get their rookie involved. Much like his college teammate, T.J. McConnell, RHJ is a stat stuffer who won’t provide many points but can help out with rebounds, steals, and a few assists per game. He’s very Michael-Kidd Gilchrist-like in that he’s a hard-nosed defender and a willing rebounder. He certainly won’t wow anybody but he contributes the gritty statistical categories, which might be hard to obtain from the normally small forward position.
Disclaimer: This may be an extension of the forwards for now as Dwight Powell is only eligible at power forward but he could be the starting center in a short matter of time.
There’s no denying the Dallas Mavericks are one of the older teams in the NBA at this point, so eventually, they have to start developing younger talent. Fans are witnessing the development of one already with the emergence of Dwight Powell. The 24-year old is averaging 13 points, 8.6 rebounds and nearly a block per game over the last three contests. Powell is a bit of an unknown but this guy can flat out play. In 12 D-League games last year, Powell averaged 26 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game, to go along with 70.8 free-throw percentage. He doesn’t hurt your percentages as a big and is a legitimate double-double threat in only 22.7 minutes per game to this point. It’s possible he could overtake the starting center job at some point as Zaza Pachulia doesn’t offer much upside at 31 years old. The upside is huge here so don’t be afraid to throw close to 10-percent of your FAAB on Powell. He should be owned in 12-team leagues and deeper at this point.
Looking Deeper: As long as Jordan Hill is getting around 25 minutes per game, he will be a threat to double-double every time out. He certainly is not the sexiest name on the waiver wire but he contributes rebounds and is actually an overachiever in the steals category as well. If you’re in a 14-team league or deeper and need help at the big man positions, Hill is a guy that should be rostered.