Fantasy Basketball: Music of the Traffic – Week 3

LeBronIt was a week of royalty in Week 2 as King James made the headlines for a couple different reasons.

Firstly as our man Delly threw him a picture perfect lob so LeBron could slam down his 25,000th career point. Then, LeBron decided he needed to unleash the shackles on those massive guns of his and ripped his sleeves, Hulk style, in front of a National TV audience as the Cavs held off those pesky Knicks.

When all was said and done though, the Cavs improved to 4-1, (now 5-1) and The King is delivering mostly what his owners expected from him with complete lines, save for his early inaccuracy from the free throw line and from downtown.

He’s not alone there, as others who are normally proficient from deep, such as Klay Thompson and Danny Green have struggled to get going, but as I wrote during the week, they’ll get there. It’s still early.

Of course it’s never too early to try and make your own headlines and as always, we’re here listening to the Music of the Traffic for you, to help you reach your own mini-milestone; a Week 3 win.

Week 2 (Nov 9 – Nov 15)

5 Games: MIN



2 Games: CHI, MIA, PHO, WAS

If you own any Timberwolves, then you’re singing Hallelujah as their schedule is as meaty as it gets with 5 games this week. Just be wary of their back-to-backs. 18 teams play a healthy 4 times, 7 lace them up 3 times, while the Bulls, Heat, Suns and Wizards are the ones to avoid this week with only 2 billings. So as enticing as T.J. Warren and Doug McDermott’s respective upsides look right now, it’s not the week to set them free on your line-up.

The following players may be available in standard 10 or 12 team leagues.

Kent Bazemore (G/F, ATL): I’m still not sure I’m a believer in Bazemore in 12-team leagues this season, but his play of late is making it hard for me to ignore. The former reserve has produced super-efficient lines, delivering 13.4pts, 5.2reb, 2.4ast, 2stl, 2 3ptm and a tasty .500 clip from the field over his past 5 games. As long as he’s starting and getting around 30 minutes per game, the wing who’s available in 63% of ESPN and 56% of Yahoo leagues and plays 4 times this coming week, will continue to get noticed.

Marvin Williams (F, CHA): I listed the former #2 pick as a sell-high candidate during the week, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy his production as you look for a buyer. Despite his top-40 value on the season, Williams is still out there for the taking in 48% of ESPN and 44% of Yahoo leagues. He had 17 and 12 with 3 triples and a block on Thursday in a win over Dallas and has averaged 12.3pts, 9.8reb, 2.3ast, 1.3blk and 2.8 3ptm over his past 4, so don’t miss the boat in Marvellous Marvin.

Tristan Thompson (F/C, CLE): The $85 million man may have held out, but was worth the wait as he’s started to find the form he displayed in the post-season that got his value up in the first place. Before yesterday, Thompson had played exactly 26 minutes in each of the Cavs’ previous 3 games and averaged a dub-dub with 10.3pts, 10.3reb, 1.7blk and .636 FG%. He played another 23 minutes yesterday grabbing 11 more rebounds. He’s out there in 42% of Yahoo leagues and 33% of ESPN leagues and should be owned in 12-14 team leagues.

Dwight Powell (PF, DAL): I told you last week that this kid draws me in when I watch him play and he’s making me look really smart right now as he finds ways to contribute for Rick Carlisle’s Mavs. Powell’s FG% is weak, but aside from that he’s hustling and cutting his way to 10.7pts, 9reb, 2ast, 1stl and 1blk over his past 3 games in just under 25mpg. He may not produce much more than that, but his confidence will grow, which will help his %s and he’s worth stashing in 12-team leagues right now.

Marcus Thornton (SG, HOU): Bootsy started heating up the same day the other Marcus Thornton finally broke out for the Sydney Kings in the NBL. But the original has poured in a surprising 16.8pts, 4.8reb, 2ast, 0.8stl and 3.3 triples over his 4 games this season, starting in place of Terrence Jones in a smaller line up for Kevin McHale. Jones may be out a while longer, so Bootsy is a nice short-term add for those in need of points and threes in 12-team leagues and deeper.

Kristaps Porzingis (PF, NYK): The boos have already turned to cheers in Madison Square Garden as the 4th overall pick is giving Knicks fans a glimpse of their franchise’s future with plays like this…

He’s actually using his size and body better than anyone expected and playing smartly, letting the game come to him. He’s producing top 70 value on the season with a strange mix of defensive stats (1.2blk, 1.5stl) to go with 8.3reb, 12.3pts (.409 FG%) and 0.7 3ptm. He’s also hitting 80% from the FT line, so it’s really only his FG% that’s holding him back so far. Only available in 29% of leagues, if you’ve been watching him, then don’t delay any longer.

Evan Fournier (G/F, ORL): He was in my watch list last week, but he’s not only kept his starting gig, he’s thriving under Scott Skiles this season. The only thing not gleaming right now is his new nickname – “Never Google.” Seriously, trust me, as hard it is, just never Google. It’s for the best.

Speaking of for the best, owning him right now is in your best interests as he averaged a whopping 26pts, 5.3reb, 3.3ast, 3 3ptm, 1stl and a crazy .553 FG% in 41mpg over his previous 4 games before cooling down a little yesterday. He still came up big in that one with the game-winning strip on DeRozan and subsequent FTs to ice the game. He should be owned in all formats right now, but never Googled.

Alec Burks (G, UTA): Last week, I had his teammate Rodney Hood on this list, but it’s Burks, coming off the bench, who has been producing best behind Gordon Hayward in the Utah backcourt. Burks has averaged 14.5pts, 3.8reb, 2.5ast, 1stl, 0.5 3ptm and nearly 28 mins over his past 4 games. Over his past 2 games, that’s up to 16.5pts, 3.5reb, 4.5ast, 1 stl and 0.5 3ptm in 31.5 minutes. He was a sleeper pick of mine this year coming off his shoulder surgery and I was fortunate to grab him in a couple of leagues. He’s still available in 34% of Yahoo and 58% of ESPN leagues, but that won’t last.


Ones to Watch:

Jeremy Lamb (G/F, CHA): He’s most famous for being included in the James Harden deal between Houston and OKC, but his time there never really worked out. This year Lamb has gone to Charlotte where he’s playing 21 minutes off the bench for Steve Clifford and averaging 14pts, 3.5reb, 1.5ast, 2 triples, 1 block and a crazy .600FG%. Clearly that shooting won’t last, so wait and see what he does over the next few games before adding him in 12-team leagues.

Jordan Hill (F/C, IND): As a reserve for a thin front court, he was always going to play this year, but it took an Ian Mahinmi injury for him to show some value. Mahinmi is now back and Hill still delivered a double-double off the bench in a big win over Miami yesterday. If he keeps producing like he has (12pts, 8.7reb, 1stl, .515FG% over his past 3), then he’s worth an add.

Nik Stauskas (SG, PHI): Stauskas? Stauskas. After a horrid preseason, the second year SG has now played in 4 games after missing the opener and he’s scored in double-digits in each. He’s hitting 2.5 triples per game, adding 4.3reb and 2.3ast to go along with his 13.8pts at a .400 clip from the field. If you need some 3s and decent peripherals, then keep an eye on him in 12-14 team leagues.

We’re two weeks in so you’re weaknesses should be starting to show and it’s never too early to address them. Of course, don’t panic on guys who’ve started slowly, but making some subtle moves could help you write your own headline down the track this season.


Follow me on twitter @tomhersz for updates

Follow Downtown @downtownball


Author of the article

When you’re introduced to the NBA as a 6 year old in 1984, staying up late to watch Bird, Magic and Dr. J, it’s pretty hard not to fall in love with the game. I became consumed with the Association, and as my own game was developing, I tried to emulate as much as I could at an early age and learn how to play “the right way”. I have memories as a teenager of being glued to Saturday Basketball on TV and spending every spare cent I had on basketball cards and replica jerseys and so began my obsession with NBA knowledge and stats. I played my first season of Fantasy Hoops in 2002, as my serious playing days were slowing down. I now play in 5 or 6 leagues every year. To say I’m obsessed with Fantasy Hoops would be an understatement. To say I love nothing more than sharing my opinion on a player’s value would be entirely accurate, and I guess, the reason why I’m here. Follow me on twitter: @tomhersz @downtownball

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