Fantasy Basketball: Music of the Traffic – Week 3

1-21Change is inevitable, but some handle it better than others.

Take Kevin Durant’s move to Golden State for example. It would seem he’s handling it just fine and you could say that Russell Westbrook is also dealing with it as best as he can.

The same cannot be said for Enes Kanter.

When the Thunder rolled into Oakland on Thursday night, despite starting out strong, they got rolled in no uncertain terms. And Durant led the way with 39 points, seven rebounds and seven three-pointers in just 31 minutes.

Kanter’s box score read one block, one turnover and one missed field goal in 3:28. Oh, and something that didn’t show up in the box score: one pissed off ex-teammate.

It’s probably not a good idea to talk trash to a former MVP who clearly doesn’t like you, especially when you can’t back it up. Steven Adams knew that and tried to stop Kanter as you can see from this exchange.

Post-game, Durant put Kanter in his place, saying he was “focussed on the players on the court.”

That’s good fantasy advice too. Focus on players who are getting minutes and producing and ignore anyone else despite whatever noise they’re making off the court.

If you need some help separating the noise from the real action, then you’ve come to the right place as Downtown listens to the Music of the Traffic so you can earn the right to talk trash to your league.

Week 3 (Nov. 7 – Nov. 13)

4 games: CHA, CHI, DEN, DET, GSW, IND, LAC, LAL, MIN, NOR, OKC, ORL, PHI, PHO, POR, UTA, WAS

3 games: ATL, BOS, BKN, CLE, HOU, MIA, NYK, SAC, SAS, TOR

2 games: DAL, MEM, MIL

A healthy schedule awaits in Week 3 as 17 of the 30 teams play four games. Ten teams play three games, while Dallas, Memphis and Milwaukee play just twice, so no need to rush out and add Tony Snell, even though he’s starting for Jason Kidd now.

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

Kyle Korver (SG/SF, ATL): I got asked by a reader on Friday night whether he should add Korver or Larry Nance Jr. from a list of available free agents. I told him Korver was still BPA and I’d add him. Korver then proceeded to stink it up for his second straight game, making just one field goal in 20 minutes. The reader let me know about it and I told him to keep the faith as it’s a long season and Korver was more likely to help him win matchups in future than to lose them. If he’s been dropped in your league, now is the time to grab him, when no one will notice. Those sorts of moves for players with proven value in specialist categories can be difference-makers come the business end of the season.

Sean Kilpatrick (SG, BKN): If you’re still trying to work out who Kilpatrick is, you’d best be quick, cos the rest of the league has found out in a hurry. Now in his third year on his third team, “Oysters” is certainly dishing up some delicious lines in Brooklyn. Coming off the bench as a scoring spark, the 6-foot-4 two-guard has scored in double-digits in every game this season and has made 12 triples. The kid from Yonkers went bonkers against Detroit on Thursday with 24 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and four three-pointers. He’s been playing 25 minutes per game, but with Jeremy Lin now out for a few weeks, Kilpatrick’s minutes should tick closer to 30 per game, mixed in with some point guard duties. He’s a must-add in all formats right now. He’s available in 56 percent of Yahoo and 85 percent of ESPN leagues, but the secret won’t last much longer.

Trevor Booker (PF, BKN): Kilpatrick’s teammate Booker is starting for Kenny Atkinson in Brooklyn and doing a great job of it so far. He’s been a little inconsistent, but has put up three double-doubles already on the young season and is averaging close to 27 minutes. After his 12-point, 13-rebound, two-block, one-steal game on Friday night, he’s now averaging 8.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and two steals while shooting a respectable 49 percent from the field. He’s a great big to have on the end of your roster in 12-team leagues.

Taj Gibson (PF/C, CHI): After an uncertain summer, not knowing if he’d be traded or what his role would be if he remained in the Windy City, Gibson emerged from training camp as the starting power forward for Fred Hoiberg. He’s always had borderline fantasy value, but now that value is certainly north of the border as he delivered 13 points and 9.3 rebounds through the first four games and then had another eight points, six rebounds, block and steal on Friday night against the Knicks. That’s top-80 value and he’s been just great to watch. Gibson should not be on any waiver wires.

C.J. Miles (SG/SF, IND): More of a deep-league add as he’s very streaky, Miles has had a hot start to the season after an interrupted preseason. Through the first five games, he’s averaging 13.4 points, 1.8 triples and 1.4 steals. He’s also hitting 54.3 percent from the field and 52.9 percent from deep, which he can’t keep up. He’s only playing 20 minutes but he has a healthy 22 percent usage rate and a whopping 26.2 PER to date. In short, Miles is worth riding in 12-team leagues while he’s hot and with the Pacers having a four-game week, there’s no better time.

Lou Williams (PG/SG, LAL): I feel like Lou-Will gets overlooked every year and this year I get it. The Lakers backcourt was going to be about D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson this year with some Swaggy P in the mix (please explain), so where did that leave Lou-Will? It leaves him doing what he does best, being a bench gunner and legit sixth man award candidate. Through the first six games of the season, he’s scored in double-digits in all but one. After pouring in 17 second-half points to help hold off the Warriors on Friday night, the 11-year veteran is now averaging 15.5 points, 3.8 assists, 1.7 steals and two triples per game, while hitting a solid .476 from the field and .414 from deep. He’s bumped that up to 19 points, 4.3 assists and 2.3 triples over his last three games and is available in 58 percent of Yahoo and 74 percent of ESPN leagues, although I can’t figure out why.

Ersan Ilyasova (SF/PF, PHI): Like the trade or not, the Sixers needed shooting and another veteran presence in the locker room. This deal may have been more about salaries than anything, but it puts Ilyasova in a nice place to have value right away. His first game produced 14 points (two three-pointers), three rebounds and two assists in just 23 minutes and he’ll play more than that on most nights for Brett Brown, at least until Ben Simmons returns. With four games on tap, get yourself some Ersan.

Ones to Watch:

Doug McDermott (SF, CHI): McBuckets is still trying to live up to the hype from his days at Creighton, but he’s definitely headed in the right direction this season. Watch a Bulls game and you’ll notice two things. Firstly, he’s the first guy off the bench right now and a clear sixth man. Secondly, he’s super-aggressive and playing with a confidence we’ve not seen to date in his career. He put up 35 points over a two-game span last week before missing one with a concussion. Now back, he’s worth watching for those who need points and threes.

J.J. Barea (PG/SG, DAL): Making the most of the absence of Devin Harris and Deron Williams not being 100 percent, the crafty Puerto Rican is certainly reminding everyone how good he can be. Delivering top-60 value through the first two weeks, he continues to produce double-digit scoring mixed with some handy dimes, rebounds, threes and steals. The Mavs play just twice in Week 3, but if he keeps this going, then he needs to be owned in 12-team leagues from Week 4.

Block out the noise and focus on your weaknesses so far. If you can plug some of those holes early, you’re in good stead for the season and using proven veterans or guys who you know will be “on the court” is the way to go.


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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