By Andre' Snellings
RotoWire Basketball Writer
Friday has a full slate of 12 games, offering plenty of options. Every team in the NBA has played now, so we have at least an initial glimpse of everyone to help us start forming better ideas about their values. And there is a lot of really good value out there for us to explore.
Emmanuel Mudiay, DEN vs. MIN ($21) - Mudiay was touted all offseason as a rookie in a great situation who is best equipped to take advantage of it. The only reason he didn't post a big fantasy number in his debut is he had whopping 11 turnovers. While he's likely to be a bit turnover prone, that is a flukey high number. On the other hand, his 17 points, nine assists, five boards and three treys are imminently repeatable, which would put his production well beyond his modest price tag.
C.J. McCollum, POR at PHO ($23) - McCollum showed an outstanding scoring punch in preseason, and he upped that in his season debut with a career-high 37 points, six three-pointers, an assist and a steal. Along with Damian Lillard, McCollum is the only other true scorer and point creator on the roster. He will get a lot of minutes and shots in a fast-paced game against the Suns, at a relatively modest price tag.
Guards to Avoid:
Derrick Rose, CHI at DET ($28) - Rose is still having difficulty seeing out of one of his eyes, and that was clear in the opener. His jumper was erratic, and he did most of his damage by driving into the paint and using his athleticism to finish when the Cavaliers didn't have a rim protector on the floor. The problem is that Friday he's faces a Pistons team with Andre' Drummond patrolling the paint, which could limit some of his best looks.
Andrew Wiggins, MIN at DEN ($30) - Wiggins is the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year, but he is learning a new role on essentially a new team. As a rookie, Wiggins was just about the only offensive option on most possessions, so he could create at will at small forward. As a sophomore, he has to fit into an actual team structure, with point guard Ricky Rubio doing the majority of the ball-handling and big men Karl-Anthony Towns and Kevin Garnett scoring from the areas that Wiggins used to frequent. He will eventually adjust, but he struggled in the opener and likely isn't worth the $30 price tag just yet.
Danilo Gallinari, DEN vs. MIN ($28) - When healthy, Gallinari is an impact player who can fill up the stat sheet. He's healthy now to start the year, and his competition for playing time, Wilson Chandler, is hurt. Nuggets coach Mike Malone said that Gallinari will do more with the ball this year, and in the opener he popped for 23 points, eight boards, three blocks, three assists, three treys, a steal and zero turnovers.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL vs. WAS ($25) - Antetokounmpo will make his debut Friday after missing the Bucks' opener due to a one-game suspension. The "Greek Freak" seems poised, entering his third NBA season at 20-years old, to make a big splash this season. He is one of the Bucks' few healthy wings with O.J. Mayo out with a hamstring injury and Jabari Parker still recovering from knee surgery. He will get some time at power forward where he should be a physical mismatch. And he has an all-around game that should produce in every roto category.
Forwards to Avoid:
LeBron James, CLE vs. MIA ($46) - James plays his old team Friday and might very well have a great game. He's in this space purely because of the numbers, the competition and the odds. The numbers that hold LeBron back are 12, 7 and 5 ... his points, rebounds and assists from Wednesday night. It was a blowout win, but still, ultra-franchise guys can't come up that short. The competition isn't the Heat, but instead refers to Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Stephen Curry, DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Durant. All are in LeBron's price range, which means you have plenty of options who aren't struggling with injury and haven't had a horrible game already. Put that together, and the odds work against LeBron being worth $46.
LaMarcus Aldridge, SAN vs. BKN ($34) - I came into the season with serious reservations about Aldridge, as he was going from mega minutes in a free-flowing offense that was built around him to Popovich-level minutes in a more structured offense that tends to be more equal opportunity. His debut didn't make me feel any better, as he struggled to 11 points, five boards, an assist and a block. He'll be better than that most games, but not better enough consistently enough to be worth a mid-$30s price.
Andre Drummond, DET vs. CHI ($35) - I almost put Al Horford in this slot, as he has top-tier potential for only $27. But Horford will be on the second night of a back-to-back, while Drummond is fresh and playing at home. He's the highest priced center on the board, but he's also the center who has most lived up to that price tag thus far. He's averaging a monster 18-point/15-rebound double-double through two games -- numbers that are repeatable. Drummond is just too big and athletic for Pau Gasol or a limping Joakim Noah to slow.
Center to Avoid
Hassan Whiteside, MIA at CLE ($31) - Whiteside's price says that he's an impact player who has a good chance to be the best player in your lineup. But his situation is that he's being treated as a young player who needs to fit in (he was given a quick hook and only played 20 minutes in his opening outing), he struggled with injury in preseason and he has multiple teammates in Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade who are more prominent on offense and also have a chip on their shoulders because they are playing against their old teammate LeBron James. Put it together, and Whiteside isn't trustworthy enough for his price.
Snellings is a two-time winner of the Fantasy Basketball Writer of the Year award from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.
Follow @professordrz on Twitter.
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