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Week 2 Schedule: Games Played
4 Games: ATL, BKN, CHA, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, IND, LAL, MIA, MIL, NOR, ORL, POR, TOR, UTA, WAS
3 Games: BOS, CHI, GSW, HOU, LAC, MEM, MIN, NYK, OKC, PHI, SAC, SAS
2 Games: PHX
Week 2 Back-to-backs:
Sunday (Oct. 24th)-Monday: BOS, BKN, CHA, ORL
Tuesday-Wednesday: LAL, OKC
Wednesday-Thursday: ATL, MEM, WAS
Friday-Saturday: CLE, DEN, IND, MIA, NOR, ORL, TOR
Saturday-Sunday (Oct. 31st): DET, MIL, UTA
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Waiver Wire Pickups
*To qualify for this list, players have to be available in over 60% of Yahoo Leagues. Just in case someone asks, Tyrese Maxey (53%), Will Barton (49%) and De’Anthony Melton (50%) did not qualify for this list but I think that’s pretty obvious after their season openers.
Desmond Bane (27%)- Everyone who read this column last year knows how much I love De’Anthony Melton (must-roster player even in 10-team leagues), but my love for Desmond Bane isn’t too far behind. A popular preseason sleeper among myself and my colleagues, Bane is also getting a huge boost this season with Grayson Allen no longer around. Yes Dillon Brooks (hand) will eventually return, but the Melton/Bane combo has been unstoppable since the preseason and it’s clear that both are going to see roughly 28-30 minutes per game this season.
Bane put up 22 points, three rebounds, three assists, two steals and two triples in the season opener, and while this level of offense won’t always be the case, it’s worth mentioning that he averaged 14.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.8 steals and 2.6 triples as a rookie in the only five games he reached 30 minutes. A lights out shooter who has hit 43% from beyond the arc for his career, Bane’s floor spacing is crucial next to Ja Morant so there is just too much to like here.
Cam Reddish (15%)- Reddish was one of my favorite sleepers LAST season but it never quite panned out due to injuries, poor shooting and a crowded rotation. He showed some serious flashes in the playoffs vs. the Bucks, and coach Nate McMillan is said to be a big fan of his -- he compared him to a young Paul George. The rotation in Atlanta is just as deep this season, but Cam proved in the season opener that he could still make an impact as the sixth man.
Despite only playing 21 minutes, Reddish exploded for 20 points on efficient shooting with three boards, one assist, one steal and three triples. The best part? His usage rate of 39% ranks second in the NBA right now (it will come down to be clear). The confidence in his jumper is clearly back, and while I can’t promise there won’t be some volatile nights because he’s so streaky, I think there’s more than enough upside here to justify a pickup.
Nic Claxton (26%)- Nic Claxton getting the start in the season opener was a pleasant surprise for fantasy managers, and while he didn’t exactly go off, he had 12 points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes. He also showed good chemistry with James Harden in the pick-and-roll, a package we’re going to see a lot of whenever Kevin Durant’s name isn’t called. Claxton did not have much success against Giannis, but who has?
Claxton’s defense was phenomenal last season and he led the team with a +12 net rating, so one bad matchup vs. the Bucks doesn’t concern me. The good news for Claxton is that starting may be more than just a matchup thing too, as LaMarcus Aldridge looked about as mobile as a cement block and Blake Griffin lacked his usual pop. Claxton had a mouthwatering per-36 line of 12.8 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.7 dimes, 1.4 steals and 2.4 blocks last season, so if he can stay above 25 minutes that will be enough to hold onto him. Just beware of his FT%, as he’s been watching tape on Anthony Davis apparently.
Chris Duarte (40%)- It’s very possible that his debut ends up being the best game of his whole season, hitting 9-of-15 shots, six 3-pointers and 3-of-3 free throws for 27 points, five rebounds, one assist and one steal. That said, the Pacers are very thin right now with no Caris LeVert and T.J. Warren, and Jeremy Lamb hasn’t been the same since his knee injury. Duarte is old enough to be Gregg Popovich’s father, but hey, at least he’s not the typical rookie that needs a lot of seasoning. Duarte offers a diverse stat set that we got a good taste of during the Summer League and needs to be added everywhere. We’ll cross the bridge of whether or not he can sustain his fantasy value when LeVert gets back when the time comes.
Eric Bledsoe (33%)- What a season debut for Bledsoe. Coming off the worst season of his career for New Orleans, Los Angeles’ decision to bring Bledsoe back to the franchise is already paying dividends. He started next to Reggie Jackson in the backcourt (don’t panic about Jackson’s rough outing), and coach Ty Lue has said that he wants one of those guys on the court at all times. With Kawhi Leonard likely out for the whole season, there’s no reason to think Bledsoe’s minutes are going away.
Ricky Rubio (25%)- The Cavaliers are loving their two-PG lineups and they weren’t kidding when they said Rubio would play a massive role on this team. The Cavs want him on the floor with Evan Mobley as much as possible, and after the positive season opener we can probably pencil in a 25-minute workload for the veteran. Rubio played exactly that amount vs. the Grizzlies, scoring 12 points with four rebounds, 10 assists and a steal with just two turnovers. Rubio has a long resume of fantasy success for his elite assist/steal rates, though he can be an anchor on your FG%.
Terance Mann (34%)- Yeah he should be probably be starting, but it won’t matter much as Mann still played 39 minutes off the bench in the opener with 11 points, seven rebounds, two dimes, one steal and two turnovers. He’s not a great shooter by any means, but the hustle stats will be there and he was the talk of training camp for a reason. Mann had a per-36 line of 13.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.7 dimes, 0.8 steals, 0.2 blocks and 1.1 triples with Kawhi Leonard off the court last season, so my expectations are quite high.
Matisse Thybulle (40%)- Ben Simmons has done everything in his power to try and expedite a trade, showing up to practice with his phone in his pocket, refusing to do defensive drills and complaining about a mysterious back injury so that he doesn’t have to play games. You know who is cool with all this? Thybulle’s fantasy managers…
Thybulle’s offense is about as raw as it gets and he’s not someone you want to grab in points leagues, but in category leagues he’s pure gold because of his ability to carry the steals and blocks columns. Thybulle having four steals and one block in 27 minutes of the season opener was nothing new for him, as he’s the only player in NBA history with a 3.8% steal percentage and 4.9% block percentage over the course of a season.
Nemanja Bjelica (40%)- The veteran forward came crashing back to earth on Thursday but it’s hard to make a dent on the stat sheet when Stephen Curry gets into his zone. Bjelica is still averaging a promising 10.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.5 steals and 0.5 triples through two games, and the workload should be stable until James Wiseman eventually returns.
Low-end Pickups and Streamers
Patty Mills (31%)- I’m not going to get carried away with Mills’ season opener because he’s not going to hit a perfect 7-of-7 from beyond the arc every night. However, it’s clear that the Nets are going to need every ounce of his offense with Kyrie Irving away from the team. LaMarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin and Paul Millsap all look washed, so Mills is set up to be the sixth man indefinitely and may even start in certain matchups. If you need points, triples and a small trickle of dimes, give him a look as a streamer.
Terrence Ross (29%)- The Magic are arguably the worst team in the NBA this season and that makes Ross’ presence on the roster an odd one. However, his contract is pretty reasonable, so the Magic have some incentive to showcase him to contenders. Plus, Gary Harris is ALREADY hurt. Yes the Magic want to develop R.J. Hampton which means Ross’ fantasy value is on a timer, but feel free to stream him for the time being.
Monte Morris (29%)- He’s about as boring as it gets when it comes to fantasy value, but you can’t argue with a full workload and a decent amount of assists, the most scarce category in fantasy basketball. Monte had nine points, three assists, two rebounds and three triples in the opener, playing 28 minutes but only hitting 37% of his shots which means this line could’ve been much better. With Jamal Murray likely out through February, Morris will be a viable option until then.
Dorian Finney-Smith (19%)- I’m going to disregard his quiet season opener because the entire Dallas team was a disaster. DFS is quite possibly the third best fantasy asset on this team, as he’s locked into massive minutes and does a little bit of everything on the stat sheet. Last season, Finney-Smith was a 9th-rounder in 9-cat leagues with 9.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.7 dimes, 0.9 steals, 0.4 blocks and 2.0 triples.
Grayson Allen (20%)- If Donte DiVincenzo’s eventual return wasn’t on the horizon I’d be more bullish here, but Allen is a fine streamer in the meantime because his 3-point shooting is a must in Milwaukee with Giannis commanding so much attention in the paint. Allen is averaging 12.0 points, 2.5 triples, 3.5 rebounds, 3.5 dimes and 1.0 steals, and he even fared well as a backup PG when Jrue Holiday tweaked his heel. Jordan Nwora and Pat Connaughton are also on the radar for the Bucks but Allen is a step above for now.
Devin Vassell- A promising two-way guard who could easily win the sixth man role for San Antonio. He did feast in garbage time vs. Orlando, but watch him closely in what should be a rebuilding season for the Spurs.