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Fantasy Basketball Week In Review: Week 2

By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA (John Wall, Stephen Curry) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Welcome to the RotoBaller NBA Recap. In this feature, we will highlight one key fantasy basketball takeaway from each night during the past week. These viewpoints can be both positive and negative and will hopefully help to provide insight into different roster moves you should consider making.

Fantasy basketball has a lot of moving pieces with all the different scoring settings that are possible to play under, so I will always do my best to spotlight where players gain or lose value in certain game types.

Without further ado, let's get right into the opening week of the season and try to figure out how to take advantage of what we saw transpire.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NBA and DFS Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive Preseason Draft Kit, 10 In-Season Lineup/DFS tools, and daily Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!


Monday, October 28th

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Continues To Excel 

The Los Angeles Clippers had to do what needed to be done to land Kawhi Leonard, but trading away Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as part of a package deal to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Paul George is beginning to look less and less ideal from a long-term perspective. Gilgeous-Alexander had portions of his rookie season where he demonstrated All-Star caliber play, but the new system in Oklahoma City has the 21-year-old looking like a budding superstar. On Monday, the former Kentucky product put together a stat line of 22 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two three-pointers in 36 minutes of action, rendering his fourth straight impressive outing to begin 2019.

If we are looking for a negative, Gilgeous-Alexander will struggle to provide consistent assist numbers playing alongside Chris Paul, but the ability to play him at point guard or shooting guard in your fantasy lineups will help to alleviate some of the concerns that might come with needing to punt a category if he could only play under the point guard label. Gilgeous-Alexander entered the season with an ADP of 88th overall in ESPN leagues and is currently on pace to far exceed that level of production with his output totals of 23.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.3 blocks, 0.8 steals and 2.0 threes on 48% shooting from the field this year. If you drafted the do-it-all guard onto your squad this season, you are being rewarded handsomely with top-40 production in nine-category leagues. There is a price where everyone becomes available, but I wouldn't be looking to move him as a sell-high candidate.


Tuesday, October 29th

Anthony Davis Gifts LeBron James An Enjoyable Taco Tuesday

I want to preface this by saying that I am not a massive fan of recapping top-tiered players during this article. We all know these guys are good, and it does seem like there are better ways to provide fantasy information that can be useful. If you own Anthony Davis, you aren't trading him. And if you don't, you probably aren't able to acquire him. However, things are sometimes so impressive that they need to be discussed.

On Tuesday, Davis posted 40 points and 20 rebounds in 31 minutes, setting an NBA record for fewest minutes played to record a 40-20 game since minutes were first tracked in 1951. The 26-year-old was also able to set a franchise record with 26 made free throws on 27 attempts, adding in two assists and two blocks.

For all the eye-popping statistics from this game, it is worth noting that Davis did have to leave the contest during the second quarter to have his shoulder re-taped and expressed discomfort afterward. The Kentucky product has been no stranger to injury-riddled seasons, so any distress early in the year obviously does raise an eyebrow - or perhaps a unibrow if you want to go down that road. Still, though, Davis will have a few days to rest up ahead of Friday's tip against the Dallas Mavericks, and for now, it sounds as if he will be all systems go. If you were regretting selecting the six-time All-Star over Karl-Anthony Towns, you should have a little relief after Davis' seismic outburst.


Wednesday, October 30th

Injuries Ravage The Day

Amazingly, a brawl between Karl-Anthony Towns and Joel Embiid, a 59-point eruption from James Harden or a 19-point comeback from the Boston Celtics over the Milwaukee Bucks won't even touch the surface when discussing the most impactful moments of the day. Unfortunately, that lead story will belong to injuries, and the impact they will have going forward.

Let's start with Myles Turner, who seems to have escaped an absolute disaster after being diagnosed with just a Grade 1 right ankle sprain. The 23-year-old is currently being listed as week-to-week, but there is a possibility we see this situation linger on slightly longer than expected. Ankle injuries often look worse than they actually are, and it didn't help that notion after seeing Turner go down from setting a screen without much contact.

At first glance, the play was so awkward looking that it almost seemed as if Turner might have blown out his Achilles, but owners should be able to take a slight breath in knowing that they should get back their big man in a handful of weeks. If you own the former Texas Longhorn product, hold tightly. Turner was shaping up to be one of the breakout players of 2019.

And in even bigger news, a poor start to the Golden State Warriors season just got even worse with Stephen Curry breaking his left hand against the Phoenix Suns. At the time of writing this, the exact timetable of how long he will be out is still unknown, although he is guaranteed to miss at least three weeks. If surgery is required, the time frame will jump closer to one-to-two months.

It is a tough break (no pun intended) for fantasy owners that used their first selection on the two-time MVP, and it will hurt even more if you play in a league that doesn't allow a designated IR slot. For managers that can't store him on injured reserve, my best advice is always to make sure you are utilizing the waiver wire system the way it should be done. All leagues are different in how many roster acquisitions are allowed weekly or how many games you are permitted to get in, but assuming it is a standard of seven waiver additions per week, you are going to need to make sure to have a player to rotate daily to get in as much on-court time as possible.

That advice remains the same even if an injury isn't forcing your hand, but employing a proper waiver wire strategy is very important if you want to find success in your leagues. The strength of your team needs to allow daily lineup swaps to receive maximum production, so whether you need to make a two-for-one trade or already have back-end pieces that can be rotated daily, the time to manage your team is now. Curry is going to be back before long, so use this time to get the team ready to go once he is back in action.

UPDATE: Oh. boy. We received the worst possible news on Friday morning that Stephen Curry was forced to have surgery on his left hand and will be out for at least the next three months. That places his return date somewhere around the All-Star break at the earliest and presents a headache when it comes to how to manage this situation. If you have an IR spot, you will be fine storing him there, but how should we handle it if an injured reserve spot is not available? My first inclination is to try and trade him, but that isn't necessarily going to be possible. Leagues with small benches or eight-to-10 owners can drop the All-Star if they are unable to find a trade partner. Larger settings and deeper benches might be able to get away with holding him. Regardless of the circumstance, this has turned into a nightmare for fantasy participants. 


Thursday, October 31st

Kendrick Nunn Goes From Zero To Hero

Undrafted point guard Kendrick Nunn has begun his Miami Heat career by scoring more points through five games than anyone in the past 25 years not named Kevin Durant or Jerry Stackhouse. On Thursday, Nunn scored 28 points to go along with two rebounds, two assists and four three-pointers - giving him the most points through five games for an undrafted player in NBA history.

While Nunn was an undrafted free agent this season, it is important to note that his slide in the draft more than likely stemmed from a misdemeanor battery charge in 2016 while attending the University of Illinois. About a month later, the now 24-year-old was forced to transfer to the University of Oakland. As required by NCAA rules, Nunn was forced to sit out the season but led the NCAA in three-point shooting - making an average of 4.47 per game - once he suited up for Oakland. Perhaps even more impressively, the 2018 Horizon player of the year finished his senior campaign second in scoring at 25.9 points per game, trailing only Trae Young.

Picking on someone's past transgressions is not what I want to focus on during this portion, but it does show that Nunn isn't someone out of left field that has found success overnight. My biggest concern for the rookie was that his production would diminish once Jimmy Butler rejoined the lineup, but that doesn't appear to be the case after averaging 22.5 points per game since his return.

I do believe category league owners have an interesting dilemma on their hands because while Nunn has been elite with points, steals and threes, you aren't going to get a whole ton from him with rebounds or assists. His current field goal percentage isn't sustainable, which could turn him into a volume-based problem if he does go south.

To put this into a better perspective, Nunn is currently ranked 23rd in nine-category leagues, even though a definite regression is going to take place eventually. None of that is meant to convince you to sell him off because he was just a waiver-wire acquisition one week ago, but I don't think it hurts to see what you can get in return for him. In just the past day, Nunn has been moved straight up for DeMar DeRozan, Myles Turner, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and JA Morant in Yahoo leagues and has even been traded with Danillo Gallinari in exchange for Pascal Siakam. Selling someone off high doesn't mean they aren't valuable, but it is always worth trying to cash out an asset when it is at its highest point.


Friday, November 1st

Malcolm Brogdon Has Been A Fantasy Game-Changer 

I have been in two frames of mind when it comes to Malcolm Brogdon. No Victor Oladipo for the first few months of the season was always going to allow the 26-year-old to flourish in his new environment, but what happens when the two-time NBA All-Star returns?

Perhaps those latter concerns helped to reduce the number of shares that I ended up with of Brogdon, but if you were willing to pull the trigger at his ADP of 66th between Yahoo and ESPN leagues, you have been rewarded with top-10 nine-category production early in the season. On Friday, the former Milwaukee Buck continued his scorching start to 2019, scoring 25 points to go with eight rebounds, six assists, one steal, one block and one three-pointer - moving his new yearly totals to 22.6 points per game, 5.8 rebounds, 10.2 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.8 three-pointers made.

I still worry that Oladipo's return will diminish Brogdon's upside, but we are looking at another month before that situation even comes to fruition. There is no guarantee Oladipo isn't severely limited for a substantial duration of time, and both men are more than capable of playing off the ball. If you own Brogdon, I think you just enjoy the ride and reassess where you are at come December.

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