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Fantasy Basketball Rotation Watch: Playing Time Updates for Week 3


Welcome to Rotation Watch! Each week this article will break down who is gaining and who is losing minutes around the NBA. You want the players on your team that is getting their opportunity to shine, not the ones who are sitting on the bench and watching from the sidelines.

Week 2 of the fantasy basketball season was a knock-out for some as Karl-Anthony Towns and Joel Embiid were both suspended two games for an on-court dispute. That affected some minutes on the 76ers and Timberwolves, but both superstars will return to their teams this week. The Warriors were decimated with injuries to Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and D'Angelo Russell and that will open up minutes for several players on Golden State's roster. It's only Week 3 and fantasy rosters are being turned upside down!

So without further ado, let's start searching those box scores from October 28th to November 3rd and look for those hidden gems that are grabbing some minutes to help your fantasy basketball team.

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!

 

NBA Playing Time Changes

Fred Vanvleet (PG/SG - Toronto Raptors)

Fred VanVleet has started all six games for the Raptors this season after only starting 28 of the 64 games he played last year. He averaged 36.7 minutes per game in Week 2 and that is way up from the 27.5 minutes per game he saw last season. His usage rate sits at 19.0 percent which is comparable to his 19.1 percent when he was coming off the bench in the 2017-2018 season.

Now that he is a starter, opposing defenses can't key in on him as the only weapon and he is making it count. VanVleet is putting up career-highs for his fantasy owners this season with 16.2 points, 7.2 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 1.2 steals and a 96.2 free-throw percentage. He is a great buy-high candidate for the rest of the season.

Damion Lee (SG - Golden State Warriors)

It's time to introduce ourselves to Damion Lee. In the two games since Stephen Curry went down with a broken left hand, the third-year pro has played 26 minutes per game while averaging 14.5 points, three rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.5 three-pointers made.

The Warriors are a disaster right now, but that doesn't mean they don't have fantasy value. They are 13th in pace and 30th in defensive rating. That translates to tons of opportunities for Lee. He is already rocking a 21.4 usage rate and that number should only climb with Curry out until the All-Star Break.

Fantasy owners in leagues all shapes and sizes should at least take a flyer on Lee and see where it goes. He could be a league winner if the Warriors continue their downward spiral. Minutes equal fantasy production and Lee is going to be getting a lot of minutes this season.

OG Anunoby (SF - Toronto Raptors)

Now that Kawhi Leonard is loving life on the West Coast, OG Anunoby is having a career season with the Toronto Raptors and the 34.2 minutes he is seeing on the court each night. For the season, he is averaging 11.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. He is also contributing on the defensive end of the court though with 1.7 steals and 1.5 blocks per game.

The young NBA season has just started. That means that Anunoby owners, and potential owners, should be prepared to wait for some eye-popping production from Anunoby. He has started all six games of the season for Toronto, which is the same amount as all of last season. Once he acclimates himself to his new role, owners should expect OG to start rising in the statistical categories and be a solid contributor to teams in almost every format.

Harrison Barnes (SF/PF - Sacramento Kings)

Harrison Barnes is a familiar name for most fantasy basketball players, but people are beginning to wonder if his best years are behind him. He is only rostered in 54.7% of leagues and even that may be too high. In his first full season with the Sacramento Kings, Barnes is averaging his lowest amount of minutes, points, assists, field-goal attempts and free-throw attempts since he relocated from the Golden State Warriors.

Playing on a team that is going to run through De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley before he even gets a look further downgrades Barnes and his upside. Sacramento is also ranked 26th in pace this season, so it's not like he will get a lot of opportunities either.

In deeper leagues, Barnes is still a hold, but for owners in 10 and even some 12-team leagues, it may be time to cut bait from the name and find some better production on the waiver wire.

Meyers Leonard (C - Miami Heat)

With Justise Winslow missing two-straight games for Miami last week, Meyers Leonard made the most of his opportunities in Week 2 as he played 26 minutes on the court each night. Leonard averaged 13.3 points, seven rebounds, two blocks, 1.7 assists, 1.7 made threes and one steal. This made him a top-seven center and a top-10 power forward for the week. Now, we have to temper all of these stats because Justise Winslow is expected back any day now and that will drastically affect Leonard's minutes. It is good to know that he can take on more minutes and perform admirably when called upon.

He is only owned in 5.4% of leagues as of this writing, but savvy managers should gamble on him in deeper leagues. There are already rumors that Winslow could be traded this season (maybe D'Angelo Russell?) and that would be a huge boom for Leonard and his fantasy value as he would absorb a lot of those opportunities. The Heat are top-10 in pace and with Leonard's ability to get out in transition and knock down threes, he should be on the watch list for any manager in 14-team leagues or deeper.

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