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Fantasy Basketball: Three Things I Like And Don't Like After Week 2

Scottie Barnes - Fantasy Basketball Rankings, NBA Injury News, DFS Lineup Picks

Life in the NBA moves fast. With multiple games occurring every night and so much data to digest, it can be tricky to stay on top of everything efficiently. And when it comes to fantasy hoops, being in the know is vital to your success.

Fortunately for you, that's where I come in. I'm proud to unleash a weekly column where I will take a look back on the previous week and share with you three things, or trends, that I love and three of them that I hate. The goal of this piece is to help you decipher between what's real and what's fake so you can make informed decisions when it comes to waiver wire add/drops, trades, and overall roster management.

Without further ado, let's dive right into the first edition of my new weekly column - Three Things I Like And Don't Like.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received five total writing awards and 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, tops in the industry! Congrats to all the award winners and nominees including NBA Writer of the Year, Best NFL Series, MLB Series, PGA Writer and Player Notes writer of the year. Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!

 

Three Things I LIKE

Shaedon Sharpe's Sophomore Start

There are lots of storylines surrounding the Portland Trailblazers this season, but none more exciting than the play of sophomore wing Shaedon Sharpe. Going into Sunday's game, he's boasting a line of 20.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.3 threes, 1.0 steals, and 0.8 blocks, but what has me buzzing has been his playing time. He's averaging a staggering 38.7 minutes per game and has three games with 40+ minutes under his belt already. That's like Tom Thibodeau Knicks or Nick Nurse Raptors minutes.

Even more impressive, there is nothing abnormal about his numbers that would indicate this kind of production isn't sustainable. He's only seeing a 22% usage rate and is shooting 45% from the field, 38% from three, and 86% from the charity stripe. That's nothing crazy at all. Sharpe's impressive play has him sitting just inside the top 50 in per-game value and there is nothing to believe he will slow down anytime time. Fantasy managers who took the plunge on him in rounds 7-9 should be thrilled with the production they are getting.

Ausar Thompson's Aggressive Play

I'm not going to lie, there hasn't been one time that I've peeked at Thompson's stat line this year and not been impressed. The guy just does it all. Sure, the jump shot is a work in progress, but outside of that, his elite fantasy skill set has been on full display throughout the first two weeks of the season. The 11.4 points per game are modest, but the 9.1 rebounds, 1.1 steals, and 2.1 blocks are eye-popping. To put it into perspective, his 21 stocks (steals and blocks) trail only Anthony freakin' Davis this season. (Shoutout to Michael Waterloo of The Athletic for that stat).

His play has him buoyed just outside the top 50 in per-game value despite shooting under 38% from the field. And if you watch him play, there simply isn't anything that would make you think this kind of production isn't sustainable. Thompson has been a treat to watch through seven games and if he ever develops a semblance of a jump shot, the entire league is cooked.

Scottie Barnes's Looks Dominant

There have been many noteworthy performances throughout the first two weeks, but the biggest has been the play of Scottie Barnes. After a disappointing sophomore campaign, he appears to be taking the elite leap we all have been waiting for. By all accounts, his team-leading 26.1% usage rate suggests the new coaching staff has handed him the keys to this offense, and he's been delivering. Barnes is averaging 22.6 points, 9.9 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.1 steals, and 2.1 blocks across seven games but the most important development has been his jump shot. Not only is he taking more threes but he's making them. He's up to 2.3 threes per game after Sunday's five-three-pointer masterpiece and that should have fantasy managers foaming at the mouth.

He just capped off the second week of the season with a 30/11/6/3/3 line and that has him up to 12th in Per Game value. Are you not entertained?

Honorable mention: Marcus Sasser, Dennis Schroder, Tobias Harris, Jabari Smith Jr. 

 

Three Things I Don't Like

De'Anthony Melton's Disappointing Start

With James Harden out of the picture this season, many were hoping for expanded roles from Tyrese Maxey and De'Anthony Melton. Through two weeks, Maxey has exploded and Melton has been, well, meh. While we should anticipate his 28% shooting to regress, the playing time is what I don't like. For whatever reason, he's only seeing 26.8 minutes per game. Not only is that cause for concern, but his minutes have gone down this week at a time when the Sixers' roster was more depleted than usual with the Clippers' guys still needing time to get situated.

Melton has been a per-minute savage throughout his career, so less playing time would affect others more than him, but this certainly isn't what managers were hoping for when they selected him in the 10th round. Now on his second team with a new coaching staff, perhaps there is a reason why he's never cracked more than 28 minutes per game in each of his first six seasons.

The Woeful Washington Wizards

We all knew the Wizards were in for a rough season. But this? It's almost comical. Through two weeks, only the Grizzlies have a worse win percentage, which is dumbfounding in its own right. But it's not just that the Wizards are losing. It's how they are losing. They are getting slaughtered. After five games, they are dead last in opponents points per game and second-to-last in defensive rating.

All of this sucking has resulted in a new trend of them getting run off the court on a nightly basis. This means that their starters are seeing their minutes decline as a result of the backups getting put in for garbage time. To put it into perspective, not one player on their team is seeing more than 28.6 minutes per game. When it comes to guys like Jordan Poole, Kyle Kuzma, Tyus Jones, and Daniel Gafford, the decline in playing time due to blowouts is negatively capping their fantasy upside.

I know I was beating the Poole/Gafford drum throughout the draft season, but something we never considered was them seeing reduced minutes as a result of the team's abominable play.

Jaden Ivey's Role

Put simply, Ivey has had a tumultuous start to his sophomore year. His counting stats have decreased in every single category and his minutes are down to 20.7 after seeing 30.1 last season as a rookie. On one hand, a decreased role was expected with Cade Cunningham back in the mix, but it's becoming abundantly clear that Monty Williams and his new coaching staff may not be as high on Ivey as the previous regime was. For crying out loud, Alec Burks and rookie Marcus Sasser, who was selected 25th overall, have been getting minutes over Ivey. And even with Bojan Bogdanovic yet to play this season and Burks missing a couple of games, Williams is turning to Killian Hayes and Sasser over Ivey.

Before sitting out Sunday's game, Ivey was sporting an average of 11.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists on 49% percent shooting, 40% from three, and 83% from the line. Those aren't terrible numbers in only 20 minutes, but the above quote from Williams shows that mistakes are what's keeping Ivey on reduced minutes. Meanwhile, Sasser just dropped a career-high 22 points in 30 minutes on Sunday sans Ivey. I am not too confident that Ivey can climb back up to the 30-minute-per-game threshold he saw last season barring any unforeseen happenings.



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