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Week 2 Fantasy Basketball Reactions - Buy, Sell, Hold

Week 2 of the 2021-22 NBA season is officially in the books. It's still very early, but there's no shortage of things to discuss as we look ahead to Week 3 and beyond. Some players have outperformed their average draft position (ADP), while others have underperformed through two weeks.

Can those that have overperformed keep it up? And should we be pressing the panic button on those that have underperformed?

This article is meant to highlight a number of players, project their rest of season value, and provide recommendations on buying, selling, or holding. Note: all rankings based on 9-category head-to-head leagues

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!

 

Miles Bridges (CHA - SF, PF), Current Rank: 7

Bridges looks like an entirely different player this season. He's playing a career-high 35.5 minutes per game and is sporting a whopping 25.6% usage rate. Last season, his usage rate was at just 17.7%, so it looks like he's got the full support of the coaching staff in a completely new role this season. He's averaging nearly double the shot attempts (17.7 vs. 9.4) and points (24.6 vs. 12.7) compared to a season ago. The 35+ minutes per game is also helping with the defensive stats, as Bridges is averaging 1.6 steals and 0.7 blocks per game. He likely won't provide top-10 value this season, but he looks to be the real deal. He's not a guy I'm interested in "selling-high" right now.

Recommendation - Hold

 

Dejounte Murray (SAS - PG, SG), Current Rank: 21

With DeMar DeRozan out of town, it was only a matter of time before this became Dejounte Murray's backcourt (along with Derrick White). While the usage rate isn't up all that much from a season ago (24.8% vs. 23.6%), he's turning more of his touches into shots and assists. He's averaging 3.3 more shot attempts per game while dishing out a career-high 8.8 dimes per contest (through six games). It makes sense because Murray is playing north of 35 minutes per game compared to just 32 minutes per game a season ago. At this point, he has the makings of a guy who could go for a triple-double on any night of the week, while also contributing 2.2 steals per game and not turning the ball over a whole lot for a guy playing heavy minutes (just 2.2 turnovers per game). He's ranked 21st while shooting just 43% FG and 66.7% FT.

Recommendation - Hold

 

Montrezl Harrell (WAS – PF, C), Current Rank: 26

Harrell was dominant in three games filling in as the starting center for Daniel Gafford (quad). In those three games, Harrell averaged 23.3 points, 12.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 blocks in 36 minutes per game. With Gafford in the lineup, Harrell’s averages are 15.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and one block in 27 minutes per game. For his career, Harrell has typically been a backup big man off the bench, and he’s thrived in that role. With Gafford back in the fold, Harrell likely falls back to being a 15 and seven type of guy off the bench. While there’s still value in a guy that doesn’t turn the ball over much and is a high-percentage shooter, he won’t come close to being even a top-50 value this season.

Recommendation - Sell

 

De'Anthony Melton (MEM – PG, SG), Current Rank: 37

Melton leapfrogged Kyle Anderson into the Grizzlies starting lineup this season after coming off the bench for two seasons in Memphis. To say he’s making the most of his opportunity would be an understatement. He’s always been a fantastic per-minute fantasy asset, the minutes have just been inconsistent until this season. Melton is playing nearly 30 minutes per game this season, averaging 13.7 points (2.7 3PM), 5.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.8 blocks, and just 1.5 turnovers. Dillon Brooks’ eventual return to the lineup could take away some opportunities for both Melton and Desmond Bane, but the reality is Melton will still likely see 25+ minutes per game, which should be enough for him to return top-75 value this season. He’s playing too well for the Grizzlies to slash his minutes much upon Brook’s return.

Recommendation - Hold

 

Kemba Walker (NYK – PG, SG), Current Rank: 42

Kemba looks healthy and rejuvenated in New York after spending the last two seasons with the Celtics. His numbers are down across the board, but he’s shooting a whopping 50% from the field and averaging a career-high 3.7 3PM per game while also swiping 1.7 steals per contest. He’s playing under 30 minutes per game for the first time since his rookie season back in 2011. For his career, Walker is just a 41.9% FG shooter and has averaged 5.4 assists per game. This season, he’s averaging a mere 3.2 assists per game as Julius Randle looks to be the primary ball-handler in New York. His current ranking of 42nd overall on a per-game basis is a product of his shooting efficiency and the high volume of 3PM and steals. Walker is likely to regress closer to the mean in all three of these categories as the season progresses.

Recommendation - Sell

 

Luka Doncic (DAL - PG, SG), Current Rank: 76

In most leagues, Doncic was a top-10, maybe even top-5 pick. So this has to be concerning, right? Well, he finished 37th on a per-game basis last season, and that was with shooting a career-best 47.9% from the field. Why Luka was considered a consensus top-10 pick in 9-cat head-to-head leagues was always mind-boggling to me. He's more of a mid-to-late second-rounder just due to his sheer upside in putting up stats in a hurry. But here we are, and Doncic ranks just 76th overall as a result of poor shooting (42.7% FG, 67.9% FT) and turnovers (4.3 per game). His usage is still above 35% this season (36.3% last season) but he's going to hurt you in one too many categories on a weekly basis (FG%, FT%, TOs). While I believe he'll overcome his shooting woes early on, I don't believe he'll return top-30 value this season in 9-cat leagues, therefore I'd try to move off Doncic by using name value alone. See if you can get a guy like Richaun Holmes, C.J. McCollum, Dejounte Murray, or LaMelo Ball, packaged with another potential top-50 player.

Recommendation - Sell

 

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (OKC - PG, SG), Current Rank: 92

I was very high on SGA coming into the season, but I didn't account for two things. The first is how bad the Thunder would once again be this season (1-5 record, four blowout losses). The second is the effect rookie Josh Giddey would have on Gilgeous-Alexander's assist numbers. Last season, SGA led Oklahoma City with 5.9 assists per game. The next closest person was Ty Jerome, who averaged 3.6 assists per game. This season, it's Giddey that's leading the team in assists, averaging 5.7 per game. Meanwhile, Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging just 3.8 assists per game. Giddey's ascension into a pass-first guard role is something I wasn't accounting for when ranking SGA in my top-25. Unfortunately for those that took the plunge in the second round, Gilgeous-Alexander may have a difficult time cracking the top-50 as a result of Giddey's presence and Oklahoma City being susceptible to a blowout on a nightly basis.

Recommendation - Hold / Sell

 

Michael Porter Jr. (DEN - SF, PF), Current Rank: 155

It seems as if Michael Porter Jr. is still trying to find where he fits in this Nuggets offense without Jamal Murray. His assist numbers have doubled compared to last season (2.3 vs. 1.1) as he's being asked to handle the ball a bit more. The minutes (31) and shot attempts (13.0 vs. 13.4) are almost identical to last season, he just isn't hitting his shots. A career 52% FG shooter, MPJ is shooting just 33.3% from the field this season. Once those shots start falling at a 50% clip, look for Porter Jr. to shoot right back up the rankings. Here's a guy that finished 27th in 9-cat head-to-head leagues on a per-game basis last season as a result of high-efficiency scoring, volume three-pointers, defensive stats, and a lack of turnovers. There's not a better time to try and acquire MPJ before his shots start falling.

Recommendation - Buy



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