WE’VE reached the quarter-way mark of the NFL season for most teams and we are stuck with more questions than answers in some regard. Can the Pats defense be good? Has Cam Newton refound his mojo? Will Latavius Murray be able to produce in Dalvin Cook’s absence? With the NBA preseason underway, we now have an insight into players roles and what we can expect in season 2017/18 too.
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*All fantasy stats and numbers are based on ESPN format fantasy leagues.
- WITH the addition of Melo/George and Chris Paul both Russell Westbrook and James Harden’s case for being drafted first overall has taken a hit. The coveted No.1 spot now seems to be Giannis Antetokounmpo’s for the taking, with the Bucks superstar’s average draft position (ADP) the highest in the league (2.1).
Image from si.com
- DON’T overreact to players missing preseason games. At this time of year, every second player is listed as questionable on the injury reports and that can cause owners to panic and freak out.
- IT’S no secret that the Los Angeles Clippers have two starting point guards on their roster at the moment in Patrick Beverley and Milos Teodosic. It’s also no secret that Beverley hasn’t been a star fantasy player in the past, but it seems like he is destined to chew up a fair chunk of the minutes. Teodosic, who is finally joining the NBA at the age of 30 has a flair about the way he plays and will likely feature on plenty of viral highlights. Does that mean he can be a good fantasy player though? Watch this space.
MUST ADD – Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers, PF
THE Brooklyn Nets are probably kicking themselves right now. When they traded Brook Lopez to the Lakers for D’Angelo Russell they also gave up the 27th overall pick in this draft. That pick turned out to be Kyle Kuzma, who looked great in Summer League and lit up the scoring sheet the other night against the Nuggets. If he finds minutes on this Lakers squad he is definitely worth taking a late flyer on.
Other candidates: Gary Harris (Nuggets, SG, 53.3%) & Danilo Gallinari, Clippers, 96.7%)
MUST DROP – Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors, SF
AFTER years of being deployed as a Swiss army knife, Iguodala’s ‘do it all’ style of play offers very little upside. With Iggy entering his 14th season at the tender of age of 33 it’s likely that the Warriors will use him sparingly and save him for the playoffs with Nick Young, Omri Casspi and Jordan Bell taking some of the minutes.
Other candidates: Jordan Clarkson (Lakers, PG, 75.5%) & Jamal Crawford (Timberwolves, SG, 9.1%)
INJURY NEWS – AS I mentioned above if your stars aren’t appearing in the preseason don’t freak out. That being said there is still some relevant injury news for NBA fantasy players from the last week. The biggest news is that Nic Batum (Hornets, SG/SF) has a torn ligament in his elbow which means he will be out of action for at least a few months. Kawhi Leonard (Spurs, SF) is likely to be out for the whole preseason as he continues to rehab from a quadriceps injury while LeBron James is still day-to-day after turning his ankle. Finally some good news for 76er fans, Joel Embiid has been cleared to resume 5-on-5 drills and seems on track to be ready for opening night, but won’t appear in preseason action.
- AN off kicking night from Nick Folk (Buccaneers, K) pretty much cost Tampa Bay the win against the Patriots after going 0-3 on field goal tries. Jamies Winston had a chance to win it, but couldn’t connect with his receivers as time expired giving New England the 19-14 W.
- WITH the injury bug biting plenty of fantasy relevant studs, coaches are scrambling to find waiver wire replacements. Be sure to monitor players statuses closer to kickoff and make moves if necessary. The Vikings running backs have shuffled around with Latavius Murray the most popular add of the week. Other names who are garnering plenty of attention include Jake Elliott (Eagles, K), Cameron Brate, (Buccaneers, TE) and Aaron Jones (Packers, RB).
- THE first of seven bye weeks is here with four teams out of action in Week 5. The Falcons, Saints, Broncos and Redskins are all on hiatus this week, so if you have any of them on your roster then make changes accordingly so you don’t have empty slots on your team this week.
- HOUSTON was all sorts of dominant against Tennessee with QB Deshaun Watson leading the way with a round high 33.7 points. The Texans stud threw four touchdown passes and rushed for a score of his own. LeVeon Bell (Steelers, RB) wasn’t far off the pace with 144 rushing yards and a pair of TD’s helping him pave the way for running backs. Jordy Nelson’s 19.5 was the highest score from all receivers.
MUST ADD – Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans, QB
IT seems like the Texans made the right call in benching Tom Savage for Watson. The rookie quarterback has improved weekly and seems like the real deal for the Texans. Understandably there will be ups and downs with a first-year pro, but Watson at least gives you a great option to cover your usual QB during his bye at absolute worst.
Other candidates: Latavius Murray (Vikings, RB, 77.6%) & Robbie Gould (49ers, K, 19.5%)
MUST DROP – Adrian Peterson, New Orleans Saints, RB
GONE are the days of seeing Peterson chalk up tons of yardage and dominate from a fantasy perspective. The now New Orleans Saint has just 81 rushing yards in four games this year on 27 carries including a four carry, four-yard performance last week. It’s nice to see his name on your team sheet, but only for nostalgic purposes. Dispose of him immediately.
Other candidates: J.J. Nelson (Cardinals, WR, 42.0%) & Dolphins D/ST (D/ST, 15.1%)
Image from canalstreetchronicles.com
INJURY NEWS – SOME big names suffered injuries and are due for a lengthy stint on the sidelines in Week 4. None were bigger than rookie phenom Dalvin Cook (Vikings, RB) who’s ACL tear means that he will be robbed of the rest of his first pro season. He was joined by another rookie back from the Seahawks in Chris Carson. His ankle/lower leg issues have him IR bound and out until at least the last month of the year. Julio Jones (Falcons, WR, hip), Marcus Mariota (Titans, QB, hamstring) and Derek Carr (Raider, QB, back) were all unable to finish their games over the weekend with the likes of Carlos Hyde and Odell Beckham also currently tabbed with dreaded ‘questionable’ label.