Week 2 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em
The Bulls brought veteran Richard Hamilton in last offseason to provide another strong perimeter option besides Derrick Rose in the offense. Hamilton struggled with injuries and never really got going, especially with Rose going in and out of the lineup himself.
The Bulls offense was expected to struggle mightily without Rose this season, and nobody had much in the way of expectations for Hamilton, a 34-year-old who has been unable to stay healthy in recent seasons.
Maybe flying under the radar is just what Hamilton needs at this point in his career, as he has been on fire to start for the Bulls. Healthy and looking to convince either the Bulls or another team that there are some miles left in his veteran legs, Hamilton is off to a quick start through the first handful of games. Hamilton has scored 19 points in each of the team's first two contests heading into Week 2 and is our Start of the Week.
The Bulls lived without Rose last season and they made do with a stingy defense and patchwork offense, a pattern they will follow this year. Hamilton should continue to be a big part of patching things up, as one of just a few strong options out on the perimeter. The Bulls have a soft schedule in Week 2, with the Magic, Thunder and Timberwolves on the way. Both Oklahoma City and Minnesota finished in the bottom half of the league in points allowed per game and the Magic lost a transformation defensive player in the offseason, so the Bulls should not face much resistance.
Hamilton is currently starting in just 14 percent of CBSSports.com Fantasy formats, so he has a solid chance to provide you with some value this coming week.
J.J. Redick , Magic (@CHI, @MIN, BKN, @BKN): The Magic got their season started a bit later than most teams, as they made their debut Friday night against the Nuggets. That limits what we've been able to see from them, which makes it hard to know how the team plans to use its rotation. Still, they make up for it with four games in Week 2 (Nov. 5-11), they should provide some solid opportunities for Redick to get going. Early indications are that Redick is going to be a major contributor, especially after Hedo Turkoglu suffered a broken hand in the opener and Redick posted 21 points and six assists. The Bulls remain a formidable defense, but both Minnesota and Brooklyn might have their flaws on that end of the floor. Redick struggle against the Bulls last season, as would be expected, but he managed 11.8 points and 3.0 assists per game against the Nets and Wolves. He won't start for the Magic, but Redick is one of their few offensive options.
Jamal Crawford , Clippers (CLE, SAS, @POR, ATL): We were a bit worried about Crawford's role in the Clippers' offense, in a deep backcourt. While it was only one game, Crawford got 30 minutes and was a major contributor in the team's first game against the Grizzlies and then saw 31 minutes two days later against the Lakers. Crawford thrived playing off Chris Paul in that game and if the team keeps giving him minutes in the high 20s, the production will be there. Three of the Los Angeles' four opponents this week ranked below the league average in points allowed per game last season. Crawford should continue to provide a spark for the Clippers in Week 2.
Sleeper Alert: Austin Rivers , Hornets (PHI, CHA): I remain skeptical on Rivers' long-term NBA potential, especially in the point-guard role that the Hornets envision him filling before long. However, with the news Friday that Eric Gordon will miss four-to-six weeks with a lingering knee issue, Rivers is cemented into the off-guard spot for the Hornets. I recommend him with serious reservations, as Rivers struggled in preseason and summer league action and has shown little in the early going of the regular season. However, he is a starting player who should see more than 25 minutes per game and has some offensive upside, so consider taking a flier on the rookie.
J.R. Smith , Knicks (@PHI, DAL): If there is one thing we know about Smith at this point in his career, it is that you never know what he will do on a nightly basis. While he should see a decent role on this Knicks team, given its need at shooting guard, there is no guarantee he'll provide production on a nightly basis. While that should even out over the long run of a season, it makes Smith difficult to count on with just two games on the schedule. His shot can disappear from night to night, as it did when he went 3 for 11 in the team's season opener Friday. You don't want to risk Smith dropping a stinker with just one chance to make up for it.
Gerald Green , Pacers (@SAS, @ATL, @MIN, WAS): Green was one of the great stories of the season last year, as he made a triumphant return to the league and quickly emerged as a weapon off the bench for the Nets. We expected more of the same this season, especially with early news of Danny Granger 's lingering knee issues. Green moved into the starting lineup for the Pacers in the first week of the season, but he struggled to find the form that made him so dynamic a year ago. Perhaps, once Granger returns to the floor, Green will find his rhythm, but he seems out of sorts in the starting lineup. Green turned the ball over six times in his first game while scoring just six points. This is a decent slate of games for him to put up numbers, but the former first-round flameout is back to the point where he has to prove himself.
Bust Alert: Devin Harris , Hawks (IND, MIA, @LAC): Harris has gotten very used to being a primary ball handler in his career, so the offseason trade to Atlanta certainly puts him in an interesting place. Harris started at the off-guard spot in the team's first game, and ended up playing just 22 minutes. It remains to be seen whether that will be his role moving forward, but there is clearly going to be some adjustment for the eight-year veteran. Matchups against extremely tough defenses in Miami and Indiana this week won't help matters, so consider him a risky option while he finds himself.
Brandon Bass , Celtics (WAS, PHI, @MIL): There was a strange and pervasive lack of belief in Bass' Fantasy value this offseason. The Celtics added a bunch of depth, including a very talented rookie power forward in Jared Sullinger , so everyone just assumed that Bass would find himself as the odd man out in the offense. Only 67 percent of Fantasy owners own Bass right now, and only 33 percent of them had him in the starting lineup for the first week of the season. Bass remains in the starting lineup however, and he opened the season with a 15-point, 11-rebound night against the Heat to prove that he is still a factor. His role might reduce as the young guys progress down the line, but for now he remains firmly entrenched. Bass averaged 12.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game against Boston's Week 2 opponents, so get him in the lineup.
Andrei Kirilenko , Timberwolves (@BKN, ORL, IND, @CHI): It is understandable that some Fantasy owners might want to avoid Kirilenko, after he spent a year away from the league. He wasn't just sitting on the couch, though; Kirilenko was widely considered the best professional player in Europe last season. He showed he is still very much in NBA shape in his season debut against the Kings, with a vintage Kirilenko stat line. He had 10 points, seven rebounds, five assists and a block in that game. Kirilenko should continue to see strong minutes as a member of the rotation, and Week 2 offers him some solid matchups. The Nets and Magic should be porous defensively this season, so Kirilenko could get off to a quick start in this scoring period.
Sleeper Alert: Carl Landry , Warriors (@SAC, CLE, @LAL, DEN): This section was originally written about Landry's Golden State teammate Brandon Rush , however he suffered a seemingly major knee injury Friday night that looks like it could cost him a long time. Landry fits in Rush's spot perfectly; however, as he has gotten off to a very strong start to the season. He is averaging 18.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game coming off the bench for the Warriors through the season's first two games. He has proven he can be a pretty consistent 12-point, 6-rebound-per-game kind of player even in a reserve role, which definitely has value. Landry averaged 14.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in six contests against his Week 2 opponents a year ago, so we like his chances to keep rolling.
Al-Farouq Aminu , Hornets (PHI, CHA): Aminu blew up in the first game of the season, with 17 points against the Spurs. Seventeen points is not "blowing up" for a lot of players, but that is indicative of the way Aminu's career has gone. That performance and another solid one Friday might have prompted some Fantasy owners to consider adding Aminu off waivers in the hopes that the former lottery pick is starting to live up to his potential. While it is possible that he will figure things out this year, let's wait before Aminu plays more than one game. We have 147 games worth of data indicating he is a very poor player, so Fantasy owners should wait for a bigger sample size of success before counting on Aminu.
Trevor Ariza , Wizards (@BOS, MIL, @IND): Ariza can fill the box score up as well as anyone in the league when he is on; he had two blocks, three steals, four assists and three rebounds in the Wizards' season opener. Unfortunately, he has been unable to figure out how to score efficiently at this point in his career, a problem that will only be compounded by the Wizards' general offensive incompetence. Ariza has not shot better than 41.7 percent in a season since 2008-09, and he will probably continue to struggle in Week 2. Boston held opponents to just 41.9 percent shooting last year, and Indiana was only slightly worse at 43.5 percent. The Wizards offense could be in for long nights in both matchups.
Bust Alert: Antawn Jamison , Lakers (@UTA, GSW, SAC): When you're wrong, the least you can do is admit it. Especially when you're really, really wrong like I was. So that's what I'll do. I called Jamison a Start of the Week last week, due to the Lakers' four-game schedule giving him more chances to produce. I'll admit to working under a pair of assumptions that turned out not to be true through the season's first week. The first was that the Lakers would generate tons of offense in a new fast-paced style. The second was that Jamison is still a capable offensive player. While it is always advisable to take the first few games with something approaching a boulder of salt, Jamison has been a total non-factor for the Lakers. He has attempted just eight shots through the team's first three games. Jamison looks lost on a team that won't be using him as a primary offensive option -- and he brings nothing else to the table. The Lakers have some solid offensive matchups in Week 2, but it is best to steer clear of him at this point.
Omer Asik , Rockets (DEN, @MEM, DET): Asik was a per-minute star and integral member of the Bulls' bench rotation last season, but there were real concerns about his ability to keep his play up as a full-time start in Houston. The offense can be ugly at times (he went 0 for 7 in the second game of the season), but he is also going to hit the boards hard and post solid defensive numbers. He averaged 12.0 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per-36 minutes in his Chicago career and he has lived up to that through the first few games of the season in Houston. He also has some solid chemistry with Jeremy Lin and James Harden in the pick and roll, so easy buckets will be there for him. The Rockets have a matchup against the tough Grizzlies sandwiched between a pair of fairly soft frontcourts in Week 2, so Asik should help you out.
Sleeper Alert: Jonas Valanciunas , Raptors (@OKC, @DAL, PHI): There were a lot of questions about Valanciunas' ability to help at the NBA level right away. The early going has not necessarily answered them, but he has held his own. At the very least, Valanciunas is going to block shots and grab rebounds in the 20 or so minutes he sees every night. Oklahoma City has a solid front court, but injuries have limited the Mavericks' and Sixers' options, giving them issues with depth and size.
Andre Drummond , Pistons (@DEN, @SAC, @OKC, @HOU): We have yet to see how Drummond responds to the stress of an NBA back-to-back, but Week 2 gives us two chances. He has opened the season as the Pistons' backup center and has seen less of the floor than we might have expected for a lottery pick. He played just 13 minutes in the team's opener and followed up with just 19 the next game. With four road games and pair of back-to-backs, Drummond may take some time to get up to speed. His upside is high, but this may not be the week Detroit chooses to unleash him.
Bust Alert: Andrew Bogut , Warriors (@SAC, CLE, @LAL, DEN): Bogut's ankle seems to be recovered from offseason surgery, but the team is not going to take any chances. They have already said Bogut will be limited to 20-25 minutes on most nights and will likely not play in back-to-backs. That puts Bogut out for either the Lakers or the Nuggets game. He is one of the most productive all-around centers in the game, when healthy, but the minute and role restrictions will hamper him this week.