Week 1 Fantasy Basketball Planner
The NBA regular season is back and it's time to set those lineups for Week 1. Our Sergio Gonzalez runs through all of the preseason performances, the latest injuries and the favorable schedules in his Fantasy Planner.
Week 1 (Oct. 26-Nov. 1)
Teams playing four games: Boston, Cleveland, L.A. Clippers,
Teams playing three games: Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, L.A. Lakers, Memphis, Miami, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Antonio, Toronto, Washington
Teams playing two games: Golden State, Indiana, Milwaukee, Utah
Chris Douglas-Roberts and Courtney Lee
had eye-opening preseasons for the Nets. They should be scooped up where
available and could be considered decent sleeper starts for Week 1 ... Rasheed Wallace averaged 9.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 24.6 minutes per
game. He should see more minutes than that in the regular season and
considering his eligibility at center, he may be a suitable No. 2 center
in deeper leagues ... Danilo Gallinari
was not overly impressive in the preseason, averaging just 8.6 points
per game. His back did appear to be completely healthy at least ... Chris Duhon was unimpressive in the preseason and is coming off a bad
second half last season. Don't start him until he can prove as effective
as he did in the first half of last season if you can avoid it ... Lou Williams averaged 13.9 points in eight preseason games, but
just 2.3 assists. He's a breakout candidate, but his low assist rate is
a bit of a concern going into the season. Let him show you what he can
do in regular-season action as a starter for the first time before
activating him. The opener will be his first career NBA start.
Injury report: Nets guard Devin Harris (groin) was held out of preseason action, but mostly as a precaution. He is expected to be ready to go by Wednesday's opener. He's a safe play ... Eddy Curry (calf) may not be ready for the team's opener, but Fantasy owners wouldn't dream of starting him anyway ... It's status quo for everyone else that has any kind of Fantasy value. No injury risks in the Atlantic Division for Week 1.
Favorable matchup: Boston Celtics (@CLE, CHA, CHI, NO) None of the matchups are particularly appealing for the Celtics, who will play four tough defensive teams this week. But the Celtics are the only team in the division with four games. That goes a long way in standard cumulative-scoring leagues. For average-based play, the Sixers have more favorable matchups against the Knicks and Bucks, both teams that allowed over 100 points per game last season.
Unfavorable matchup: Toronto Raptors (CLE, @MEM, ORL) Of the three teams the Raptors will face in Week 1, two ranked among the top six defensive teams in the NBA last season. None of the three teams allowed 100 points per game.
|1.||Brandon Jennings, G, Bucks||25|
|2.||Chris Douglas-Roberts, G, Nets||25|
|2.||Channing Frye, C, Suns||23|
|4.||Danilo Gallinari, F, Knicks||19|
|5.||Terrence Williams, G, Nets||19|
|6.||DeJuan Blair, F, Spurs||16|
|7.||Corey Brewer, F, Timberwolves||16|
|8.||Julian Wright, F, Hornets||11|
|9.||Shane Battier, G, Rockets||9|
|10.||DeMar DeRozan, G, Raptors||9|
Bulls rookie Taj Gibson had an
impressive preseason, averaging 12.4 points and 5.8 rebounds in 28.4
minutes per game. He'll likely find that playing time hard to come by
behind Tyrus Thomas once the season
starts, however, and should only be stashed away and not activated.
Thomas averaged 15.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.0 blocks per
game in four preseason contests. He is a prime breakout candidate ...
Bulls forward Luol Deng looked healthy
in the preseason coming off his injury-riddled 2008-09 campaign. In 27.3
minutes per contest, he averaged 10.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.4
assists. He is a bounce-back candidate and should be thought of as a No.
3 forward with the upside of a No. 2 going into the season ... Cavaliers
guard Delonte West did not play in a
single preseason game due to his dealings with Bipolar Disorder. At this
point, it's unlikely the team will count on him as their starting
shooting guard going into the season. That will likely go to Anthony Parker, a decent add in 12-team leagues ... Pistons guard Will Bynum may have had an impressive preseason, but Rodney Stuckey is still the man at the point for the Pistons. Stuckey
averaged a solid 15.8 points in eight preseason contests and is a
low-end No. 2 guard or solid No. 3 in standard 12-team leagues ... The Richard Hamilton/Ben Gordon experiment
wasn't a major factor in the preseason as the rotation was not an issue,
but look to see how the Pistons break down the minutes and the shot
attempts in Week 1. Going in, we like Gordon over Hamilton in all
formats with Gordon a strong No. 2 option and Hamilton more of a No. 3,
despite the fact that Gordon will come off the bench behind Hamilton ... Ben Wallace and Kwame Brown are
expected to rotate at center for the most part, but we don't see Big Ben
getting more than 20 minutes per night and Brown doesn't have much
upside. This timeshare will be mostly an unattractive one for Fantasy
owners unless Chris Wilcox can sneak in
and take the lion's share of the minutes at some point ... Pacers center Roy Hibbert was one of the more interesting stories of the
preseason from a Fantasy standpoint. He won the starting job with a
strong 13.6 points and 5.4 rebounds in seven preseason contests, but it
was his 3.6 blocks that should have Fantasy owners drooling. He's a No.
2 Fantasy center going into the regular season that could be in line for
a breakout season that will have him as a No. 1 center before long ...
The Pacers may use Dahntay Jones at
shooting guard in spurts for defense and may even start him from time to
time, but it will be Brandon Rush who
will get the majority of the minutes and the shot attempts out of the
two-spot. Jones is not worth starting in Fantasy, but Rush is a solid
No. 4 guard in all formats ... Bucks rookie Brandon Jennings has been the most added player in CBSSports.com
leagues and the Bucks could choose to start him right out of the gate,
but veteran Luke Ridnour could be the
smarter choice for his experience. Expect at least an even timeshare to
begin the year and don't get too caught up in the preseason excitement.
Once the real season begins, the Bucks are likely to bring Jennings
along at a cautious pace. Ridnour will allow them to do that.
Injury report: Bulls guards Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich finished the preseason a bit banged up, but both are expected to play in the team's opener against San Antonio and are safe plays ... Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince has been dealing with a pesky cut under his toe that kept him out of preseason games, but he should be in the starting lineup against Memphis Wednesday ... Pistons center Kwame Brown is also expected to be ready for the opener, but if you needed another reason not to start him, this is it ... Pacers guard T.J. Ford is dealing with a hamstring issue and, considering Indiana's two-game week, is a player to avoid starting this week if you have healthy alternatives.
Favorable matchup: Cleveland Cavaliers (BOS, @TOR, @MIN, CHA) Matchups against Boston and Charlotte could be low-scoring, but a four-game week that includes games against two teams that allowed over 100 points per game last season is promising.
Unfavorable matchup: Indiana Pacers (@ATL, MIA) The Pacers will play just two games this week, a big problem in cumulative formats. They'll also face two teams that allowed under 100 points per game last season.
|1.||Andray Blatche, F, Wizards||21|
|2.||Chris Douglas-Roberts, G, Nets||12|
|3.||Jonny Flynn, G, Timberwolves||25|
|4.||Brandon Bass, F, Magic||6|
|5.||Drew Gooden, F/C, Mavericks||17|
|6.||Channing Frye, C, Suns||14|
|7.||Julian Wright, F, Hornets||6|
|8.||Mickael Pietrus, F, Magic||3|
|9.||Terrence Williams, F, Nets||8|
|10.||Chuck Hayes, F, Rockets||0|
Hawks new addition Jamal Crawford
averaged just 7.5 points in four preseason games. It could take him a
while to get settled in and Fantasy owners should view him as more of a
No. 3 guard until he gets settled in ... Bobcats center Tyson Chandler was limited in the preseason due to injury and looked
out of shape in the two games he did play. It could be a slow start for
Chandler in his new digs ... Heat forward Michael Beasley can't stay out of trouble it seems. He had rather solid
preseason (14.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.0 steals)
sandwiched between two off-the-court incidents involving pictures of him
partying perhaps a little too much. He also dealt with a conveniently
timed thumb issue toward the end of the preseason. Start him for his
talent and promise to begin the year, but don't be surprised to find
yourself shopping him around very soon ... Heat center Jermaine O'Neal worked out extensively in the offseason in order to stay
healthy this regular season. He was not impressive in the preseason, but
didn't push himself much either. He could be a much improved No. 2
Fantasy center this season, however, if he really does stay healthy ...
The Magic will have a new starting power forward this season in Brandon Bass. He looked very solid in the preseason, averaging 12.7
points and 5.9 rebounds in just 23.4 minutes per game and is a solid
sleeper option for Week 1 ... With Rashard Lewis
suspended for the first 10 games of the season, Mickael Pietrus will start in his place for Orlando and is another
sleeper option for deep leagues this week. He averaged 11.6 points and
3.0 rebounds in the preseason ... Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas wasn't pushed much in the preseason, but the important
part is that he looked healthy. The word out of Washington is that he
looks to be 100 percent recovered and Fantasy owners should not be
worried about activating him to begin the year ... The Wizards could
rotate between Mike Miller, DeShawn Stevenson and Randy Foye to
begin the season at shooting guard. Miller is the most desirable Fantasy
option of the three ... Wizards forward Andray Blatche will be worth a start as a No. 4 forward in larger
formats for the first few weeks of the season with Antawn Jamison sidelined.
Injury report: Bobcats guard Raja Bell (wrist) is still waiting to decide on whether or not to have surgery that could sideline him for up to four months. Clearly, he is someone to avoid starting in all leagues, but his decision will directly affect D.J. Augustin. We consider Augustin a good play this week, but Bell's absence would make him a great play ... Heat forward Michael Beasley (thumb) is expected to be ready for the team's opener Wednesday ... Wizards forward Antawn Jamison will miss the first month of the season with a shoulder injury.
Favorable matchup: Miami Heat (NY, @IND, CHI) The Knicks and Pacers both allowed over 100 points per game last season, ranking among the five teams that gave up the most points last season. The Bulls allowed 102.5 points per game.
Unfavorable matchup: Washington Wizards (@DAL, @ATL, NJ) Two of the team's three opponents this week allowed fewer than 100 points last season.
Mavericks forward Shawn Marion had an
outstanding preseason, averaging 18.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals
and 1.0 assists in just 22.7 minutes per game. He could be ready for a
return to Fantasy prominence ... Mavericks big man Drew Gooden could steal much of the playing time at center away from Erick Dampier. Fantasy owners should hope so, since Dampier is
virtually useless in Fantasy and Gooden has 10-and-10 potential ... Chuck Hayes looks like the starting center to begin the year for the
Houston Rockets. He should pick up center eligibility after five games
in leagues that allow for multiple eligibility and is worth scooping up
in larger formats immediately ... David Andersen
came out of nowhere to put up significant numbers in the preseason, but
he'll have to earn his minutes off the bench. Take a flier on him in
deeper leagues in the hopes that he gets a chance for good minutes
during the regular season. The Rockets are slim up front without Yao Ming ... Start your Grizzlies this week, but be extra attentive
to see how the shot distribution works out. With so many scorers,
somebody (perhaps everybody) is bound to take an offensive hit ... The
Hornets are expected to try and feature Julian Wright as a starter this season with Peja Stojakovic coming off the bench. Stojakovic should still see
good minutes off the bench and will remain viable -- especially where
his three-point shooting is rewarded. Wright is an interesting young
sleeper. He averaged 7.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3
steals in 24.9 minutes per game during the preseason ... Morris Peterson is expected to start at shooting guard for the
Hornets, but the veteran will likely see much of his minutes go to
Stojakovic ... Spurs rookie DeJuan Blair
was the talk of the NBA preseason, averaging 13.9 points and 7.9
rebounds and looking like the heir apparent to Tim Duncan. But once the regualar season begins, it will be hard
for Blair to put up consistent numbers. He's certainly worth owning,
especially if you own Duncan, but Blair is not worth starting in Fantasy
Injury report: Mavericks forward Josh Howard continues to deal with an ankle injury, but he has been able to practice with the team and is expected to start in the opener. He is a safe play, although he does not appear to be 100 percent, so keep that in mind ... Rockets forward Luis Scola (ankle) is expected to be available for the team's opener. He is a safe start in Fantasy ... Grizzlies guard Allen Iverson (hamstring) is possibly going to be a game-time decision for the opener. The Grizzlies play three games this week, but Iverson is a highly risky play ... Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (ankle) is considered day to day, but he is expected to be ready for the opener. Consider him just a mild injury risk for Week 1 ... Hornets guard Chris Paul (illness) should be just fine for the opener. Start him him in all leagues ... Hornets center Emeka Okafor (toe) missed the entire preseason, but he has been able to scrimmage with the team and looks like he could go for the team's season opener. Fantasy owners have to consider him a real injury risk. The injury plus conditioning could be a real issue with him this week. Play it safe where possible.
Favorable matchup: Dallas Mavericks (WAS, @LAL, @LAL) The Mavs' three opponents allowed 102.2 points per game on average last season.
Unfavorable matchup: Houston Rockets (@POR, @GS, POR) Sure, the Rockets play everyone's favorite Fantasy opponent in the Warriors, but a Rockets team looking for an offensive identity will face a Blazers team that allowed the fourth fewest points in the NBA last season -- twice in one week.
Nuggets G J.R. Smith will serve a
seven-game suspension to begin the season, making Arron Afflalo a possible sleeper in deep leagues for the first two
scoring periods of the season. We don't recommend starting him out of
the gate, but he could be an interesting mid-week replacement in daily
lineup leagues if he gets off to a strong start ... Timberwolves rookie Jonny Flynn looks like the starting point guard from the get go,
pushing Ramon Sessions to more of a
scorer role. Flynn averaged a strong 14.6 points and 4.5 assists in
eight preseason games. He is a viable Fantasy starter in Week 1.
Sessions could take a while to get settled into a hybrid role. It's
something he's done in the past with Milwaukee, but the Timberwolves may
not be completely sure how they want to use him right away ...
Timberwolves swingman Corey Brewer likely
won a starting job out of the preseason by averaging 15.3 points, 4.3
rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.8 steals. Want a sleeper for Week 1? Here is
a great one ... Trail Blazers new addition Andre Miller voiced his displeasure over being used as a backup in
Portland, saying that had he known that would be the case he would have
signed elsewhere. He still managed to average 13.6 points, 3.8 assists
and 3.6 rebounds in the preseason, but he could be looking at an
adjustment period to start the season and Fantasy owners should temper
expectations. Steve Blake is going to
start, but will see a drop in minutes compared to last year, obviously,
with Miller around ... Nicolas Batum
continues to start at small forward for the Blazers, but it's Travis Outlaw who will continue to see most of the playing time ...
The Blazers have not come out and said who will start at center, but Greg Oden showed major signs of progress in the preseason and should
get much of the minutes at the five either way over Joel Przybilla. Oden can start as a No. 2 center in any Fantasy
format ... Nenad Krstic and Etan Thomas had an uneventful battle for the Thunder's starting
center position. Expect a timeshare with neither player being a strong
play in Fantasy for Week 1 ... Thunder rookie James Harden is not going to be a starter to begin the season, but Thabo Sefolosha is. Sefolosha is worth stashing in deeper formats.
... Carlos Boozer will start over Paul Millsap, but Millsap should see an increase in playing time
over what he saw last season as Millsap is the team's future power
forward and Boozer is playing out his contract. View Boozer as the
stronger play in Fantasy, a low-end No. 1 forward or high-end No. 2,
while Millsap bides his time as a No. 3 for now.
Injury report: Timberwolves center Al Jefferson is coming off major knee surgery, but he's now dealing with an Achilles' injury that has limited him late in the preseason. He could be a game-time decision for the team's opener Wednesday against New Jersey and is a real injury risk this week. He's worth the gamble, but you may want to consider playing it safe if you have a strong alternative ... Trail Blazers guard Rudy Fernandez (back) is considered day to day. He is only worth starting as a source for threes and there are healthier options for help in that area at the moment ... Jazz guard Ronnie Brewer is day to day with a tight back, but he is expected to be ready for the team's opener and is a safe play in Fantasy.
Favorable matchup: Portland Trail Blazers (HOU, DEN, @HOU) The Nuggets allowed 100.9 points per game last season and the Rockets don't have much of a presence down low with Yao Ming out for the season. It could be a big week for LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden.
Unfavorable matchup: Oklahoma City Thunder (SAC, @DET, POR) The Pistons and Trail Blazers allowed under 95 points per game last season, though Sacramento allowed the second most points in the NBA. The Jazz have just two games this week, but both come against favorable opponents that allowed over 100 points per game last season (Nuggets and Clippers).
Warriors forward Anthony Randolph
enters the season as a Fantasy darling. He should get good minutes at
power forward to begin the season and had a good showing in the
preseason, averaging 11.7 points and 7.4 rebounds. Start him as a No. 4
forward in any league, but he has the upside for much, much more. Beware
of Don Nelson's ever-changing rotations and a bum back and knee entering
the year, however ... Warriors F/G Stephen Jackson
enters the season as a Fantasy landmine, but he should remain a focal
point offensively for one of the highest scoring teams in the NBA as
long as he can behave. Start him while you can, despite offseason (and
preseason) drama that included a suspension and relinquished captaincy
... The Warriors are likely to rotate Anthony Morrow and Stephen Curry at
the shooting guard position to start the season, which could earn Curry
shooting guard eligibility in leagues that use individual positions and
allow for multiple eligibility. Curry and Morrow both are worth
monitoring for the first week of the season, but are at best No. 4
options in larger leagues ... Clippers rookie Blake Griffin will be making his much-anticipated NBA debut this week
as a starter. There could be some jitters involved, but we expect him to
be a strong start as a high-end No. 3 forward ... Sacramento rookie Tyreke Evans appears to be headed into the season as the team's
starting point guard, pushing aside Beno Udrih.
Evans will be matched up against stiff competition in Week 1, however,
against Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and Tony Parker, so
Fantasy owners should play him with caution ... Desmond Mason is expected to start at small forward for the Kings, but
it will be Andres Nocioni who should see
most of the minutes there ... Need a sleeper center for Week 1? Channing Frye will start for the Suns and will get to face the
Fantasy-friendly Warriors ... Don't forget that Suns guard Jason Richardson will be suspended for two of his team's three games
this week and should be reserved outside of average-based leagues.
Injury report: Anthony Randolph is dealing with a bad back and knee going into the start of the regular season that could limit him a bit out of the gate. Considering his lack of a track record and the injuries, it's a good idea to play it safe with him in Week 1. Monitor his progress ... Clippers big man Marcus Camby is questionable for the team's opener at the Lakers due to an ankle injury. The Clippers play four games this week, however, making it likely he'll play at some point. Camby is a mild injury risk, but then again he almost always is ... Clippers rookie Blake Griffin has a sore knee, but we find it unlikely he will be held out of a game that is sure to draw a lot of look-ins from around the country as Griffin makes his NBA debut. Play him with caution in Week 1, but our best estimate is that he'll play ... Lakers big man Pau Gasol (hamstring) could miss the team's season opener against the Clippers. Expect the Lakers to play it safe as they have long-term plans in mind, so it wouldn't surprise us to see Gasol sit one game or all three this week. Play it safe here (the Lakers will) and look to go with an alternative. His absence could make Lamar Odom and Ron Artest more productive in Week 1.
Favorable matchup: Los Angeles Clippers (@LAL, PHO, @UTA, DAL) A four-game week for the Clippers includes games against a Suns team that allowed 107.5 points per game last season.
Unfavorable matchup: Sacramento Kings (@OKC, @NO, @SA) No home games this week and the Kings will face two teams that finished among the top-five defensive teams in the NBA last season.
Do you have a draft prep question for our staff? You can e-mail us at DMFantasyHoops@cbs.com. Be sure to put Attn: Weekly Planner in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state.
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