The key to success early in the season is to find the right balance between overreacting to small-sample sizes and missing out on potential studs.
There is value in being patient and sticking with the guys you draft -- after all, you liked them a week ago, right? However, you also need to make sure you don't mistake prudence for timidity, because there is a fine line between the two.
Sure, Perry Jones probably won't remain the team's top offensive option for long, with Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb expected back and likely to cut into his playing time and shots some. However, he is a talented young player with a clear role for at least a month, so if you are too conservative in your projection for him, you might miss out on a stud.
In fact, Jones should probably be in the lineup of every single Fantasy owner who snagged him in Week 2 (Nov. 3-9). The Thunder play four times this week, and though they have a few tough matchups on the way, that shouldn't be enough to scare you off, given how well Jones has played in his larger role.
There's a lot of noise to filter out after the first week, as the Brandon Jennings vs. D.J. Augustin point guard battle has shown us. Coach Stan Van Gundy showed a short leash with Jennings in the first two games, which led to Augustin logging 71 minutes to Jennings' 36. However, Augustin failed to do much to take advantage of that, and he ceded his playing time edge back to Jennings Saturday; I don't think Jennings will give much of it back.
More often than not, you should still be going with your gut here; after all, you drafted these guys for a reason, right? Every team but one plays between three and four games, so you aren't likely to find big advantages in the schedule in Week 2.
Darren Collison, Kings (81 percent started)
The Kings have the best schedule in the league on the way, largely
thanks to a pair of matchups against the Nuggets to open the week.
Denver has been surprisingly stingy to open the season, allowing just 90
points per game in their first two contests, but that seems unlikely to
remain true, given their track record. Those games could turn into
shootouts, and Collison has taken well to the Kings' offense early in
his career. He was brought in to serve as a less ball-dominant version
of Isaiah Thomas, and so far has been
that, with just a 20.2 percent usage rate. However, he is still getting
plenty of chances to put up numbers, as he ranks eighth in the league in
touches per game. This is a paper-thin team, so Collison doesn't have a
ton of competition as the third option at this point.
I would start Collison over... Jeff Teague, Jrue Holiday, Jeremy Lin
Jimmy Butler, Bulls (41 percent started)
A wrist injury kept Butler out for the first two games of the season,
but he made up lost time with a 24-point effort Saturday. He won't be a
primary option offensively often for the Bulls, because they just have
too many choices, but they do have a very soft schedule this week.
I would start Butler over... J.J. Redick, J.R. Smith, Kevin Martin
Arron Afflalo, Nuggets (59 percent started)
The Nuggets have had a lot of trouble getting their offense going
through the first few games, but I'm not too concerned about that. They
have a nice set of matchups on the way this week, with Sacramento twice
followed by the Cavaliers -- whose defense remains a work in progress --
and Trail Blazers. Afflalo should be the first or second offensive
option on most nights, and has a good chance to fill it up this week.
I would start Afflalo over... Tony Parker, Kyle Korver, Tyreke Evans
Andrew Wiggins, Timberwolves (52 percent started)
We hoped Wiggins would come into the league as a Roto stud even if he struggled at times to put the ball in the net. He has held up the latter half of the bargain, but his overall production leaves a bit to be desired. While I am willing to have patience with Wiggins, I'm not sure he will be productive enough in a three-game week to be worth slotting into the starting lineup. Let him prove himself before you believe -- he'll get plenty of chances to do so.
Tobias Harris, Magic (72 percent started)
I like Harris a lot more long-term as a power forward, where his
athleticism plays up and his lack of long-range shooting can be hidden a
bit more. However, it is clear this Magic team is going to need a lot
from him out of the small forward spot, as he has taken at least a dozen
shots in each game. He might not be the most efficient player in the
league, but he's going to put up shots and play big minutes, and should
be able to find success against a schedule that gets a lot easier after
Tuesday's trip to Chicago.
I would start Harris over... Jeff Green, Ryan Anderson, Tim Duncan
Perry Jones, Thunder (39 percent started)
Like I said at the top, Jones probably needs to be active in all Fantasy
formats this week, even with some tough matchups on the way. He is going
to get 35-plus minutes each game, and lingering uncertainty surrounding
the availability of Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb means he should continue to be the De facto No. 1 option
in the offense. There might be some growing pains, as seen by his
1-for-9 effort on opening night, but Jones' role is too much of a sure
thing not to start.
I would start Jones over... Kawhi Leonard, Josh Smith, Markieff Morris
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Hornets (44 percent started)
Maybe this is an overreaction, but I was a bit higher on MKG than most
coming into the season anyways. While everyone was going crazy for Giannis Antetokounmpo this offseason, I was wondering where the
Kidd-Gilchrist hype had gone. He's not as good a scorer as he looked in
the opener, but he has a unique ability to fill up the box score from
the forward position thanks to his defensive abilities, and has a
handful of solid matchups on the way. Anecdotally, Kidd-Gilchrist looks
more confident than ever in his offensive game, even if his jump shot
hasn't become a weapon.
I would start Kidd-Gilchrist over... Giannis Antetokounmpo, Draymond Green, Kyle Korver
Draymond Green, Warriors (41 percent started)
Green mostly did what was expected from him in Week 1, filling up the box score and providing solid production all around. However, he isn't someone you necessarily need to pencil into your lineup every week no matter what, and this might be a good week to sit him. The Warriors play three times, and there is no guarantee Green will start each game, with David Lee's return from a hamstring injury looming as a possible factor.
Omer Asik, Pelicans (59 percent started)
The Pelicans don't have a great schedule coming up, with games against
the Grizzlies, Hornets and Spurs all representing tough matchups
defensively. Of course, that probably doesn't matter too much for Asik,
who thrives in ugly games. He is going to derive much of his value from
his ability to crash the glass and get putbacks, so defensive slugfests
suit him fine -- the more rebounds, the merrier. The Pelicans' relative
lack of depth in the front court means he should see a solid amount of
playing time, and has value as a No. 2 center.
I would start Asik over... Tyson Chandler, Larry Sanders, Nerlens Noel
Timofey Mozgov, Nuggets (21 percent started)
With Denver's depth, Mozgov is rarely going to be in line for big
minutes. They have too many other comparable options and would prefer to
keep him fresh when possible. Still, he has found ways to be effective
in each game so far, and is clearly the best player at the center
position for them. He has a pretty limited ceiling, but with four solid
matchups on the way, Mozgov can be a decent fill-in for Week 2.
I would start Mozgov over... Jordan Hill, Gorgui Dieng, Kelly Olynyk
Jordan Hill, Lakers (39 percent started)
Hill averaged 14.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game for the Lakers in Week 1, and looks very much like a starting Fantasy center moving forward. However, he is a risky start in Week 2, because the Schedule Gods are fickle. Hill and the Lakers played four games in Week 1, so they will take the court just twice in Week 2. Hill should be someone you consider as a starter on a weekly basis, but consider Week 2 an exception to that rule.
(A higher strength-of-schedule ranking is a good thing, based on points allowed last season)
Hawks: Three games, 29th in strength of schedule
Celtics: Four games, 26th in strength of schedule
Nets: Four games, 13th in strength of schedule
Hornets: Four games, 8th in strength of schedule
Bulls: Four games, 2nd in strength of schedule
Cavaliers: Three games, 10th in strength of schedule
Mavericks: Four games, 23rd in strength of schedule
Nuggets: Four games, 3rd in strength of schedule
Pistons: Three games, 18th in strength of schedule
Warriors: Three games, 16th in strength of schedule
Rockets: Four games, 19th in strength of schedule
Pacers: Four games, 17th in strength of schedule
Clippers: Three games, 20th in strength of schedule
Lakers: Two games, 27th in strength of schedule
Grizzlies: Four games, 4th in strength of schedule
Heat: Four games, 7th in strength of schedule
Bucks: Four games, 24th in strength of schedule
Timberwolves: Three games, 25th in strength of schedule
Pelicans: Three games, 30th in strength of schedule
Knicks: Four games, 14th in strength of schedule
Thunder: Four games, 22nd in strength of schedule
Magic: Four games, 9th in strength of schedule
76ers: Four games, 21st in strength of schedule
Suns: Four games, 11th in strength of schedule
Trail Blazers: Four games, 5th in strength of schedule
Kings: Four games, 1st in strength of schedule
Spurs: Three games, 15th in strength of schedule
Raptors: Four games, 12th in strength of schedule
Jazz: Four games, 6th in strength of schedule
Wizards: Four games, 28th in strength of schedule
Add these players
Perry Jones, F, Thunder (70 percent owned), worth $25 FAAB
Sebastian Telfair, G, Thunder (14 percent), worth $5 FAAB
Jones was covered in the intro, but he is our first must-add player of the season. You won't want to go crazy with an FAAB bid for him, because there is a time limit on his role, but he should be very productive for the next month or so. Telfair has much less upside, but there is still some question about Reggie Jackson's availability in the short team. Telfair could put up decent assists numbers as a starter, and might even have some appeal as a Fantasy reserve even when Jackson's return pushes him to the bench.
Chris Copeland, F, Pacers (23 percent owned), worth $5 FAAB
Luis Scola, PF, Pacers (14 percent owned), worth $2 FAAB
Donald Sloan, G, Pacers (52 percent owned), worth $5 FAAB
Even if George Hill and David West had been healthy to open the season, there would have been plenty of questions about the Pacers' rotation. Without those two, this is basically a free-for-all, with basically every healthy player on the roster getting a chance to earn a long-term role. Like the Pacers, you're just throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks with these guys, though Copeland should have a more consistent long-term role if he can continue hitting 3-pointers at a high volume.
Ed Davis, F, Lakers (60 percent owned), worth $10 FAAB
Davis has come off the bench in each game and has logged 30-plus minutes just once in four opportunities, but has managed to stay productive anyways. He is the only player on the roster besides Kobe Bryant to score in double figures in each game, thanks largely to 70.0 percent shooting from the field. Davis has long been an intriguing per-minute contributor, and he should be worth a flier on the off-chance Byron Scott comes to his senses and pulls the plug on Carlos Boozer's role.
Aaron Brooks, G, Bulls (9 percent owned), worth $2 FAAB
The concept of handcuffs is much less prevalent in Fantasy hoops than, say, football, but this is one exception. Brooks isn't guaranteed a big role for the Bulls, but he has played 20-plus minutes in each game so far, with Derrick Rose on a minutes limit and dealing with ankle issue. If you are a Rose owner and you have an extra roster spot, it makes sense to take a chance on Brooks, who has scored in double figures in each of the first three games and averaged 13.3 points and 6.9 assists as a starter last season.
Gerald Green, G, Suns (45 percent owned)
Green dropped 16 points in the team's most recent game, but he needed 18 field-goal attempts in a blowout loss to the Jazz to do it. He has found playing time a bit more difficult to come by in the early going, and doesn't really do enough overall to offset a loss of playing time. He is a high-volume scorer who may not have the volume this season.
Doug McDermott, F, Bulls (44 percent owned)
You drafted McDermott for his ability to score the ball and hoped he would get enough playing time to show it. However, you hopefully didn't invest too heavily in him, because playing time was always going to be somewhat tough to come by on a team with this kind of depth. McDermott was always someone you needed to have a quick trigger with, so don't be afraid to pull it if you have a chance to upgrade the roster.