So we are one month into the season, and we are starting to see some consistency in both the teams and the players.
Hitting the waiver-wire is now basically a nightly ritual for at least one of my many teams, and something that causes me endless hours of first-world stress. We can have a look at some streaming options for this week, and hopefully they will help you to rest easy at night.
Smith has looked better over the past three games, but he has the potential to cause you more stress than you already have. If you are prepared to take a risk on him, he could be a sneaky pickup. On a Cavs team that is struggling to even win a game, he is going to be given plenty of opportunities to let fly. He could also help with steals and three-pointers, if you happen to get him on a good night.
Hield has had a steady start to the season, averaging 12.3 points per game. Along with Smith, he is not going to do much else other than score, but could get you a steal per game, as well as a couple of three-pointers. He plays for a team that has looked really bad and needs all the scoring it can get. So rest assured – he will be one of the main offensive weapons moving forward.
Gibson seems to have been a nice fit next to Karl-Anthony Towns, and is playing plenty of minutes for a surging Timberwolves team. He has been a nice source of rebounds, in addition to providing some steals and points, with decent percentages. There is a pretty good chance he is available in your league, as people wait for the eventual return of Gorgui Dieng. This doesn't seem to be happening anytime soon, so grab him while he is healthy and playing big minutes.
As an owner of Len in many leagues, I can assure you, he has been really frustrating. He has shown glimpses of what he can do with 30 minutes a night, but constant foul trouble and Tyson Chandler have limited his time on the floor. Greg Monroe has now been thrown into the mix, ensuring even more uncertainty. However, when Len is on the floor, he is going to pull down some boards, making him worth a risk if you have some patience.
Ntilikina is a perfect example of a stash guy who can help you right now. He is almost certainly the future at the point-guard position for the Knicks, but exactly when they'll fully hand over the reins is anyone's guess. However, he is already beginning to see some consistent minutes and looks like he is able to run the team with confidence. As well as providing some assists, he's averaging 1.6 steals per game.
The Bulls are arguably the worst team in the league, and this is exactly why Dunn could be a sneaky pickup. He is still basically in a timeshare with Jerian Grant for the point guard minutes but does appear to be the better option moving forward. Over his last four games, Dunn is averaging 3.0 steals while chipping in 11.3 points. He is going to be up and down, but given the Bulls' lack of depth, should be seeing more time as the weeks progress.
Rivers is another player who is readily available and almost guaranteed 30 minutes a night. While his scoring is going to be inconsistent, along with most of his other numbers, he has had at least one steal in every game this season and is averaging close to two per game. Along with his ability to knock down the long-ball, he should definitely be owned in more leagues than he is.
Rudy Gobert has been ruled out for up to six weeks with a bone bruise in his knee. This is going to mean more minutes for Derrick Favors at the center position, as well as Sefolosha at the power-forward spot. While he is not going to blow anyone away with his numbers, with additional time, he could be a nice source of steals and rebounds. In his first start after Gobert's injury, he was able to collect five steals in 32 minutes of action. This is clearly unsustainable, but an indication of what is possible.
I talked about Henson in the blocks category last week but also discussed his decline upon Greg Monroe's return from injury. Well, clearly, that is not going to happen. Monroe was traded to the Suns, leaving the door open for Henson to get all the minutes he can handle. Like I said last week, he is not going to offer much, other than blocks and some rebounds, but they hard to come across on the wire. So if he is available, he is worth an add purely due to his upside and lack of competition for minutes.
Belinelli began the season strongly, before fading for a four game stretch. Over his last three games, he has picked things up again, averaging 2.7 three-pointers over that stretch. His minutes are completely reliant on whether he is shooting the ball well, so he is going to provide you with plenty of reason to drop him, but given he plays for Atlanta, he will be afforded some wiggle room, and could be a nice source of perimeter scoring.
Saric started the season very slowly, in complete contrast to Belinelli. Over his last four games however, he has picked things up, averaging 16.8 points per game while adding 3.3 three-pointers. He seems to have slotted into his new role, playing behind a healthy Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. While providing some perimeter offense, he can also help you in rebounds while not turning the ball over.
Games to watch
Detroit Pistons v Milwaukee Bucks – Tuesday 11/15, 8:00pm ET
Detroit continues to surprise many people with its early season form, now owning a 10-3 record, good for second in the East. On Wednesday, they match up against the Bucks, who recently acquired Eric Bledsoe, in a battle of two up and coming teams. The Bucks have looked good since the arrival of Bledsoe, and once he figures out the offense, they could push for a top four spot. Based on the Pistons current form, they could be one of the teams they have to contend with.
Golden State Warriors v Boston Celtics – Thursday 11/16, 8:00pm ET
This matchup could well be a preview of the NBA finals, with both teams demonstrating their credentials over the first month of the season. Although Boston lost Gordon Hayward on opening night, Kyrie Irving has led the Celtics to 12 straight wins, the best in the league. The Warriors are just doing what they do; winning games and making opposition defences look pretty ordinary. With both teams hopefully coming in at full-strength, it should be a great test for the young Celtics against the experienced and dynamic Warriors team.
Chicago Bulls v Phoenix Suns – Sunday 11/19, 8:00pm ET
Not an epic clash by any stretch of the imagination, but a game that should be interesting, if not only to see who loses. There could also be a lot of fantasy value to be had in this game, with an almost certain lack of defense spattered throughout the game. With all the close encounters taking place over the week, this will be a game to just sit back and watch, with no cares in the world. Unless of course, you are a Bulls or a Suns supporter, and if this is the case, just make sure you are watching with a friend.