Fantasy Hoops: Week 2 Shakedown

We’re a full two weeks into the season, and once we got over all the injuries, there was some spectacular basketball played.

This will be a quick overview of the second week of the season, discussing a range of players — some who have impressed and others who have sent us running to the waiver wire in a moment of pure frustration.

Let’s look at a handful of players who have impressed or disappointed thus far, as well as comb the wire for potential adds heading into Week 3:

Studs and Duds

Week 2, 17/18 MIN PTS 3PM REB AST STL BLK FGA FG% FTA FT% TO Rank
DeMarcus Cousins 38.4 36.3 2.7 16.0 6.3 1.7 1.3 22.7 54.4 11.3 79.4 4.3 1

The first stud of the week is DeMarcus Cousins. His numbers were astronomical with Anthony Davis (knee) basically missing two games during the week. The Pelicans are lacking depth off the bench and Cousins put the team on his back and led them to a record of 2-1 for the week. His numbers will likely take a slight hit with Davis on the court, but even when Davis has been healthy, the two have managed to put up elite numbers.

 

Week 2, 17/18 MIN PTS 3PM REB AST STL BLK FGA FG% FTA FT% TO Rank
Evan Fournier 33.6 25.3 2.7 4.7 3.7 1.7 0.0 14.0 64.3 5.0 93.3 2.0 5

The second stud is Evan Fournier. Coming into the season, all the hype was around Aaron Gordon and his huge upside. Gordon, along with Nikola Vucevic and Elfrid Payton, were becoming hot targets in a lot of drafts. Fournier was even being talked down in a lot of circles, as a player who would basically be a role player with little to no upside.

On the back of his excellent start, the Magic finished the week with a 2-1 record, including a dominant victory over the San Antonio Spurs. While his numbers are likely unsustainable, he has demonstrated that he is not a forgotten part of the Magic offense, and that Orlando are going to be more competitive than most people had anticipated.

 

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Week 2, 17/18 MIN PTS 3PM REB AST STL BLK FGA FG% FTA FT% TO Rank
Nerlens Noel 17.8 6.3 0.0 6.0 0.8 0.8 0.3 4.5 50.0 1.8 100.0 1.3 157

Our first dud of the week is Nerlens Noel. Coming into the season, he made the curious decision to turn down a multi-year deal from Dallas, to then basically bet on himself with a much smaller, one-year contract. Heading into opening night, coach Rick Carlisle named Dirk Nowitzki the starting center, relegating Noel to a bench role. Owners were still relatively high on Noel, however, and he was taken in the middle rounds of a lot of drafts. After an excellent first game, things were pointed in the right direction. Unfortunately, from that game on it has all been all downhill. Noel has started a couple of games since then, but the minutes simply haven’t been there, and this is reflected in his statistical output. While there is still certainly some upside there, his outlook does not appear as though it is going to change any time soon.

 

Week 2, 17/18 MIN PTS 3PM REB AST STL BLK FGA FG% FTA FT% TO Rank
Paul Millsap 31.4 13.5 0.3 7.5 1.5 0.5 1.0 12.5 44.0 3.3 69.2 1.0 136

Our second dud is Paul Millsap. Unlike Noel, there are probably some logical reasons behind his slow start to the season. Fitting in to a new team can often be difficult. The Denver Nuggets are a team that differs in their style of play. The offense basically runs with Nikola Jokic as a seven-foot point guard. This facilitating role is something that Millsap has been able to do during his career, a role that has helped with his fantasy upside. He now has to become accustomed to playing a secondary role, something that will likely take some time. The Denver offense as a whole has looked disjointed and messy, but given time, it should turn itself around.

Cop and Drop

Now we can look at a few players who are worth grabbing if they are floating around on waivers, as well as some that can be shown the door. Of course, this is totally subjective and depends on your league, as well as your individual team build.

Al-Farouq Aminu has been excellent for Portland so far this season. He is going to have some bad games scattered among the good ones, but he most certainly has nice upside, especially if you need rebounds, blocks, steals and three-pointers.

Jakob Poeltl has been a revelation for the Raptors while Jonas Valanciunas has been sidelined. Upon Valanciunas’ return, Poeltl will likely see his minutes take a hit, but he has more upside than Valanciunas and his energy on the offensive glass has been nothing if not infectious.

Marco Belinelli has always been able to shoot the ball. He now finds himself in an ideal position to demonstrate this on a more regular basis. He won’t be a regular starter, but given the Hawks’ lack of scoring off the bench, he will see 25-plus minutes per game, with a view to more depending on the injury situation.

Gorgui Dieng was always going to take a hit with the arrival of Taj Gibson to the Timberwolves. The hope was that he would fill a nice sixth-man role, still seeing decent run off the bench. This appears as though it was just that though — a hope. He has only played about 15 minutes per game and really hasn’t done much with those minutes. Barring an injury to Gibson, he can probably be dropped almost everywhere.

George Hill was an interesting signing for the Kings, given the selection of De’Aaron Fox with the No. 5 pick. Hill is still a regular starter, but has already been rested for a game and appears to be trending down in terms of minutes. He still has some potential, but given the Kings eventual rebuild, Fox looks more like the guy to own in Sacramento.

Thon Maker was taken by some people with a view to the future. Coach Jason Kidd had talked about the center rotation being a two-man game. This lasted about two games though, with the three-headed monster soon rearing its ugly head. With Greg Monroe (calf) now set to miss up to two weeks, it is back to Maker and John Henson. Maker still has the most promise, but the whole situation is a mess and probably not worth your time.