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Week 3 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em

Fantasy Writer
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There are a lot of reasons for a player to exceed expectations and at this point it is difficult to definitively say which reason makes the most sense. After less than two weeks of games, most teams have played just five or six times, so we are still very much in the stage of the season where it is too early to draw too many conclusions -- unless you're running the Lakers, apparently.

Having said that, there is nothing wrong with looking at early season trends and seeing whether they can be sustained. One of the most notable trends so far has been Carl Landry's tremendous play for the Warriors. With the exception of one subpar performance against the Kings, Landry has been one of the most productive forwards in the league on a per-minute basis so far. He ranks 20th in standard Fantasy scoring formats among forwards, despite averaging just 25.5 minutes per game.

Landry is shooting at a totally unsustainable rate, which does need to be taken into account. A year ago with the Hornets he shot 50.3 percent from the field, but he finished Friday's game against the Lakers making 59.0 percent of his attempts. As a result, Landry is averaging 15.2 points per game on just 10.2 attempts from the field. That might come down, but we have long known that Landry is an effective offensive player; he scored 18.0 points per game as a starter for the Kings in 2009-10.

However, Landry's performance so far points to a comfort level in the Warriors offense that could sustain itself. Landry has attempted 53 percent of his shots within five feet of the rim, as compared to 40.5 percent over his previous two seasons. Landry is a below-the-rim player, but he is more effective as a scorer the closer he gets to the rim.

The Warriors play three times in Week 3 (Nov. 12-18), against the Hawks, Timberwolves and Thunder. Those three teams have been above average defensively so far, but with an injury to Andrew Bogut opening up more minutes in the frontcourt, we like Landry to keep his performance up.

Guards

Start 'Em

Jose Calderon, Raptors (UTA, @IND, @BOS, ORL): There was considerable concern this season about how Calderon would adapt to a backup point guard role with the team's acquisition of Kyle Lowry. So far, Calderon's numbers are down across the board, as he is playing just 22.8 minutes per game. Still, there is hope for him yet, as Lowry is dealing with an ankle injury that could force the Raptors to limit his minutes in Week 3. Calderon put up 11 points and six assists without a turnover in the team's lone game without Lowry this season. The Raptors face a pair of tough defenses this week, but Calderon should be able to get more comfortable with his role moving forward, so consider him a worthy risk.

Ray Allen, Heat (@HOU, @LAC, @DEN, @PHO): Entering the season as, at best, the fourth option was supposed to limit Allen's impact in his age-37 season. However, with Miami's Big Three drawing all of the defense's attention this season, Allen has gotten off to an unbelievably hot start. Allen is averaging 14.7 points on just 8.5 shot attempts per game, as he is shooting incredibly well. The Heat will be on the road for all of Week 3, where Allen is averaging just 11.0 points per game. None of Miami's opponents look likely to pose much of a defensive threat to Allen's continued success, so he should be active.

Sleeper Alert: Vince Carter, Mavericks (MIN, WAS, @IND, @CLE): Carter suffered a hip flexor injury Friday against the Knicks, which is always a concern for players at an advanced state in their career like Carter. Fortunately, he downplayed the injury's severity after the game, so we don't think it will be an issue. Carter seemed to be finding his shooting stroke in the early part of the season, as he has 11 three-pointers made through six games. That is helping him average 13.5 points per game. The Wolves have been decent on the defensive side of the ball, but each of the Mavericks' other three opponents has had issues of varying degrees this season. Carter should continue his solid offensive play in the scoring period and should remain somewhat useful as a low-end option.

Sit 'Em

Eric Bledsoe, Clippers (MIA, CHI): Bledsoe is about as electric as any backup point guard in the league, for his ability to confound on the defensive end and get to the rim on the other side. Unfortunately, he might not have much chance to put those skills to use in Week 3, against a pair of teams that don't rely on their point guards on offense and feature smothering defenses themselves. With just two chances to put up numbers, leave Bledsoe for more effective options.

Jared Dudley, Suns (DEN, CHI, @LAL, MIA): Of all of the Suns players returning this season, Dudley seems to be missing Steve Nash's presence the most. All of those wide-open threes Dudley had gotten used to shooting with Nash running the point have been much more tightly defended, and it is wreaking havoc on his efficiency. Dudley is shooting just 34.2 percent from the field and 22.2 percent from three-point range for 6.8 points per game. Matchups against tough Heat and Bull defenses won't help Dudley out, but he needs to figure himself out before worrying about the opposing defense.

Bust Alert: Rodney Stuckey, Pistons (OKC, @PHI, ORL, BOS): The good news for Stuckey is that he really can only improve from here. In a chat Monday on our site, I implored readers to give Stuckey time to right the ship when asked whether he was worth hanging on to. I stand by those words, but that does not mean Stuckey is worth putting in the starting lineup. Even after a 15-point outburst Friday in a blowout loss to the Thunder, Stuckey is still shooting just 22 percent on 9.8 shot attempts per game. The Pistons face three above-average defensive teams in the upcoming week, so keep Stuckey in reserve until he gets out of his offensive malaise.

Forwards

Start 'Em

Dorrell Wright, 76ers (MIL, DET, UTA, CLE): Wright has struggled to find his shot so far, making just 32.1 percent of his attempts through the first five games of the season. Despite that poor shooting, he is still being productive overall, scoring 12.2 points per game. If Wright's shot starts falling at anywhere close to his career norms, he could explode in a big way. With a bunch of subpar defensive teams on the schedule for Week 3, we like Wright's chances to start turning things around.

Patrick Patterson, Rockets (MIA, NOH, @POR, @LAL): Patterson was forced to miss the first game of the season with a quad injury, but he has been productive since then. Patterson has scored in double figures in three of the first four games, and he seems to have added a long-ball to his offensive repertoire in the offseason. The third-year big man has hit three three-pointers in four games, after hitting none through the first two seasons of his career. We're not quite ready to say that this is a staple of his game, but the team seems to be encouraging him on offensive so far next to the offensively inept Omer Asik in the frontcourt. The Rockets play four times, including twice against bottom-tier defensive clubs, so Patterson could keep his pace up in Week 3.

Sit 'Em

Kris Humphries, Nets (CLE, BOS, @SAC): Humphries was a pretty good bet to post a double-double on any given night a year ago, as he finished with 29 in 62 contests. For his hard work on a lottery-bound team, Humphries has seen his minutes cut in a big way now that the Nets have some talent; through four games, he has failed to top 24 minutes in any game. He played at least 25 minutes in 57 games last season. His production has, predictably, declined with his drop in minutes, as he has just one double-double in four games while averaging 6.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. There is not sign that Humphries is going to see an uptick in minutes as the season moves on, which makes him difficult to rely on for Week 3.

Thomas Robinson, Kings (POR, ATL, BKN): The book on Robinson entering the league after three years at the University of Kansas was that he should be a mature player who could contribute right away. The Kings expected him to form a dynamic frontcourt duo with DeMarcus Cousins, but Robinson has yet to adapt to the NBA game. He is averaging just 4.4 points and 3.6 rebounds in 13.6 minutes per game, and he seemed to show some frustration when he elbowed Pistons' forward Jonas Jerebko in the throat in a recent game. Robinson earned a two-game suspension for that action, and will likely have to earn his coach's trust again.

Centers

Start 'Em

Kevin Seraphin, Wizards (@CHA, @DAL, UTA): Seraphin has not been the starter at the pivot or big forward spot for the Wizards this season, which means minutes have been somewhat inconstant through the first week-plus of games. Still, he showed late last season that he can be a productive member of the front court when given the chance, and he is backing that up so far. He is averaging 13.0 points per game on 51.5 percent shooting from the field. Seraphin is probably the Wizards' best offensive option down low, and none of their Week 3 opponents feature big-time defensive presences in the post. The 22-year-old is still developing, but he has a chance to stay productive.

Sleeper Alert: Zaza Pachulia, Hawks (@POR, @GSW, @SAC): Pachulia proved his worth a year ago in filling in capably for Al Horford when he went down for much of the season with a torn pectoral muscle. Now, Pachulia is learning how to co-exist with Horford, and the results have been pretty promising so far. Hawks coach Larry Drew has shown a willingness to stick with both Horford and Pachulia in the same lineup more than in years past, and the big man from Georgia is working with Horford to make it a useful lineup option. Pachulia is averaging 8.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game through three contests. The Hawks face a trio of mediocre defensive frontcourts in Week 3, so Pachulia could at least approach double figures on the boards for the week.

Sit 'Em

Samuel Dalembert, Bucks (@PHI, IND, NOH): We're not entirely sure what has happened to Sam Dalembert this season, but it has been a bit shocking to watch. From 2009 through 2012, Dalembert developed a reputation as a reliable low-end Fantasy option, averaging 7.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. Through the first four games for the Bucks, however, he has struggled to even find much playing time; he ranks eighth on the team in minutes played, behind a pair of other centers. He has started each game for the Bucks, but has been ineffective, averaging 2.0 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. He needs to get things going before Fantasy owners will want to rely on him.

Bust Alert: DeAndre Jordan, Clippers (MIA, CHI): Jordan has played legitimately well on the offensive end of the court this season -- honest! Jordan scored 20 points in back to back games for the first time in his career during Week 2, in back to back nights against the Spurs and Trail Blazers. Unfortunately, he might have some trouble keeping that up in Week 3, as the Clippers play just two times. Both games come against two of the toughest defenses in the league, so it would be a surprise if Jordan can get going.

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Player News
Thunder SG Andre Roberson doubles up vs. Warriors
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:23 am ET) Thunder shooting guard Andre Roberson scored a career-high 10 points on 4 of 8 shooting while racking up a career-high 12 rebounds in his team's 114-109 loss to the Warriors Thursday.

Roberson played 34 minutes Thursday, his highest amount of playing time since missing two weeks in November with a foot injury. He managed to deliver his first career double-double Thursday despite not coming into the game with any double-digit performances in points or rebounds. He also managed three assists and one steal in the loss, which ended the team's seven-game winning streak. The Thunder will move on to face the Lakers Friday.


Thunder PG Russell Westbrook scores team-high 33 vs. Warriors
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:17 am ET) Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook scored a team-high 33 points on 11 of 30 shooting, including 3 of 10 shooting from behind the arc, in his team's 114-109 loss to the Warriors Thursday.

Westbrook was tasked with filling the role of top scorer after Kevin Durant went down with an ankle injury in the first half. He responded by setting a season high in field-goal attempts while posting his third 30-point performance in the last four games. The point guard also tallied eight assists, three rebounds and two steals in 40 minutes but turned the ball over six times. The Thunder will square off with the Lakers Friday.


Warriors PG Stephen Curry scores team-high 34 vs. Thunder
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:14 am ET) Warriors point guard Stephen Curry scored a team-high 34 points on 14 of 24 shooting, including 5 of 12 shooting from three-point range, in his team's 114-109 win over the Thunder Thursday.

The Warriors saw their 16-game winning streak come to an end Tuesday but bounced right back in a tough matchup against the Thunder. Curry racked up nine assists, seven rebounds, four steals and one block in 42 minutes. He'll square off with the Kings Monday.


Report: Warriors' Harrison Barnes to have nose procedure Friday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:11 am ET) Warriors small forward Harrison Barnes will undergo a minor procedure to restraighten his broken nose Friday, Yahoo! Sports reports.

The Warriors are off until Monday after winning Thursday's game against the Thunder, leaving Barnes with the entire weekend to heal up for his team's next game. He scored 12 points on 5 of 11 shooting, including 2 of 4 shooting from three-point range, Thursday against the Thunder, adding seven rebounds, two steals and one assist in 34 minutes.


Kings SF Rudy Gay scores 20 points vs. Bucks
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:43 am ET) Kings small forward Rudy Gay scored 20 points on 9 of 15 shooting in his team's 108-107 loss to the Bucks Thursday.

Gay was listed as probable to play Thursday due to Achilles tendinitis and logged 39 minutes in the game, just missing a double-double while picking up nine rebounds, six assists and one steal in the loss. The Kings are riding five straight losses into Sunday's matchup with the Lakers.


Kings C DeMarcus Cousins posts 27-11 line in return Thursday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:39 am ET) Kings center DeMarcus Cousins scored a team-high 27 points on 8 of 12 shooting from the field and 11 of 13 shooting from the free-throw line while racking up 11 rebounds in his team's 108-107 loss to the Bucks Thursday.

Cousins was playing in his first game since Nov. 26 after dealing with a case of viral meningitis and looked none the worse for wear, posting his ninth straight double-double. He also chipped in five assists and one steal in 33 minutes. Cousins will match up with the Lakers Sunday.


Bucks PG Jerryd Bayless scores 17 points vs. Kings
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:35 am ET) Bucks point guard Jerryd Bayless scored 17 points on 6 of 12 shooting, including 3 of 4 shooting from three-point range, in his team's 108-107 win over the Kings Thursday.

Bayless managed at least 10 points for the fifth straight game while putting up his second-highest scoring total of the season Thursday. He also racked up five assists, four rebounds and one block, and his 29 minutes of action matched a season high. The Bucks will square off with the Clippers Saturday.


Bucks SF Jared Dudley scores season-high 19 vs. Kings
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:32 am ET) Bucks small forward Jared Dudley scored a season-high 19 points on 7 of 10 shooting, including 2 of 3 shooting from behind the arc, in his team's 108-107 win over the Kings Thursday.

Dudley managed just two double-digit scoring performances before Thursday's game but played a season-high 33 minutes off the bench. He also kicked in five rebounds, one assist and one steal in 33 minutes. The Bucks are set to face the Clippers Saturday.


Thunder SF Kevin Durant diagnosed with mild ankle sprain
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:28 am ET) Thunder small forward Kevin Durant has been diagnosed with a mild sprain of his right ankle and will not return to Thursday's game against the Warriors, the team announced.

Durant had X-rays on the injured ankle as a precautionary measure, but the tests came back negative. He appeared to roll the ankle late in the first half. Durant finishes the game with 30 points on 10 of 13 shooting, including 5 of 6 shooting from three-point range, with the 30 points representing a career scoring high for one half.

The Thunder have a quick turnaround to face the Lakers Friday. Coach Scott Brooks said after the game he was unsure whether Durant would be available Friday, Yahoo! Sports reports. Durant added that he doesn't think the injury is serious and that he had to be convinced not to return to action in the second half.


Thunder SF Kevin Durant suffers apparent foot injury Thursday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:11 am ET) Thunder small forward Kevin Durant suffered an apparent injury to his right foot late in the first half of his team's game against the Warriors Thursday and did not join the team on the floor to start the second half.

Durant scored 30 points in the first half before the injury, shooting 10 of 13 from the field and 5 of 6 from three-point range (the 30 points represented a career high for one half). The apparent injury was to the same foot that suffered a Jones fracture earlier this season. The team has yet to give an update on his status.


 
 
 
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