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Week 2 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em

Fantasy Writer
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The problem with analyzing the first week of the NBA season is that, in the long run, it is relatively meaningless. Unless you think Michael Carter-Williams is going to be the second-best Fantasy guard in the league and Spencer Hawes, Zaza Pachulia and Miles Plumlee are now elite centers, you probably don't want to draw too many conclusions about this first batch of games.

But that doesn't mean the first six days of the season are totally meaningless -- if you're entering Week 2 (Nov. 4-10) in last place in your league, that's certainly not a good thing.

This is also the first opportunity we've had to really take a look at teams' rotation plans, to see how minutes and shots will be allotted within their gameplans. After all, this is the first time we've seen the league's 13 new coaches implement their rotations

The relatively truncated Week 1 left us with a pretty vanilla schedule, but there is much more variety in Week 2, which means Fantasy owners might have some tough choices to make.

(All stats up to date through Nov. 1 games)

Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks mostly gave us what we expected in Week 1 and they probably won't be a team that has much variation throughout the season, barring injuries. The Hawks face some poor defenses this week, especially when it comes to defending the three-point line, as all three opponents allow an above-average three-point percentage. Consider bumping Kyle Korver up a bit as a result.

Guards we like for Week 2
Player Own/Start
1. Jeremy Lin, Rockets 96/68
2. Vince Carter, Mavericks 47/19
3. Lance Stephenson, Pacers 75/45
4. J.J. Redick, Clippers 67/31
5. Jodie Meeks, Lakers 11/6
6. Tony Allen, Grizzlies 30/11
7. Kevin Martin, Timberwolves 87/60
8. Anthony Morrow, Pelicans 0/0
9. Tony Wroten, 76ers 6/2
10. Corey Brewer, Timberwolves 18/8

Schedule: @SAC, @DEN, ORL
Average points-per-game: 26th (2012)
10-team starters: Al Horford, Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap
12-to-14-team starters: Kyle Korver
Deep-league fliers: Elton Brand, Dennis Schroder, John Jenkins, Demarre Carroll

Boston Celtics

Catch the Fever-ani! Largely unknown Brazilian big man Vitor Faverani has been a revelation through the team's first two games, averaging 12.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4.5 blocked shots per game. Given the dearth of rim-protecting talent on this roster, he should continue to see playing time and is worth a flier with four games on the schedule.

Schedule: @MEM, UTA, @ORL, @MIA
Average points-per-game: 11th (2012)
10-team starters: Jeff Green
12-to-14-team starters: Vitor Faverani
Deep-league fliers: Kelly Olynyk, Kris Humphries, Jared Sullinger, Jordan Crawford, Avery Bradley, Brandon Bass, Gerald Wallace

Brooklyn Nets

No player averaged more than 31 minutes in the Nets' first two games and that should not come as much of a surprise. This is a team that can go 11-deep in the rotation, which gives the coaching staff the freedom to ride hot hands on a nightly basis. Even with Deron Williams' role being significantly reduced in the early going, I am not nearly ready to drop him down a tier. Garnett, however, can be benched if better options present themselves.

Schedule: UTA, @WAS, @IND
Average points-per-game: 8th (2012)
10-team starters: Deron Williams, Brook Lopez
12-to-14-team starters: Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson
Deep-league fliers: Andrei Kirilenko, Andray Blatche, Reggie Evans, Kevin Garnett

Charlotte Bobcats

Al Jefferson's ankle healed enough for him to play in the season opener against Houston, but not beyond that. He had to miss the team's second game and it is not clear how much time off he will need to get back to full health. With the Bobcats playing a back-to-back Tuesday and Wednesday, Jefferson is enough of a health risk to drop him down a tier.

Schedule: @NY, TOR, NY
Average points-per-game: 10th (2012)
10-team starters: Kemba Walker
12-to-14-team starters: Gerald Henderson, Ramon Sessions, Al Jefferson
Deep-league fliers: Jeff Taylor, Cody Zeller, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bismack Biyombo, Josh McRoberts

Chicago Bulls

Joakim Noah was surprisingly able to play through his groin injury in Week 1, but it affected his performance enough to justify his fall to the second tier. I will cautiously move him back up to the top this week, under the assumption he shoots better than 27.3 percent from the field as he heals. Jimmy Butler has been playing like a high-end starter, but I still question his offense skills enough to leave him where he is for now. If he continues to draw half a dozen free throws per game, he's going to vault up.

Schedule: @IND, UTA
Average points-per-game: 9th
10-team starters: Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah
12-to-14-team starters: Jimmy Butler, Luol Deng
Deep-league fliers: Kirk Hinrich, Mike Dunleavy, Taj Gibson

Cleveland Cavaliers

Andrew Bynum is back! He's playing basketball and everything! That is extremely exciting for Cavaliers fans, but not so much for Fantasy owners looking for a reliable center. Bynum is not yet playing back-to-back games and has been limited to single stints of seven and 11 minutes in his first two appearances. He is a long way from appearing on the list, but a Cavs big man did make a significant jump this week -- Tristan Thompson is a must-start option right now, as he looked like the team's best player in the first few games.

Schedule: MIN, @MIL, @PHI, PHI
Average points-per-game: 14th (2012)
10-team starters: Kyrie Irving, Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson
12-to-14-team starters: Dion Waiters, Jarrett Jack
Deep-league fliers: C.J. Miles, Alonzo Gee, Earl Clark

Dallas Mavericks

The Monta Ellis-Dirk Nowitzki combination has worked exceptionally well in the early goings and that doesn't come as much of a surprise. The biggest surprise for this team has been Jose Calderon's inability to make any kind of shot -- he is shooting just 6.7 percent from the field and 12.5 percent from three-point range. I would strongly advise you not to panic as his history of strong shooting suggests an imminent turnaround.

Schedule: LAL, @OKC, @MIN, @MIL
Average points-per-game: 17th (2012)
10-team starters: Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon
12-to-14-team starters: Shawn Marion, Vince Carter
Deep-league fliers: Samuel Dalembert, DeJuan Blair

Denver Nuggets

Statistically, Denver is playing at a nearly identical pace to last year's squad through the very early going, which should come as a surprise to anyone who has watched this team. The Nuggets have been unable to find a rhythm playing in what is supposed to be a more structured offense. The biggest disappointment has been Kenneth Faried's benching in favor of JJ Hickson. Coach Brian Shaw has already realized the error of his ways and seems intent on moving Faried back into the starting lineup. I'll bump him up a tier as a result, while moving JaVale McGee (11.5 puzzling minutes per game) and Hickson down.

Schedule: SA, ATL, @PHO
Average points-per-game: 17th (2012)
10-team starters: Ty Lawson
12-to-14-team starters: Kenneth Faried
Deep-league fliers: Andre Miller, Randy Foye, Nate Robinson, Wilson Chandler, JJ Hickson, JaVale McGee

Detroit Pistons

I entered the season concerned about Andre Drummond's ability to play big minutes while shooting so poorly from the free-throw line, but he found a unique way to circumvent those concerns in the team's first two games -- he simply didn't go to the line. Drummond missed his lone attempt in two games and averaged 37.0 minutes per game as a result. That probably isn't a recipe for success, but coach Maurice Cheeks believes in him enough to convince me to bump him up a tier. Brandon Jennings should be back this week, but the risk of him missing time keeps him down.

Schedule: IND, OKC
Average points-per-game: 6th (2012)
10-team starters: Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond
12-to-14-team starters: Brandon Jennings
Deep-league fliers: Rodney Stuckey, Will Bynum, Chauncey Billups

Golden State Warriors

Yeah, this team can score. They're an offensive terror, but the early games indicated exactly what I expected -- they're top heavy, with few Fantasy options beyond the first handful of players. Until Harrison Barnes' return is assured, I see little reason to rank anyone beyond the starting five here.

Schedule: @PHI, @MIN, @SAS, @MEM
Average points-per-game: 10th (2012)
10-team starters: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, David Lee
12-to-14-team starters: Andrew Bogut
Deep-league fliers: None

Houston Rockets

I was always higher on Jeremy Lin even after he lost his starting job to Patrick Beverley in the preseason, so Beverley's injury doesn't change much. Aaron Brooks might be moderately more useful, but he's a pretty empty scorer even in a solid role. Omer Asik is a strong enough rebounder to be worth using as a No. 2 center even in his diminished role.

Schedule: @LAC, @POR, LAL, LAC
Average points-per-game: 13th (2012)
10-team starters: James Harden, Dwight Howard, Chandler Parsons
12-to-14-team starters: Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik
Deep-league fliers: Francisco Garcia, Omri Casspi, Aaron Brooks

Indiana Pacers

Lance Stephenson is the only remotely surprising part about this team, which has a rigid hierarchy and less depth than their offseason makeover might suggest. Roy Hibbert continues to play fewer minutes and score less than his talent level would indicate, but his rebound and blocked shots are elite enough that he remains a high-end option even against some tough defensive matchups.

Forwards we like for Week 2
Player Own/Start
1. Tristan Thompson, Cavaliers 97/74
2. Boris Diaw, Spurs 7/2
3. Kenneth Faried, Nuggets 97/15
4. P.J. Tucker, Suns 33/18
5. C.J. Miles, Cavaliers 9/4
6. Jason Thompson, Kings 47/15
7. Trevor Ariza, Wizards 75/46
8. Richard Jefferson, Jazz 1/1
9. Landry Fields, Raptors 6/2
10. Derrick Williams, Timberwolves 53/20

Schedule: @DET, CHI, TOR, @BKN 11th (2012)
10-team starters: Paul George, David West, Roy Hibbert
12-to-14-team starters: George Hill, Lance Stephenson
Deep-league fliers: Luis Scola, C.J. Watson

Los Angeles Clippers

Week 1 went about as expected for this unit, though DeAndre Jordan has been more capable of handling a full-time role than I expected. If he puts up another week of averaging 35-plus minutes and a double-double, I might not have any choice but to move him up -- he is playing like a top-15 center through three games.

Schedule: HOU, @ORL, @MIA, @HOU
Average points-per-game: 21st (2012)
10-team starters: Chris Paul, Blake Griffin
12-to-14-team starters: J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford, DeAndre Jordan
Deep-league fliers: Jared Dudley, Matt Barnes

Los Angeles Lakers

From far away this teams looks like a Fantasy owners' dream -- deep with scorers and playing a fast-paced offense. Unfortunately, like a mirage in the desert, the Lakers look more like a barren wasteland the closer you get. Nine different players have reached double figures in scoring in the Lakers' first three games, and there seems to be little rhyme or reason as to who it will be on a nightly basis. You simply can't feel comfortable starting anyone but Pau Gasol from this roster.

Schedule: @DAL, @HOU, @NO, MIN
Average points-per-game: 21st (2012)
10-team starters: Pau Gasol
12-to-14-team starters: None
Deep-league fliers: Jodie Meeks, Jordan Farmar, Steve Blake, Nick Young, Xavier Henry, Jordan Farmar, Chris Kaman, Steve Nash

Memphis Grizzlies

The team's first two games went exactly as expected, assuming you somehow saw Tony Allen averaging nearly seven points more per game than Zach Randolph. Allen made three 3-pointer in his first game, a career high. It is possible that Allen has suddenly developed as a scorer in his age-31 season? It seems unlikely. Don't buy into the fool's gold here.

Schedule: BOS, NO, GS
Average points-per-game: 15th (2012)
10-team starters: Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph
12-to-14-team starters: None
Deep-league fliers: Tony Allen, Jerryd Bayless, Tayshaun Prince, Mike Miller, Quincy Pondexter

Miami Heat

With four games or more on the schedule, you can justify moving Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers into your starting guard rotation. Unfortunately, the Heat play just three times in Week 2, and only one of their opponents ranks in the top-20 in 3-pointers allowed, so don't roll the dice with that low-end duo.

Schedule: @TOR, LAC, BOS
Average points-per-game: 11th (2012)
10-team starters: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh
12-to-14-team starters: None
Deep-league fliers: Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen

Milwaukee Bucks

A hamstring injury to Brandon Knight and foul trouble for Larry Sanders completely changed this team's outlook for Week 1. Knight remains an injury risk for Week 2, but hopefully Sanders can find a larger share of the rotation this time around. Zaza Pachulia, Nate Wolters and Gary Neal all look like one-week wonders on a team still trying to find its identity -- they don't figure to play consistent roles down the line.

Schedule: CLE, DAL
Average points-per-game: 26th (2012)
10-team starters: Larry Sanders, O.J. Mayo
12-to-14-team starters: Brandon Knight, Ersan Ilyasova
Deep-league fliers: John Henson, Caron Butler, Luke Ridnour

Minnesota Timberwolves

As expected, this team can be a great resource for Fantasy owners, assuming health. So far, all of the relevant players have found their ways in an offense that is humming. This is arguably the best schedule for any team in the league this week, so Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic might join Kevin Love as must-start options.

Schedule: @CLE, GS, DAL, @LAL
Average points-per-game: 24th (2012)
10-team starters: Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic
12-to-14-team starters: Kevin Martin
Deep-league fliers: Dante Cunningham, Corey Brewer, Jose Barea, Derrick Williams

New Orleans Pelicans

Three of New Orleans' opponents in Week 2 play at frenetic paces, which should force New Orleans to push it a little more to keep up. That should lead to better things for some underperforming Pelicans, particularly Tyreke Evans. Ryan Anderson's unfortunately timed injury kind of screws up New Orleans' Fantasy prospects, and nobody has stepped up to fill his role yet.

Schedule: PHO, @MEM, LAL, @PHO
Average points-per-game: 19th (2012)
10-team starters: Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon
12-to-14-team starters: Tyreke Evans
Deep-league fliers: Jason Smith, Al-Farouq Aminu, Brian Roberts

New York Knicks

The Knicks' offseason additions do not look to be making much of an impact for Fantasy owners and I see little reason to expect that to change in Week 2. The Knicks only play three times this week, so even with the matchups against Charlotte, Fantasy owners shouldn't alter expectations for this team right now.

Schedule: CHA, @CHA, SA
Average points-per-game: 23rd (2012)
10-team starters: Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton
12-to-14-team starters: Iman Shumpert
Deep-league fliers: Metta World Peace, Pablo Prigioni, J.R. Smith, Andrea Bargnani, Tim Hardaway Jr.

Oklahoma City Thunder

As Friday's game against the Timberwolves proved, even Kevin Durant needs help. And, right now, he isn't getting much from his teammates. Ibaka should improve dramatically moving forward and Reggie Jackson is mostly living up to expectations in Russell Westbrook's stead. The rest of this team does so little, it is difficult to make an argument for starting any of them.

Schedule: DAL, @DET, WAS
Average points-per-game: 18th (2012)
10-team starters: Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka
12-to-14-team starters: Reggie Jackson
Deep-league fliers: Jeremy Lamb, Thabo Sefolosha

Orlando Magic

If you need forward help off of waivers right now, you probably aren't happy with Jacque Vaughn. Andrew Nicholson looks like the kind of stretch four who can thrive in today's NBA, but Vaughn has been strangely reticent to unleash Nicholson even with Tobias Harris sidelined by an ankle injury. With just three games on the schedule, you probably can't expect the second-year big man to be worth a place in your active lineup just yet.

Schedule: LAC, BOS, @ATL
Average points-per-game: 10th (2012)
10-team starters: Nikola Vucevic, Arron Afflalo
12-to-14-team starters: Maurice Harkless, Jameer Nelson, Victor Oladipo
Deep-league fliers: Andrew Nicholson

Philadelphia 76ers

Break up the Sixers! Sam Hinkie's sure-fire lottery draw has been more competitive than anyone expected early in the season, thanks to a breakneck offensive pace and a ton of 3-pointers. This isn't a deep roster, but you have to like the way the top-end is playing right now. With four games on the schedule, the Sixers' "Big Four" has to be in your lineup.

Schedule: GS, WAS, CLE, @CLE
Average points-per-game: 19th (2012)
10-team starters: Thaddeus Young, Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes, Michael Carter-Williams
12-to-14-team starters: None
Deep-league fliers: Tony Wroten, James Anderson

Phoenix Suns

Not content to watch the 76ers steal all of the headlines, the Suns have been nearly as surprising in the first week. What is surprising is that they rank in the bottom third in the NBA in pace, despite their heavy reliance on a pair of very quick point gards. Count me as a Miles Plumlee non-believer, but big men are rare enough that he can be in your starting lineup at this point.

Schedule: POR, UTA, @OKC
Average points-per-game: 15th (2012)
10-team starters: Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe
12-to-14-team starters: Miles Plumlee
Deep-league fliers: P.J. Tucker, Markieff Morris, Channing Frye

Portland Trail Blazers

The Trail Blazers' much ballyhooed offseason bench renovations yielded little success in Week 1 and Fantasy owners have little hope for improvement moving forward. Beyond Mo Williams' shot starting to fall, as it should, these players mostly seem stuck in their places for the time being.

Schedule: HOU, SAC, @SAC
Average points-per-game: 29th (2012)
10-team starters: Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum
12-to-14-team starters: Wesley Matthews
Deep-league fliers: Dorell Wright, Robin Lopez, Mo Williams

Sacramento Kings

The Kings have solved their problem of having too many viable point guards by simply playing them together, defense be damned. That works out nicely for Fantasy purposes, as there is a lot to like about Isaiah Thomas and Greivis Vasquez moving forward. This is a roster that still has a lot to sort out beyond that, however, so I would stay away from most of the rest of this roster with just three games on the schedule.

Centers we like for Week 2
Player Own/Start
1. Vitor Faverani, Celtics 64/35
2. Andray Blatche, Nets 13/3
3. DeJuan Blair, Mavericks 10/2
4. Andrew Bogut, Warriors 75/40
5. Omer Asik, Rockets 63/27

Schedule: ATL, @POR, POR
Average points-per-game: 18th (2012)
10-team starters: DeMarcus Cousins
12-to-14-team starters: Marcus Thornton, Isaiah Thomas, Greivis Vasquez
Deep-league fliers: Patrick Patterson, Jason Thompson, Ben McLemore, John Salmons

San Antonio Spurs

Fantasy owners usually expect Tim Duncan to miss time, so his current issues with a chest contusion shouldn't take you by surprise. If you didn't have a backup plan for Duncan, and it looks like he is set to miss more time heading into Week 2, Boris Diaw isn't a terrible sleeper option -- he scored 24 points while starting in Duncan's place Friday.

Schedule: @DEN, PHO, GS, @NY
Average points-per-game: 19th (2012)
10-team starters: Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard
12-to-14-team starters: Danny Green, Tiago Splitter, Tim Duncan
Deep-league fliers: Manu Ginobili, Marco Belinelli, Boris Diaw

Toronto Raptors

The biggest disappointment about Toronto's first week was Jonas Valanciunas' limited role and impact. Everyone's favorite breakout center averaged just 24.5 minutes per game in the first two games, nearly as many as Tyler Hansbrough. I can say with confidence that trend won't continue, and Valanciunas could put up big numbers early in the week against porous Miami and Charlotte front courts. Don't turn on the youngster just yet.

Schedule: MIA, @CHA, @IND, UTA
Average points-per-game: 16th (2012)
10-team starters: Rudy Gay, Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas
12-to-14-team starters: Amir Johnson, DeMar DeRozan
Deep-league fliers: Landry Fields, Tyler Hansbrough

Utah Jazz

While we were all distracted by the rest of the team's young talent, it was third-year guard Alec Burks who stole the show in the first week. He has attacked the basket relentlessly and looks to be at least on par with the rest of the team's promising young core. His limited track record means I can't quite bring myself to vault him all the way to the top tier, but another week or two of this kind of production could easily get him there. And that isn't out of the question for a recent lottery pick overflowing with athleticism.

Schedule: @BKN, @BOS, @CHI, @TOR
Average points-per-game: 9th (2012)
10-team starters: Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors
12-to-14-team starters: Enes Kanter, Alec Burks
Deep-league fliers: Richard Jefferson, Jamaal Tinsley, John Lucas

Washington Wizards

Nene is already limited by injuries, but with nobody really stepping up in his place, Fantasy owners simply have to wait for him to get healthy. And then probably get hurt again, which is how things usually work with him. Bradley Beal has struggled badly with his shot, but it is far too early to give up on him. Unless John Wall's back spasms prove to be a lingering issue throughout the week, you have to keep him active.

Schedule: @PHI, BKN, @OKC
Average points-per-game: 8th (2012)
10-team starters: John Wall, Bradley Beal
12-to-14-team starters: Nene, Marcin Gortat
Deep-league fliers: Al Harrington, Martell Webster, Trevor Ariza

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