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Week 2 Roto Fact Sheet

by | Fantasy Writer
  •  

It's still very early in a long Fantasy season, but some statistical trends are starting to take shape. For those of you in category-specific formats, here are some notable factoids that might help you gain an edge in areas of need. Obviously, the information at this point is based on small sample sizes, but we'll continue to validate and debunk trends on a weekly basis in this column going forward.

(All stats up to date through Nov. 5 games. Info provided by NBA.com and Teamrankings.com)

Points

The Clippers, Lakers, Wizards, 76ers and Mavericks are giving up the most points per game so far this year -- all allowing opponents to score at least 106 points per contest. ... Aaron Afflolo could be in line for a nice scoring game Wednesday night against the Clippers, who've given up 26 to Xavier Henry, 38 to Stephen Curry and 29 to Isaiah Thomas already. ... The third and fifth worst defensive teams play each other next week, which should give players on the Wizards and Mavericks a slight scoring boost November 12. ... Trevor Ariza is averaging 17.7 points per game but has never averaged more than 14.9 for an entire season. His unusually high scoring can be attributed to the fact that he's averaging 15 field goal attempts per game -- tied for 27th in the league with Chris Paul. ... Alec Burks' 16.8 points per game seem much more sustainable -- and available, being a free agent in 29 percent of leagues. He'll still have a role in the offense when Trey Burke returns, but you should grab him now to maximize his value.

Field goal percentage

Carlos Boozer has been on fire to start the season, averaging nine made field goals per game while shooting 65.9 percent from the field. Only LaMarcus Aldridge is making more field goals per game, but Boozer is still making 13 percent more of his attempts than Aldridge. ... The Wizards are allowing a league-leading 55.3 points in the paint per game -- good news if you're thinking of starting a post player from the 76ers, Nets or Thunder this week. ... Dion Waiters is shooting an abysmal 33 percent from the field, while only averaging 9.5 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1 assist per game. He's owned in 80 percent of leagues, but he's hard to start in Roto if he's not delivering in the one area you'd hope he would. ... Conversely, Andre Miller (34 percent owned) continues to be an intriguing Roto play. He's shooting 63.2 percent from the field while averaging 9.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. He's only played in three games, but his value could rise if Ty Lawson misses any time with injury or if the Nuggets decide to end the Nate Robinson experiment (shooting 32.3 percent from the field), in which case that assist number will go up. ... Lance Stephenson has been a Roto beast so far, shooting 53.1 percent from the field and averaging 16.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists and 2.8 made threes per game. Not sure he can maintain this lights-out efficiency, but you have to start him while he's this hot.

Rebounds

Omri Casspi showed off immense Roto potential Monday night, grabbing nine rebounds to go along with 19 points (including a trio of three-pointers), four assists and two steals while shooting 50 percent from the floor. He's averaging close to six rebounds per game and is only owned in 11 percent of leagues. Casspi's short-term value gets a boost in weekly formats, as the Rockets play four times this week and next. ... P.J. Tucker is another three-point specialist who's been rebounding well in the early going. He's averaging 5.0 per game, making him a strong option if you have a need in both categories. ... When you're in desperate need for rebounds, take a look at fringe options whose schedules include the Heat or the Bucks, who have the worst rebounding rate so far. ... At the same time, you might want to avoid the Raptors as only Al Horford has been able to grab double-digit rebounds against them. They currently lead the league in rebounding percentage and are second in offensive rebounds per game.

Assists

Josh McRoberts has been sneakily productive so far, starting for the Bobcats. If you don't count LeBron James, which we hardly ever do for earthly comparisons, McRoberts is third among power forwards at 3.7 assists per game. Cody Zeller will eventually take his minutes, so make use of McBob's skillset while he's still seeing the floor. ... Bucks rookie Nate Wolters is currently 16th in assists per game averaging 6.7 a night. His horrid shooting percentage is keeping him off rosters right now, but if he can somehow find his stroke, he'll be able to help out until Brandon Knight returns (which could be tonight). ... Mario Chalmers' 5.2 assists per game would be a career-best if he keeps it up. Combine that with his 3.0 steals and 2.2 made threes per game, and you might find yourself snagging Rio with the hope that he can somehow maintain these numbers. ... Greivis Vasquez has been a disappointment so far, averaging only 3.8 assists per game. This number should pick up as he becomes more comfortable with his new team, but it's safe to assume he probably won't get close to leading the NBA in total assists like he did last year.

Free throw percentage

Zaza Pachulia is not only leading the Bucks in scoring, he's also their best free throw shooter so far. Of centers averaging more than three free throw attempts per game, he's first in the NBA in percentage having gone a perfect 11 for 11 from the line. ... Carlos Boozer is also perfect from the charity stripe, despite averaging 4.3 attempts per game. ... John Wall, Michael Carter-Williams and Kyle Lowry have all been off at the line so far – shooting and 71, 70 and 60 percent respectively – among the worst at the point guard position.

Three pointers

Again, don't expect Trevor Ariza to keep this up. He's currently fifth in the league averaging 3.3 made threes per game. This number is inflated by the improbable six he made in the Wizards' opener. ... Francisco Garcia, on the other hand, is actually known for this aspect of his game. He's making the most of the spot left behind by Carlos Delfino by averaging 2.8 made threes and 11.8 points per game for the Rockets. ... The 76ers, Lakers and Bulls are each giving up at least 10 made threes per game, so keep that in mind when shopping for spot-start shooters. Meanwhile, the Celtics and Bucks are each allowing fewer than five made threes per game so far. ... Andre Iguodala is averaging 2.5 made threes per game after averaging only 1.1 last year. His percentage won't be great, but it's not a stretch to think this pace can be maintained as the Warriors lead the NBA in three point attempts per game and likely will for the rest of the year. Golden state is putting up almost ten more threes per game than Denver did last year, so Iguodala could be a nice surprise in the long range column this season.

Blocks

Nobody wants to pick up Kris Humphries, but blocks are hard to come by, and he's averaging 2.0 per game to go with 8.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and a 75% field goal percentage. You could do worse -- maybe. ... The Magic and the Bobcats are getting blocked more than eight times per game each, so look for shot blockers who play them to try and catch up in that category. ... Andrew Bynum's only averaging 12.5 minutes per game, but he's still found a way to block 1.7 shots a contest. Maybe it's time to throw him out there if you're behind in the swattage department. ... Wesley Johnson is first among shooting guards, and ahead of DeAndre Jordan, Dwight Howard and Joakim Noah overall with 1.8 blocks per game to start the season.

Steals/turnovers

Michael Carter-Williams flirted with a quadruple-double by securing nine steals in his NBA debut. The 76ers look like they're poised to play lots of zone defense this year, which Carter-Williams thrived in last year at Syracuse. When you combine his speed and wingspan with Philadelphia's need to get out and run, Carter-Williams should be a good source of steals all season long. ... It's safe to say that Derrick Rose's point guard skills are a tad rusty, as he's currently averaging more turnovers (5.7) than assists (4.3) per contest. It might be smart to pair him with J.J. Reddick (71 percent owned), who's scoring 17.3 points per game and has only turned the ball over twice in four games. ... The Celtics, Warriors, Jazz, Pacers, Rockets and 76ers are all averaging at least 19 turnovers per game, making them prime targets if you're playing catchup in steals. ... DeJuan Blair is first among centers with 2.8 steals per game to go along with his 9.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, 0.8 blocks and 1.3 turnovers per game. Not too shabby for a guy only getting 20 minutes a night.

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Player News
Andray Blatche heading to China
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/20/2014) Free-agent center Andray Blatche has signed a one-year deal with the Xinjiang Guanghui Flying Tigers in China. Blatche's deal with pay him almost $2.5 million, and he'll be able to rejoin an NBA team in March, Yahoo! Sports reports.

Report: Kings add Ramon Sessions
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/20/2014) The Kings have agreed to a two-year, $4.2-million deal with free-agent guard Ramon Sessions , Yahoo! Sports reports.

The team is reportedly using its bi-annual exception provision to sign Sessions, who averaged 12.3 points, 4.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 83 games between two teams last season.


Omer Asik ready to clean up in return to starting role
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Last season was a rough one for Omer Asik, who had to deal with returning to a reserve role after really shining as a starter the previous year. He should be much happier with his role this season, as the Pelicans acquired him this offseason with the intention of installing him as the starting center.

The Pelicans should have a fearsome frontcourt with Asik starting next to Anthony Davis, and Davis' presence should free Asik up to do the kind of work he excels at. Asik isn't a great offensive player, but he can be a dominant offensive rebounder, and should have many chances to clean up the boards with teams keying in on Davis offensively. Among players who have logged at least 5,000 minutes in the NBA, Asik is 22nd all-time in offensive rebounding percentage.

Asik had trouble staying healthy last season, but that was the first time he had ever missed a regular-season game in his career, so we can probably write that off as a fluke. He averaged a double-double with 1.1 blocks per game in 30.0 minutes per game two years ago, and should be capable of similar production as he returns to a starting role.

Asik should be viewed as a starting Fantasy option this season, though he may not have the upside of some other younger centers at this point. 


Tobias Harris' Fantasy value a mystery at this point
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Perception is a funny thing. Just ask Magic forward Tobias Harris, who enjoyed by far the most productive season of his career in 2013-14 but was somehow viewed as a Fantasy disappointment.

Part of that stemmed from Harris' issues with availability, as he missed 20 games and got off to a slow start to the season as a result. It really took until January for Harris to find his stride, but he averaged 15.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game from Jan. 1 on, without missing a contest.

Harris was probably better than the general perception of him a year ago, but the power of expectations hurt him. And now he enters his fourth season as something of a career crossroads, and it is hard to say just how Fantasy owners should approach him this season.

The Magic added Channing Frye and Aaron Gordon to the roster this season, further confusing what was already one of the most crowded frontcourts in the league. Harris can play both forward spots, but he is probably best used as a small-ball power forward; the presence of Frye, one of the league's elite stretch-fours certainly complicates matters for Harris, then.

At just 22, Harris still has a world of potential ahead of him. However, he probably profiles best as a reserve Fantasy option heading into the season, given concerns about his role.   


Hype may be too high for Giannis Antetokounmpo
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) No matter what he accomplishes in his second NBA season, Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is likely to be a historical outlier, given his age. The question is, how much of a leap can the now-20-year-old take next season.

Only 15 players in NBA history have logged as many minutes in a single season as a teenager as Antetokounmpo's 1,897, so he is occupying fairly rarified air already. His age is a big part of why he is considered a big-time breakout prospect for Fantasy purposes, but he has a long way to go from a statistical standpoint.

Antetokounmpo was good for a 19-year-old rookie, but his season averages of 6.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game left a lot to be desired. It is easy to dream about a Antetokounmpo taking a big step forward, but that next step is never guaranteed -- for every Anthony Davis there is a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist whose development follows a slower, less linear path. 

Antetokounmpo was very good -- for a 19-year-old. However, Fantasy owners don't get extra points, rebounds or assists if the degree of difficulty is higher, so you are betting on Giannis taking a huge step forward at the age of 20. Antetokounmpo has become something of an internet darling, and his play in Summer League and the FIBA World Cup dominated much of the offseason discussion, which only helped build the hype to potentially unsustainable levels. 

He is a lottery ticket, for sure, but he is one that might not be worth the cost at this point. 


Improved jump shot all Jimmy Butler needs
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Bulls guard Jimmy Butler had the breakout season many expected from him a year ago, but there were still plenty of flaws apparent in his game as he finished his third NBA season. With a better team around him, Butler just might have enough help to vault him to stardom.

Butler's jump shot abandoned him last season, especially after a toe injury forced him to miss 11 games in November and December. He was shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from three-point range prior to the injury, but connected on just 39.3 percent of his shots overall and 27.1 percent from three-point range from that point on.

We can blame Butler's season-long shooting slump on the injury or his increased offensive role, but he should have neither excuse available for him this season. Butler should be healthy, and the Bulls added plenty of offensive firepower this offseason, in the form of Pau Gasol and Doug McDermott, not to mention a hopefully healthy Derrick Rose. Butler took 154 shots off the dribble last season, per Stats.NBA.com, and made just 30.7 percent of them. With a better team around him, Butler should get many more opportunities to shoot with his feet set.

Butler has the skill set to be a tremendously efficient offensive player, given how often he bullies his way to the free-throw line. Last season, Butler filled up the box score extremely well, but his poor shooting limited his Fantasy value somewhat. If a new role helps his efficiency, he could be one of the very best guards in the league in category-based formats. 


Lance Stephenson set for bigger role in new setting
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Though there were fits and starts, Lance Stephenson finally began to live up to his considerable promise last season. Now in a new home in Charlotte, will Stephenson take another step forward in 2014-15?

By the end of last season, the Pacers were a mess, and Stephenson caught plenty of the blame for that. Still, he might have been arguably the team's most consistent player throughout the season, averaging between 25.8 and 29.7 Fantasy points per game from before and after the All-Star break as well as the playoffs. For as much of a mess as that team was, Stephenson emerged as something of a rock, at least for Fantasy purposes.

The Hornets are actually built in a somewhat similar way to the Pacers, so there wont' be much of a stylistic shift for Stephenson to get used to. Per MySynergySports.com, 11.8 percent of the then-Bobcats' possessions ended in post-ups, actually down from the 13.2 percent mark the Pacers' posted. Stephenson struggled at times with his post-entry passing, though his off-target feeds might find their mark more often when being lobbed in to the soft hands of Al Jefferson, as opposed to Roy Hibbert.

The Hornets might lean even more heavily on Stephenson than the Pacers did, since Indiana liked to spread the ball around with their starting five. The Hornets, on the other hand, look to be extremely top-heavy, and Stephenson will get plenty of chances to be the second or third option. We have him projected for 29.1 Fantasy points per game, and consider Stephenson a borderline top-50 Fantasy option for this season.  


Move to Houston won't alter Trevor Ariza's trajectory
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Trevor Ariza parlayed a career-year into a lucrative free-agency contract with the Rockets this offseason -- stop me if you've heard this story before.

Ariza was largely a disappointment in his first stint with the Rockets, though it did lead him to the best per-game numbers of his career. Still, Ariza was obviously miscast as a primary offensive option the last time he was in Houston, and that won't be a problem this time around.

Ariza joins a Rockets team with two established stars, and will likely spend much of his time trying to fill the departed Chandler Parsons' role. That should suit him nicely, as Ariza has just enough of an off-the-bounce game to serve as the team's third ballhandler when the shot clock gets deep. Ariza attempted 11.1 field-goal attempts per game last season, and should see a boost given Parsons' role; he attempted 13.3 shots per game.

Ariza's improved three-point shot seems legitimate, as he is shooting 38.6 percent from long range over 738 attempts since 2012. However, he will no longer have John Wall feeding him for juicy corner 3-pointers; Wall to Ariza was the league's most productive corner-three combination last season. His shooting numbers may take a hit with his move.

Even acknowledging the loss of Wall's help, we know the Houston offense is set up to get every player the most efficient shots possible, so Ariza shouldn't see much of a dip in his efficiency. His ability to fill up the box score makes him a perfect No. 2 option at forward in category-based leagues, especially now that he is a high-volume shooter. 


Despite new role, don't write off Isaiah Thomas entirely
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Suns guard Isaiah Thomas might see one of the biggest dropoffs in his Fantasy value from last season to this, as he joins the crowded Suns' backcourt.

The Suns might have three All-Star caliber guards in the backcourt now, with Thomas likely to backup Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe this season. That should put a serious dent in Thomas' value; Thomas finished 13th in Fantasy scoring among guards a year ago, but is projected to finish just 43rd this season.

Still, Thomas is definitely someone you'll want to add to your team when drafting, and almost certainly before the rest of the No. 4-type guards he is grouped with. Thomas is likely to see his numbers fall off from the 20.3 points and 6.3 assists he averaged a year ago, at least at first. However, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him end up starting upwards of 25 games throughout the year, given Bledsoe's injury-proneness. Bledsoe has missed at least 25 games in two of the last three seasons for knee issues.

Thomas probably profiles as more of a bench option for Fantasy purposes next season, but you'll be targeting him much earlier than nearly any other reserve. His upside as a handcuff option for either Bledsoe or Dragic is sky-high, and will make him well worth your attention on Draft Day. 


Eric Gordon cleared for contact
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Pelicans guard Eric Gordon has been cleared to take part in full-contact offseason drills ahead of training camp, The Times-Picayune reports.

Gordon underwent season-ending knee surgery last April, but is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season. 


 
 
 
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