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Week 3 Roto Fact Sheet

by | Fantasy Writer
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Sample sizes are still relatively small, but players and teams are starting to find their identities in this young season. For those of you in category-specific formats, here are some notable factoids that might help you gain an edge in areas of need. We'll continue to validate and debunk trends on a weekly basis in this column going forward.

(All stats up to date through Nov. 12 games. Info provided by NBA.com and Teamrankings.com)

Scoring

Alec Burks (66 percent) and Gerald Henderson (75 percent) are averaging more than 13.5 points per game and have both been in double figures in all their games except one this season. ... Roy Hibbert has been a monster in the blocks category, but he's averaging just 9.9 points per game. He started slow in the scoring column last year as well but picked it up as the season went on -- averaging 9.7 points per game in the first half of last season as opposed to 14.1 in the second half. ... The 76ers, Wizards, Lakers and Clippers are allowing opponents to score more than 105 points per game on average -- the four worst in the league. The Lakers allowed the Timberwolves to score a season-high 47 in the first quarter November 10, so they clearly have vast potential for getting scored on. ... Meanwhile, the Pacers are only giving up 84.5 points per game to opponents this year, so avoid them if you're looking for a spot-start scorer. The Bulls and Spurs are also allowing fewer than 92 points per game. ... One thing Andrea Bargnani will do with his time in the Knicks' starting lineup is score. He's been in double figures both games he's started, including a 25-point outing against Charlotte. Look for him if your team is lacking in points the next few weeks. ... It's still a bit early, but keep Heat forward Michael Beasley on your radar going forward. He played a season-high 20 minutes last night, leading to a season-high 19 points on 8 of 12 shooting off the bench. I wrote about Beasley as a sleeper in the preseason, and while it's not quite time to awaken yet, there's a good chance he'll be a cheap source of points down the road.

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Field-goal percentage

John Henson has been benefitting from Larry Sanders' absence, averaging 10.8 points and 1.4 blocks for the Bucks. Most of his shots comes close to the rim, and his 7-foot-6 wingspan makes it very easy for him to dunk, which has led to a 61.5 field goal percentage to start the year. Sanders will be out for six weeks, so go ahead and pick up Henson, who's still available in 36 percent of leagues. ... Nene has been well-balanced to start the season, making 58.5 percent of his field-goal attempts while averaging 14.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.0 assist, 1.2 steals and 1.0 blocks per contest. He's still not owned in 18 percent of leagues so check your free agent pool if you want an efficient big man. ... Rudy Gay's 19.3 points per game come at a hefty price for Roto players, as his field goal percentage is among the worst in the league at 35.6. Gay's inefficiency was in full effect November 11 against the Rockets as he scored 29 and still managed to miss 26 shots. ... Portland is the only team allowing opponents to shoot better than 51 percent on average. The Trailblazers also lead the league in points in the paint allowed per game at 49.7. The Warriors play both Portland and the Jazz in Week 4, so you can browse their fringe options if you're playing catchup in field-goal percentage. ... The No. 1 and No. 3 teams holding opponents to the lowest field goal percentage face off Saturday when the Bulls host the Pacers. There's bound to be some bad shots being forced up in that slugfest, so be sure to roll out your most efficient shooters for the rest of your lineup if you plan on starting anyone in that game.

Rebounds

Jordan Farmar (26 percent) is tied for 8th in rebounds per game among point guard-eligible players at 3.9 a night. He flirted with a triple-double Tuesday night against New Orleans, finishing with nine points, seven rebounds, eight assists and one block. His numbers should continue to go up as Nash will be sidelined for at least two weeks with a back issue. ... Mike Miller (10 percent) has been scrapping his way to 4.7 rebounds per game to go along with his two made threes per contest. Not a bad option if you're lacking in both categories. ... Brook Lopez has been a disappointing rebounder so far, only managing to grab 6.0 a night for the Nets. This number isn't likely to increase anytime soon as the Nets have some of the league leaders in rebounding percentage (Rockets, Raptors, Trailblazers, Bobcats) on their upcoming schedule. ... DeJuan Blair continues to be an intriguing Roto option, as he's averaging more rebounds than Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson and Enes Kanter at 7.9 per game, while only playing 20 minutes a night. His 2.1 steals per game are also good for third in the league among center-eligible players. ... Caron Butler is only owned in 51 percent of leagues, but he's been a fairly productive option at the very shallow small forward position. He's averaging 6.2 rebounds per game to go along with 12.2 points.

Assists

With Steve Nash out, category players might take a look at Steve Blake for assists. Blake dished out a season-high 10 assists Tuesday night and he's averaging 5.6 assist per game while making 2.4 three-pointers a night. Those numbers could increase as the Lakers rely more heavily on Blake and Jordan Farmar to lead their Nash-less backcourt. ... Jordan Crawford is averaging an improbable 4.3 assists per game for the Celtics -- a big shock if you're familiar with his ball-hogging antics. He's never finished a season averaging more than 3.9 so maybe just roll Crawford out there while he's still passing the ball. ... The 76ers' risk-oriented zone defense is meant to maximize steals and fast-break opportunities. A side effect of this style of play is lots of easy baskets off assists, evidenced by their league-leading 27.5 assists allowed per game. ... Conversely, the Pacers are huge and content to stay home on defense, forcing teams to play lots of one-on-one offense. They're only giving up 16.0 assists per game on average.

Free-throw percentage

The rim-missing free throw attempt that allowed Jeff Green to steal a game form Miami on November 9 wasn't the only free throw attempt Dwyane Wade's botched this year. In fact, Wade has only hit 65.8 percent of his foul shots so far this season. ... Andrew Bynum is averaging more than two free throws per game and has converted on 92.9 percent of them so far. He'll reportedly miss the next two games for a personal issue, but keep an eye on Bynum going forward, as he received his first start of the season November 11, going a perfect 6 for 6 from the free-throw line while logging a season-high 21 minutes against the Bulls. ... Brandon Bass has been logging 30.0 minutes per game for the Celtics while shooting 90.0 percent from the charity stripe. He's also averaging 12.7 points per contest. ... J.J. Redick continues to be the quintessential free-throw ace, shooting 96.0 percent while averaging more than three attempts per game.

Three-pointers

Gerald Green may have finally found a home in Phoenix, and he's at least shooting well enough to stay in the Suns' rotation. Green is tied for eighth in the league, averaging 2.4 made threes per contest. ... Jodie Meeks is starting to pick up his production for the Lakers, averaging 2.2 threes and 13.0 points per game. ... The 76ers' zone is also leaving tons of space for three-point shooters, as Philadelphia is giving up 12.0 made threes per game -- the worst rate in the league. Look for shooters who play them to gain an edge in that category. ... The Celtics, meanwhile, are still defending the three-point line better than any other team, giving up only 4.4 made threes per game. ... The Wizards are attempting a league-high 27.8 threes per game, making Martell Webster a nice streaming option if you're in need of a long-range shooter. He's currently averaging 1.8 made threes per game. ... If for some reason Kyle Korver isn't owned in your league, you should go ahead and grab him. Making close to three triples per game while shooting close to 50 percent from downtown is totally realistic for Korver over the span of a season. He finished last year netting 2.6 made threes per game while converting on 45.7 percent of them.

Steals/Turnovers

Bucks guard Nate Wolters leads the league in assist-per-turnover rate, averaging just 0.8 turnovers a night while dishing out 5.7 assists -- good for 18th in the league. ... The 76ers and the Lakers have been the sloppiest ball-handlers so far this year, with opposing teams averaging more than 10 steals per game against them. ... Mario Chalmers (67 percent) is tied for fourth in the league in steals per game at 2.3. He's also scoring 10.4 points and dishing out 5.3 assists. ... Corey Brewer has been using his long arms to pick up his steals production, as he's come up with 11 in the span of his last five games. He usually scores on a run-out whenever he steals the ball, so his 13.4 points per game could see an increase as he becomes more active on defense. ... Metta World Peace has done a good job of not turning the ball over, only doing so an average of 1.3 times per night. He's also taking the ball away 1.7 times a night while scoring 11.5 points and grabbing 4.0 boards. ... Derrick Rose is finally averaging more assists than turnovers, but neither number is very impressive. He's tied for third in the league with 4.2 giveaways per game, while only dishing out 4.5 assists per night. ... John Henson has been a model of ball security, averaging less than one turnover per game. This number might increase as he takes on a larger role filling in for Larry Sanders, but go ahead and grab him for efficient play around the rim to go along with a few blocks per 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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