Looking ahead to fantasy week No. 2 in the NBA
POSTED: Nov 3, 2014 8:09 AM ET
The Oklahoma City Thunder played without both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook for the second time since 2008 on Saturday. It was the first night of many that will occur over the next month-plus as Durant (foot) and Westbrook (hand) observe from the bench. The injury bug didn't just hit the Thunder's two stars, either. Reggie Jackson (ankle), Anthony Morrow (knee), Mitch McGary (foot), Grant Jerrett (ankle) and Jeremy Lamb (back) have all been sidelined to start the season.
With so many key contributors out of action, here are four healthy Thunder players who should provide production for Oklahoma City (and perhaps your fantasy team):
This is no surprise. Ibaka was an extremely valuable fantasy player before most of the Thunder fell to injuries. Now the best player healthy, Ibaka will see increased field goal attempts to go along with his always stellar blocks and rebounds. Saturday night was only the third time in Ibaka's six-year career he shot 19 or more field goals and it for sure won't be the last time over the next month and a half. If he's on your team, congratulations.
The 28th pick in the 2012 Draft out of Baylor, Jones is a part of the Thunder's second-wave of young talent that also includes Jackson and Lamb. Jones wasn't expected to receive major playing time this season after averaging just 12.3 minutes last season. But injuries have thrown him into the spotlight where he excelled on Saturday to collect 23 points on 18 field goal attempts, four rebounds, two assists and two steals in 40 minutes of action. While his point total will likely dip once Jackson and Lamb return, he will still receive major minutes and should be owned in all fantasy leagues until the Thunder return to some semblance of health. (Owned in 28 percent of Yahoo! Fantasy leagues.)
Adams had a firm grasp on the starting center spot prior to the injuries to Durant and Westbrook. And he provided fine fantasy value before the injuries, too. Like Ibaka, Adams will find himself in a larger role within the offense and this added usage should increase his fantasy value (so long as you're fine with his abysmal free throw shooting). During the first game without Durant and Westbrook on Saturday, Adams recorded 13 points on 10 shots, three rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block in 26 minutes. Expect Adams to consistently provide eight points and eight rebounds with a few blocks per game for the foreseeable future. (Owned in 12 percent of Yahoo! Fantasy leagues.)
Telfair bounced between seven teams in his first nine years in the league before playing with Tianjin Ronggang in China last season. Now the starting point guard in Oklahoma City until Jackson returns, Telfair should see plenty of NBA burn after averaging just 21.6 minutes during his first nine seasons. He played 38 minutes on Saturday to end with four points on 10 field goal attempts, nine assists, four rebounds and four steals. Even with the increased production, he's a fringe fantasy player at best who could be of value if you need assists or steals at the end of a week. (Owned in 5 percent of Yahoo! Fantasy leagues.)
Weekly schedule breakdown
Pick 'em up
Donald Sloan - 27% owned
Last week: 14.0 PTS, 1.3 3PM, 6.0 REB, 6.7 AST, 1.0 ST, 2.7 TO
With George Hill (knee) and C.J Watson (foot) sidelined for the Pacers, Sloan saw plenty of action during Indiana's first three games. His rebounding average is inflated by a 10-rebound effort in the season opener, so don't expect 6.0 every game. But he should be a solid guard option as long as Hill and Watson are out.
Ed Davis - 30% owned
Last week: 12.0 PTS, 6.8 REB, 1.3 AST, 1.0 ST, 1.0 BLK
Yes. The Lakers only play two games this week so Davis' fantasy value will take a dip. But with Julius Randle done for the season, the 13th pick in the 2010 Draft will see plenty of burn and so far he's producing in 24.0 minutes per game.
Kevin Garnett - 22% owned
Last week: 14.0 PTS, 10.0 REB, 1.5 AST, 1.0 ST, 3.5 TO
The 15-time All-Star played the worst basketball of his career in only 20.5 minutes per game last season and most expected similar production in 2014-15. Not the case so far as the 38-year-old fired out of the gates to look strong against Boston and Detroit. This play and 29.0 minutes per game may not last long. But it should be worth the ride for as long as it does, especially this week against weak front lines in Oklahoma City, Minnesota, New York and Orlando.
Let 'em go
Ersan Ilyasova - 52% owned
Last week: 4.7 PTS, 1.7 REB, 0.3 AST, 1.0 ST
One of the best 3-point shooters in the league from 2011-13 has fallen on rough times. After a dismal preseason, Ilyasova is receiving limited action from coach Jason Kidd as he experiments with an 11-man rotation. Ilyasova could return to value if given a consistent role on the team. But with a deep bench and youthful Jabari Parker in front of him, it's hard to imagine that role will ever come.
Wilson Chandler - 46% owned
Last week: 6.0 PTS, 5.0 REB, 1.5 AST, 16.7 FG%
There's bad and then there's how Wilson Chandler played during the first two games for the Nuggets. He was 1-for-6 in 23 minutes against the Pistons and 2-for-12 in 17 minutes of action against the Thunder. This awful shooting along with minimal stats in other categories and the soon emergence of Danilo Gallinari currently make Chandler a low-value fantasy player.
Jameer Nelson - 54% owned
Last week: 7.3 PTS, 3.0 3PM, 2.0 REB, 4.0 AST, 1.0 ST
The former Magic guard struggled to provide much production during his first three games with Dallas as he was used more as an off-ball shooter than playmaker. His 3s should stay steady around 2.0 per game. But expect the rest of his production to be minimal as he fights for usage in a high-powered Dallas offense (that will become even stronger when Raymond Felton returns from injury). There are likely more useful guards available in your league.