Fantasy Forecast: Monday, Nov. 5, 2012

The first week of the NBA season is in the books, and the Timberwolves finish with a 1-1 record. The great news for Wolves fans is that the team plays four games this week, and each one provides the ability to come away with solid fantasy stats. Second year forward Derrick Williams is adjusting to his role in the absence of Kevin Love, but Andrei Kirilenko and Nikola Pekovic are giving owners good return on their investment given their average draft position (116.0 and 119.1 respectively).

Looking around the league, fantasy owners have to be pleased with the hot starts of Jamal Crawford (77 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals in 3 games), Kawhi Leonard (38 points, 16 rebounds, 10 steals and 5 assists in 3 games) and O.J. Mayo (54 points, 12 3-pointers. 11 rebounds and 9 assists in 3 games). But, then you have to be aware of the other end of that spectrum as we also have guys like Dwight Howard that are doing well by normal stats (65 points, 32 rebounds, 9 assists and 7 blocks), but is doing more harm than good as he is shooting just 53.5 percent from the free-throw line and has already turned the ball over 10 times. Those negative stats have him currently ranked No. 295 in Yahoo Basketball leagues.

The moral of the story is that you have understand your league’s scoring system because some stars in the league can actually be a negative and hurt more than they help.

Start ‘em

Mike Conley – PG Grizzlies: Conley and the Grizzlies play four times this week, and the match-ups (Jazz, Bucks, Rockets and Heat) make him a very good sleeper play at PG this week. Conley was able to put up 21 points, three rebounds, seven assists, and five steals against the Warriors on Saturday, and I see no reason why he can’t average about 13 points, 7 assists and 2 steals a night in week 2.

Klay Thompson – SG Warriors: The Warriors are going to lean on Thompson this year with Brandon Rush done for the year. Mark Jackson is in love with Thompson and since he plays four games this week, I am loving him as well. With Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut not helping in the scoring department, Thompson should be a lock to throw up about 15 points and 6 rebounds a night this week.

Andrei Kirilenko – SF Timberwolves: AK-47 is back and doing big things for fantasy owners with his well rounded game. So far this season he is averaging 9.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists this season. Those stats won’t make any ESPN highlight reels, but fantasy basketball is about stats and the NBA season is a marathon, not a sprint. I will take Kirilenko over say Mike Dunleavy or Kyle Korver any day of the week.

Glen Davis – PF Magic: Davis is owned in 78 percent of Yahoo leagues, which means he could be available in your league right now. Davis opened the season with 29 points and 10 rebounds against the Nuggets; he then followed that effort up by scoring 22 points and grabbing 8 rebounds against the Suns on Sunday night. With Hedo Turkoglu out after surgery, the Magic are going to lean on Davis even more than they would have, and I think he is someone to trade for if the price is right.

Larry Sanders – PC/C Bucks: Sanders is putting up great numbers for a guy that nobody has even heard of heading into the season. So far Sanders is averaging 13.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks in 26:00 MPG for the Bucks. He isn’t big enough to keep up this pace over the course of a season playing center, but he is dominating the time-share with Samuel Dalembert right now (26:00 – 12:30 MPG), and is a great source of rebounds a blocks off the waiver wire (owned in just 7 percent of leagues).

Sit ‘em

Greivis Vasquez – PG Hornets: The Hornets play just two games this week. Granted, they are against the 76ers and Bobcats, but it doesn’t give Vasquez many chances for fantasy success. Right now he is shooting just 38.5 percent from the field, and that is going to become a problem if he doesn’t straighten that out soon. The good news is that he is averaging 13.0 points and 9.7 assists per-game right now. Sit him down this week, and keep an eye on the FG percentage.

J.R. Smith – SG Knicks: Smith is in line to have a big fantasy season with the Knicks in 2012-13, and he is being given the chance early on with Amare Stoudemire dealing with knee problems. This week he too plays just two games, so those in weekly transaction and/or salary cap leagues will want to get him on their bench.

Lamar Odom – SF Clippers: Odom was taken on average at the end of round 11, but owners have been flocking to the waiver wire and cutting ties with him. So far this season Odom has managed a total of 9 points, 9 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 assists and 2 steals. The problem that Odom has is he entered training camp out of shape and now fantasy owners are dealing with the reproductions of his relaxed physical condition regiment.

Anthony Davis – PF Hornets: The Unibrow is dealing with a mild concussion and is questionable to play on Wednesday. Coach Monte Williams is saying he is fine, but with just two games this week his chances at helping fantasy owners is already limited. If he doesn’t play on Wednesday, the week will be a lost cause as he would have to have the best game in NBA history for a rookie to be worth owning in weekly leagues.

Serge Ibaka PF/C Thunder: Ibaka qualifies at both PF and C, which makes him more valuable than a normal PF or C. But, the problem with him is that he doesn’t put up stats worthy of someone taken with the 22nd pick of Yahoo drafts. So far this season he is averaging just 5.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks a night, stats more suited for someone you are looking at on the waiver wire. I still think you should hold on to him, but I would sit him down until he gets into the flow of the offense and defense a little better.

— James Morris hails from Rio Rancho, NM and has been playing fantasy sports for just over 15 years. Not only does he write the Timberwolves fantasy basketball section, but he crosses over the sports boundary and writes the Miami Dolphins and Cincinnati Bengals fantasy football sections. Just send him an email and he will reply back the same day with your answer. Or, find him on Twitter (Fantasyguy23) and Facebook to get all your NFL news before it hits the national media. For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com.