Fantasy Forecast: Stick with Michael Carter-Williams
Week 2 of the NBA season is here and fantasy basketball is in full swing with 15 NBA teams playing a 4-game schedule. That leaves 12 teams playing 3 games and three teams playing just 2 games this week, so make sure you look at total games played for those in salary cap or weekly transaction leagues.
Good news for Wolves fans as Chase Budinger could rejoin the team early this week when he returns from rehabbing in Florida. He is still a ways off from taking the court for game action, but it is a nice step forward for Budinger. An MRI revealed Ronny Turiaf suffered a radial head fracture of the right elbow last Friday, and no timetable for his return has been set as of yet. So far the Wolves are 3-0 in this young season, but they are playing well and turning heads around the league. This is a team that has fantasy worthy players all across the starting 5, with possible carryover into the sixth man role once the rotation settles down.
Michael Carter-Williams – PG Sixers: Williams was someone I told you to go snatch up before the season started, and now he is owned in 89 percent of Yahoo leagues. While he is probably not available in yours, you should still go check just to make sure. In 3 games this season, MCW is averaging an impressive line of 20.7 points, 9.0 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 2.7 3-pointers, and 4.3 steals a night. Now the steals are inflated after he snatched 9 against the Heat, but he did have 4 in the previous 2 games. I’d even reach out to his owner and see if he wants to “sell high” (as I would tell him) on him.
Lance Stephenson – SG Pacers: Stephenson is making a strong push to keep the starting SG job once Danny Granger returns from his latest injury. So far the 4th year SG is averaging 19.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and is turning the ball over just 1.7 times a night. To pad the stats for fantasy owners, Stephenson has drained 9 3-pointers in just 3 games this season. If the talk for Most Improved Player has started, Stephenson’s name has to be at the top of the list so far.
Trevor Ariza – SF Wizards: I will say that I think Ariza’s stats are inflated early on, but that also doesn’t detract from the reality that he is currently ranked in the top 15 for SFs on Yahoo, and within the top 50 players overall. He hasn’t gone unnoticed though as he was drafted in just 10 percent of Yahoo leagues, and is currently owned in 65 percent of them. I’d go grab Ariza right now and plug him into your line-up either in the F flex or the utility spot and even float him out there in some trade offers to see what you can get. The Wizards play 3 games this week and Ariza should be played until he cools off.
Josh McRoberts – PF Bobcats: The thing McRoberts has going for him is that he is the starting PF in Charlotte, does a little of everything (8.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.7 blocks and 1.3 3-pointers per-game), and is owned in just 18 percent of Yahoo leagues. No, he isn’t a beast that is going to carry your team all season long. But, he is currently ranked #40 overall on Yahoo because he puts up stats across the board and doesn’t hurt you in any one area. With PF being such a hard position to get off the waiver wire, I’d give McRoberts a look as a utility player and PF fill-in for those off nights when your starter doesn’t play.
Al Jefferson – C Bobcats: Jefferson has only been able to play in the Bobcats first game this season, missing the next two because of his bad ankle. While he did score 13 points, grab 8 rebounds and block 2 shots, he also shot 31.3 percent from the field. He will enter week 2 with the dreaded “day-to-day” tag and while the Bobcats play 3 games, he’s no lock to play in all (or any) of them. Those in cap and weekly transaction leagues should wait until the last possible second to set their line-ups as more information should be known Monday afternoon.
Derrick Rose – PG Bulls: Rose may be back on the court, but that isn’t necessarily good news for fantasy owners as he currently ranks #597 overall on Yahoo.com. Sure, he is averaging 14.3 points, 4.3 assists and 3.7 rebounds a night, but he is also turning the ball over 5.7 times a night and shooting an abysmal 28.8 percent from the field. The Bulls are one of the 2-game teams this week and I would sit Rose down for both even in daily transaction leagues as he is doing more harm than good right now.
O.J. Mayo – SG Bucks: Mayo is someone that I actually really like over the course of this season because the Bucks truly NEED his scoring ability. However, this season he is averaging just 12.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.3 steals per-game, while turning the ball over 3.0 times a night. He was also late for shoot-around and was benched for the start of Saturday’s game by Coach Larry Drew. Add all that to the fact that the Bucks play just twice this week and you can see why I would find other options at SG for week 2. I would see what his owner wants via trade to see if I could buy low on him before he fires his game up.
Jeff Green – SG/SF Celtics: Green is technically the Celtics SG, but he still qualifies at SF and I feel strongly enough about this sit that I had to put him here. Green is making the move from SF to SG in the NBA, which is a little scary since he shoots 33.7 percent from 3-point land over his career. Add to that him saying his goal this season is to average "20 points and up" (13.7 PPG career average), and you have a guy that is going to have to hoist an awful lot of shots for that to happen. His 7 point effort on Sunday night is what I am afraid of, although the Celtics do play 4 games this week. If you do decide to play Green, pad the FG and 3-point percentages as he will hurt you there.
Ryan Anderson – PF Pelicans: This is more a tale of caution than anything else since Anderson suffered a chip fracture in the second toe of his right foot and will miss 1-3 weeks of action. Anderson is already coming off the bench behind Anthony Davis, so it makes one wonder why yahoo had him ranked so high in the pre-season, causing him to be drafted in 100 percent of their leagues. Right now he is owned in 83 percent of leagues because owners know that he is an elite 3-point shooter. But, missing probably 3 weeks of the season is a hard thing for fantasy owners to deal with, and some are already jumping off his bandwagon.
Larry Sanders – C Bucks: Forget the 2-game schedule the Bucks play this week, this has more to do with Sanders’ limited minutes and appalling production early in the season. So far, Sanders is averaging just 17.19 minutes, 2.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks a night. Compare that to his back-up Zaza Pachulia who is averaging 26:00 minutes, 13.0 points, 7.7 points and 1.3 steals and you can see the cause for concern. Yes, Pachulia is a non-factor in the blocks, but his offense and rebounding ability is far more polished than Sanders’ is, and the Bucks coaches obviously trust him more. After being taken at the top of round 3 in Yahoo drafts, Sanders’ owners have to be frustrated over what looks to be a wasted pick.
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.