It's week 3 and rotations are starting to tighten up. Some questions remain with certain team's rotations, but identities are starting to stick in this early season. Let's take a specific look at value in back-to-backs, where it can be possible to outplay your opponent purely by games played.
Minnesota plays 5 games this week on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday against the Hawks, Hornets, Warriors, Pacers and Grizzlies, respectively.
4 teams only play 2 games this week: Chicago, Miami, Phoenix and Washington. All other teams play 3 or 4 games.
Here's a look at back-to-back sets this week:
Mon/Tue - 1 team- Min
Tue/Wed - 8 teams- Bos / Cha / Dal / LAL / Mil / Nor / NYK / Tor
Wed/Thu - 2 teams- GSW / LAC
Thu/Fri - 2 teams- Min / Uta
Fri/Sat - 7 teams- Bkn / Cle / Dal / Den / Hou / Orl / Phi
Sat/Sun - 1 team- Det
Team Plays 3 Games from Mon – Thu:
GSW / LAC / Min
Team Plays 3 Games from Thu – Sun:
Min / Uta
Zach Lavine (20%) has not played like a starter yet this season, but there is always value in a 5-game set. If you can handle him shooting under 40% on 7 shots per game, along with the 2.7 TO's, he can help you in your counting stats. Maybe a 5-game week will help him get going, he was useful last year during fantasy playoffs when Rubio sat, and he has a starting gig now. Just needs to do something with it. If you are really hurting for rebounds, Nemanja Bjelica (7%) has averaged 7.3 per game so far in 25.8 minutes per contest, he just doesn't offer anything else of standard-league value. But seriously, Minnesota plays the rare back-to-back-B2B's necessary for a 5 game week, and the pure volume there is worth consideration, even for deep-league guys.
Marcus Thornton (29%) is actually getting shots on Houston. At the very least, the Rockets are riding his hot streak. He's played the last 4 games for Houston, boasting averages of 3.3 threes, 16.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists on 45% shooting in about 35 minutes per game. He's a specialist for threes, but that's some of the best value for points on the wire, and his sheer minutes are letting him chip in some counting stats too. Unfortunately, Houston's depth also means it could end at any time, and Thornton has never really been a solid rotation player or fantasy asset when on winning teams. Houston plays Wednesday, Friday and Saturday against the mediocre Nets, Nuggets and Mavericks, respectively.
Jeremy Lamb (22%) has found his way into the Hornets rotation after being buried on the Thunder for the start of his career. It's not terribly surprising that he's finally getting some responsibility in his 4th year, and this is his opportunity to make something of himself in the NBA. He is going to have similar production to Thornton, this week at least, averaging 2.0 threes and 14.0 points with a FG% at .600 on 10 shots per game so far this season. As a shooter, that percentage cannot last, but he's making a run toward being a solid rotation player over in Charlotte. They play Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday this week against Minnesota, New York, Chicago and Portland, respectively.
For big-man stats this week, you're going to have to get creative; back-to-backs can really help out here. Brandan Wright (18%), Ian Mahinmi (18%), and Steven Adams (9%) are also noteworthy, but don't play B2B's this week.
Kyle O'Quinn (25%) - (4 games, Tue/Wed B2B) has tapered off a bit since his strong start, but is still worth a flyer. His points and rebounds dropped a few, while his blocks have gone up, but obviously we're only talking about a 6-game sample here. His average of 6.3 rebounds, 8.0 points and 1.5 blocks in 19.2 minutes so far might be his ceiling, but those are reliable numbers for a streamer.
John Henson (21%) - (3 games, Tue/Wed B2B) has a small sample size to look at, but streamers should know his value by now. He put down a very nice line Friday in 22 minutes, including 5 rebounds and 3 blocks, but usually sees around 15 minutes, probably even less with Monroe in town. Still, he gets blocks almost every game he plays in, and depending on the match-up Kidd will give him more run. He should be worth the Tue/Wed B2B, but he is coming off injury, so stay up on your news.
Clint Capela (7%) - (3 games, Fri/Sat B2B) – Is worth a flyer when Howard sits, which is all too possible in a back-to-back. He can still get a block in under 15 minutes, and otherwise is your prototypical big man, scrapping in some rebounds and blocks on a per-minute basis. He doesn't score much on only a few attempts, and a poor FT% on scarce attempts, but a sneaky play with Houston's injury-prone big-men, this week and in the future.
Festus Ezeli (15%) - (4 games, Wed/Thu B2B) – Just keep up on Bogut's status as he goes through concussion protocol. Like Henson and Capela, he can block a shot in 15 minutes, and his points and rebounds are pretty solid for a big man on the standard waiver wire.
We looked at a spotlight of a couple 3-point specialists this week and scrounged around for some big-man stats, so let's start digging for some small-ball numbers. All these guys have B2B's, so plan ahead to optimize value here.
Jerian Grant (19%) - (4 games, Tue/Wed B2B). Calderon seems all but used up, Galloway is more of a combo-guard, and Shved plays overseas this year. Mostly he can help you out with steals (1.2), while not hurting your turnovers (1.3) and FG% (44.4%) too bad for a streamer. There are better options for assists below, but it comes with a much higher turnover ratio.
Matthew Dellavedova (13%) - (3 games, Fri/Sat B2B) If you need a late week boost, Delli is your man for Friday/Saturday. Among guards listed here, he only leads in rebounding numbers, but he chips in modestly across the board to be the most well-rounded guard discussed, and gets his share of minutes with Cleveland's role-players being so beat up.
Ish Smith (5%) - (4 games, Tue/Wed B2B) is pinned as the backup point-guard for the Pel's, beating out Toney Douglas and downright eliminating Nate Robinson from the team. He is going to have starter minutes when Holiday sits, who is supposed to be on a minutes restriction through December. He was a very valuable streamer on the Sixers last year, now averaging 7.6 assists, 1.6 steals, and 7.8 points with only 1.8 TO's in his young career in New Orleans. His 0.6 threes and 36.2% shooting is not ideal, but he is locked in the rotation and will hold streaming value until Holiday returns to proper form.
JJ Barea (4%) - (Tue/Wed B2B and Fri/Sat B2B) is seeing some run as Deron Williams puts more mileage on those legs. He plays more like a pure point-guard than Felton or Harris, so he's got some value there right now. With 5.8 assists, 9.6 points, and 1.0 three on about 40% shooting, he is a safe bet whose value exceeds his measly ownership percentage right now. He has the lowest steals average (0.2) among the guards listed here, but is proven and consistent where he does provide value.
Jameer Nelson (2%) - (4 games, Fri/Sat B2B) is going to get consistent run as backup. He's an old vet without upside, but he won't steer too far from his average so far of 5.3 assists, 7.3 points, 1.0 steal, 1.2 threes, and 2.3 rebounds. He is shooting a dismal 31.4% so far, but that should go up little by little. You're going to have to deal with the 2.5 TO's as well, but with Denver's Fri/Sat B2B he can chip in the small-ball stats for you.
I tried to cover the counting stats thoroughly this week, so pay attention to your percentages for adds and drops. However, with such a small sample size, even still, percentages are the most likely to fluctuate. Without some tried and true streamers defined yet this year, using the B2B strategy to bulk your counting stats is a very reliable way to earn wins this early in the season. Tune in next week for another brainstorming session on the standard league waiver wire.