We have a little bigger sample size to go with this week, and you are starting to see teams get comfortable with their new style of play, or realize that they are horrible. Leading the way in pace so far this season is the Boston Celtics, followed by Washington, Sacramento and, of course, Golden State. On the other end, defensive oriented teams are rounding out the slowest paces (Utah, Milwaukee, Memphis).
Since Utah also leads the league in defensive efficiency, they are one of the worst teams to play against if you are looking for streaming or "who to start" candidates. As we talked about last week, the Bucks were giving up the most points per possessions, but they have quickly reverted to the mean with a larger sample size. New Orleans and the Lakers are still both horrible at defensive efficiency.
You should already be noticing this as anyone who had a player go up against these teams ended up having one of their best nights of the young season. While it should be apparent which teams are inadequate on defense, it is good to have some numbers to back it up.
The following rankings are based on the pace and points allowed per possession for this week's opponents:
What we learned last week
Every single night, I see someone losing their shit over one night's box score. This is not fantasy football. There are 82 games in a season. Hot and cold streaks happen all throughout the year. You got to look at your players as investments. If you watch and react to stock prices every day, you are going to lose your mind and lose your money. Instead, this is about the long-term trends, potential, opportunity, and rate of return.
For the people looking to trade Anthony Davis after four games because he isn't doing the god-like things Steph Curry is doing, you don't deserve a 43p/10r/4s/3b night if you can't wait one week for AD to do his thing.
Yes, Derrick Rose had an amazing 29p/7a/5r game on national TV. He then went 3/13 the next game. One game does not make the man, nor does it qualify for a busted season. You need patience in order to succeed. So stop complaining about Wiggins or Klay Thompson and include more games in your sample-size before you jump off that ledge.
The Boston frontcourt is not worth owning in standard formats
I said this last week, and I'm sticking by it for now. Yes, Jared Sullinger has filled up the stat line over the last few games, and could sneak into your lineup if you have space.
He is still playing under 30 minutes a game and continues to be subject to the whims of Brad Stevens. The volatility of his playing time is enough inconsistency to lower his value.
Karl-Anthony Towns looks legit
Karl-Anthony Towns looks even more legit in his second week of action, and while Ricky Rubio's shooting has started to return to normal levels, he still is doing Ricky Rubio things by conducting a younger, more athletic offense.
Rondo is an enigma
A few great games, a few mediocre games, followed by a triple double. I don't know what to make of him, but his great games are good enough for him to be owned. His triple-double came on 44 minutes where he was the only point guard, playmaker, and primary option with Collison and Boogie out on injury.
Let's see how his game plays out over the next week with a full roster.
Every team in your league will deal with the injury bug. Some of you sooner and longer than others. This is just the way of the world. You need to know how to properly analyze and deal with these situations.
For H2H leagues, you should have at least two streaming spots. Knowing who will benefit from an injury is very important in getting extra value on your waiver. Also, when your guy is injured, know that when he comes back, it most likely take him a few games to get back into the swing of things.
If the injuries are piling up on your team, you might just have to accept defeat for the week in H2H. Your other choice is to drop borderline bench guys back to the waivers in order to replace your injured starters.
What to watch this week
Portland vs Denver: For one, I want to watch Dame and C.J. go HAM on people, just pure excitement. But the rest of the Portland squad is still finding its form. Plumlee and Leonard have been inconsistent but are full of potential. Aminu seems to be thriving on the wing grabbing rebounds and hitting threes. The Nuggets are also working on their consistency. Gallinari has been solid, but Faried is still hit and miss.
The backcourt is in flux, with the new flavor of the week Will Barton getting the start in their game against Golden State. Whoever ends up with the minutes could end up being someone that needs to be on your roster.
New York vs Toronto: The starters for the Raptors have been nice, but not that nice. Lowry is doing his thing. DeRozan is scoring and throwing in an extra few stats which is good to see, but are their rate of production sustainable? Valanciunas is playing in the fourth quarter now, but can he stay on the court and produce consistently? DeMarre Carrol is also inconsistent in these first weeks.
Who really is their 5th starter? If this group can mesh well, there is a potential for some growth out of everyone involved. Speaking of growth, the growth of the giant Porzingis has been steady at the start of this season. Can he keep it up? Who is going to start at point guard? Why is Langston Galloway still on the bench? Will O'Quinn ever bust into that starting rotation, or does Robin Lopez have a stranglehold? Knicks will continue to adjust as they look for some wins.
Orlando vs Lakers: I really like this Orlando team, and watching them play the worst defensive team in the league will really show their ceiling. Oladipo looks to be taking the leap. Fournier is young enough to emerge as a real starting guard in the league. The rest of this team is full of potential. Payton has started slow but can put up elite steals and assists.
Aaron Gordon is bursting with talent that has yet to be let off the leash. On the other side of the court, the Lakers have Clarkson and Randle who have a lot of emerging talent as well. If Kobe and Byron can just get out of the way to let the young kids shine. So far, Russell has not looked good. He might be just getting used to the NBA, or getting used to playing behind all these ball dominate players. He might just be in the wrong system, or maybe he is a bust?
Utah vs Miami: The backcourt situation in Utah still has not been solved. I've been in the Rodney Hood camp since the get-go, but every other game Trey Burke or Alec Burks ends up going off from the bench. I know the Jazz keep starting Neto, but I certainly haven't seen anything special from him at all.
Miami has a few questions of their own, even if their starting five is pretty set. How long can Wade stay healthy? Will Winslow sneak into a starting role by the New Year? What would happen if anyone on this team actually got injured, that bench is not good?
Minnesota vs Indiana: Paul George has got his groove back. The rest of this team doesn't really know what grooving means. George Hill has been solid in heavy minutes at point guard. Monta is still figuring out how to play with this team, but players in new systems will take months to figure out their new team.
And their new team needs to figure out their tendencies as well. Monta is too good to struggle for long periods of time. His recent 25 point outing shows he still has the talent. A great buy low candidate. We've talked about Rubio and Towns earlier. Nemanja Bjelica, who will probably be on at least 5 "Who he play for?" segments this year, put together an impressive 17p/11r/5a game against Chicago. The Wolves are looking for someone to play with Towns, and with Wiggins's slow start, might try to mess around with the lineup. Bjelica has some real intriguing potential.
Dallas vs Houston: Two teams I don't often talk about meet up on Saturday night. Dirk has been having himself a great start, but how long can those old legs keep this up? Deron Williams is playing pretty well for Deron Williams. How long can those old legs keep this up? Zaza has been solid at center. How long can those old legs keep this up? Wesley Matthews and Chandler Parsons are nursing their injuries.
At some point you hope they all can put it together. With the severity of their injuries, I am not surprised at their slow start. Speaking of injuries, how about them Houston Rockets. I can't believe I had to talk people off the ledge for James Harden. I hope you traded him for Kevin Martin if you couldn't wait a week for Harden to get back into the swing of things with a team that is injured all over the place. When Clint Capela at 19 minutes per game is your second best fantasy player, you know you have trouble.
Ty Lawson needs the ball to be relevant, Harden needs the ball to win games. You do the math. Ariza has picked it up after his slow start, but he was always known to be streaky. You will deal with the occasional 1/8 night. The Rockets need to happy about Thronton's turn back the clock season. If Howard can get/stay healthy, and Terrence Jones or Montiejunas can ever get healthy, this team will have a few more fantasy relevant players.