Week 3 is upon us and the Bobcats, Bulls, Pistons, Sixers and Raptors all play five times. The Magic have the dud this week with just two games, while the Celtics, Cavaliers, Clippers, Grizzlies, Heat, Bucks and Thunder only play three times. The rest of the league has four games in Week 3.
Guys like Gerald Henderson, Boris Diaw, Tyrus Thomas, most Bulls, Brandon Knight, Ben Gordon, Greg Monroe, Spencer Hawes, Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan and Andrea Bargnani all look like must-starts in leagues where the extra games will help. And B.J. Mullens, Jonas Jerebko, Elton Brand, Lou Williams, Thaddeus Young, James Johnson and Amir Johnson are all worth a close look with five games.
Conversely, owners of Dwight Howard, Ryan Anderson, Hedo Turkoglu, Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, J.J. Redick and Glen Davis will have tough decisions to make on the Orlando players.
I am getting a lot of questions and comments about the high number of injuries this season, but I took a look back at the Week 3 injury report from last season and it was very similar to the number of big names on this season’s report. I think we’ll see more injuries this season due to the lockout and compact season, but I don’t know that we’ve seen the tip of the iceberg just yet.
I’ll take a look at several position battles that were won or lost over the weekend, and finish up with a list of guys who are hot, who are not and a quick look at the injury list as we head into Week 3.
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Weekend Position Battles
Iman Shumpert in, Toney Douglas out for Knicks
Knicks’ guard Iman Shumpert will start at point guard over Toney Douglas, who is also dealing with a shoulder injury, on Monday and should now be owned in all leagues. It’s possible that Douglas could return to the starting lineup over Landry Fields, but for now Shumpert and Fields are the starting backcourt for the Knicks. Shumpert is getting a ton of hype and it should be fun to see what he can do. If he’s not owned in your league, grab him now.
Tyrus Thomas in, Corey Maggette out for Bobcats
Corey Maggette will miss a month with a hamstring injury and Tyrus Thomas will be the big winner here. He started at small forward on Saturday and played well despite cramping up. Boris Diaw was terrible in that game after starting at power forward, but with five games this week, both Thomas and Diaw are worth starting in all leagues. Just beware that Thomas can go down at any time with an injury, as well as fail to live up to expectations, which has been his mantra over his career. It’s also worth noting that DeSagana Diop started at center on Saturday, but Byron Mullens is the center you want to keep a close eye on in Charlotte. He’s averaging 11.5 points, nearly six boards and a block per game, and has been very solid in his last four. If five games help in your league, Mullens could be a sneaky pick and play.
Nate Robinson in, Stephen Curry out for Warriors
Charles Jenkins started for the Warriors on Saturday but didn’t do much, while Nate Robinson has gotten nearly 30 minutes in his two games for the Warriors. Stephen Curry is seeing an ankle specialist and could get bad news (more surgery?), meaning Robinson could continue to see heavy minutes going forward. If you need a 3-point shooter, give him a look, while also keeping an eye on Jenkins and Ishmael Smith.
Dorell Wright still in, but for how long?
Brandon Rush had 14 points and four 3-pointers off the bench on Saturday, while Dorell Wright stunk up the gym again. You have to think Wright is barely holding onto the starting job over Rush and one more poor performance could force Mark Jackson’s hand. Bench Wright, a huge fantasy bust thus far, until he breaks out of the funk, and consider targeting him in a buy-low. He might have even been dropped in your league and picking him up and stashing him could pay off down the line. Rush is already worth holding in many leagues, but would become a must-add player in all if he overtakes Wright for the starting gig in Golden State.
Samuel Dalembert, Chandler Parsons in, Jordan Hill, Chase Budinger out for Rockets
Samuel Dalembert and Chandler Parsons started on Saturday, sending Jordan Hill and Chase Budinger to the bench. Budinger could even be heading out of the rotation and can probably safely be dropped at this point. Dalembert had just two points in 23 minutes, but at least broke into Kevin McHale’s starting unit. It may take some patience with Sammy, but I still think he’s worth holding in all leagues. Just put him on your bench if you have options. Parsons played 30 minutes in the start and had eight boards for the second straight game, but hit just 1-of-6 shots for two points. I have no idea how long he will start for Kevin McHale, but if you’re in a deep league, he could be one of the more promising players on waivers. Just keep a close eye on him, and I wouldn’t hesitate to cut Budinger at this point.
Zach Randolph out, Marreese Speights in for Memphis
Marreese Speights played just six minutes in his season debut for the Grizzlies on Friday, but bounced back on Sunday with 17 points, seven rebounds and two steals. He’s going to shoot it every time he touches it and while he has yet to start for the Grizzlies, you have to think he’ll be in the lineup this week. I was worried about his conditioning and doubt he plays this well every night, but if he’s available, you simply have to pick him up.
Michael Beasley injured, Wayne Ellington to start, Derrick Williams a must-add for Wolves
Michael Beasley is expected to miss the next three games with a foot injury, meaning he might be back on Friday. Until then, Wayne Ellington is expected to start at shooting guard, with Wes Johnson sliding slide to small forward. That means Derrick Williams will be coming off the bench, but I don’t care. Williams should be the guy who gets 30 minutes and puts up big numbers. He had 14 points, seven boards and four 3-pointers on Sunday and I have added/started him where I can. Once Beasley’s back, Williams will go back to being a roll of the dice, but there’s really no reason he shouldn’t have a good week with Beasley out. And could continue to play well once Beasley is healthy again.
Marco Belinelli, Al-Farouq Aminu and Chris Kaman in, Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza and Carl Landry out for Hornets
Shooting guard Eric Gordon is out for about three weeks and Marco Belinelli will start in his place, but has been splitting minutes with Greivis Vasquez, while struggling for the Hornets. Belinelli is a nice add right now, but only if he gets it going. He should, but has yet to look great this season. Al-Farouq Aminu blew up for 15 points, 12 rebounds, four steals and two 3-pointers on Saturday after posting a dud on Wednesday. Ariza is day-to-day with a groin injury and his return could quickly render Aminu useless, but given his last line, he’s worth a look in all leagues for now. Kaman is starting over Carl Landry, reportedly because of a lack of defense from the latter. Kaman is worth owning in all leagues as long as he’s starting, while Landry should still be held as well. In short, none of these guys are must-starts, but all deserve a look with four games this week.
Gary Neal (and Danny Green) in, Manu Ginobili out for Spurs
Gary Neal played 28 minutes and had 18 points and two 3-pointers in Sunday’s blowout loss to the Thunder. He’s going to start at SG for the next month or so, and while Danny Green had a couple of big games, he’s going to be inconsistent off the bench. Neal is a must-add player, while owners should keep a close eye on Green. If Neal’s available in your league still, grab him.
J.J. Hickson in, Chuck Hayes out. John Salmons heating up for Kings
J.J. Hickson had 14 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block on Sunday and will continue to start for the next three weeks or so with Chuck Hayes out with a separated shoulder. Hickson was surprisingly still available in one of my leagues late on Sunday night, so check your waiver wire and grab him if he’s sitting there. Just beware of the low free throw percentage. Small forward John Salmons is also heating up under new coach Keith Smart and is averaging 10.5 points, six boards and a steal over his last two games. He’ll be inconsistent and the fourth or fifth scoring option for the Kings, but is still worth a look in your league.
Raja Bell soon to be out, Josh Howard, Alec Burks or C.J. Miles in for Jazz
Raja Bell doesn’t seem to have a firm grasp on the starting SF job in Utah and Josh Howard is relatively healthy again. I expect Howard to take over the job once he’s back to full speed, while Alec Burks or C.J. Miles could end up replacing Bell once Howard goes down with another injury. None of these guys are must-own players, but all should be monitored going forward.
Chris Singleton in, Rashard Lewis out (knee) for Wizards
Chris Singleton started over Rashard Lewis on Sunday, either because Lewis had a sore knee, or got into it with assistant coach Sam Cassell prior to the game. Either way, Lewis’ knee remains a concern and if Singleton takes over the job permanently, he’ll be worth a close look. He had just three points on 1-of-8 shooting, but also had seven boards, a steal and a block in a whopping 40 minutes on Sunday. Keep an eye on him.
Markieff Morris coming on for Suns
Rookie power forward Markieff Morris double-doubled on Sunday with three 3-pointers, a steal and two blocks in 30 minutes, while starter Channing Frye played well with 16 points, six rebounds and four 3-pointers in just 19 minutes. Morris will have to battle with Frye and Hakim Warrick for minutes and a job, but looks like one of the better rookies in the league. If you own Tristan Thompson, or another non-producing player, dropping him for Morris makes sense.