Editor's Note 1: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel.com is hosting a one-day $15,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Saturday's NBA games. It's just $10 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Saturday night at 7pm ET. Here's the link.
Editor’s Note 2: Matthew Braine will be handling the Saturday Daily Dose this season and we hope you enjoy the first installment.
Friday night is typically one of the biggest nights of the week for NBA action. In head-to-head leagues especially, Friday night should play a pivotal role in whether you win or lose your fantasy matchup. Last night’s 13-game slate provided a treasure trove of information, including emerging sleepers and disappointing busts. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the biggest fantasy stories from Friday night.
1. Anthony Davis is a bona fide fantasy stud
The second-year man is officially unleashed this season and his minutes are a huge indication of the Pelicans’ commitment to the franchise player. Through just two games Davis is averaging 38 mpg which is a great sign considering that he played just 28 mpg last year, mainly due to his injury woes. The power forward took a poke to the eye last night against Orlando but still came back to put up 26 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks. The poor field goal shooting (9-23) was the only downside but considering he shot over 50% last year, he should be fine with his increased workload. Last year’s top pick is on pace to be a top 5 fantasy player this season.
2. Big Vitor needs to be owned
Vitor Faverani, the Celtics undrafted Brazilian big man, is officially legit. After a solid opener on Wednesday, the center put up 12 points, 18 rebounds and six blocks on Friday night against the Bucks. With the Boston outfit in rebuilding mode, Faverani has stood out and will continue to get minutes because frankly, the Celtics are limited from a talent standpoint. Faverani’s 37 minutes last night were high and he’ll likely settle in closer to 30, but it’s clear that the boards and blocks are no joke. He’s a potential double-double threat at this point and if he’s available in your league, he shouldn’t be.
3. Dragic goes down and Wall could follow
Last night both point guards dealt with some injuries as Goran Dragic suffered a facial contusion after colliding with teammate PJ Tucker, while John Wall dealt with back spasms. Dragic was unable to return and was in the midst of a terrible 2-11 shooting night, but the injury did not cause a concussion, which is a good thing. He’s questionable for Sunday’s game against Oklahoma City but that’s merely precautionary at this point. More news should develop in the next 24 hours.
John Wall on the other hand, had a great game against Philadelphia, netting 26 points to go along with six assists, five boards, and three steals. Unfortunately, Wall started having back spasms in the second half and although he did return, trainers were working on him along the sidelines. Wall was quoted after the game saying his back “hurts badly right now.” That’s certainly not a great self-prognostication but he added that he expects to play on Sunday. Still, this is an injury that should be monitored closely by his owners, as back issues tend to linger.
4. Durant misses Westbrook
Through two games, Kevin Durant is averaging 27.5 points, which is exactly what you’d expect from the number one fantasy player. He’s also averaging just five rebounds, one assist, and 4.5 turnovers. Obviously this is a small sample size and Friday night’s loss to Minnesota was a blowout but Oklahoma City’s offense does not look good. Reggie Jackson, who is filling in for Russell Westbrook, has 10 turnovers through two games and just seven assists. That’s a poor ratio and it looks like Durant is forcing the issue because of it. Serge Ibaka (3-13 on Friday and 8-28 through two games) isn’t helping either. Durant will be fine and should bounce back against the Suns on Sunday but for the time being, with Westbrook on the sidelines, Durant may not be as diverse as usual. Expect some scoring explosions for sure but the well roundedness of his game may suffer in the short term.
5. Tyreke and Larry look like busts
Both Tyreke Evans and Larry Sanders have started the season in quicksand. Sanders, who struggled in the preseason after signing a big $44 million dollar contract extension in the summer, looks lost in the Bucks offense. He had just three points, three boards, and four blocks in 18 minutes on Friday against the Celtics and was even worse in Wednesday’s season opener. For a guy who was consistently ranked in the top 50 or higher on most fantasy lists, he’s been a huge disappointment. He’s being outplayed by Zaza Pachulia, but owners have no choice but to wait it out because of his high price tag in fantasy drafts.
Tyreke Evans however, is another story. After a putrid 0-7 Friday night against Orlando, Evans is now shooting just 2-15 on the season. That’s 13%. While he can’t be this bad all season, Evans is only playing 20 minutes per game which is not a great sign but he is coming off a preseason ankle injury which could be a factor. Still, this is his fifth season and each and every year, Evans’ production has gone down. Right now he’s at rock bottom, which means there’s nowhere to go, but up. You probably burned a mid-round pick on him hoping to get some sixth man value but at this point, his value is so low, owners will have to wait until he hits a good stride before they can even think about dealing him.