2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Week 1 Trend or Mirage?
Paul Millsap – MIRAGE
Go and make an offer to whoever owns Paul Millsap. Or if you’re in any of my leagues, trade me Millsap, because this start is a mirage.
Plain and simple, the guy is a fantasy beast who is constantly over-looked in all formats. His percentages last year were actually a negative, but chalk the FG% up to the extra double team coverage he received while Al Horford was out. He was shooting at 49.2% when Al was next to him (first 28 games), then after Horford’s season was cut short by injury (again), Millsap shot just 44.5% the remaining 46 games. He likely won’t repeat last season’s 1+ STL/BLK/3pt fantasy gem, but you can bank on the fact he’s going to perform in his contract year – so try and get him cheap while you can.
Reggie Jackson – TREND
The flood-gates are about to open for the Thunder’s dynamite combo guard and the dollar signs are going to follow. While Russell Westbrook is out Jackson’s got free reign to man the point – and score the points – for this OKC side who is clamoring to get a healthy roster on the floor each night. Jackson was able to focus mainly on scoring last season, but with the Thunder depth massacred, he’s going to be heavily relied upon to make plays for his team-mates (as per his 14 assist night at Toronto). Jackson is a lock for 36+ minutes nightly, so he is going to accrue solid stats in all categories bar blocks, unfortunately this includes turnovers as they could possibly creep up to the dangerous 3-4 per game zone.
Larry Sanders – TREND
The Larry Sanders Show has been ‘solid’ over his first four games. He’s had some very encouraging stat-lines already, namely 15 rebounds and 4 blocks against the 76ers, in less than 27 minutes. John Henson hasn’t taken the leap many were expecting and neither Ersan Ilyasova or Jabari Parker have been pleasing to the fantasy eye, so Sanders’ minutes should stay steady at 28-30 per night. Jason Kidd seems to be using the same ‘WTFantasy!’ rotation that Larry Drew used last year, which makes it difficult to predict even game to game minutes, let alone those in weekly leagues. Sanders doesn’t necessarily need 32+ minutes to be productive; during his breakout 2012-13 campaign he only averaged 27.3mins per night, yet he still averaged 9.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks. Note – this trend isn’t a sexy one, expect Sanders to be inconsistent and a good source of REB/BLK but little else.
Chris Copeland – MIRAGE
Copeland is himself a mirage on defense, appearing to give a crap but basically being as helpful on D as a wet towel – but you’re not adding him to your fantasy line-ups for his D. He’s a scorer, plain and simple – and this Pacers team needs all the points they can get. He’s racked up 14 threes in just four games, an impressive stat considering he landed only 33 all of last season! The Pacers need Copeland’s near 17 points per game, but they are paying for it with his 39% shooting from the field, 60% from the free throw line and 0.0 steals with 0.5 blocks. If you can hold him until the inevitable 2-15 stinker, then do it, but be prepared because he’ll drop the minute his shots don’t.
Garrett Temple – TREND
Temple found himself on the radar two years ago, after a short stretch that saw him post useful deep league stats, particularly in the FG%/AST/STL categories. He’s leap-frogged pre-season sleepers Otto Porter and Glen Rice Jr., to snatch the starting SG spot in Bradley Beal’s absence. Temple’s averaging 13.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.6 steals and a whopping 2.8 threes (on 52% shooting!) this season and his role doesn’t look to be changing until Beal returns – as long as the Wiz keep winning.
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