2015-16 Fantasy Basketball: Week 3 Preview
5 Games: MIN
4 Games: ATL, BOS, CHA, DAL, DEN, DET, GS, LAC, LAL, MEM, NO, NY, ORL, PHI, POR, SAC, TOR, UTA
3 Games: BKN, CLE, HOU, IND, MIL, OKC, SA
2 Games: CHI, MIA, PHO, WSH
There were a lot of notable performances this week from some players that are truly playing above and beyond what is possible to sustain over an 82 game season. For example, the reigning NBA MVP, Stephen Curry, set an NBA record with 286 three pointers made just a season ago, but he is currently on pace to make 442.8 three pointers this season. He made 21 threes in four games this week, and that includes a game where he only made two. He is averaging 33.9 points, 6.0 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 5.4 three pointers made per game. On Friday, Curry was just three rebounds and two three pointers away from a quadruple-double.
Russell Westbrook has been, arguably, the best player all around in the NBA this season, averaging 27.2 points, 10.5 assists, 7.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game, with four straight double-doubles. Many, including myself, thought that Kevin Durant returning would hurt Westbrook’s value, but it’s done just the opposite. His scoring is down from the first two games of the season, but his assists are up, as he is looking to find his teammates more often and still scoring 20 per game.
Andre Drummond – Detroit Pistons – C
Andre Drummond averaged 22 points and 24.3 rebounds per game in the Pistons three games this week against the Pacers, Suns and Trail Blazers. He shot 31/45 (69%) from the field in those three games and is in the early conversation for MVP of the entire league. Perhaps the coolest stat of this incredible season for Drummond so far, is that Andre Drummond has the same number of points as he does rebounds through six games. He is AVERAGING 20-20 a game this season and is one of the main reasons why the Pistons are off to a hot 5-1 start this season. I wasn’t kidding about this guy being in the MVP conversation, and although he likely won’t win, if he continues to put up numbers like this, we are truly witnessing one of the greatest seasons from a center in NBA history.
James Harden – Houston Rockets – SG
James Harden started off the 2015-2016 season very poorly, shooting under 30% in his first three games, but he has really turned it on as of late. Harden was made to be a fantasy beast and he is proving that once again this season with his recent four game stretch. He has 89 points in his last two games alone, shooting 27/49 from the field and 26/30 from the free throw line. Despite how he gets them, he gets buckets, period. Harden also added 15 threes this past week and raised his scoring average to 29.7 points per game. Harden will likely have another MVP caliber season, and it didn’t take but a few games to shake off the rust to begin the year. His DFS price tag will likely be one of the highest each and every night, but you can usually count on top production from the former Sun Devil.
Chandler Parsons – Dallas mavericks – SF
Chandler Parsons has struggled since returning to the Mavericks lineup this season. Although Parsons is only averaging 15 minutes per game so far, his production in those minutes has been very sub-par. He is shooting just 38% from the field in four games for the Mavericks, and scoring just 4.8 points per game. Parsons, who being limited to just 15 minutes per game for the time being, has just not been able to find his shooting stroke as of yet. Parsons average draft position was 38.4 in ESPN leagues, which has made him one of the biggest disappointments so far this season in terms of where he was drafted. Look for Parsons to return to his normal production and be that top-40 player that he was drafted as fairly soon which presents a buy-low opportunity. Those in roto leagues may want to consider leaving Chandler benched until his minutes limit is lifted, because each game of your games played limit need to count, and right now, he just can’t put up numbers at 15 MPG.
T.J. McConnell – McConnell has flirted with a triple-double three times already this season, however, he has yet to record even a double-double. Although McConnell is only starting until the Sixers get fully healthy, he has been filling up the stat sheet in the interim. T.J. doesn’t score much, but he has been able to take advantage of his playing time and fill in as a very meaningful fantasy option, especially this week where the Sixers play four times.
Will Barton – Barton has averaged just over 25 minutes per game so far this season, but he has contributed in every category across the board. He scores, blocks shots, steals the ball, rebounds and dishes the ball, and he’s hitting his shots at a high percentage as well. He isn’t going to light up the scoreboard on a regular basis by any means, but he is a consistent player that is going to contribute all-around for your fantasy team. Denver, just like McConnell and the Sixers, play four games this week, meaning Barton should provide 54 points, three blocks, six steals, 18 rebounds and six assists for your team this week if he were to achieve his averages. Barton also scored a season high 19 points in his first start of the season, where he played 39 minutes and took 16 shots as the starting shooting guard. Barton is only 13% owned in ESPN leagues, so he should be available to pick up.
Nemanja Bjelica – He has only had one game that’s been worth anything, but Nemanja Bjelica had 17 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, one steal and a block off the bench for the T’Wolves on Saturday. The 17-year-old from Serbia will likely not be very fantasy relevant this year, but this performance he had in 40 minutes against the Bulls is worth mentioning. The Timberwolves play FIVE games this week, making Bjelica worth taking a flier on to see if he can build off of his last performance in Chicago.