From Gordon Hayward's return to Kemba Walker and Blake Griffin reaching new heights to rookies turning heads, it's been an eventful opening week of the NBA season. We wouldn't have it any other way, right?
Here's a look at the most fantasy relevant news and notes for all 30 teams around the league heading into the week:
Atlanta Hawks: It didn't take long for Trae Young to answer the question as to whether he'd be a big fantasy contributor this season. The answer is yes! Though matchups against New York, Memphis and Cleveland may not make for a completely accurate representation of the type numbers we can expect from the rookie this season, Young's 23.0 PPG, 8.3 APG and 3.7 3PG on 45.5 percent shooting all have to be confidence boosters for the No. 5 overall pick this past June.
Boston Celtics: Already, it's pretty clear that Gordon Hayward is going to need some time to return to the form we were used to seeing before his gruesome season-ending ankle injury in last year's season opener. Hayward has already missed one game due to rest and hasn't logged more than 25 minutes in the three others. The bottom line here is you're going to need to exercise patience with Hayward for the first part of the season because his early impact (11.7 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.7 APG, 2.0 SPG, 1.7 3PG), while decent, hasn't been at the old Hayward levels.
Brooklyn Nets: The absences of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Allen Crabbe have given Caris LeVert an opportunity for additional playing time, and the third-year wing has taken full advantage. In three games, Levert has made 65.0 percent of his shots on his way to 24.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 4.0 APG, 1.0 SPG and 1.3 3PG. Even when the others return, LeVert looks like someone who can be a strong fantasy contributor going forward.
Charlotte Hornets: It's starting to be difficult to remember the days when Kemba Walker was known as a clutch player and one-on-one scorer but a poor shooter. His evolution as one of the top 3-point shooters in the game continues to be an amazing development, and through the Hornets' first four games only Stephen Curry has attempted and made more 3-pointers than Walker, who is 21-of-45 from behind the arc this season. Feed the man!
Chicago Bulls: Don't look now but Zach LaVine may be on his way to becoming a top 50 fantasy player. The 23-year-old has always been a scorer, albeit an inefficient one, but his game is at a whole different level in the early going this season. LaVine has scored 30, 33 and 34 in the Bulls' first three games, and he's done it with extreme efficiency, making 61.8 percent of his shots. At the end of the day, LaVine may be mostly just a scorer and 3-point shooter, but there may not be a better version of that type of player in 2018-19 than the former dunk champion.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Cedi Osman looks to be the big winner of the minutes sweepstakes in the post LeBron James era in Cleveland. The young forward played a team-high 39 minutes in Sunday's loss to Atlanta after averaging 34.0 MPG in the team's first two games. So far, there's a lot to like from Osman too (17.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.3 SPG, 2.7 3PG), though the return of Larry Nance Jr. could cut into some of Osman's playing time and production. That's something to keep an eye on.
Dallas Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki has yet to play a game due to an ankle injury, and he will be sidelined through the month of October. The absence of the 40-year-old future Hall of Famer and Harrison Barnes (hamstring) has left the Mavs undersized in the starting five outside of DeAndre Jordan, with Dorian Finney-Smith filling in as a starter and Dwight Powell and Maximilian Kleber coming off the bench. Coach Rick Carlisle said this week that Barnes will miss at least two more games.
Denver Nuggets: The Nuggets will be without a key piece of their rotation for at least the next month and a half as Will Barton underwent hip surgery and will be reevaluated in six weeks. This comes at a time when both Isaiah Thomas (hip) and Michael Porter Jr. (back) are also still sidelined and without a timetable to return. Look for Torrey Craig, a defensive stopper who has stepped into the starting lineup, and Juan Hernangomez, the Nuggets' first-rounder in 2016 with a sudden tattoo sleeve on his right arm, to fill Barton's minutes.
Detroit Pistons: Blake Griffin fell in a lot of snake drafts this season and was a tremendous value in many auction drafts as well. If he can stay healthy, which is a big if, given his lengthy injury history, Griffin looks like he could be one of this season's biggest draft-day steals. His 50-point game against Philadelphia on Tuesday was a career high, and his new-found confidence from 3-point land (11-of-17), resurgence as a rebounder (10.0 RPG) and continual impact as a distributor (5.5 APG) make him a top-20 fantasy talent once again. He hasn't played in more than 67 games in a season since 2013-14, however.
Golden State Warriors: If you haven't paid attention to the Warriors lately, you may have missed this whole new look at center with Damian Jones taking over the starting spot and leapfrogging Jordan Bell in the rotation. Jones, the No. 30 overall pick in 2017 out of Vanderbilt, will become a reserve as soon as DeMarcus Cousins is able to play, but in the meantime, he is flashing tremendous talent as an efficient rim-runner and athlete who, at 7-feet tall, can make an impact as a rebounder and shot-blocker. Jones came alive in the first quarter against Phoenix on Monday, and that's something that could very well propel him in the weeks and months ahead.
Houston Rockets: In his 16th NBA season, Carmelo Anthony is a shell of his old self, and it is starting to look like time to stop considering him as a fantasy option. Even in point-happy Houston. Even after a change of scenery. Anthony has averaged 27.7 minutes in his first three games with the Rockets but has made just 32.1 percent of his shots on his way to 8.3 PPG. Given how little Anthony contributes in the other areas, it's best to leave him on the waiver wire at this point.
Indiana Pacers: Coming off a breakout season, much was expected for Victor Oladipo heading into his second year with the Pacers. And that hasn't changed. Through four games, though, there has been one big surprise -- a drop in playing time. Oladipo's 31.0 MPG, as it stands today, would be the lowest of his career. With Tyreke Evans now in the mix with Cory Joseph, Darren Collison and Oladipo in the Pacers' deep backcourt, there is a chance this dip in playing time could continue for Oladipo, and if it does, that doesn't bode well for his fantasy value.
LA Clippers: It's already time to panic about a couple of Clippers veterans, Lou Williams and Marcin Gortat, who have had a lot of success in the fantasy space in recent years. Williams has seen his playing time fall back into the mid 20s after logging 32.8 MPG last season. Not good. And Gortat has felt it even worse, playing just 17.3 MPG so far and going for 0 points and 3 rebounds in 12 minutes in Tuesday's loss to New Orleans. Both should be downgraded in terms of their fantasy stock, though Williams still has a chance to play a bigger role as the season goes on.
Los Angeles Lakers: Coach Luke Walton really likes what Josh Hart has to offer, and that is clear by the way the second-year shooting guard has played 27 minutes or more in all three games this season. Hart is getting more run than Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Lance Stephenson right now, and his offensive efficiency is a big reason why; Hart is shooting 53.8 percent from the field and 47.1 percent from 3-point range. As long as Hart continues to shoot well, he's going to earn minutes next to Rajon Rondo or Lonzo Ball rather than lose time to a lineup that uses Rondo and Ball in the same backcourt.
Memphis Grizzlies: The Grizzlies' trade for Garrett Temple over the summer barely was a blip on the radar for most NBA fans but someone forgot to tell that to the Grizzlies and Temple. The 32-year-old leads the team with 31.3 MPG through the first three games of the season, as Chandler Parsons continues to deal with knee issues and Kyle Anderson takes on a reserve role after coming over from San Antonio. That leaves Temple, a veteran 3-and-D specialist, as a key piece who has a chance to improve upon his 1.4 3PG and 0.9 SPG from last season in Sacramento. Consider him as a streaming option in roto leagues.
Miami Heat: How's this for a surprise in the early going this season? Even with James Johnson sidelined, Kelly Olynyk has averaged less playing time (15.3 MPG) than anyone else on the Heat. The defensive presence and rebounding ability of Bam Adebayo has negatively impacted Olynyk, and things could get even worse for the versatile big man once Johnson returns to the Heat lineup.
Milwaukee Bucks: Khris Middleton put up career highs in 3PG and 3PA last season, with 1.8 and 5.0, respectively. Records are meant to be broken, and both of those could be shattered this season, as Middleton is off to a red-hot start from 3-point land. The veteran has averaged 5.0 3PG on 7.7 3PA so far this season, and while that efficiency is unsustainable, it's not unrealistic to think that Middleton could make 2.0-2.5 3PG this season.
Minnesota Timberwolves: If you're looking for a fantasy superstar to acquire when his value is at the lowest, look no further than Karl-Anthony Towns. Drafted higher than usual in some leagues due to the prospect of Jimmy Butler possibly being traded, that didn't pan out like it seemed it would, and Towns hasn't responded with a strong start to the season. In fact, KAT has scored more than 17 points only once in four games and notched double-digit rebounds just once as well. Don't expect any of this to last, so put those trade packages together for Towns now before it's too late!
New Orleans Pelicans: Nikola Mirotic is going to help you in only three categories, but judging by how well he's playing alongside Anthony Davis and Julius Randle this season, that might be more than OK. Mirotic scores, he shoots the 3-ball and he rebounds. That's pretty much it. He does all of them really well, however, as his 33.0 PPG, 5.5 3PG, and 9.5 RPG show. Is the 27-year-old going to put up those numbers over the course of a full season? No. But if he scores 20.0 PPG, grabs 8.0 RPG and cashes in 3.0 3PG, it wouldn't surprise anyone.
New York Knicks: Without Kristaps Porzingis for a good part of the season, the Knicks had to find someone to replace his scoring, and they appear to have found that guy in Tim Hardaway Jr. Hardaway has taken 22.8 shots per game during the Knicks' first four games, pouring in 27.0 PPG and 3.5 3PG along the way. Much like LaVine in Chicago, Hardaway is mostly just a scorer and 3-point shooter, which makes him better in points leagues than roto leagues but useful in both.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Now, Russell Westbrook missed the first two games, but do you know who was the least efficient offensive team in the NBA through the first week of the season? You probably should guess the Thunder, since I'm writing about them in this section, and if you did, you'd be right. How bad is their 95.5 offensive efficiency? Pretty bad when you consider it's 32.1 points behind the league-leading Pelicans (127.7). OKC is banking on improvement with the return of Westbrook, but their 131-120 loss at home to the lowly Kings on Sunday is reason for concern.
Orlando Magic: Evan Fournier set a new career high last season when he attempted 5.9 3-pointers per game, and that mark could be in jeopardy if the first four games of this season are any indication. The 25-year-old clearly has the green light under new Magic coach Steve Clifford and has attempted 7.3 3PG in the early going. If he continues at that rate, the career 37.9 percent shooter from long range could average around 2.7-2.8 3PG this season.
Philadelphia 76ers: With Ben Simmons out of the lineup due to lower back tightness, one player who has stepped up for the 76ers is JJ Redick. The veteran sharpshooter has gone for 30 and 31 points during his past two games, making 14 3-pointers in that span. This is something to consider in the future whenever Simmons misses time; it appears Redick doesn't need Simmons' playmaking abilities in order to go off.
Phoenix Suns: It wasn't long ago -- just over 14 months in fact -- that the Suns decided against trading for Kyrie Irving because they didn't want to part with Josh Jackson, their No. 4 pick in the 2017 NBA draft. Fast-forward to today, and the Suns are without a top-tier point guard and Jackson is a reserve playing behind Trevor Ariza. While Jackson impressed during the second half of his rookie season and finished on the All-Rookie second team, his lack of minutes (23.7 MPG through three games), poor shooting (39.1 percent) and minimal impact on the offensive end thus far are all real concerns. Avoid him for now.
Portland Trail Blazers: Zach Collins shot up the draft boards after a fine showing in the NCAA Tournament with Gonzaga in 2017, and his polished offensive game was a big reason the Trail Blazers took him with the 10th pick that summer. What Portland may not have expected was Collins' impact on the defensive end; the 7-footer has eight blocks in the team's first three games and, at worst, could become a prime streaming option for blocks in roto leagues.
Sacramento Kings: Coach Dave Joerger has used Nemanja Bjelica in the Kings' starting lineup during the first four games of the season, but don't be surprised if Marvin Bagley III assumes the starting role in the near future. Bagley, the No. 2 overall pick this past June, has gone for at least 19 points and 8 rebounds during two of the past three games. Bagley also appears to be ready to make an impact defensively, with six blocks and four steals so far this season.
San Antonio Spurs: Little known Bryn Forbes was thrust into the starting point guard spot when Dejounte Murray was lost for the season in the preseason due to a torn ACL, and so far, Forbes has held it down nicely, averaging 31.3 MPG through three games. Forbes isn't going to rack up assists or rebounds and probably won't get a lot of steals either, but he is a confident shooter and scorer. That's where he can help in fantasy, as his 14.7 PPG and 3.3 3PG shows.
Toronto Raptors: Jonas Valanciunas is only as valuable as the amount of playing time he receives, and that's a number that continues to fall. After playing at least 25.8 MPG in four straight seasons, he was limited to 22.4 MPG last season as the new style of NBA offenses left less opportunity for plodding big men like Valanciunas. With a new coach in Toronto this season, there was some hope that Valanciunas may carve out a bigger role, but he has been on the court just 18.3 MPG through the Raptors' first four games. It will be difficult for Valanciunas to be a top-80 fantasy player as long as this trend continues.
Utah Jazz: It's easy to forget that this is really only the second season that Joe Ingles has been a full-time starter with the Jazz. When you look at it like that, it is reasonable to expect his numbers to improve across the board from an impressive 2017-18 campaign, and so far they've done just that. His minutes have risen from 31.5 to 36.0 per game, helping him become an even bigger factor as a 3-point shooter (4.0 made 3s per game), distributor (5.0 APG), defender (2.7 SPG) and scorer (19.3 PPG). Even if he does 75 percent of that over the course of the season, Ingles is a top-30 player in roto leagues.
Washington Wizards: Markieff Morris has been in the league long enough to know that his 28-point, six 3-pointer game against Portland was probably something he won't repeat this season. That being said, the 29-year-old is more than just another big man to stream in and out of your lineup. He blocks shots, gets steals, hits 3s, and rebounds, while shooting better than 82.0 percent from the free throw line each of the past two seasons. That makes him more valuable in roto leagues than points leagues.