From the unsettled Jimmy Butler situation in Minnesota to the impending return of Dwight Howard to the emergence of several overlooked players, there are plenty of things impacting the fantasy landscape as we get ready to enter November.
Here's a look at the most fantasy-relevant news and notes for all 30 teams around the league.
Atlanta Hawks: John Collins is no longer dealing with pain in his injured left ankle, which is an encouraging sign that the promising big man is progressing toward a return to the court. Still, that appears to be at least a couple of weeks away, at the earliest. Collins is set to be re-examined on Nov. 4, but even if he is cleared for full contact, he'll likely need a couple of weeks of practice to get back in shape and be ready to make his season debut.
Boston Celtics: It's good to see the Celtics at full strength, but when that happens, it comes at the expense of Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier as far as fantasy managers are concerned. Both are playing just under 23 minutes a game through the first two weeks of the season, and neither is more than a streaming option at this point, with Smart averaging a mere 5.1 PPG, 2.7 RPG and 4.0 APG while Rozier is at 7.9 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 2.1 APG. It's going to take an injury or a shift in Brad Stevens' rotation before either guard can be considered for a permanent spot on fantasy rosters.
Brooklyn Nets: The Nets are suddenly a team that can just bury opponents with a barrage of 3-pointers, and D'Angelo Russell's improvement from long range is a big part of that. The lefty-shooting Russell made only 32.4 percent of his 3s last season and is at 34.9 percent in his career, but he looks more comfortable firing away from distance early this season and is making 3.0 3PG while making 47.7 percent of his attempts. Now, neither of these numbers is sustainable, but at this point, it's fair to expect more from Russell as a 3-point shooter in 2018-19.
Charlotte Hornets: Aside from Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum, who are both just under 34 MPG, nobody else on the Hornets is averaging 25 MPG. That's a serious blow for the likes of Malik Monk, Jeremy Lamb, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams and Cody Zeller, who just aren't getting the minutes to be anything more than streamers in fantasy leagues.
Chicago Bulls: The absence of Bobby Portis, who is sidelined for a few weeks because of a sprained MCL in his right knee, has given more opportunity to rookie Wendell Carter Jr. The versatile big man out of Duke notched his first career double-double on Saturday against the Hawks and approached another with 18 points and seven rebounds on Monday against the Warriors. He passes, he blocks shots, he scores and rebounds, and for the next few weeks, he's going to get the playing time (around 25 MPG) to make a big fantasy impact. Take note, if you haven't already.
Cleveland Cavaliers: It was Sam Dekker, not Larry Nance Jr., who stepped in as the starter in place of the injured Kevin Love on Tuesday, which is a bit of a surprise. To his credit, Dekker came through with 12 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and a pair of 3-pointers while playing 29 minutes to Nance's 16. While Love is sidelined, Dekker is worth adding, as is each of the other bigs on this roster (Nance, Tristan Thompson and Cedi Osman).
Dallas Mavericks: If anyone thought the Mavericks would slowly ease Luka Doncic into the NBA, they can abandon that idea. The prized rookie ranks fifth in the league with 35.7 MPG, and at 19 years old, he's already doing all the things the Mavs hoped to see. Doncic went for a career-high 31 points against the Spurs on Monday, playing 40 minutes in that one, and he enters Wednesday's game against the Lakers with averages of 20.4 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 4.0 APG and 2.7 3PG. If he can stay healthy over the long season, Doncic is a surefire top-50 fantasy option who could become a top-30 guy by this time next season.
Denver Nuggets: On a team with guys who can pass at nearly every position (Nikola Jokic, Gary Harris, Paul Millsap, Will Barton et al), it's no wonder that Jamal Murray doesn't rack up many assists as a point guard. Still, it's concerning and damaging to his fantasy value. Murray finished last season doling out just 4.3 assists per 40 minutes, and that number has actually fallen to 3.6 A/40 this season. If you have Murray, you simply have to get your assists elsewhere.
Detroit Pistons: Reggie Bullock carved out a role last season, his fifth in the NBA, due in large part to his ability to knock down the 3-pointer. In 62 games with the Pistons, he shot 44.5 percent from deep, making 2.0 3PG. However, that efficiency has yet to resurface in his first five games this season. Bullock is shooting just 25.9 percent from 3-point range, making 1.4 3PG, and unless that turns around, he's no more than a streamer in 10- and 12-team leagues.
Golden State Warriors: Draymond Green is barely shooting the ball this season, as his 7.4 PPG might indicate, but what he is doing is distributing better than ever. In fact, Green's 8.1 APG trails only Kyle Lowry (11.1) and LeBron James (8.3) in the early going this season. The veteran power forward has averaged at least 7.0 assists per game during each of the past three seasons, so his ability to distribute the ball is no surprise, but with even more of an emphasis on passing this season, he could be on his way to setting a career high in assists.
Houston Rockets: One of the few tough, defensive players left on the Rockets this season is PJ Tucker, and he's playing 35.7 MPG for that very reason, as Mike D'Antoni is desperate to find ways to improve on the defensive side of the ball. When the veteran plays that many minutes, he's valuable in fantasy leagues, thanks in large part to his ability to rebound, shoot the 3 and rack up steals. In fact, Tucker's 2.3 SPG rank second in the league behind only Butler. He's too important to the Rockets and playing too many minutes to leave on the waiver wire right now.
Indiana Pacers: When Myles Turner's playing time, scoring and rebounding all declined last season, it was easy to dismiss it as a learning stretch for the then-21-year-old big man. Problem is, so far this season, Turner's numbers are down even more (26.7 MPG, 12.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG). Turner remains one of the elite shot-blockers in the game, but right now, that's about all he is adding as far as fantasy stats are concerned. The longer this continues, the harder it's going to be for fantasy managers to deal with the talented but underachieving Pacers center.
LA Clippers: Lou Williams began the season ice cold, but predictably, the veteran is back to his trusty ways, filling it up like he has consistently done throughout the course of his 14-year NBA career. Williams has scored 17 points or more in four straight games and is shooting 54.1 percent in that span. He's not playing enough to be a top 75-player right now, but he's still more than a streamer and someone who can improve if Doc Rivers starts giving him more minutes.
Los Angeles Lakers: It's still early. We're in small-sample-size territory, here. That being said, have you seen what JaVale McGee is doing? The veteran big man turned his career around in Golden State and is back to being a starting center in this league, shining in his first few weeks with the Lakers. McGee is tied with Hassan Whiteside for first in the league with 3.0 BPG, and that tells only part of the story. He is also averaging 15.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG and shooting 65.3 percent from the field. If he can continue on this path, he's on his way to being a better version of Myles Turner in 2018-19.
Memphis Grizzlies: When it comes to pace, no team is slower this season than the Grizzlies. Ironically enough, they are tied with the Pacers at 100.3 possessions per game. This isn't a huge factor in today's NBA where all games are played at a faster pace with more points than in the past, but it's something to think about, because fewer possessions mean fewer opportunities to accumulate stats.
Miami Heat: Rodney McGruder had never been much of a fantasy option since entering the league a few years back, but that's no longer the case. Playing a whopping 34.1 MPG so far this season, the small forward is performing like a top-100 fantasy option as an efficient shooter who is filling up nearly all of the stat categories (14.3 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 3.7 APG, 0.9 SPG, 2.4 3PG). His minutes will likely take a hit once James Johnson (hernia) returns, but for now, he's someone to get into your lineups whenever possible.
Milwaukee Bucks: You came here for Brook Lopez numbers, didn't you? OK, maybe not. Well, here are some to ponder anyway: In his first seven games as a member of the Bucks, Lopez is averaging a career-low 2.3 RPG and a career-high 2.4 3PG. Chalk up this one as another 7-footer who has drifted away from the basket on the offensive end, becoming a nonfactor on the glass and a big weapon from behind the 3-point arc. Incredible when you consider that Lopez never even averaged 0.1 3PG in his first eight NBA seasons.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Jimmy Butler's status is murkier than ever in Minnesota. He's missing Wednesday's game against Utah, and there is a report by The Athletic that Butler is simply choosing to sit this one out. However, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Butler is expected to join the team for its road trip to Golden State on Friday. There is a chance that Butler has played his last game for the Timberwolves, but for now, fantasy managers will need to remain patient. Houston, Miami and Philadelphia are the three teams that have expressed the most interest in the All-Star swingman, but it remains to be seen if any of those teams will be able to swing a deal for him.
New Orleans Pelicans: There was a lot of hype surrounding Julius Randle's joining the Pelicans, and there's plenty of reason to be hopeful that he can have a good season in his first year in New Orleans. That being said, in his first season with his new team, Randle has started just one of six games and is averaging a disappointing 23.0 MPG thus far. He can be a fantasy star when he plays around 30.0 MPG, but in his current role, he's not much more than a complementary fantasy player.
New York Knicks: Without Kristaps Porzingis, it was clear that it would be up to Enes Kanter and Tim Hardaway Jr. to provide the bulk of the scoring on the Knicks for a good part of this season. So far, it appears that Hardaway is much more impacted by Porzingis' absence than Kanter. While Kanter has seen his minutes rise a tick from 25.8 to 27.3 MPG, his scoring go from 14.1 to 15.3 PPG, and his rebounding bump up from 11.0 to 11.7 RPG, Hardaway is a totally different story. The veteran swingman ranks 13th in the league with 24.4 PPG after finishing last season at 17.5. Don't expect him to slow down, either.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Lost in the Thunder's disappointing 2-4 start to the season is the improved numbers out of Steven Adams, who is on the court (34.6 MPG) as much as nearly any big man in the game these days and is putting up numbers as a scorer (14.8 PPG), rebounder (11.8 RPG) and defender (1.6 SPG) that would all be career highs if the season ended today.
Orlando Magic: Scoring is always what Evan Fournier has done best since entering the league, and that continues to be the case in 2018-19. The problem is, he is shooting 37.4 percent and isn't adding much else to make up for it (27.7 percent from 3-point land, 2.7 RPG, 0.4 SPG). Until he finds his shooting stroke, he can be considered no more than a streamer in 10- and 12-team leagues.
Philadelphia 76ers: Markelle Fultz was a popular flier in the later rounds of fantasy drafts, and that's a strategy that could eventually pay off, but it doesn't look like it will happen for a while. The No. 1 overall pick in 2017 has been limited to under 25.0 MPG just about every game, and his shooting (39.8 percent) remains a major concern. At best this season, he appears to be an inefficient scorer who can provide assists and rebounds from the point guard position.
Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker (hamstring) has already missed two games, and he won't play Wednesday against the Spurs either. The recently turned 22-year-old star shooting guard has been ruled out for that one, which likely means at least one more game for Josh Jackson to fill in as a starter and TJ Warren and Deandre Ayton to serve as the team's main scoring options. Adjust your lineups accordingly.
Portland Trail Blazers: Can we talk Zach Collins again? He warrants the attention. The second-year center has played right around 25 MPG in the team's past three games, and along with Jusuf Nurkic, gives the Trail Blazers one of the top center rotations in the game today, providing a little of everything on both ends of the court. If Collins continues to score and defend the way he has in the first few weeks of the season, it could lead to fewer minutes for Nurkic as the season progresses. That's something to watch closely in the weeks ahead.
Sacramento Kings: Raise your hand if you predicted a 5-3 start for the Kings, good for second place in the Pacific Division behind the Warriors. OK, now put your hand down! The surprising Kings are getting it done with the right mix of young players and the veteran leadership of Nemanja Bjelica, who is one of the best stories of the young season. His 26-point, 12-rebound, 6-3-pointer performance against the Wizards Friday was a recent example of why it's impossible to keep him out of the lineup for long. Bjelica was seen as a scorer, rebounder and 3-point shooter entering this season, but he's adding steals and blocks and has at least three assists in five of his past six games.
San Antonio Spurs: Gregg Popovich has earned a reputation over the years for resting his best players throughout the course of the season and keeping them fresh come playoff time. He doesn't have that luxury this season, with the retirement of Manu Ginobili, the departure of Tony Parker and the season-ending injury to Dejounte Murray. In fact, entering Wednesday, the impact of the smaller rotation is clear, as DeMar DeRozan (38.8 MPG) and LaMarcus Aldridge (37.2 MPG) rank first and second in the league in minutes.
Toronto Raptors: Pascal Siakam pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds in Tuesday's win over the 76ers, a team that has more than a few big-time rebounders. Siakam, a first-round pick out of New Mexico State in 2016, remains available in many ESPN leagues and is a name who should be on everyone's radar. A key part of Toronto's early success, Siakam has played at least 33 minutes during each of his past three games and is an athletic, rangy forward who can provide efficient scoring as well as rebounds, steals and assists.
Utah Jazz: The talent at the top in fantasy hoops this season is as strong as it's been in a long time when you consider that someone like Rudy Gobert doesn't crack the top 12. Gobert leads the league in field goal percentage (75.0 FG%), ranks third in blocks (2.7 BPG) and fifth in rebounds (13.5 RPG) while on pace to set a career high in steals (1.5 SPG). Gobert doesn't have the 3-pointer or passing in his game that Karl-Anthony Towns, Joel Embiid and Jokic do, but he's a game-changer in roto leagues and the type of player around whom fantasy championships can be built.
Washington Wizards: Things have been ridiculously bad in the early going for the Wizards, but the talent on the court looks to be improving later this week, as Dwight Howard is reportedly expecting to make his Wizards debut Friday at home against Oklahoma City. Howard has averaged a double-double in each of his 14 seasons in the league and is coming off an impressive season in Charlotte, where he averaged 16.6 PPG (his most since 2013-14 in Houston), 12.5 RPG and 1.6 BPG.