If you read this site or (gasp!) others this week, you'll find many sage words advising fantasy hoops owners to resist the temptation to overreact. After all, Michael Carter-Williams is not Chris Paul. And Miles Plumlee is not Roy Hibbert.
But after what's been a very entertaining and -- in MCW's case, historic -- opening week in the NBA, I believe it's worth pointing out that while overreacting is bad, there's nothing wrong with reacting.
No one drafts (or manages auctions) perfectly. If it was that easy, fantasy sports frankly wouldn't be very interesting. Chances are you made at least one pick you're already regretting -- maybe it's an injured Danny Granger or an alarmingly decrepit Steve Nash. If there's someone occupying your roster who you see as an ill fit, why not take a leap on Plumlee or Lance Stephenson? It's not just that all those owners who snapped up Carter-Williams this week added value to their rosters. They added perceived value.
Remember Brandon Jennings' rookie season, when he went off for a 55-point game about two weeks in? Undoubtedly some insane trade offers were made for Jennings after that, and a few shrewd owners cashed in. Perhaps MCW goes on to get 23 steals in his second pro game, and better deals for him can be had. Or maybe the kid is just a lot better, a lot sooner, than many of us realized. Either way, isn't it better to take a chance than to stand pat because "it's only one game"?
Making roster moves and taking reasonable risks are what make our game fun. So jump in. For fantasy owners, reacting is a very good thing.
Week 2 at a Glance
If you missed last week's season debut of the Forecaster, you may want to give it a look for the explanation of individual game and weekly team rankings. We have some 2013-14 numbers, but the rankings continue to primarily reflect last season's stats.
"R" matchup ratings are based upon a scale from 1 (poor matchup) to 10 (excellent matchup), and are calculated using a formula that evaluates the team's year-to-date and past 10 games' statistics, their opponents' numbers in those categories, and their performance in home/road games depending on where the game is to be played. The column to the right lists the team's total number of games scheduled ("G") as well as home games ("H"), and lists the overall rating from 1-10 for that team's weekly schedule ("R").
Three NBA teams -- the Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks -- play just two games in Week 2. While owners could certainly keep Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah active, if you have other sources for assists and rebounds/blocks, I could see benching either recuperating star.
Speaking of schedules, here's a downloadable weekly schedule grid covering the entire 2013-14 NBA season. Owners in weekly lineup leagues in particular will find this handy when considering short- and long-term options. One thing that struck me is the number of five-game weeks on the schedule, starting with the Los Angeles Clippers in Week 4. You'll hear plenty more about those "WCCs" in future editions of the Forecaster.
Players to Watch
Corey Brewer, SF, Minnesota Timberwolves (@CLE, GS, DAL, @LAL): Speaking of opening-night performances that are unlikely to be repeated, there's Brewer, who logged 40 minutes -- posting 16 points, three steals and a 3-pointer -- in the Wolves' overtime victory over the Orlando Magic on Oct. 30. Obviously he won't see that much time on a nightly basis, but at least until Chase Budinger returns, Brewer is a starter on a team that badly needs his defensive abilities. While Brewer may only be a fantasy fit in deep leagues of at least 14 teams, it's safe to say that at 98.8 percent availability (as of Friday), he's being overlooked in ESPN.com leagues. Last season, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers opponents ranked second and third, respectively, in steals, while Golden State Warriors and Mavs opponents ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, in 3s. Plug Brewer in for Week 2.
Xavier Henry, SG, Los Angeles Lakers (@DAL, @HOU, @NO, MIN): Of course the biggest non-MCW, opening-night story was provided by the Lakers' bench in their upset of the crosstown Los Angeles Clippers. Henry keyed that effort with 22 points, six boards and three treys. While his foul shooting -- 61.8 percent for his career and 52.9 percent (9-of-17) in his first two games this season -- is a concern, Henry should get solid minutes while Kobe Bryant is sidelined. Houston Rockets and Mavs opponents ranked third and fifth, respectively, in 3s in 2012-13, and that defensively wanting Timberwolves team I mentioned surrendered 10 buckets from downtown in its first game.
Robin Lopez, C, Portland Trail Blazers (HOU, SAC, @SAC): The Plumlee buzz is generated in large part by Lopez's lackluster play against him in the opener against the Phoenix Suns. While Plumlee had a double-double by halftime, the 7-foot Lopez somehow managed only two rebounds in 34 minutes. Of course he's never been confused for Moses Malone in the paint (Lopez averaged 5.6 with the Hornets last season), but he is a source of blocks and is getting a chance to play 30-plus minutes a night for the first time in his career. Like Brewer, he's another undervalued option -- 98.2 percent availability -- for deep leagues. But maybe he's not a great option for Week 2; while Sacramento Kings and Rockets opponents ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, in blocks in 2012-13, Lopez could be in for a rough week facing Dwight Howard and DeMarcus Cousins.
Miles Plumlee, PF/C, Phoenix Suns (@NO, @SA, DEN, NO): While you've perhaps spent three days or so obsessing about Plumlee, there were some earlier signs that he could make an impact this season. He made an impression on Suns general manager Ryan McDonough at Summer League, and the team's president of basketball operations Lon Babby called Plumlee the surprise of the preseason. And sure, the Marcin Gortat deal was motivated primarily by the Suns' rebuilding process, but Plumlee's presence made the team more comfortable moving their starting center. Long story short, there might be something to this. Plumlee remains available in 72.4 percent of leagues and is worth a look for Week 2. Denver Nuggets opponents ranked second in blocks in 2013, while New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans opponents ranked sixth in rejections.
Lance Stephenson, SG, Indiana Pacers (@DET, CHI, TOR, @BKN): After opening eyes in the 2012-13 playoffs (averaging 9.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.9 3s in 19 postseason games), Stephenson has been even more impressive to start this season. By the time Granger is ready to return in two weeks or so, Stephenson may own the shooting guard spot in Indy. Schedule-wise, there isn't much of an argument one way or another to be made here, but it's four games, and that's good enough for me. At 76.6 percent availability, Stephenson is well worth adding in most formats.