Value of Heat stars becoming clearer
The speculation that the Miami Heat aren't going to be able to win games is seemingly over, as they won their third straight game in easy fashion, beating the Nets 101-78. But for fantasy players, it's becoming clear that the Big Three's statistics are all going to suffer as much, if not more, than many predicted. After dropping 20 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists, LeBron James is averaging 20.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game. With his 17 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists, Dwyane Wade is now at 21.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists for the season. And Chris Bosh, who dropped 18 points but with just one rebound and two assists on Sunday, is now averaging 13.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game after four contests, compared to his 24.0 points and 10.8 rebounds from last season. Four games isn't enough for those averages to be precisely around what they'll post for the season, and each of the three will have huge nights here and there, but the thought that any of them would be able to maintain the numbers they were able to put up while being the alpha dogs on their former teams is foolish. Bosh should bounce back the most, as the adjustment to the new squad has seemingly been most difficult for him, so even though he won't put up last season's totals, he is a decent buy-low candidate right now if you can find an owner freaking out about his paltry averages thus far.
Derrick Favors had 13 points and 13 rebounds against the Heat, demonstrating the fact that he has the tools to be solid on the glass as a rookie. He'll have plenty of bumps in the road, although early returns show his ability to rebound has translated to the NBA, as he's averaging 10 boards per game in three contests. Brendan Haywood played more minutes than Tyson Chandler despite coming off the bench, although both of them failed to have impressive games, with Chandler scoring eight points and five boards, and Haywood 10 points with six boards. This is a classic case of two similar players having excellent value to their actual team, but killing each other's fantasy value, and right now neither of them are No. 1 center options in fantasy leagues. Eric Gordon had a disappointing night Sunday, scoring just nine points. I love him as an actual player, but I have reservations about him as a fantasy player, since his peripherals aren't overly impressive. The Jazz seem to have their own Big Three, as Paul Millsap exploded for 30 points, 16 boards and 6 assists, Al Jefferson kicked in 23 points and 10 boards, and Deron Williams had 16 points and 15 assists. The worries that Jefferson's numbers wouldn't translate or that he would kill Millsap's value are both proving to be invalid, as Jefferson should flirt with 20 and 10 for the season, and Millsap appears to be in line for a career year. Stephen Curry sat out Sunday's game to rest his ailing ankle, which seemingly threw the entire Warriors roster off kilter, especially David Lee, who put up a goose egg. Curry should return on Wednesday, although this ankle has been bugging him for awhile, so don't be surprised if he's hampered by it a bit. Dorell Wright continues to put up huge games, with 18 points, 5 rebounds, 2 3s, 2 blocks and a steal Sunday night, and is for good reason one of the most popular early additions to fantasy rosters. He should continue to drain from downtown and has locked down the starting 3 spot with Golden State.
With just three games on the docket for Monday night, make sure to adjust your roster and start all your worthy players, as there aren't enough games to elicit tough start 'em, sit 'em decisions tonight. Derrick Rose might have some trouble matching his incredible 39-point, 6-rebound, 7-assist night from Saturday against the Blazers, who are allowing 91.7 points per game thus far. Conversely, the Kings are allowing 108.7 points per game, so any Raptor worth owning is likely worth starting on Monday night, including Linas Kleiza, who is worth owning in every format, in my opinion.
Josh Whitling is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.