Fantasy Hoops | Week 1

Normally in fantasy sports you don’t want to overreact after one game, but with fantasy basketball, I encourage it in the first week. During the first week, players are making their first impressions, both on fantasy owners and NBA coaches. Players that play well could earn more playing time, and players that underperform could lose time.

Along with pure production, it’s important to look at how much floor time players are given during the first week. This shows what kind of opportunity players are going to get to start the season, and it’s important to monitor those players. These are the players that I’m overreacting to after the first three days of NBA action.

Trevor Ariza

What’s not so exciting about Trevor Ariza is that he’s 33 years old and playing for the rebuilding Suns this year. What excites me is how much he was involved in the first game of the season. He played a team-high 37 minutes against the Mavericks and scored 21 points to go along with 8 rebounds and 7 assists. Based on this game alone, it looks like he’s going to be utilized by Phoenix this year, and I’m not hesitating to add him.

Josh Richardson

Richardson saw 38 minutes on the floor in each of the Heat’s first two games, and he led the team in shot attempts as well. He scored over 20 points in both contests, and I think he’s an early candidate for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. If he’s unowned in your league, add him immediately. Also noteworthy is Heat shooting guard Rodney McGruder, who saw over 30 minutes in both games.

Cedi Osman

Not only did Osman start in the season opener for the Cavaliers, he also played 33 minutes and recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. He’s earned more time in the future, and he has little competition at small forward. The only other notable small forwards on the team are Rodney Hood, who started at shooting guard on Wednesday, and Sam Dekker, who played just 16 minutes. I recommend adding Osman now because he might not see the waiver wire again this season.

Malik Monk

Jeremy Lamb started over Monk in the season opener, but played only 21 minutes compared to Monk’s 34. Monk scored 18 points, making four 3-pointers and adding a steal and 2 blocks. I am more confident in Monk than Lamb going forward. The Hornets spent a lottery pick on Monk last year in what was considered one of the more talented draft classes of all time. Charlotte has invested more into Monk than Lamb, and I fully expect Monk’s usage to be greater than Lamb’s this season.

Frank Ntilikina

Ntilikina didn’t impress in his 2018-19 season debut. He contributed 5 points, 5 rebounds, a steal and 3 blocks. What is important is that he started at small forward, even though he’s listed as a point guard, and played a team-high 34 minutes. Trey Burke, the Knicks’ starting point guard, played well, but was only on the floor for 21 minutes. This could be because the Knicks pulled away in the second quarter, but it still shows that Ntilikina will get a shot to break out this year. I expect Kevin Knox to enter the starting lineup sooner rather than later, but I think Lance Thomas will be the one who is replaced. Ntilikina isn’t an automatic addition right now, but I’ll be adding him at the first sign of stardom.

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