RDT NBA Schedule Analysis – Week 3

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Updated: October 27, 2018

We are now fully up and running in the NBA season, and it has started at a furious pace. It seems teams have prioritised scoring over defense, and this has resulted in most games having a cumulative score of over 220 points. This is great for RDT NBA coaches. Higher scoring means more points and assists for your individual players. We have already seen Steph Curry and Blake Griffin score 50 points or more in a game, but the RDT NBA points leader is still Anthony Davis, with his 58 points against the Houston Rockets.

As always, there are a few players that are scoring well that we didn’t predict in the preseason. This can be due to a change in team, a change in role, increased minutes, or just a flat out hot streak. If you are going to pick up one of these players, it is important to do your homework. A hot streak won’t last forever. If a player is averaging 25+ Fppg, but is shooting at over 65% from the field, there is a good chance that won’t continue.

Let’s take a look at a few of these break out performers.

Nikola Mirotic (NOP – PF/C) – Here is someone who falls into the ‘increased minutes’ category. Last season he was best known for getting punched in the head in practice by Bulls team mate Bobby Portis. The Bulls then traded him mid season to the Pelicans, where he was teamed up with AD, Rajon Rondo and Jrue Holiday. Changes to the rotations have seen him moved into the starting lineup (he only started in 11 of his 30 games for the Pelicans last season) where he has prospered. He has increased his FG% by over 10%, increased his 3pt % by 14% over what he was doing in the second half of last season. He is hitting the offensive boards, (up 2 ORpg) and all this has resulted in increased scoring from 14ppg to a huge 28ppg. With the majority of their opponents defensive planning going into stopping AD, Mirotic has prospered. He was ranked 4th overall for RDT NBA Fantasy ppg after the first week, and has scores so far in week 2 of 19 and 18. Granted, it is a small sample size, but priced at under $10 million, he is a value selection who at the very worst will provide you with some cash generation.

Rudy Gobert (Uta – C) – Both Gobert and Aussie team mate Joe Ingles start the season in red hot form, averaging 32 Fppg in week 1. Whilst Ingles has dropped away in week 2, Gobert has continued to put up big Fantasy numbers. Gobert is the perfect example of an unsustainable hot streak. He is shooting over 70% from the field, which is 10% higher than his career average. It is hard to see him maintaining this for the remainder of the season. He has also increased by 3 minutes per game, and has increased his rebounding by 2rpg. Utah are playing at a much faster pace this season, and their Fantasy relevance has increased accordingly.

Kyle Lowry (Tor – PG) – One of the biggest off-season trades this year saw Kawhi Leonard move to Toronto, and DeMar DeRozen head to San Antonio. The Raptors are still being cautious with Leonard after his year last season was ruined by on-going injury concerns. Lowry has been the main beneficiary of this, as his usage rate has increased due to the added responsibility at the offensive end. He is another player who has increased his FG% by over 10% so far this season, and is also average 10apg. Keep an eye on Leonards minutes for the remaining games this week, as this will impact on Lowry’s Fantasy production.

Caris LeVert (BKN – SG/SF) – In AFL Fantasy, we talk a lot about the 3rd year breakout player. It looks like LeVert could be the NBA’s version of this. After a couple of solid – but not outstanding – years in the NBA, LeVert has been put into the starting lineup is looking to make season 2018/19 his own. He is averaging career high numbers for FG%, FT%, MPG (up by over 5 minutes), RPG, APG, BPG and PPG. He is now scoring over 20ppg, which is nearly double his career average.

JaVale McGee (LAL – C) – This is one that is truly out of the box. Last season McGee was stuck on the bench in the star-studded Warriors lineup. He averaged less than 10mpg, and was not a factor at all for RDT NBA. He came into this season priced at under $4 million and is now averaging over 25Fppg after increasing his minutes to over 25mpg. The increased minutes has logically resulted in increased numbers across pretty much every statistical category. Is it sustainable? Maybe, maybe not. But if you are after value at the centre position, you need to look at McGee.

Honourable Mentions – Rodney McGruder (Mia – SG), Dwight Powell (Dal – PF/C), Tim Hardaway Jr (NYK – SG/SF), Zach Lavine (Chi – PG/SG)


Schedule Breakdown

Golden Week!

This week see the first a few teams this season with 5 games in one week. Whilst this may seem like a jackpot for Fantasy, don’t be surprised if there are minutes restrictions or just flat out rests for players that have even the slightest niggle. The two prime candidates for this are the two players from Philadelphia who are the primary Captain options for this week – Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Simmons has already missed a game this season with back issues, and Embiid has a long injury history. Whilst he seems to be over the worst of it, it wouldn’t be surprising if he either missed a back to back game, or we saw his minutes dramatically reduced.

Trade Targets (8 Game Teams)

Philadelphia (Atl, @Tor, LAC, Det, @Bkn) – Everyone and their donkey knows that Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are the prime targets here. If they are healthy, you need to get them in. Even if they are on minutes restrictions in their back to back games, they still provide extra value over the rest of the players in the competition. They should both score very nicely in their first game against a horrible Atlanta team. Markelle Fultz is an interesting proposition, as despite being good value, he just isn’t producing the Fantasy scores needed to be confident to play him on your court. This means that bringing him in on your bench is also relatively pointless. Your bench should largely be used for cash generation, and as the price changes are based on per game averages, not per week averages, the 5 game week has no impact on his price rise. Fultz has been underwhelming so far this season (from a Fantasy perspective at least) which means there is no indication that a significant price rise is on offer.

Portland (@Ind, @Hou, NOP, LAL, Min) – Of the two Golden Week teams, the Blazers definitely have the tougher schedule, they play 4 teams that made the finals last season, and an LA Lakers team that now includes LeBron James. There is only one player worth your attention – Damian Lillard. Lillard averaged 30.5Fppg in Week 1, and has followed this up with games of 26 and 43 so far in Week 2.

Atlanta (@Phi, @Cle, Sac, Mia) – When your highest averaging fantasy player for the season is your rookie point guard, you know that you are in trouble. The Hawks did manage to get their first win of the season against the Dallas Mavericks this week, but it is going to be a long year for the Atlanta team. Vince Carter is currently the team’s starting small forward. When played his first NBA game, team mates Trae Young and Kevin Hueter were less than two months old!

The biggest decision for Fantasy coaches is going to be whether to start Trae Young on the court, or leave him on the bench. Young averaged 23Fppg in Week 1, and scored 11 points in there only game so far this week. If you need the cash elsewhere, you could move Young onto the court, and bring in another cheap point guard for your bench position. Just make sure that whoever you are bringing in is also going to give you a reasonable amount of cash generation, otherwise the exercise is pointless.

Indiana (Por, @NYK, @Chi, Bos) – The Pacers have been solid without being spectacular. There is really no Fantasy relevance here, unless you think that Victor Oladipo is set to turn it on. So with nothing really to talk about, have a look at Reggie Miller scoring 8 points in 9 seconds in 1995!

New York (Bkn, Ind, @Dal, @Was) – Enes Kanter has started the season on a tear, averaging 31Fppg in Week 1. It is hard to see this continuing, and we have already seen a drop off in Week 2. Tim Hardaway Jr is potentially worth a look, as he is neatly priced at under $8 million. If you need a mid-price option, he is worth a look.

Oh Captain, My Captain!

It is hard to go past the 5 game players this week for your Captain choice, but let’s have a look and see what we can find.

Ben Simmons, Joel  Embiid and Damian Lillard – All these players have 5 games on the schedule. Philadelphia’s run is better from a Fantasy perspective, so I like Embiid the most out of these guys. My only concern for him will be a rest or minutes restriction, but even so, I think he will put up some very nice scores.

Nikola Jokic – The number 1 ranked Fantasy player in the competition after Week 1 (total points), Jokic has continued his form into Week 2. He has so far put up scores of 26 and 28 this week, and looks as solid as ever. He has a tough match-up against Anthony Davis and the Pelicans in the first game, but then plays Chicago and Cleveland – both of which are giving up big points – before finishing off with the Utah Jazz. Definitely worth looking at as a Captain option.

LeBron James – If the Lakers have a 4 game week, he is worth considering. The move to Hollywood has not slowed him down, and he has had to do even more with team mates Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram both being suspended. They will return in Week 3, but this shouldn’t have a major impact on the King’s scoring.

Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler – It is unclear how much longer we will be able too list these guys as team mates. Butler could be traded at any point now, with Adrian Wojinowski reporting the Rockets have put 4 first round draft picks on the table for him. If he gets moved, KAT should see a lot more of the ball offensively, but until then he is not really a Captain option. Jimmy Butler has been very up and down from a Fantasy point of view this season. He should still get you 90+, but the inconsistency is a worry.

Kyle Lowry – As mentioned above, Lowry has been a surprise packet this season, shouldering more of the load with DeRozan out of the team, and Leonard still working his way to full fitness. Lowry was ranked 8th for overall Fantasy points after Week 1, so must be in the mix for your Captaincy.

Keeler’s Captain – JOEL EMBIID (Phi)

I’m still looking for a witty/clever heading for this section, so please let me know @OTLSArchie on twitter if you can improve on this.

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Written by Archie Keeler (@OTLSArchie)

Header graphic by Corey Wade Media (@CoreySWade)

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