Line of the Night: James Harden (3.56 WARP) makes a STATEMENT and tells the Thunder where they can shove their puny contract offer and subsequent trade. In his first game with the Rockets, Harden went absolutely nuclear for 37 points (going 4-10 from three), adding 6 rebounds, a career high 12 assists and 4 steals. This blows away even the highest expectation anyone had for Harden post-trade and if he can keep up anything close to this over the long haul, we’re potentially talking about MVP material. Good job if you took a shot and drafted Harden this year, good luck prying him away from his owner now if you didn’t.
Something to get use to seeing this year…
Honorable Mentions: Kyle Lowry (2.71) also looked really good with his new team, scoring 21 points, and adding a very Kyle Lowry like 7 rebounds, 8 assists and 5 steals in a tough loss to the Pacers. Also good news for Lowry is that he saw 36 minutes on the court to Jose Calderon’s 26. From what I saw of the game, Lowry makes the Raptors a vastly better team when he’s on the court.
Jonas Valanciunas (0.34) also looked pretty good in his debut, double-doubling with 12 points and 10 rebounds. He definitely benefits by playing alongside Andrea Bargnani, in that Bargnani is very willing hang out on the wing and let Valanciunas have the paint all to himself. He should at the very least have a ton of boards this year.
The Bulls took down the Kings led by Joakim Noah (2.69), who scored 23 points (11-12 from the line), with 10 rebounds, 5 steals, and 3 blocks in 40 (!) minutes on the court. I love the minutes, but let’s make sure we stay healthy there, Noah.
The Sixers began the year without Andrew Bynum, who sat with that sore knee. But Spencer Hawes (2.37) did his best Bynum impersonation, scoring 16 points, with 12 rebounds, 2 steals and 5 blocks in 31 minutes off the bench. If you remember, Hawes started out last season on exactly the same tear until his body broke down after about a month. Not that I’m saying you should start shopping him around (I’m not), but there might come a day…
Another guy who looked good with his new team was Luis Scola (2.11), who finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds, 3 steals, and 3 blocks in a loss to the Warriors. It will be great for his fantasy value if Scola can keep up the steals and blocks.
On the flip side, there is a reason why we had Michael Beasley (-0.39) ranked #132 in our last set of rankings (and our projection model was telling me he was more like a #160-170ish fantasy player even at 30 minutes a game). He’s simply not a good basketball player. Beasley scored 8 points on 2-9 shooting and finished with 4 rebounds in 22 minutes.
Dwight Howard (2.09) rebounded from his biggest loser level performance yesterday with 33 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists (and even went 15-19 from the line), but the Lakers themselves lost again, this time to the Blazers 116-106. Steve Nash was hurt in the game after colliding with Damian Lillard. He’s got a bruised left leg, and it’s unknown how much time, if any, he’ll miss with the injury.
The Blazers were led by Nicolas Batum (2.06), who scored 26 points, with 3 threes, 6 rebounds and 3 steals, as well as Wesley Matthews’s (2.06) 22 points 4 threes and 4 steals. Damian Lillard (1.01) also had a great debut, scoring 23 points and adding 11 assists in his first game in the league. J.J. Hickson (0.82) also double-doubled in the game, finishing with 13 and 10. You know you’ve got a crazy young team when LaMarcus Aldridge (0.35) – 19 points, 2 blocks – is the old man on the block.
Speaking of great debuts, Anthony Davis (1.39) was all that in his first game with the Hornets, scoring 21 points and adding 7 rebounds in only 29 minutes. With Eric Gordon declare out indefinitely with a knee injury, the Hornets will be leaning on Davis even more this season. Greivis Vasquez had 13 assists (to 2 turnovers) in this game.
Kawhi Leonard (1.93) quietly had the best fantasy game of any Spur last night, scoring 19 points (with 3 threes, 4-4 from the line), 7 rebounds and 5 steals. Fantasy owners should be really happy if he can deliver that type of line all year long. Tim Duncan (1.46) had a less quiet 24 and 11 for San Antonio while playing 34 minutes.
It was a night for making a splash with your new team: Mo Williams (1.75) scored 21 points, with 6 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks in his first game with the Jazz. And while Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap saw a decent amount of minutes in this one, super sleeper Derrick Favors only saw 18 minutes off the bench (though he did manage to grab 10 boards and block a couple shots over that span). If you believe in Favors this year, it’s going to require a lot of patience waiting for his big break.
On a night where both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin didn’t have their shots falling, Jamal Crawford (1.64) came off the bench for the Clippers behind Willie Green, but still managed to score 29 points and hit 3 threes in 30 minutes. We had Crawford ranked fairly highly in our preseason rankings and he should be a solid points and threes guy while Chauncey Billups is out.
Waiver Wire Line of the Night: Reports were that Marvin Williams (1.38) looked good during the preseason with the Jazz. I guess the reports were right as Williams scored 21 points and was 2-3 from three in his first game with the Jazz, good for the 19th best fantasy line of the night according to the GMTR Player Rater. The lack of peripheral numbers still worry me a bit when it comes to Williams and I think ultimately he settles into a Marvin Williams like 10-12 points a game, but he is currently only owned in 20% of Yahoo leagues and makes a safe pickup if your team is already reeling from injuries.
Pick Up Lines: Carlos Delfino (1.35) has always been a guy who can tease quite a bit of fantasy value… as long as he’s healthy. And that’s exactly what he did last night for the Rockets. Delfino hit 5 threes on his way to 15 points and 7 rebounds in only 24 minutes off the bench. He makes a decent add in most leagues if you are looking for threes, again, as long as he can stay healthily.
I did watch some of that Hornets game last night and Al-Farouq Aminu (1.05) looked insane, catching alley-oops from Greivis Vasquez and throwing down some monster dunks. He finished with a line of 17 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals and 3 blocks. He’s currently available in 89% of leagues and should be another guy who benefits from Eric Gordon’s injury.
Brandan Wright (0.68) followed up his strong performance yesterday with another last night, this time starting at center for the Mavs. He finished with 15 points and 2 blocks and makes a nice add in deeper leagues while Dirk is out.
Carl Landry (0.62) did have 17 and 6 in 23 minutes off the bench for the Warriors to help Golden State beat the Suns. He also shot 7-9 from the floor, so I’d like to see him repeat that performance before I’d recommend picking him up.
Boris Diaw (0.55) was not particularly good for the Spurs last night – finishing with 4 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists – but he did start the game and play 30 minutes, so I’d at least keep an eye on him if you play in a deeper league and desperately need some center help.
Richard Hamilton (0.32) scored 19 for the Bulls on a night where some of their other starters faltered. He’s a potential add in deeper leagues if you are looking for a scorer, but I’m dubious of his ability to stay healthy long-term.
Biggest Loser: The good news is that Stephen Curry’s (-1.08) ankle survived game number 1. The bad news is just about everything else. Curry couldn’t get his shot to fall at all in the Warrior’s opener, as he finished with 5 points on 2-14 shooting, 3 assists and 4 turnovers. But at least he can say that he lives to fight another day.
As good as Joakim Noah was for the Bulls, that was as bad Kirk Hinrich (-0.85) and Luol Deng (-0.76) were for Chicago in the opener. Hinrich scored 3 points on 1-7 shooting (although he did add 7 assists) while Deng finished with 7 points and 12 rebounds, but also turned the ball over 4 times and shot 3-13 from the field.
Also, Gerald Green (-0.63) laid a big egg in his start for the injured Danny Granger, shooting 2-7 from the floor and finishing with as many turnovers as points (6) despite playing 37 minutes. Green was fantastic for the Nets last season in spurts, but as someone who got to watch a good amount of Green when he was with the Celtics, he is definitely not someone you want to be playing big minutes for your team, unless you value mental lapses and bad decision making. I think his role in this league is best suited to energy guy and instant scorer off the bench, which is probably where he finds himself with the Pacers before too long (despite what other sites cough::rotoworld::cough might be saying). I think Green makes a decent enough add in deeper leagues or upside stash while Granger is out, but I would definitely not go all in on him at his point.
Daily rankings and stats come from the GMTR H2H Player Rater (beta version). They are based on the stat Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP) an estimate of the number of wins a player produces per week in H2H leagues over a replacement (waiver wire) player.
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