Welcome to your midweek guidance for week one!  For those of you who are new to the site, the aim of this weekly post is to identify players who can help you win a weekly matchup in head-to-head category leagues.  The methodology is simple:  I find fantasy-relevant players who are rostered in 50% or less in Yahoo and/or ESPN leagues, analyze their schedules, and determine where they provide value in category formats.

While this post is primarily geared toward 12-team league managers, there will be deeper league candidates as well.  This information is intended to help you use weekly roster additions to “stream” players who enable your team to overcome small deficits or increase your advantage in must-hold categories.

Streaming is a tactic that involves using one or more roster spots to maximize the number of games played in a single roster spot.  For instance, if you have four weekly additions in your league, you can potentially leverage back-to-back sets to squeeze as many as seven games out of one roster spot.

Since it’s week one, I’ll provide a caveat to all of my player recommendations.  Unless the players at the end of your fantasy bench are out of their team’s rotation (e.g. Thaddeus Young) or have extremely low upside (e.g. Royce O’Neal), I would be cautious about hastily dropping anyone at this stage.  There are players on this list who will likely crack the top 100 during the season.  That being said, don’t panic drop someone who underperformed in their first game without considering whether or not you’ll get more value from streaming their roster spot.

There are eight teams playing a back-to-back set this week: Bulls, Cavaliers, Pacers, Pelicans, Suns, Spurs, Raptors, Grizzlies.  Aside from Memphis (Saturday/Sunday), all teams’ back-to-back sets are played on Friday and Saturday:

The following teams have only one game remaining this week and hold fewer opportunities for streaming: Nuggets, Jazz, Pistons, Wizards, Trailblazers, Timberwolves.

With that context, here are some players to consider as we approach the final four days of the matchup:

Three Category Contributors

  • Cole Anthony (Points, Assists, FT%): Over the final 17 games of 2020-21, Anthony started for the injured Markelle Fultz and averaged 16.3 points to go along with 4.3 assists.  He rebounds well for a guard and gets to the stripe enough to help your FT%.  With Fultz out for another month or so, Anthony will hold down starting PG for the foreseeable future (Plays Fri, Sun).
  • Terrence Ross (Points, Threes, Steals): Ross tends to gradually disappear from waiver wires throughout the year as managers realize how difficult it is to find scoring at the end of a fantasy bench.  He’s going to huck and chuck while chipping in some steals (Plays Fri, Sun).

Two Category Contributors

  • Khem Birch (Rebounds, Blocks): In his 17 starts at the end of the 2020-21 season, Birch was the 83rd ranked player on averages of 12.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks.  Nick Nurse trusts him more than Chris Boucher, so we can expect him to continue receiving 25+ minutes per night (Plays Fri, Sun).
  • Ricky Rubio (Assists, Steals): Rubio was slept on in a lot of drafts due to uncertainty surrounding his role in Cleveland.  Some of those reservations were dispelled on Wednesday when he put up a double-double.  He is a high floor, low ceiling player, and will soon be picked up in most fantasy leagues if he continues receiving 25 minutes per game (Pays Fri, Sat).
  • Chris Duarte (Points, Threes): After several solid showings in Summer League and the pre-season, Duarte thrived while starting in place of Caris LeVert in the Pacers’ opener (Plays Fri, Sat).
  • De’Anthony Melton (Threes, Steals): Taylor Jenkins finally listened to our cries to Free De’Anthony Melton – for now.  With Grayson Allen in Milwaukee and Dillon Brooks injured, Melton has an opportunity to shine.  He did exactly that on Wednesday night, so grab him if you still can. (Plays Sat, Sun).
  • Marcus Morris Sr. (Points, Threes): The Clippers play on two low-volume game days, which makes Morris an ideal streaming target if you’re in need of points and threes.  He shot the ball relatively efficiently last season (47%).  It remains to be seen if that was an anomaly or a sustainable improvement (Plays Thurs, Sat).
  • Justin Holiday (Threes, Steals): The steals waned in the previous two seasons, but he’s a sneaky source of blocks (0.6/game in 2020-21) and connected on 2.4 threes last season.  With TJ Warren out, Holiday should pick up where he left off as a starter (Plays Fri, Sat).
  • Goran Dragic (Threes, Assists): Though the minutes were limited on Wednesday, the Dragon should get his share of secondary playmaker opportunities alongside Fred VanVleet (Plays Fri, Sat).

One Category Contributors

  • Grayson Allen (Threes): History tells us that the six assists that Allen dished on Tuesday were likely an anomaly, but ten attempts from deep could become a semi-regular occurrence while he’s in the starting lineup (Plays Thurs, Sat).
  • Desmond Bane (Points): The Grizzlies expect Bane to take a step forward from his rookie season.  If he can increase his scoring while maintaining solid efficiency, he will end being rostered in the majority of leagues.  The early returns are promising (22 points against the Cavs on Wednesday) (Plays Sat, Sun).
  • Jae Crowder (Threes): Believe it or not, there was a time when Crowder’s line resembled that of Mikal Bridges, minus the ultra-efficient FG%.  Those days are long gone, but Crowder can still launch from downtown and collect some rebounds (Plays Fri, Sat).
  • Cameron Payne (Assists): Cam Payne is the rare assists streamer who won’t hurt your efficiency stats.  He’s more of a deep league option for those without access to Cole Anthony, Dragic, McConnel, or Rubio (Plays Fri, Sat).

Hit me up in the comments for recommendations.  Good luck!

 

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scoboticus
scoboticus
1 year ago

Yay! I’ve been looking forward to this post. Thank you!

PB
PB
1 year ago
Reply to  scoboticus

Awesome, thanks! Looking forward to putting in a full season.

I Just Wanna Kawhi
I Just Wanna Kawhi
1 year ago

Whoa this is amazing, thanks for this

I’m in a 10er cat league and can’t find it in me to drop KPJ for Maxey. Son said it’s an okay move given that in category leagues KPJ might probably do more harm than good, but his usage is through the roof, tho I know it’s kinda like a double edged sword—more usage means more likely to get the percentages and turnover destroyed. Lol But is KPJ just a bad player and people are just hyping him up? Or is it Maxey who’s the better player?

PB
PB
1 year ago

Glad you found it helpful!

I agree with Son on this one. KPJ hurts you in five categories (FG/FT%, steals, blocks, turnovers), assuming you’re playing nine-cat. He’s neutral in rebounding for a guard. He only helps in points, assists, and threes, but not enough to undo the damage from the five categories he’s punting.

Maxey is a better categories option currently. That being said, if you have someone else that you can cut loose for Maxey, it might be worth dangling KPJ as trade bait in case someone in your league is buying the hype.

scoboticus
scoboticus
1 year ago

If TJ McConnell is available, he s over any of these lower owned people?

PB
PB
1 year ago
Reply to  scoboticus

As long as Indiana plays an eight man rotation, he’s a must-roster player in 12-team leagues. The only exception is if your team is already loaded with assists and steals.

Compared to this list, I would prioritize Melton over McConnell until we see what happens when Dillon Brooks returns. Cole Anthony is the other player that can surpass TJ’s value in the short-term, but Cole doesn’t offer as much consistency if you’re after assists and steals specifically.

I Just Wanna Kawhi
I Just Wanna Kawhi
1 year ago

PG – Curry, FVV, Fox, Rozier
SG – NAW, KPJ
SF – Anunoby, DeRozan
PF – JJJ
C – Adebayo, Mamba, Gafford, WCJ
IL – Isaac, Wiseman

Should we drop WCJ for Maxey?

PB
PB
1 year ago

I’d swap KPJ for Maxey until we see how the center situation shakes out in Orlando.

If you’re tied to KPJ, WCJ is the next one to go.

I Just Wanna Kawhi
I Just Wanna Kawhi
1 year ago
Reply to  PB

KPJ really is intriguing but at the same time I hate dudes that destroy percentages. Lol Thanks for the inputs, we’re taking Maxey!

PB
PB
1 year ago

Agreed. With your team’s build, I look at the Maxey/KPJ swap as an upgrade in percentages and TOs that shouldn’t decrease the points, threes, and assists that you get from that position. We’ll see how long Maxey hangs on to the starting job!

Ry
Ry
1 year ago

H2H Points league with double double bonus points.

Who would you prefer?
Wendell Carter
Mitchell Robinson
Mo Bamba
Beef Stew

PB
PB
1 year ago
Reply to  Ry

Hey Ry: I’d go with Bamba. The Magic frontcourt rotation is variable though, so Mitch Robinson is a close runner up.

Chris
Chris
1 year ago

Thanks PB! What side of this trade do you like? I think I already know but wanted another opinion. H2h 9 cat 12 team league.

Oubre and Joe Ingles for Bojan Bogdanovic.

PB
PB
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris

Hey Chris: If you can make room on your roster, I like the Oubre/Ingles side.

PB
PB
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris

What up Heisenberg! The run he got in the opener was definitely encouraging. He’s especially worth targeting if you’re in a keeper format. Needs to be rostered in every league regardless.

heisenberg
heisenberg
1 year ago

I’m picking up or trading for Evan Mobley if I can. He’s the most likely big to blow up out of the newbies, I think. Win or lose, I’m all in.

JC
JC
1 year ago

1. Need to create a streamer spot. Who goes back into the mix or hold? 1 or 2 guys?
2. My team seems heavy on D stats but woeful shooters. Anyone you would select to trade to shore that up?

VanVleet, McConnell, Melton, Smart, Barrett
JJJ, Oubre, Hunter, Tobias, Mikal Bridges
Capela, Myles, Horford
IR: Bryant

JC
JC
1 year ago
Reply to  JC

Geez, I forgot my #1 pick Tatum!

PB
PB
1 year ago
Reply to  JC

Your lowest value guy is Oubre. Wait and see how his minutes are tonight when Rozier plays. If they plummet, there’s your streaming spot.

IF you were to trade someone (emphasis on ‘if’), I’d look at who you can get for Capela. You’re negating his FG% and you’re already good on blocks. Obviously the big loss would be rebounds in that scenario, but I think you’d be better off punting FG%/rebounds in a categories league.

JC
JC
1 year ago
Reply to  PB

Great advice. Thanks. I have won this league two of the past three years so I think I know what a chip team looks like – and it ain’t this one lol!
I had LaVine ranked ahead of Capela especially with my first two picks. But I veered from my build worried about how many mouths there are to feed in Chicago ugh. Mistake. So I grabbed Myless and JJJ thinking of trading Capela who a couple of GMs love. So I am thrilled with your advice!
Of these targets please rank top two and ones you would not trade for.
LaVine, CP3, Ja, Lonzo, Jaylen, Middleton

PB
PB
1 year ago
Reply to  JC

Nice, let’s get that third title!

I’d look to get a scoring wing for your build:
1. Lavine
2. JB

I think you could get more value for Capela than Lonzo or Ja. CP3 and Middleton are solid targets though if you can’t get Zach or JB.

JC
JC
1 year ago

Reply
SonSon says:
October 23, 2021 at 1:26 pm (link)
You good. Would keep an eye on Hali though

Reply
JC says:
October 23, 2021 at 1:27 pm (link)
1. Would you trade Capela and Mikal Bridges for Brogdon and Garland? My team in a 12 teamer, 9 cat league.
2. Brog and Dejounte for Capela and Bridges?

VVleet,Smart, McConnell, Melton
Tatum, Tobias, JJJ, Barrett, Oubre, Mikal
Capela, Myles, Horford
IR: Bryant

PB
PB
1 year ago
Reply to  JC

Between the two, I like the brogdon/Murray option better for your team. Allows you to shore up steals. Garland’s ankle worries me with him being out this early.

JC
JC
1 year ago

Tate, Hunter, Melton or Oubre. Gotta cut one. Thoughts?