The third week of the fantasy season has arrived and with it, some trends are beginning to make themselves apparent for members of the Raptors. Kyle Lowry appears to be primed for a big year scoring the ball (he has scored at least 20 points in all but one game this year) while continuing to do Kyle Lowry-fantasy things, such as made threes (3.7 made per game), a few steals per week, as well as about seven assists per game. His backcourt partner, Fred VanVleet, seems to enjoy shooting the ball (12.7 shots per game), however his current problem is making those shots — the 40 percent from downtown is great, but his 36.6 percent on twos could definitely stand to improve as the season wears on. The good news is he leads the team in assists per game at 7.2, against just 2.3 turnovers.
The starting forwards are looking pretty swanky right now, with Pascal Siakam leading the team in scoring (26.0 per game), rebounds (8.5) and shots per game (19.8). He’s the team’s alpha on offense, although Lowry’s 24.0 points per game are nothing to turn your nose at. His partner on the wing, OG Anunoby, is looking like an All-NBA defender through six games. I mentioned Anunoby as my sleeper pick for last week’s slate of games, and he didn’t disappoint. He immediately delivered a five-steal game against Orlando, and finished the week with averages of 11.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.7 spg, and 1.5 bpg.
He’s stuffing the stat sheets, and is currently one of three players (along with Karl Anthony-Towns and Johnathon Isaac) in the league to be averaging at least 1.5 threes, steals and blocks per game. He’s not a prolific scorer, but he’s the type of player who, if he sustains the peripheral stats, ends up in the top-50 out of nowhere. In my opinion, he should be owned in all leagues immediately moving forward because his minutes (34.2 per game) in the rotation are locked in place.
While Marc Gasol is still struggling — yet slowly rounding into form — Serge Ibaka has continued to provide much needed interior scoring off the bench for Toronto. Ibaka is a simple man — he sees an open shot, and he takes it. His fantasy averages operate on similarly simple levels — his 13.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks are perfectly suitable for your third fantasy big guy, and his dual-position eligibility while continuing to make a few threes per week make him an attractive value option to target in trades.
On to the good stuff!
Fantasy Line of the Week:
Kyle Lowry vs. Milwaukee
Pick of the Week:
Well, he did it once, why can’t he do it again? Pascal Siakam vs. New Orleans
Is this a cheap pick? Probably — but it is a safe one. New Orleans has shockingly porous interior defense, with Jahlil Okafor and Derrick Favors manning centre for the time being — and Brandon Ingram was not able to contain Siakam on the perimeter the last time the two met.
Siakam hit his first speed bump in Milwaukee on Saturday, as the Bucks’ length predictably gave him trouble around the basket. He looked out of sorts all evening before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Expect him to want to bounce back offensively — as he’s been the crutch Toronto has relied on early this season. With almost 20 shots per game under his belt currently, he’ll get the volume, and his exceptional skill will get him the points.
News Around the League:
The Suns are 4-2, and Aron Baynes is a fantasy stud folks. Just like Tristan Thompson, this too should shock a lot of people. Baynes is not only scoring points (double-digits in five straight), he’s tossing dimes, blocking shots and hitting threes! Since DeAndre Ayton’s 25-game suspension was announced (by the way, go grab and stash him if some dum-dum cut bait), Baynes is averaging 17 points on 57 percent from the field and 44 percent from deep, 6.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 2.2 3PM in 25.9 minutes per game. He’s still available in a majority of ESPN and Yahoo leagues, so grab him if you need help anywhere, because as of right now, he’s helping in nearly every category except steals.
Danuel House Jr. has found a permanent home in Houston’s rotation, starting all five games this year and averaging 31 minutes. In those minutes, he’s quietly becoming a top-100 player thanks to his defensive stat production combined with prolific three point shooting. Guys who average at least 1.0 threes, steals and blocks are few and far between, and so far House Jr. is right on the cusp of that threshold, barely missing with three steals in five games. But, he’s made 13 threes and has a block in each game played this year. While he doesn’t deliver as many assists thanks to his two ball-dominant friends, House is averaging 12.6 points and 5.4 rebounds with the aforementioned peripheral stats — enough to justify a end-of-bench roster spot in most leagues.
Sleeper Pick of the Week:
Norman Powell’s had a rough go of it early on despite stellar shooting and overall play in the preseason. With a few days off and just one game in six days, Powell should have enough time to get things rolling in Sacramento on Wednesday.
He had a great game in 29 minutes against the Pistons, scoring 19 points off the bench, and Sacramento has had trouble stopping anybody so far this year — the perfect game for Powell to get a feel for his shot. Put him on your watch lists and keep an eye on his production!
Let me know your thoughts and give me your picks in the comments below. Feedback is appreciated!