Our 2102-2013 Depth Chart has been updated. Version 2.0 adds some newcomers, makes a few position changes and reflects injuries. It’s a consensus of the most likely starters and backups for all 30 teams. If your league drafts more than 300 players, we haven’t gone deep enough.
The chart is not only a convenient look at expected roles. Each player’s name links to his stats page and you’re one click away from full team rosters. For the last few weeks, we have been sharing the same resources we use to prepare for the fantasy season. In particular, if you missed our Division Previews, that was a week-long effort to look at every player on every team, highlighting the best — and worst — to own. Don’t draft without reading the Fantasy Basketball Primer by Jeff Nichols.
October 14 Results
SAS @ HOU: Yesterday in this space, I talked up Terrence Jones, who can back up at SF and PF, and Donatas Motiejunas, a perfect complement to Omer Asik at C. Jones got the start at PF, with Patrick Patterson being rested, and did not look out of place. Motiejunas, a 7-footer with range, played 25:26, with a team-leading 16 points. Asik was equally stellar, with 13 PTS, 11 REB and a surprising 5 AST. He even made 5-6 free throws!
I didn’t expect Jeremy Lamb to play, let alone start. Kevin Martin had the day off, and the rookie scored 11 points (including three triples) in 21 minutes. Jeremy Lin shot a terrible 1-10 from the floor and Toney Douglas didn’t appear; longshot Scott Machado played 23 bench minutes at PG, dishing out 11 assists and scoring 9 points.
Speaking of unknowns, who the heck is Wesley Witherspoon? With Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Jackson both held out, Witherspoon started at SF and scored a team-high 17 points. It may be the last time we mention his Dickens-like name all year; such is the depth of this team. One of six Spurs to score in double figures, Manu Ginobili returned with 11 points in 18 minutes. As a fantasy sleeper, Danny Green provides an interesting combination of 3-pointers and blocks; like everyone else in San Antonio, all he needs is consistent, predictable minutes.
ATL @ MEM: The Grizzlies look 100% ready, with five exhibition games still to play. Unlike some clubs in full “mad scientist experimentation” mode, yesterday we saw their starting lineup and probable rotation. Most interesting was Mike Conley launching five 3-pointers, and hitting every one. Already a safe, useful fantasy pick, Conley will be a bargain if he improves in that category. Zach Randolph (14 & 10) is in double-double form. Top reserves Jerryd Bayless and Marreese Speights are worth owning in many formats.
Zaza Pachulia started (9 PTS & 9 REB in 22 minutes) but for some reason Al Horford and Josh Smith came off the bench in a topsy-turvy lineup for the Hawks. Because Devin Harris (knee) has yet to play, Louis Williams spent a fair bit of time at PG; he’s still the starting SG when coach Larry Drew gets serious. Rookies John Jenkins and Mike Scott are running out of time to impress. Both could play a role later in the season, just don’t expect much right away.
October 15 Preview
BOS @ PHI: It’s getting crowded on the Jared Sullinger bandwagon but I like Jeff Green even better. Sully is a rookie, and Doc Rivers loves his veterans. Green can play the 3 and the 4; his recovery from a serious heart problem seems complete. Without question, the Sullinger buzz affects where you should draft Brandon Bass. The Celtics also need a backup PG until Avery Bradley (shoulders) is ready). My guess is, Jason Terry will get a lot of run at the start of the season and play both guard spots.
ORL @ CLE: The Cavs have been busy, with two back-to-backs already, and have just two exhibition games left after tonight. There are questions at SG and SF, where rookie Dion Waiters has been erratic. C.J. Miles and Alonzo Gee have more experience, if less upside. One of my targets in deeper leagues is sophomore Tristan Thompson, who was force-fed to opposing centers as a skinny 20-year-old when Anderson Varejao got hurt. A year older, a bit stronger and back at PF, with the big Brazilian alongside him creating space, Thompson is in a spot to succeed.
It may not be a case of whether Nikola Vucevic is better than Gustavo Ayon. Orlando has little else to show for the Dwight Howard trade and will give Vucevic an opportunity. In our elimination roto draft, I made a snap decision on Jameer Nelson because the Magic may need him to score. As bad as this team is in reality, they could be overlooked in fantasy. If J.J. Redick is the #1 guard off the bench, he’ll contribute in 3PTM.
WAS @ BRK: The news keeps getting worse from Washington. Nothing political, just Kevin Seraphin in a walking boot. It’s a strained right calf, and all we know for sure is, he won’t play tonight. Given that Nene (foot) is out indefinitely and Trevor Booker (hamstring) is day-to-day, Brian Cook and Earl Barron will be part of the rotation tonight. The Wizards are in trouble against the vastly-improved Nets.
Brooklyn is loaded. They acquired Reggie Evans (an awful fantasy player because toughness and determination aren’t categories) as a backup PF-C, then signed Andray Blatche, who has an opportunity to make Evans redundant. Fantasy owners dismissing C.J. Watson because he’s backing up a star may not have heard that the former Bull will play SG in certain lineups, or noticed his 19-point explosion on Saturday.
HOU @ DAL: What to do about Dirk Nowitzki is a puzzle in most leagues. We don’t know if he’ll need arthroscopic surgery (which would cost him at least a few regular-season games) or if he’ll play with a sore knee. He did take part in a scrimmage on Saturday but the uncertainty remains. I’d been very optimistic about Dirk playing beside Chris Kaman; now I’m easing away (a little) from both.
It turns out that O.J. Mayo played in Barcelona with a badly lacerated shooting hand, which explains his 0-7 from the floor. Mayo’s potential backup Rodrigue Beaubois has been slowed by a sprained ankle, which has allowed Dominique Jones to turn that into a battle. After their European adventure, the Mavs now have a busy exhibition schedule; this is the first of six games in 11 nights.
Given that they played at home yesterday, the Rockets will likely be shuffling the lineup this evening. Sunday spectators Kevin Martin, Patrick Patterson and Toney Douglas will be fresh; Jeremy Lin is a candidate to sit this one out and even Asik, who has been tremendous, might benefit from some rest.
GSW @ DEN: Fantasy owners hate low-scoring games. There may be a corner of our fan’s brain that appreciates a stifling defensive team, but that stuff belongs in the NBA playoffs. We prefer running, shooting and putbacks. We miss Mike D’Antoni. Games like this are gold mines for us in the regular season, especially the Nuggets.
George Karl is committed to a fast pace and Ty Lawson is just the man for that style. Andre Iguodala was unhappy in Philadelphia; he must feel like he’s been let out of jail. Guess where Denver opens its season? The fans will greet Iggy with more boos than brotherly love, and he’ll be inspired. Danilo Gallinari should bounce back from a year of various misfortunes. Wilson Chandler had even worse luck. Unable to get out of his Chinese contract, he finally joined the team very late, only to suffer a season-ending hip injury. Andre Miller annually outperforms some starting PG and is always a fantasy bargain.
The #1 story we’re following in Oakland is SF Harrison Barnes. The talented rookie could start, or back up Brandon Rush. Our colleague Bruce Wrigley pointed out that Rush’s experience and defense might be the deciding factor. By far the safest Warriors to own are David Lee and Klay Thompson. The oft-injured Stephen Curry is progressing fine so far, but Andrew Bogut is “hoping” to be ready for opening night. You need to read between the lines at this time of year; that story has the familiar ring of false optimism. The voices in my head just whispered “Festus Ezeli on Oct. 31,” and I’ll be right back after checking his FanDuel salary.
POR @ SAC: In the “second-best” game of the night (fantasy dept.) I’m bullish on players from both teams. In particular, the Kings fit my favorite profile: mediocre on the hardwood but productive in the box score. I don’t care if DeMarcus Cousins is — or ever will be — a leader on a championship-calibre team. I just love what he can do for my stats against inferior centers. Still not sure how James Johnson will fit in. He’d become a very important part of the Raptors in February and March, then abruptly lost his job for a disciplinary reason that was never made public. The coaching staff reluctantly started using him again only when injuries left them no choice in late April.
The Blazers have hot rookie PG Damian Lillard learning the NBA but are thin at the other guard spots. Ronnie Price was in line for significant bench minutes before hurting his ankle. Nolan Smith is the backup PG and Sasha Pavlovic will see time at SG behind Wesley Matthews. Up front, rookie Meyers Leonard is having an excellent camp; he appears capable of backing up both LaMarcus Aldridge and J.J. Hickson.
$1,000 Fantasy Hoops Contest
Only 16 days to our Hallowe’en treat. Join the one-day fantasy tournament for Sheridan Hoops readers at FanDuel. There’s a $2 entry fee; $1,000 in cash prizes. First place wins $200, second $125, third $100 and even 61st is in the money. Pick nine players within a $60,000 salary cap and the team that compiles the most fantasy points — on October 31st only — wins.
While writing about Andrew Bogut above, my lineup changed. Festus Ezeli will earn way more than his $3,400 salary if he starts against the Suns. Replacing the iffy Andrew Bynum with Ezeli gave me $4,700 valuable salary cap dollars to spend elsewhere, enough to afford Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant.
PG Ty Lawson DEN@PHI $7,300
PG Chris Paul MEM@LAC $8,400
SG Kobe Bryant LAL@POR $8,500
SG Klay Thompson GS@PHO $6,800
SF Andre Iguodala DEN@PHI $6,900
SF Rudy Gay MEM@LAC $7,200
PF LaMarcus Aldridge LAL@POR $8,200
PF Donatas Motiejunas HOU@DET $3,000
C Festus Ezeli GS@PHO $3,400
Seriously, I got $2 worth of pleasure just from making that move. Any money I win will be a bonus; bragging rights vs. Chris Sheridan, Jeff Nichols and Bruce Wrigley is another significant prize.
If you want a free test drive before joining, click the Fan Duel logo at the top of this page or in the sidebar. You’ll be in a free league in no time. It’s both simple and challenging; if you like drafting in Roto or Head-to-Head, you will love daily and weekly leagues.
Follow the Sheridan Hoops fantasy team on Twitter — @SheridanFantasy — all season.