Last night was the first full slate of NBA action with nine games taking place on courts from coast to coast. The best win of the night was the Houston Rockets who showed off their new backcourt in come-from-behind victory in Detroit over the Pistons. The worst loss was the Lakers who dropped to 0-2 after losing by ten to Portland in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score.
In Fantasy basketball, things are off and rolling and hopefully you’re off to a good start. Each day in the Starting 5 (Archive here) we’ll give you five stars and five sleepers from the previous night’s action.
Today there’s a bonus five of early waiver wire options if you think you need to make a change. Early in the season is sometimes the best time to make a move and grab some solid production. There’s five options listed below available on most leagues waiver wires.
Starting 5 Fantasy Basketball Stars
1. James Harden-Houston Rockets: Houston, the beard has landed. Harden led his new team to victory with 37 points, four three-pointers, six rebounds, four steals, a block, and 12 assists. There were questions whether Harden could be a number one option in an offense after being a great sixth man, but he silenced his critics for at least a night while treating his fantasy owners to a full across-the-statsheet performance.
2. Dwight Howard-LA Lakers: Howard did his part in the Lakers loss in Portland scoring a game-high 33 and even making 15-19 free throws. He added 14 boards, five assists, a steal, and a block, but LA gave up 116 points as they fell to 0-2. Howard is showing he’s still going to put up big numbers and is the top Center still despite a move to the West Coast.
3. Joakim Noah-Chicago Bulls: The Bulls got a huge boost on opening night from Noah who finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds, five steals, three blocks, and three assists. His scoring won’t typically be this high, but the boards, blocks, and steals numbers are always there for the Chicago big man.
4. Nicolas Batum-Portland Trail Blazers: Batum lit it up and led Portland past LA with 26 points, six boards, three steals, an assist, and a block. If he consistently gets the 40 minutes of time he did last night expect monster numbers to continue.
5. Kyle Lowry-Toronto Raptors: Kyle Lowry is going crazy-low (end of the fifth round) since no one is sure how he’ll due in his new home north of the border. Last night, things seemed just fine as he scored 21 points with seven rebounds, eight assists, and five steals. He’ll be the primary ball handler and offensive instigator in Toronto which could lead to a breakout season for the former Villanova Wildcat.
Starting 5 Fantasy Basketball Sleepers
1. Damian Lillard-Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard could be the breakout point guard of the year if his debut was any indication of what’s to come. The number six overall pick in last year’s draft, Lillard played 35 minutes and scored 23 points to go with 11 assists, a steal, and three rebounds. He’s universally owned, but I’d feel comfortable taking him in the fifth or sixth round while his ADP has him going around the end of the seventh.
2. Spencer Hawes-Philadelphia 76ers: Hawes came off the bench but played 31 minutes in the Sixers opening night upset of the Nuggets. He’s currently averaging a tenth-round pick in ESPN drafts, but showed last night how his versatile stat lines can help fill the gaps on your team as he poured in 16 points, a pair of three-pointers, two steals, two assists, and five blocks. If he’s healthy, he can contribute in multiple categories when given playing time making him a nice late-round addition.
3. Jamal Crawford-LA Clippers: Crawford made his Clippers debut coming off the bench and playing 30 minutes. He reminded us of his potent scoring ability knocking in 29 points with three treys, two boards, an assist, and a steal. Crawford’s point production is unmatched among those going in the 11th round and he’s actually availaable in over half of ESPN leagues. He struggled last year, but seems to have rediscovered his form in LA. If you need points, and just poins he’s a good pickup possibility or late-round pick. How he fits in when Chauncey Billups returns also remains to be seen.
4. Greivis Vasquez-New Orleans Hornets: While Eric Gordon is working his way back into the lineup, Vasquez will run the offense and put up nice numbers. He’s available in over half of leagues and his ADP is the mid-11th round. He scored only eight points last night and missed all three of his three-point shots but did finish with a nice 13 assists, six boards, and a steal. Vasquez isn’t going to score big numbers on most nights but can contribute a well-rounded stat line when he’s running the offense.
5. David West-Indiana Pacers: West is being drafted all the way down in the 11th round and is available in over 7% of ESPN leagues on the waiver wire. While Danny Granger is out, he may provide a scoring boost to Indiana like he did last night leading the way with 25 points. He added just two rebounds, an assist, and a steal. He doesn’t add much but points, but until Granger returns Indiana will be looking for scoring to come from somewhere. If you need a short-term point scorer, West is an option to consider.
Starting 5 Early Waiver Wire Options
1. Al-Farouq Aminu-New Orleans Hornets: (0.3%) Aminu started as expected but not many expected him to contribute 17 points, three assists, three blocks, seven boards, and a pair of steals. In Aminu can contribute these numbers on a nightly basis, he’ll be the early pickup of the year. His minutes seem fairly secure, so put his name at the top of your list if your bench needs a boost.
2. Chandler Parsons-Houston Rockets: (1.8%) If the end of your bench is in need of a boost, don’t miss the fact that besides James Harden no Rocket played more minutes than Chandler Parsons last night. Parsons had a balanced line like he usually does and can contribute across the board although he doesn’t excel in any one thing. Last night he had 11 points, seven boards, and six assists.
3. J.J. Hickson-Portland Trail Blazers: (8.9%) Hickson got the start and put up a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds with a pair of blcks, an assist, and a steal. If you drafted a dud of a big man and need to get boards/blocks, look to Hickson to fill your frountcourt needs. He’ll actually play more than he did last night when the Blazers play a team that doesn’t have a dominant big like Dwight.
4. Carl Landry-Golden State Warriors: (1.6%) Landry had a nice opening night for Golden State playing 23 minutes off the bench. He finished with 17 points and six boards along with an assist and a steal. Landry’s minutes may be inconsistent, but short-term he’s a nice add for points and boards.
5. Eric Bledsoe-LA Clippers (1.7%) Bledsoe has shown flashes of fantasy-relevancy in the past and in just 17 minutes last night had 13 points, four rebounds, and four assists. Check his spot in the Clippers rotation to see if he can keep up decent numbers. The Clippers second unit looked good against Memphis last night and if they continue to do so, Bledsoe should get some solid numbers.