The first two weeks of fantasy basketball are the most hectic when it comes to adding and dropping players. Many will jump to pick somebody up after they score 30 points in the season opener. Others may drop somebody who doesn’t have as big of a role as they thought. While it’s usually not right to judge somebody until they have a larger sample size of games, it’s also important to pounce on breakout available players before your competition does. It is only the first week of the season, but already some players are surprising everyone. Here are the early-season surprises for fantasy basketball.
Early Season Surprises: Fantasy Basketball
The 12th overall pick in this year’s draft, PJ Washington, has started this season off with two strong performances. He had 27 points in the Charlotte Hornets season opener against the Chicago Bulls, followed by a double-double against the Minnesota Timberwolves. One thing is for sure, Washington is going to have a significant role this year on the talent starved Hornets, as he is already playing starters minutes. While his shooting percentage from three should regress, he has proven that he will be a great floor spacer for this team that can rebound. His rest of the season outlook is fantastic.
A sophomore that has taken advantage of his opportunity, Devonte’ Graham has shown that he can play in this league. Last season Graham barely played behind starter Kemba Walker, but with nobody hogging the ball on offense anymore, there’s a massive void to fill. Graham has averaged 16 points, eight assists, and three rebounds in 29 minutes per game. So far, Graham has outplayed starting point guard Terry Rozier, and they have used both of them together in two-point guard lineups. Similar to PJ Washington, Graham should have every opportunity for playing time on the rebuilding Hornets.
An undrafted rookie out of Oakland, Kendrick Nunn was not on the radar for fantasy owners coming into this season. With both Jimmy Butler (personal) and Dion Waiters (suspension) out early in the year, Nunn has undoubtedly taken advantage of his opportunity. He has averaged 21 points, three rebounds, four assists, and two steals per game in his first two games. Even when the Miami Heat are back at full strength, Nunn has proven that he deserves big minutes. To confirm this, coach Erik Spoelstra has said that Nunn will continue to start even when Jimmy Butler returns. The sample size is small, but Nunn looks like the real deal.
One of the early season surprises for sure, Derrick Rose, has started off the season scorching hot. In three games, he’s averaged 25 points and five assists on 64 percent shooting. While these numbers are unsustainable, Rose is proving that he deserves a prominent role. In the absence of Blake Griffin (hamstring, knee) to start the season, Rose has been the leading scorer for the Detroit Pistons so far. He has shown that he is a far better player than the current starting point guard Reggie Jackson, and he should keep the position even when the often injured Jackson returns. On the waiver wire in half of ESPN leagues to start the season, Rose is looking like a steal for those who took the gamble.
After finishing last year strong, Kelly Oubre was a late-round pick this year due to the uncertainty of whether or not he could keep up the same production. So far, Oubre has been spectacular. He has put up averages of twenty-one points, seven rebounds, two steals, and one block per game. With Deandre Ayton (suspension) out until mid-December, Oubre should continue to flourish as the second scoring option on the Phoenix Suns behind Devin Booker. There’s no reason to believe that Oubre can’t have a career year in his first full season in Phoenix. Oubre is owned in more than half of leagues, but he should be owned in all leagues due to his role in this offense.
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