Off the Bench Week 2:
The first week of basketball is in the books, and there are plenty of surprises in the young season so far. Normally, one or two rookies will stand out in week one, with the rest taking a few weeks or even a few months to acclimate to the NBA before they start putting up startable fantasy stats. That was not the case with the start to this season.
I told you to get Banchero, Murray, Jabari Smith and the Pistons’ own Jaden Ivey into your week one lineups. I’m hoping that you listened because all 4 are off to amazing starts. Other rookies like Benedict Mathurin and Tari Easen are top 90 players through the first week of the season as well. And even guys like our very own Jalen Duren and Walker Kessler look like they are a few months of experience away from contributing heavily in fantasy.
So we know the rookies this year are VERY GOOD. The other surprises this year early on, seem to revolve around players that were either traded to a new team or benefitted from someone in front of them being traded. These are guys you probably know well, but didn’t have the faith in past seasons to start them. But things have changed all over the NBA this season, and these are some of the guys you need to get Off the Bench in week 2…
WEEK 2 – THE TRADED
Bojan Bogdanovic SF/PF DET
When Troy Weaver snagged Bojan in a late off season trade, we knew the Pistons finally had a legitimate 3-ball shooter to take the pressure off Cade and Bey a bit. What we didn’t know was that playing alongside Cade and Crew would actually make BoBo that much more efficient.
Taking the same amount of shots per game as he did last year, he has raised both his FG and FT percentages by over 0.06, pushing him over the 50% mark from the field and over the 90% mark from the line, subsequently raising his points per game by 15%, making an extra three per game, and even raising his assist numbers while lowering his turnovers too. Will he continue to be a top 35 guy in fantasy all season? I doubt it, but I see him as a top 75 guy this year that needs to be in your lineup, if at least just for his high shooting percentages, scoring and 3 production.
Jarred Vanderbilt PF/C UTAH
Vanderbilt seemed like an afterthought as a minor piece of the Rudy Gobert trade. After barely cracking the top 150 last year, the big man has found purpose on the Jazz’s surprising 3-1 roster. Someone has to rebound and score for this team of castoffs, which has led Vanderbilt to average nearly a double double with a 60%+ shooting percentage, as well as 2.5 steals a game.
He will definitely hurt your free throw percentages, but he barely shoots 2 a game, so it shouldn’t impact your team too much. Also keep in mind Utah’s current ‘Trade Everything that’s Not Bolted Down’ strategy…it would not be a surprise to see him moved at some point this season. But for now, get him into your lineups.
Tre Jones PG SA
When the Spurs surprisingly moved their all star point guard Dejaunte Murray to Atlanta, it opened the door for Tre Jones in a major way. The new starting point guard in San Antonio has nearly doubled his minutes per game, playing over 30 per contest thus far. He has responded by doubling his ppg, tripling his steals, and adding nearly a three per outing. Despite doubling his shots taken, his FG remains in the high 40’s, an awesome number for a point guard. His FT% has jumped into the 90’s, and with a near 5:2 assist to turnover ratio, Jones has made it impossible to sit him at this point. Dejaunte Murray he is not, but a top 75 player he will remain, making him super hard to sit. Get him off your bench if you haven’t already.
Royce O’Neale SG/SF BKN
Full disclosure, I still don’t believe in O’Neale. But maybe that’s because I waived him before the season even started. That being said, Royce has found himself playing major minutes after being traded by the Jazz for yet another first round pick, tallying more than 36 per outing as the Nets new starting power forward.
At first glance, his statistics seem underwhelming, until you notice the 2 steals and 2 blocks per game he has put up thus far. Those two categories make him startable alone. But he still contributes across the board in everything except for FG%. He isn’t sexy, and he will certainly drop from the top 35 where he currently sits, but his role in Brooklyn will keep him relevant enough to start, so long as the Nets roster doesn’t change anytime soon.
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