Well, it was my first ever week in fantasy basketball and boy was it an interesting one. It was an extended week because of the early start for some teams, and that both helped and hurt me, as I’m sure it did to many of you out there.
Throughout the first week, I learned many lessons and made some simple and dumb mistakes that I know I won’t in the future. I made just one trade and two pickups and went a combined 10-11-1, not bad considering I was popping my cherry with fantasy hoops.
My first week did not pass without mistakes, that’s for sure. I didn’t set my lineup a couple of days, so I had a few guys sitting on my bench, including a big game by Evan Turner. It seems weird to me that you’re able to move guys in and out of your starting lineup each day instead of each week. It’s nothing like football and more like baseball, which is not what I was expecting. But, I have now gotten into the habit of checking my lineup early every day. Luckily, one of my opponents did not learn that same lesson.
I also learned the use of that handy little IR spot. Carlos Boozer fell to me in both leagues, so I took him, knowing full well he’d be out for four weeks or so. With just a couple days left in Week 1, I realized that I could put Boozer on the IR and pick up a replacement, so I could get more games and thus more stats in.
However, that was only the story for one league. I actually set up my second league and did not make sure there was an IR spot. So, Boozer’s just chilling on my bench, injured and twiddling his thumbs. While I’m playing one man down.
Lessons learned in all cases.
As I said above, I wasn’t really all that active in the first week and I probably won’t for most of this first year. I’m still really learning the NBA and its players. I would still be hard-pressed to name the team each one of my fantasy guys plays for off the top of my head. Let alone other players in other leagues. I’m learning so much about the league and players, but I have a long, long way to go. As such, I think it would be irresponsible to make moves just to make them. I’m going to be a little bit more conservative until I get more into the rhythm of this and increase my knowledge, which probably will take until next year.
However, I did make a pickup and drop for each team during the week. I actually made two moves post-draft in one my teams, too.
Apart from the only trade (dealt Elton Brand for Caron Butler, which I analyzed in my Draft 2 recap), I also have only made one pickup on my second team, the Jesus Shuttlesworths. Drew Gooden was having a pretty poor start to the season and Richard Jefferson of the Spurs started out really hot, especially in the scoring category. So I swapped them.
On my first team, Toneston Checks In, I made two moves right away after the draft. I realized I needed another 3-point specialist, so I dropped PF Linas Kleiza for SF Carlos Delfino. I also dropped the injured Jonny Flynn for the dynamic, avatar-looking Evan Turner. Then, just three days before the end of the first week, I realized I needed more rebounds and could put Boozer on the IR, so I selected Reggie Evans from Toronto, one of the game’s top rebounders at the time. He has since gotten less playing time and he really isn’t a threat in any other category besides rebounds (he’s averaging just 2.4 points per game, which is just sad for a guy averaging 27 minutes a contest), but he was a big help in that category.
Team: Toneston Checks In
Categories won: FT%, 3PM, AST, Turnovers
Categories lost: FG%, OREB, DREB, STL (by just 1), BLK, Triple Doubles, Points
Categories Tied: Ejections (neither team had one)
Andre Miller PG—Portland Trail Blazers
He played 8 games, most on my team, so that definitely helped. He also had 66 assists (playing with Brandon Roy will help with that) and 14 steals, both team highs. He also only had 20 turnovers, which for a guy who handles the ball a lot, is not a high total in 8 games.
Russell Westbrook PG—Oklahoma City Thunder
You’d think a guy playing with Kevin Durant would have a gaudy assist total and while Westbrook had decent numbers in that category (43 assists), they weren’t excellent. He did only play six games and a 7.1 assist/game is really not a bad average. So, I should temper my expectations. But, luckily that wasn’t the only category Westbrook contributed in. He averaged 21.2 points per game in that stretch and was a decent rebounder, including grabbing 14 offensive boards, good for second on my team. His .923 free throw percentage was also a team high and a big boost.
Carmelo Anthony SF—Denver Nuggets
How could I not include this guy each week? He’s a pure star, through and through. His scoring was a big boost (24.7 per game and at least 20 in every game) and he helps out in pretty much every category while not hurting anywhere. He also shot 51.4 percent from the floor in 109 shots, so that was a big boost.
Dwight Howard C—Orlando Magic
Again, how do I not include this guy each week? He was a great rebounder, had 15 blocks and averaged 22.4 points per game. Superstar all the way.
Joakim Noah C—Chicago Bulls
Joakim was amazing on the boards all week, securing 49 d-rebs and 22 o-rebs in just five games. He also averaged 16.2 points per game and was just an all around good contributor.
John Salmons SG/SF—Milwaukee Bucks
He shot 32.4 percent from the floor. Enough said. If he doesn’t start turning it around, you can bet I’ll be dropping him really soon.
I’m glad I only lost 4-7-1. He has a better team than me all around. That and his stars (LaMarcus Aldridge, Dwayne Wade, Lamar Odom, Josh Smith, Rudy Gay and Brandon Jennings) all played at least 7 games. Aldridge even played 8. The only guys on my team who didn’t play at least 7 games in that span? Howard, Noah, Anthony and Westbrook, of course. My four best players. So this could have very easily been a slaughter.
I got killed in blocks (76-46), but Josh Smith had 26 all by himself, so that’ll do it. I also lost pretty good in o-rebs (-22) and d-rebs (-52), but Noah and Howard, my two best rebounders by far, combined for just 10 games. My opponent’s top two rebounders (Smith and Odom) combined for 14 games. It wasn’t just that, but that certainly helped. Had Noah and Howard played two more games each, I would have had 14 more o-rebs and 38 more d-rebs based on their averages.
I lost in FG percentage (.4646-.4501), but I blame that solely on Salmons (32.4 percent) and Danilo Gallinari (37.3 perecnt). But, Gallinari did make 12 3-pointers, joining Ray Allen (17) at the top of my team in that category, which was a win for me. I won assists by 11 (thanks to Miller, who was a pleasant surprise) and lost steals by just one. I had 101 less points than my opponent, but my guys also played 108 less minutes.
However, I’m not going to use the less games player and less minutes as an excuse too much. I falied to set my lineup several times, costing me several quality minutes and statistics in a lot of categories. I was beat by a better opponent. Apart from Aldridge, Wade, Odom, Smith, Gay and Jennings, he also had Amar’e Stoudemire. That’s four guys that average more than 8 rebounds a game (plus Wade gets 6.4 and Gay gets 7.2) and some serious scoring threats. The seven studs combined for 925 points, an average of 18.9 points per game combined. That’s killer.
Team: Jesus Shuttlesworths
Categories won: FT%, REB, BLK, Double doubles, Triple doubles, Points
Categories lost: FG%, 3PM, AST, STL
Andre Miller PG—Portland Trail Blazers
I drafted him real late on this team because he’d been doing well for me in the first couple games (remember, this was a late draft) and that pick paid off for this team as well.
Marcus Camby PF—Portland Trail Blazers
The old, wily veteran led my team with 88 rebounds and 11 blocks to help me win both categories. He also had three double-doubles, half of what my opponent had as a whole. He didn’t score too much, but anything he adds in that category, I’ll take.
Taj Gibson PF—Chicago Bulls
Man, my two Bulls on my two teams have been great. Gibson was a solid contributor in both points (59 in four games) and rebounds (20), but it was his .634 FG percentage that really stood out. I did lose that category .4693-.4605, but I can only imagine how much further off I’d be without Taj.
Kobe Bryant SG—Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe’s always gonna be Kobe, but his triple double helped me eke out a win there and was the difference between 5-4-1 and 6-4. Simply awesome.
Joe Johnson—Atlanta Hawks
A surefire star that helped me across the board, especially points.
Steve Nash PG—Phoenix Suns
He had a good week, don’t get me wrong. But he turned in just 51 assists in 6 games, which was the main reason why I drafted him with my second round pick. I wound up losing the assists category by 9 and if Nash just averaged 10 dishes per game (which isn’t that hard for him), I would have at least tied. I’m not complaining too much, but I am still disappointed and if you look above, that’s the category I’m currently writing under.
Antwan Jamison PF—Cleveland Cavaliers
For a guy that was projected by ESPN to average 20.1 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, Jamison put up just 19 points and 7 rebounds in 64 minutes. He was also injured for the last three games of the week, too. I didn’t need a boost in either category, but those are just terrible numbers.
Drew Gooden PF—Milwaukee Bucks
He should be a contributor in both points and rebounds, but had just 27 and 15 in those two respective categories in 76 game minutes.
It’s almost a shock that I won both rebounds and points with Gooden and Jamison turning in such poor outings, but in reality, those guys could have contributed nothing in both categories and I still would have killed it. I won rebounds by 181 (416-235) and points by 277 (1080-803), just huge, huge totals. It’s a shame I couldn’t spread that production out into other categories.
But, that wasn’t just because my team was that much better than my opponent. I do feel my team is quite a bit better, but my guys played 21 more games and 607 more minutes than my opponent, who did not set his lineup on a consistent basis and played the whole week with an extra guy on his bench and not in his starting lineup. He also had an injured Andrew Bynum in there the whole 13 days we played, too.
I did go up against LeBron James and Rudy Gay again, which is lucky that my opponent didn’t play attention because those are two guys that would have been hard to beat in the points category. LeBron added 55 assists, which led a team that included four guys with at least 35 assists (Jason Kidd had 54, Jrue Holiday had 43 and Andre Iguodala had 35). As I said above, I lost this category by just 9 assists, so these four guys were huge in beating me.
I also lost 3PM by just four, as he had 63 and I had 59. My only guy with at least 10 3-pointers made was Ray Allen, or my team’s namesake, while he had four guys with at least 10 treys including Gay and Hedo Turkoglu, who both had 14.
All four categories I lost were really close, but it’s still heartbreaking that I only went 6-4 on a team that I had 607 more game minutes played than. It’s just a shame I didn’t go 8-2, which would have been so easy.