We’re three weeks into the NBA season and already we’ve been able to seen some players rise and fall in the fantasy ranks. There have been some strong performances and a few busts, but it’s still too early to tell which players will have the strongest impact on your team.
One thing we have seen over the past week is several star players sit out due to minor injuries. With the lockout forcing a compacted season in 2012 that may be something we see more of as the season progresses. One example of this came on Thursday night when LeBron James and Dwyane Wade sat out the Miami Heat game against the Atlanta Hawks.
Still, let’s take a look back at the last week and pick out some players to watch moving forward.
Fantasy Performance of the Week: Dwight Howard vs. Washington Wizards
After the Lakers’ Andrew Bynum put up a 20-20 performance on Tuesday, Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard responded with one of his own the following night. In a game with the Washington Wizards Howard took control of the game on both ends. Howard finished the night with his first 20-20 effort of the season, scoring 28 points on 11-13 shooting. He also pulled down 20 rebounds and blocked three shots in the process.
Fantasy Dud of the Week: Metta World Peace vs. Portland Trail Blazers/Golden State Warriors
A new name seemed to have the former Ron Artest rejuvenated. After a very strong and surprising start to the season fantasy owners were scooping World Peace up off the waiver wire. However, since then he has fallen quite flat. It culminated in two games this week when World Peace shot 1-8 from the field and committed three turnovers before being benched in the second half of the game against Golden State.
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Andrew Bynum: The Lakers center missed the first four games of the season due to a suspension, which didn’t help his already low draft stock. The Los Angeles center has yet to play an injury-free season, but has had a very promising start to 2012. Bynum is averaging 19.6 points and 15.8 rebounds per game, and is doing so in just 34 minutes. If he continues to stay healthy he’s going to be one of the top centers in the league.
Norris Cole: On a team littered with superstars it’s been Norris Cole that is turning some heads. Obviously LeBron James is one of – if not the – best fantasy player in the game. But Cole has turned into a serviceable guard that can be used in different slots on your roster this year. Cole is putting up 10.9 points and nearly four assists off the bench. He’s the type of player that may still be available in some leagues, so it’s worth a waiver grab – especially if he ever gets the starting gig over Mario Chalmers.
Andrea Bargnani: Often times some of the best fantasy players are on the worse teams. That’s the case with Bargnani, whose Raptors aren’t going anywhere except the NBA Draft next summer. Still, Bargnani is putting up solid numbers so far this season. He’s currently averaging 24.0 points, 6 rebounds and 2.5 assists. I don’t care what team you play for, if you put up numbers like that you’ll be a coveted fantasy player.
Danilo Gallinari: Much like Bargnani, Gallinari is on a team that probably won’t be reaching the post-season this year. While Gallinari has more help around him than Bargnani does, he has still put together a few solid performances. With Nene injured Gallinari has had seen an increase in minutes, and he’s taken advantage. He scored 31 points and grabbed five rebounds on Saturday. As long as Nene stays on the sideline you should have Gallinari in your starting lineup.
Next Page: Favorable Matchups For Week 3