Fantasy Basketball's Fast Starts: Buy or Sell?

Joe SlowikCorrespondent INovember 3, 2009

MILWAUKEE - MARCH 26:  Brandon Jennings #3 of the West team dunks during the 2008 McDonald's All American High School Boys basketball game on March 26, 2008 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

With only a few games in the books so far, there are some unusual names that are carrying some fantasy teams. While unexpectedly strong performances are always nice, how should you deal with them? Is your hot starter for real, or should you move him while his value is high?

That's my goal in this article: to separate the true sleepers from the guys that shouldn't be more than the last guy off your bench. I'm focusing on late-round picks or undrafted players that have paid dividends thus far.


Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee

After Ramon Sessions was signed by Minnesota, the point guard spot was wide open for the Bucks. Jennings has taken the reigns and responded with a big line thus far, averaging 20 points, five rebounds, and six assists. He also is contributing in three-pointers and steals, while shooting a nice percentage from the floor.

Jennings is an extremely talented youngster that is playing big minutes on a team that needs him to produce. He will have some mistake-filled nights that will hurt you this year in field goal percentage and turnovers, but he should also have a solid impact in points, assists, steals, and threes.

Expected line: 41 percent FG, 76 percent FT, 1.5 threes, 15 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.4 steals, 3.5 turnovers

Aaron Brooks, Houston

Brooks has shown flashes of solid play in the past, but now he has inherited a starting role and heavy minutes for a surprising Houston team. Brooks is now running the show for a team that has a lot of solid role players, but is short on star power.

While Brooks' numbers are likely to come down a bit, he's a solid option as your second or third point guard that should produce a relatively solid line across the board.

Expected line: 44 percent FG, 85 percent FT, 2 threes, 18 points, 3 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1 steal, 2.5 turnovers


Channing Frye, Phoenix

Frye has been red-hot to start the year, burying 4.5 threes per game while averaging 19 points and shooting 58 percent from the floor.

However, don't buy into the hype. Frye is in his fifth year in the league and this is the first time he's made any real fantasy impact. His barrage of perimeter shots is simply not sustainable: he's currently shooting an off-the-charts 65 percent from outside.

While he is a decent option for those that need a center, you should jump on it if someone offers you a more proven performer.

Expected line:  46 percent FG, 78 percent FT, 1.2 threes, 12 points, 6 rebounds, 0.5 steals, 0.7 blocks

Larry Hughes, New York

Larry has posted two huge games so far on the year, scoring 19 per game while shooting over 60 percent from the floor. He has also been a factor in steals, assists, and threes.

However, I shouldn't have to tell most NBA fans how this story ends. Hughes has always been an erratic offensive player that forces way too many poor shots. He should fall back to his career 41 percent from the field, if not lower.

Don't be fooled by the heavy minutes he's getting for Mike D'Antoni; Hughes is simply not a dependable fantasy option.

Expected line: 40 percent FG, 78 percent FT, 0.8 threes, 13 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1.2 steals, 2 turnovers

Louis Williams, 76ers

Williams is another relatively marginal wing player that has started hot. He's shooting 63 percent from the floor while averaging 20 points, five rebounds, and five assists.

While Williams should be a better fantasy option than in past years due to increased minutes, don't get carried away with your love for him. He's still a shoot-first undersized guard that isn't a difference maker in threes or steals and is due for a serious fall in field goal percentage.

Expected line:  42 percent FG, 80 FT, 1 three-pointer, 14 points, 4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers.

Danilo Gallinari, New York

Danilo is healthy and contributing so far this year. The Italian foward has been lighting it up from outside so far, hitting 4.8 threes per game while scoring 19 points in each one.

However, don't expect consistently elite contributions from Gallinari. He is definitely a threat from outside, but even during this stretch of solid play, his contributions in other categories have been marginal. Once that three-pointer total drops to a more realistic number, his rating will drop considerably. However, he will likely shoot so many threes that he will be a great boost to a team that would otherwise struggle in that category.

Expected line: 43 percent FG, 86 percent FT, 2.7 threes, 12.5 points, 4 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1 steal, .5 blocks, 1.8 turnovers