Fantasy Focus: Timberwolves at Pistons

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

In my fantasy sports journey, I’m picking up more and more about what some of you care about. When I give a fantasy focus and some players to watch, it’s in a very general sense — you look at your own metrics and decide whether that player fits what you’re looking for.

I try to give a sense of who I think will be good that night, the Pistons and their opponent. Already, it’s helped me focus even more on stats like usage rate and look at past performance (within a year or two) in head-to-head matchups and more.

It’s been a fun ride and it actually is helping my regular newspaper coverage, with some of your help and suggestions on certain stats sites — keep them coming.


Tipoff: 7 Wednesday, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit.

TV/radio: FSD/97.1


Probable starters: Jeff Teague, Shabazz Muhammad, Andrew Wiggins, Taj Gibson, Karl-Anthony Towns.

Injuries: Jimmy Butler (upper respiratory infection) and Justin Patton (toe fracture) are OUT.

More:Ex-Piston Ben Gordon hospitalized for psych exam


Karl-Anthony Towns: He’s posting monster numbers: 23.3 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. His versatile game could give Andre Drummond some fits, especially on pick-and-pop and pick-and-roll situations, as coach Stan Van Gundy noted.

Andrew Wiggins: He also is off to a hot start, with 20.3 points and 5.3 rebounds, but he’s starting to hit jumpers better (52 percent on 2-pointers), with a couple of long buzzer-beating shots already this season. If he can maintain his 3-point accuracy (36 percent), teams will have to pick their poison.

Jamal Crawford: He’s had some big games against the Pistons in the past and when he’s on, he’s just a beast. He’s hit half of his 16 attempts from 3-point range and he’ll get all the shots he wants with that bench unit. Depending on his cost and minutes, this could be a hidden gem.


Probable starters: Reggie Jackson, Avery Bradley, Stanley Johnson, Tobias Harris, Andre Drummond.

Injuries: Reggie Bullock (final game of 5-game NBA suspension) is not with the team; Dwight Buycks (left hip flexor strain) is OUT.

More:Pistons' early foul trouble tough to figure out


Andre Drummond: In the first meeting last season, he feasted, with 22 points and 22 rebounds against Towns. It’ll be tougher on the defensive end and he’ll have to stay out of foul trouble. As he continues his confidence at the free-throw line, his scoring average is going to creep up as well.

Ish Smith: I’ve said that Smith could be an everyday fantasy player, based on his minutes and production, but it just doesn’t work that way all the time. He’s had a slow start this season, but he generally finds his mark — and with some younger guards in the bench unit, this could be his breakout.

Jon Leuer: This is a bit of a shot in the dark, but Leuer will have a low cost and he torched the Minnesota for 20.5 in two games. He’s the de facto backup center and will get his share of minutes behind Drummond and at power forward. If you’re feeling lucky, take the Leuer leap.