Fantasy Basketball Guide – Dec. 30, 2012

This weekly column will hopefully be able to provide you with that gem of an addition from the waiver wire, as well as who you should be targeting on the trading block, who you should be trading from your team while you can get the most value out of them, and who you should be starting on a week-to-week basis. We’ll also be looking at the fantasy stat line of the week as well as notable, fantasy injury news.

Well, Gustavo Ayon didn’t work out to be the big fantasy gem that I had hoped he would be in the wake of Glen “Don’t Call Me Big Baby” Davis’ absence. Regardless, this is what makes fantasy basketball so exciting: the known, and the unknown. Christmas has come and gone, and New Year’s Eve is right around the corner, so make sure you do your fantasy homework and read this article before the fun and games begin.

 

The Waiver Wire

 

This section will depend entirely on what size league you play in, but most of these guys should be available in your leagues right now.

Robin Lopez58% Owned

Why isn’t Robin Lopez owned in more than just 58% of leagues?! Let’s see, high FG%, high FT% (for a big man at .795), 2.1 bpg and low turnover numbers. Do I need to write any more? Go and pick him up!

Andre Drummond28% Owned

Andre Drummond is really starting to figure the NBA game out, and he’s doing it much quicker than anybody anticipated he would. Over his last five games, Drummond is averaging 9.4 ppg, 11 rbg, 1.2 spg, 1.6 bpg, and he’s done that while only eclipsing the 24 mpg mark once. If this kid continues to get the minutes he deserves, he’s going to be a huge force down the stretch for the hapless Pistons.

J.J. Barea11% Owned

What a true testament to the little guy J.J. Barea has been. Over his last five games, Barea has been playing so well that the Timberwolves have made a switch to playing a “smaller” style of basketball, and the rewards have shown in J.J’s stat column with an average over his last five games of 13.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.4 apg and 1.4 3pg. That type of production does not mirror his owned %, and that could benefit you in the upcoming week.

Buy Low / Sell High

 

There is little more that is important in fantasy basketball than maximizing your roster. The best way to maximize your roster is to have a critical eye when evaluating the talent you have, as well as the talent that is available on teams throughout your league. Within this section of the column, we’re going to be highlighting three guys who you should be targeting to trade for, and three guys you should be looking to move while their value is at its peak.

 

Buy Low

DeMarcus Cousins16.5 ppg, 2.2 apg, 9.5 rpg, 1.4 spg, 0.6 bpg

Now those are some pretty solid numbers, especially for a “buy low” candidate, right? Well, unless you’re living underneath a big Boogie sized rock, you know that times are tough out in Sacto right now, especially for Cousins. DeMarcus was recently benched and suspended for “conduct detrimental to the team” and has been the hottest trade talk magnet of the week. The trade talks and the reprimands seem to have all stung Boogie Cousins emotionally, as he played with a sour-puss on his face Friday night against the Knicks. Regardless of how he was feeling, he still came out and put up a 15-10-5 effort in a narrow Kings victory. These rumours and emotional outbursts don’t seem to be on the decline, and another suspension or DNP could be around the corner. If you can convince the GM who owns him in your league to part with him, you might be able to do it for a lot less than you would have thought.

Klay Thompson15.7 ppg, 2.5 apg, 4.0 rpg, 0.9 spg, 0.6 bpg

When is the other shoe going to drop for this kid? Klay is still averaging a pretty clip in the points and 3’s department, but he’s doing so at the expense of his shooting percentages. His FG % has dropped dramatically from 44.3% down to 39.8%; while his minutes per game, and attempts per game have sky rocketed. Is this just a case of “the sophomore slump”, or will Thompson find his stroke, and break out like he did at the tail end of last year? I’m betting on the latter, especially with the type of burn (35.2 mpg) that he’s been getting. Prey on the GM in your league who might be fed up and willing to part with the young gunner out of Golden State.

Paul Millsap14.6 ppg, 2.6 apg, 7.9 rpg, 1.0 spg, 0.8 bpg

Well, it’s another week and here’s another mention of a Utah Jazz player in this column. Derrick Favors continues to be a thorn in Millsap’s side, as the kid keeps getting decent minutes off of the bench. Favors’ minutes are rightfully earned, and the Jazz brass will soon be forced to make a decision with their plethora of big men, as a below .500 team in the Western Conference is not getting anywhere close to the playoffs this year. Millsap is the odds on favourite to be the odd man out when the trade rumours come down the pipe, and I believe that a change of scenery is going to do wonders for the undersized big man. If you can get him now, do so, but be aware that a deal of this magnitude won’t come until closer to the deadline, and maybe not at all.

Sell High

Matt Barnes10.8 ppg, 1.4 apg, 5.0 rpg, 1.3 spg, 0.9 bpg

Herein lays the prototypical “sell high” candidate. Matt Barnes is playing within a system that values defense, hustle, and making the right decision. None of those categories are scored in fantasy basketball, but they will still be noticed by the GM’s in your league. While Barnes will certainly find his shot dropping on the occasional night, he is still averaging a career high in points and well over his career FG%. I don’t figure these numbers to be sustainable, and Barnes is nowhere near the number one option on the floor for the Clippers. If you can sell Matt Barnes as a starting SF, I definitely recommend doing it, but if you can only shop him as a bench guy, then he’s definitely worth riding until the wheels fall off.

Jeff Teague13.6 ppg, 6.6 apg, 2.4 rpg, 1.6 spg, 0.3 bpg

What a week it’s been for Jeff Teague! Teague surpassed his career high in points on Friday night with 27, and had a double-double the night before (17-11). Adding on to that, his periphery numbers were outstanding as well, as Jeff’s been racking up the steals, (par for the season), dishing at a high rate and shooting the ball with a high percentage. All of this would seemingly point that he’s turned the corner and should be held out on to, right? Well, maybe not. As is the case with last year, Teague is prone to the hot and cold hand. Check out his highs and lows from the past ten games:

 

High

Low

Points

27

5

Assists

11

3

FG%

.583

.273

Minutes

39:10

21:46

That table suggests some serious inconsistency, and it’s that inconsistency that would lead me to sell Teague to the highest bidder after his last three games.

Perimeter Players on the Sacramento KingsN/A

It has been an absolute mess in Sacramento this year, and there isn’t a single player that I would like to own at this time. One game you’ve got John Salmons going off, then its James Johnson, Marcus Thornton or Aaron Brooks, and occasionally Frankie Garcia or Isaiah Thomas. There has been no consistency in minutes allotted, or a leader on the court for this team, and with the probable return of Tyreke Evans on Sunday, things are bound to get even messier. Abandon ship, and sell whoever had the hottest game last to whoever will take that player off of your hands.

Best and Worst Schedules

 

Here’s a list of upcoming games for each team during the week of Monday December 31st, to Sunday January 6th.

4 Games: ATL, BKN, DEN, HOU, IND, LAC, MEM, MIA, OKC, PHI, PHX, POR, SAC, SAS, WAS
3 Games: BOS, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DET, LAL, MIL, MIN, NOH, NYK, ORL, TOR, UTA,
2 Games: GSW

Injury Watch

 

Josh Smith

J-Smoove sat out the 4th quarter of the Hawks 102-94 win against the Cavaliers on Friday with a right hip strain. Smith also sat out Saturday’s game and is listed as questionable for Monday’s tilt with the Rockets.

The Knicks

Tyson Chandler sprained his right ankle, Carmelo Anthony has a hyper extended knee, and Amar’e, Felton and Shumpert are both out indefinitely. While Chandler isn’t expected to miss any games with his injury, Melo is being listed as questionable for Tuesday. If they’re floating on your waiver wire and you’ve got the bench space, keep an eye out for Chris Copeland, Steve Novak, Pablo Prigioni and James White.

Derrick Rose

Don’t panic, the former MVP is not returning this week, but there has been an update on D-Rose’s status. Rose participated in non-contact drills with his Bulls teammates over the past two days and remains on track for his “after the All-Star break” return. While that is still a long ways away, it’s still encouraging when we hear that one of the most electrifying superstars that the NBA has is progressing positively, and working his way back into game shape.

Fantasy Line of the Week

LeBron James continues to perform well past expectations, and while Friday night’s gem is the true fantasy line of the week, I’m going to break down his numbers with the Fantasy Weeks’ worth of Lines. Observe:

Tuesday, December 25th: 29 pts, 8 rbs, 9 ast, 1 blk, 2 stl, .600 FG%, 1.000 FT%
Wednesday, December 26th: 27 pts, 12 rbs, 8 ast, 2 blk, 4 stl, .500 FG%, .875 FT%
Friday, December 28th: 35 pts, 6 rbs, 5 ast, 1 blk, 6 stl, .682 FG%, .750 FT%
Saturday, December 29th: 26 pts, 6 rbs, 7 ast, 1 blk, 2 stl, .550 FG%, .600 FT%

Only three other people (Jordan, Pippen, Barkley) have put up a stat line like LeBron did on Friday in the past 25 seasons (thanks to @ESPNStatsInfo), so how does that NOT get the Fantasy Line of the Week?

Make sure to check in with us next week, as I’ll have another Fantasy Roundup ready to go.

Happy New Year!

About the Author

Mitch Orsatti Mitch Orsatti is a basketball writer from Toronto, with a keen interest in sneakers and fantasy basketball. You can follow him in Twitter at @thirstyvilliain.

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