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.
As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, an NHL season will happen this year. While this is great news for hockey fans, it is undoubtedly bad news for fans of the NBA. Gone will be the nights where several out of town games can be seen on several different local channels. Also gone is more of the little spare time I have, as I now will have a fantasy hockey league to run. So it goes.
I hope some of, or any of you guys convinced the GM who owns DeMarcus Cousins to sell at a reasonably discounted rate at the beginning of last week. Boogie proceeded to put up 24.5 ppg, 15.3 rpg, 3.8 apg, and 1.8 spg; not too shabby.
Of course, if you couldn’t do that, I’m here to provide you with another installment of players that you need to keep your eye on for the week to come.
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.
Dante Cunningham / Derrick Williams – 5% Owned / 12% Owned
When Kevin Love re-fractured his hand against the Nuggets, the battle for his minutes began immediately. The Cunningham/Williams battle will probably end up being a time share, but with Nikola Pekovic suffering an abdominal strain, and Love being “out indefinitely”, one, or both of these guys should be owned for the next few weeks.
Garrett Temple – 5% Owned
Move over, Shelvin Mack. Temple played 47 minutes in the double overtime loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, and may have taken over the starting point guard position until John Wall returns. If you’re looking for a “do-it-all” point guard for the next month, (why wouldn’t you be) then Temple may just be your man.
Tristan Thompson – 40% Owned
Tristan Thompson is this week’s Robin Lopez, only he’s playing much, much better basketball. If Thompson is available in your league right now, go and grab as soon as you finish reading this sentence. Over his last ten games, Thompson has been averaging 12.9 ppg, 12.5 rpg, and 1.1 bpg, all while shooting a decent clip from the stripe. If you don’t have room on your roster for a guy like that, then I really do applaud your squad.
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.
Evan Turner – 14.2 ppg, 4.2 apg, 6.7 rpg, 1.1 spg, 0.3 bpg
If there was only one player that you could snag for pennies on the dollar this week, that player would be Evan Turner. Evan’s play has been incredibly sporadic, and can flat out not be counted on, on a nightly basis. These are the moments that all fantasy GM’s wait for during the season. Evan Turner WILL turn his funk around. I repeat, Evan Turner WILL turn his funk around. Much of his poor play can be attributed to his woeful shooting percentage since after Christmas, where he has managed to shoot a paltry 31% from the field for an average of 9.2 ppg. Not good. The good news is that he is still shooting the ball with confidence (10.3 shots per game) and is still logging big time minutes (35.26 minutes per game). Do not be deterred.
Rudy Gay – 18.0 ppg, 2.6 apg, 5.9 rpg, 1.5 spg, 0.8 bpg
I’m a firm believer that Rudy is a proud guy; a proud guy who isn’t going to let swirling trade rumours about him affect his game. My question is, how far does pride play into the hearts and minds of the GM’s in your league. Much like DeMarcus Cousins last week now is the prime time to jump on the itchy trigger finger of GM’s in your league. Gay played above his average this week, so you’re not going to be able to snatch Rudy out from under the nose of your competition for nothing, but if you’re able to play the language game, and play into the fears that he may get traded to a team that implements a system that may not suit him as well as Memphis, well, you might be able to bring the price tag down.
Monta Ellis – 19.4 ppg, 5.6 apg, 3.5 rpg, 1.7 spg, 0.5 bpg
And so stirs the “can Monta and Brandon Jennings backcourt coexist” conversation. Anyone in the know, and really, many people not in the know, know that Jennings is the Buck that Skiles and the Milwaukee organization is going to stick with. With Ellis playing in what essentially could be considered his contract year (Monta holds an Early Termination Option that allows him to end his contract early), we could be looking at a possible change of scenery for the rangy guard. This, and the fact that trade buzzards are once again stirring above his head should be reason enough to convince one of your fellow GM’s to part with the 4-cat player.
Omer Asik – 10.6 ppg, 1.0 apg, 11.4 rpg, 0.6 spg, 1.1 bpg
Omer has finally managed to put together a string of games that make him worth owning again. If you’ve been keeping a pulse on Omer throughout the season, you know that he’s prone to the hold and cold hand. Another thing you might have noticed is that Omer is really only offering value in two categories: FG% and rebounding. Asik is an abysmal free throw shooter, and can outright disappear on offense. With all of that negativity, you might be asking yourself, “Well, what does he actually do well?” The answer to that question is “The homerun ball”. If you’re down in your fantasy week, and have little chance of coming back from a deficit, Omer might pull out a game that catapults you ahead of your opponent. With that reasoning, and his latest string of successful games under his belt, I recommend that you sell, and sell him for as much as you can get.
Vince Carter – 12.2 ppg, 1.9 apg, 4.0 rpg, 0.9 spg, 0.6 bpg
Now, I’m going to let my bias show here a little bit; I’m not the biggest Vince Carter fan. That sentence could have been laden with numerous expletives, exclamation marks and would have been followed by me sullenly reflecting on past years. With that out of the way, Vince has put together a pretty respectable week, and seems to have some gas left in the tank. At this point, you’re going to have a hard time selling him for a player of high value, simply because of his age, and the return of Dirk Nowtizki from injury. If you play in a keeper league, my advice is to pull a draft pick out of the pocket of a GM who is looking for an extra wing to make a deep playoff push. If you don’t play in a keeper league, pawn Vince off for someone who is going to have less nights where they look like a 36 year old with no knees left.
Bradley Beal – 12.9 ppg, 2.6 apg, 3.6 rpg, 0.9 spg, 0.5 bpg
Bradley Beal has had some real stretches throughout this young season where he has been able to harness the great potential that scouts around the NBA have been preaching about. There have also been quite a few clunkers, and some minor injuries that have kept him from playing. The clunkers can naturally be attributed to a rookie going through the motions, but the injuries are something that truly worries me. Beal is getting his tail worked off at 34.89 minutes per game in his last eight. In those eight games he’s eclipsed the 40 minute mark three times, and has even hit the 47 minute mark in a double overtime thriller with the Brooklyn Nets. Now a young man like Beal can certainly handle these minutes on occasion, but I do not see Bradley performing at as high a level as he’s been performing at over the past week. Hitting the rookie wall is going to come fast and hard for this kid, especially with the losses continuing to pile out in Washington. Sell while you still can.
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, CHI, CLE, DAL, HOU, IND, LAL, MEM, MIL, MIN, NOH, NYK, OKC, PHX, POR, SAS, UTA
3 Games: BOS, BKN, CHA, DEN, GSW, MIA, ORL, PHI, SAC, TOR,
2 Games: DET, LAC, WAS
The promising day-to-day news of the past is gone in regards to Kevin Love. It has been revealed that Love has re-fractured the same bone that was broken during the now infamous “Knuckle Gate” incident. This comes as a huge blow to both the Timberwolves, and to fantasy GM’s of Mr. Love. The best you can do on this one is stash him on your IR (hopefully you have one) and wait it out.
Andy’s primed and ready to return to the lineup after missing the past nine games with a lingering knee issue. As always, you should be starting the floppy haired Brazilian immediately.
With a handful of timetables for return from injury missed, Tyreke will apparently be ready to go on Monday for the Kings matchup against the Grizzlies. Evans will more than likely come off of the bench for the Kings, so temper your expectations for the first few games.
Fantasy Line of the Week
This space should be reserved for one person’s accomplishment over the span of one week, but there were two players who truly excelled: Kyrie Irving and DeMarcus Cousins. Listed below are their monster games.
Kyrie Irving @CHA – Jan. 4th: 33 pts, 5 rbs, 6 ast, 3 blk, 4 stl, .476 FG%, 1.000 FT%
DeMarcus Cousins @TOR – Jan 4th: 31 pts, 20 rbs, 4 ast, 0 blk, 2 stl, .611 FG%, .750 FT%
Sure, both of these lines came in ugly games against not the greatest of competition, but are the Cavs and Kings really that much better? Let’s just enjoy the splendor that is these performances and call it a week.