Fantasy Basketball Guide – Jan. 20, 2013

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.

Will there ever be enough said about LeBron James and Kevin Durant? James goes on a three game, across the statistical board tear, and Durant drops a career-high 52 points. A flurry of tough overtime games and a resurgent Laker team were also prevalent this past week. In the upcoming week, we’re looking at some great rivalry games, and some intense, high seeded, conference games.

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.

Ed Davis35% Owned

When will the fantasy basketball world realize that the Raptors only have two legitimate big men to play on every given night? For this fact alone, these guys (Amir Johnson) are going to get theirs. In his past ten games, Ed Davis has been averaging 14.2 ppg and 8.2 rpg. While Davis’ supplemental stats haven’t been spectacular (1.9 apg, 0.9 bpg, 0.4 spg), he’s still growing, and learning the game on the fly. Look to Friday night’s game as a precursor of what could be (18-10-6-1-2), but pick Davis up for the sheer amount of playing time is going to receive up front with the Toronto Raptors.

Derrick Williams – 20% Owned

You would figure that Derrick Williams has entered the “now or never” zone with the Timberwolves, right? Running down the list of injuries for Minnesota: Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic, Brandon Roy, Alexey Shved, Chase Budinger and Dante Cunningham. That is a starting five list of injuries, plus a sixth man. With all of those guys down, Williams should become the focal point on offense, and should be able to post big numbers. I’d be willing to take a gamble on him for a short period time, as Pekovic is listed to be out seven to ten days.

John Salmons14% Owned

I can’t believe I’m actually advising people to pick up a Sacramento King who plays a wing position. But, I am, and here’s why. John Salmons has been (aside from DeMarcus being consistently crazy) the most consistent King over the past ten games. More so than that, Salmons has been producing across the fantasy board. Over his last ten, Salmons is averaging 11.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1 spg, while shooting 43%. Nothing is more valuable in fantasy basketball than multi-categorical production, and Salmons is offering that in spades. Ride him while he’s hot.

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

Paul Pierce 19.3 ppg, 3.8 apg, 5.6 rpg, 1.4 spg, 0.3 bpg

Paul Pierce has been a shadow of his former self over the past five games. Maybe at 35, the pit-bull small forward is losing a step. He’s only eclipsed the twenty point mark four times in his last ten games, and has failed to break the fifteen mark four times as well. Pierce’s rebounding stats, and rejuvenated steal stats have kept him relevant, but his FG% and FT%’s are down. This season would seem to be the Celtics’ last hurrah, so I’m forecasting, based on Pierce’s and the rest of the Celtics team’s collective pride, that he will bounce back. As it stands now, you couldn’t get Pierce for less.

Steve Nash10.4 ppg, 8.8 apg, 2.8 rpg, 0.9 spg, 0.1 bpg

I never thought it would be possible, but you could actually buy low on Steve Nash right now. The Lakers have been absolutely terrible this season, and Nash’s stock has never been lower. Nash is turning the ball over at an alarming rate, (3.0 per game over his last ten) is averaging well below his career average in points per game, and is still struggling in the Laker system. Nash is still dishing out assists, shooting the ball well from the floor, and hasn’t missed a FT attempt yet (20/20), so his game is still there. Even with all of the issues that are surrounding his team, I’m a firm believer that the Lakers are going to rattle off an incredible push for the playoffs this season, and you’re going to want to be on the Steve Nash train when that happens.

Glen Davis15.3 ppg, 1.8 apg, 7.6 rpg, 1.0 spg, 0.7 bpg

Did Glen Davis come back to soon? In his first three games back he has looked awful, averaging 9.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.6 apg, and 0.6 blocks and steals per game. He hasn’t found his shooting stroke, and is visibly struggling. What you should be banking on are his season numbers, which are listed above. I believe that Davis is going to bounce back once he finds his conditioning, and shooting stroke. Prey on the GM that doesn’t believe that, and thinks that his shoulder injury will hamper him for the rest of the season.

Sell High

Shannon Brown 12.3 ppg, 2.2 apg, 2.8 rpg, 1.1 spg, 0.3 bpg

With the dismissal of Alvin Gentry, (whom Shannon Brown had fallen out of favour with) Brown has found new life in the Phoenix Suns rotation. With the Suns struggling so mightily, they will be looking to Brown for offensive production. Offensive production has never really been Brown’s problem. Defensively, Brown is gambler, and poor position player, and it is these tendencies that usually lead him to riding the pine. Sure, Brown has posted some decent numbers over his last four games, but those numbers have all come while shooting a scorching .51%, a number which surely will not last. Moving Brown at a premium is your absolute best bet, as he will come crashing down to Earth in no time.

Roy Hibbert 9.7 ppg, 1.5 apg, 8.2 rpg, 0.5 spg, 2.7 bpg

Look who has finally managed to string together a few relevant games lately. Roy Hibbert has struggled mightily this season, posting career lows in almost every single statistical category. He’s still blocking shots at an incredible rate, and the Pacers are still winning games, but Roy has looked lost this season. I don’t believe that I really need to say anything more than the following sentence: If you own Roy Hibbert in a fantasy basketball league, sell high, and sell now!

Best and Worst Schedules

Here’s a list of upcoming games for each team during the week of Monday January 21st, to Sunday January 27th.

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

Injury Watch

Lou Williams

What a heartbreaker for the upstart Atlanta Hawks. Lou Williams has suffered a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the season. As a fantasy league GM who just dealt for him, this hurts, as Williams was having an incredible season in Atlanta.

Nikola Pekovic

Nikola Pekovic went down with what the Timberwolves are calling a “quad injury”. Minnesota is saying that Pekovic will miss 7-10 days with the ailment, which essentially takes him out of the upcoming fantasy week matchup. Adjust your lineups accordingly.

Avery Bradley

Avery Bradley, who has dealt with a myriad of injuries since entering the league, is dealing with “sore ribs”. Bradley had a second X-ray taken, which, like the first, came up negative. Look for Bradley to return near the middle of the week for the Boston Celtics.

Fantasy Line of the Week

While LeBron James and Kevin Durant all had massive weeks, I’m giving this week’s fantasy line nod to the two games Jrue Holiday put together. Observe:

Jrue Holiday @NO – Jan 15th: 29 pts, 5 rbs, 11 ast, 0 blk, 4 stl, .588 FG%, 1.000 FT%
Jrue Holiday @TOR – Jan 18th: 33 pts, 5 rbs, 14 ast, 0 blk, 3 stl, .565 FG%, .750 FT%

Best of luck in the upcoming fantasy week.

Fantasy Basketball Guide – Jan. 13, 2013

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.

What a week for the NBA. The Lakers continue to look like the worst “best team”, the Sacramento Kings may be heading to Seattle, and Carmelo Anthony took it to the streets in his will to fight Kevin Garnett. Smatterings of big men have begun to come on as sure things or semi-sure things this week, while we also saw a handful of devastating (for their respective franchises) injuries. Here’s to the upcoming, lighter schedule of a week.

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.

Amir Johnson26% Owned

17 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.0 spg and 2.0 bpg. Andrea who? The Toronto Raptors have finally let Amir Johnson, and his “I’m being paid like a starter” contract loose, and boy has it paid off. Ever since Andrea Bargnani, and to a lesser extent, Jonas Valanciunas went down with injury, Johnson has been given free rein to run the front court, and do what he does best; defend well, play pick-and-roll with Jose Calderon, and grab garbage buckets. Coach Casey is rewarding him justly, as Johnson’s minutes begin to climb up into the 30-35 region. With a favourable schedule approaching, and no one threatening his role, he is an extremely safe pickup.

Tiago Splitter – 17% Owned

Can it be? Is Tiago Splitter finally getting minutes out in San Antonio? Gregg Popovich finally seems ready to trust Splitter with a bigger role now that the Brazilian has improved his free throw line touch, and you should too. While Splitter still picks up a ton of fouls, he’s shooting above 50% from the floor, almost 75% from the line and has been rebounding and blocking shots with regularity. If you’re in need of a bench center, and Amir Johnson is no longer on the wire, snatch up Splitter.

Andray Blatche30% Owned

As if Kris Humphries job wasn’t in enough jeopardy, Andray Blatche has risen to the occasion with added playing time. Even with Reggie Evans gobbling up every available rebound on the floor, Blatche has still found a way to average 9.5 rebounds per game over his last four. Blatche performed well earlier in the year when Brook Lopez went down with injury, and now that Lopez is beginning to struggle, Blatche has been there to pick up the slack. If you’re in the 70% of GM’s who don’t own Blatche right now, you might want to get on it, as I expect continued big things from the Most Improved Player candidate.

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

Eric Gordon 15.7 ppg, 4.2 apg, 1.7 rpg, 0.8 spg, 0.5 bpg

Surprise, surprise, the guy who has played in 15 games in the last two years is off to a slow start. Did anyone expect any different? Gordon is going to find his rhythm, as well as his shot. If there is an owner panicking in your league that they just picked up a dud, send an offer their way and steal this guy from under their nose.

DeMar DeRozan17.8 ppg, 1.9 apg, 4.6 rpg, 1.2 spg, 0.4 bpg

Did DeRozan’s stock really drop that much in the past three games? His minutes are right around his season average, he’s still shooting the ball a ton, and he’s scoring at a fairly decent clip. What happened? The answer, as always, is “you live by the jumper, you die by the jumper”. DeRozan has gotten to the line only nine times in the past three games, and while the whistle is part of the reason for this, it’s also his reliance on the jump shot. I don’t believe this trend will continue, as Coach Casey won’t stand for it for much longer. Feel free to pluck DeRozan from the GM that currently holds him in your league.

Kawhi Leonard8.9 ppg, 1.3 apg, 5.0 rpg, 1.9 spg, 0.3 bpg

This buy low is not for the faint of heart. Leonard has been playing some “less than inspiring” basketball over the last ten games, and his stock has dropped accordingly. While much of that can be attributed to his return from injury, the Spurs system is another large contributor. If you can look back to the end of last season, and the playoff run that the Spurs made, you’ll see that he is definitely a guy to own as the season pushes on. Don’t be discouraged by the current numbers, but don’t reach too high with your offer, as Leonard can be attained for pennies on the dollar.

Sell High

Mike Conley 13.3 ppg, 6.2 apg, 2.7 rpg, 2.4 spg, 0.2 bpg

It’s a bit of a dry week for sell high candidates in the NBA. Mike Conley serves as our lone “sell high” guy this week, and even he is a bit of a stretch to be included in this category, but hear me out. Conley is not an elite point guard but has a borderline-elite, to elite point guard’s reputation. He has also been putting up some “solid” numbers the past week and seems like he might be able to net you a player that plays above his numbers. This sell high will take some massaging, and you should definitely prey on the GM you know best in the league.

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

Injury Watch

 

Dwight Howard / Pau Gasol

The two Laker big men could play on Sunday, as D12 is a game-time call, while Pau hasn’t been cleared but is being called “doubtful”. I’d say that the Lakers really need these guys back so they can start winning again, but, well, you know.

Glen “Big Baby” Davis

Davis has begun shooting drills, which is a strong indication that he’s ramping up for a return. Davis’ shoulder is expected to keep him out until late January, so if he was dropped in your league, now might be the time to stash the big fella.

Fantasy Line of the Week

 

Mr. Mean Streak, Kevin Durant gets the nod in this edition of the Fantasy Line of the Week for his dismantling of the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night. Any time you can score 42 points and should above 60% (!!!) from the field, you know you’re doing something right.

Kevin Durant @LAL – Jan 11th: 42 pts, 8 rbs, 5 ast, 1 blk, 0 stl, .640 FG%, .750 FT%

Best of luck in your upcoming fantasy week everybody, and if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to leave a comment and I will definitely see if I can help guide you.

Fantasy Basketball Guide – Jan. 6, 2013

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 Williams5% 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 Thompson40% 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.

Buy Low

Evan Turner14.2 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 Gay18.0 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 Ellis19.4 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.

Sell High

Omer Asik10.6 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 Carter12.2 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 Beal12.9 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

Injury Watch


Kevin Love

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.

Anderson Varejao

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.

Tyreke Evans

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.