POR vs HOU – I’m making an effort to hit teams that I don’t talk much about, and I feel like these two have been off my radar for a bit. Which is a shame because there is a lot going on here. Batum has been a buy low guy for most of the year. Coming off an nagging injury and a slow start, then into another injury; he has not been producing up to his potential. The issue is now that he has been back for a while: why is he still not producing up to his normal levels? And with Wes Matthews in a contract year, playing like he currently is, will Batum’s value start to drop? Is this injury going away? Not really, especially when piece of shit Larry Sanders under cuts the guy. But nothing I’ve heard, or read has indicated these aren’t just continuing nagging injuries that need rest to heal. I haven’t seen anything indicating a lingering severe problem. But, I also don’t see him shaking this funk for a month or so, which should mean he will come on strong in the 2nd half of the season. I still think he is a buy low candidate, but doubt is starting to creep in. CJ McCollum coming back should hopefully let Batum sit until he is ready to come back. McCollum has potential so watch him close, he should be a deep league add while Batum is out, and big standard leagues should be on notice.
Tom Robinson became the hot add after his 15/16 game with RoPez sitting, and now LMA is sick. But here he only played 13 mins with Freeland and Leonard picking up the start. LMA should be back soon, but none have been attractive enough for standard leagues. Deep leagues should follow the mins, which at this point is up in the air. Standard leagues should still watch Tom Rob for the time being.
Something happened to James Harden most of it was probably the fact he is getting older and moving into his prime. Maybe the constant .gifs on /r/nba got to him. But he didn’t let it mess with him, he let it motivate him. He is playing out of his mind and there is no reason to think he can’t keep it up. MVP leader? Corey Brewer moving to the Rockets drops him in value, as his mins will for sure drop behind Harden, and Beverley. But he is still a source of steals, we don’t know what his rotation will be, he might not be the obvious drop for average standard leagues that others think. Ariza rested a bit in this game, I expect him to bounce back from his slump, but those hoping for his form at the start of the season are in for disappointment. I really like how Motiejunas is coming along in real life, but for fantasy, I’m not sure. He does get you out-of-position cats, but his FT% is miserable, and if they ever reattach T Jones’ legs, he probably won’t start. Where in the world is T JONES!
ATL vs DAL – Before owners of not-Rondo Dallas players jump on the Rondo is a curse bandwaggon, (I’m looking at you Parsons owners) remember to breath. This is the first game they’ve ever played together. There is no reason they should immediately click, or even click before the All-Star break. These things take time, Rondo has to learn where people like to stand, where they want the ball, and he is the best at doing that. I still think everyone on this team gets a bump minus Harris and Monta Ellis (who won’t dip much). Read more about the Rondo trade here. At least Rondo looks like he cares about scoring again, and that’s a good thing… right?
Big Gay Al Horford has turned it up from his slow start. He should continue to do what he has been doing in the last few weeks. The injury to Jeff Teague is a little concerning, though it hasn’t seem to slow the Hawks. The fact the injury came out of no where makes you worry about how serious it is, but it looks like will be coming back soon. I trust the Hawks wouldn’t make him go forward without ensuring it has no potential to be serious. He has been playing out of his mind, and is young enough to take the leap, but this injury might set him back, or at least force him to fall back down to Earth. I think he is a little overrated in his current form (24th in 9-cat avg), but with the lack of good PGs, I would still hold him to see how it all goes. Dennis Schroder will move back to the bench with his return. Without the mins I think Scroads is fine to let go in all bu the deep standard leagues.
TOR vs CHI – Kyle Lowry has turned beast mode on since DeRozen got injured and it has been a pleasure to watch. He just keeps getting better, and going against even a very good defense in the Bulls, he wasn’t able to be stopped. But wait… who is that, coming out of the rafters of the United Center! MVP LEVEL D ROSE circa 2011!! Has to be the first time I’ve seen Rose play like he could and would do anything on the court since his first injury. It is frightening and beautiful all at once. Enough for me to consider buying low on him. But don’t fall into the hype train just yet. If you can get him for nothing from a frustrated owner, you should. I like how Jonas is improving, it looked like he could do anything he wanted against the Bulls, and that is saying a lot. I like Niko Suave over Taj when everyone is healthy, and Taj over Niko when Taj starts. All that is such a toss up, so go after the guy who’s stats you need.
DEN vs CHA – Big gayer Al Jeff is also coming on strong. And with Lance injured perhaps for the rest of 2014, we could see some production out of everyone on the Hornets. I still like Kidd-Gilchrist as larger standard league pickup, or bench flyer in smaller standard leagues. His ability to get STL/BLK/REB, are very nice in 9-cat. But if he lost his shooting touch, he won’t last long on your team.
UTAH vs MEM – Courtney Lee is still underrated, considering he starts and can pickup 3’s and STLs. Owned only in 30% of leagues, he should be picked up in all but the shallowest leagues, even with his slow return. Deeper leagues look to Vince Carter for some surprise stats, even though his mins hover around 21mpg. (owned in 3% of leagues) The Gobert/Enes double penetration of the Center mins is a very hard thing to comprehend. Enes can put it in the hole, but Gobert is a master ball blocker/grabber. Gobert is already starting to suck some of Enes’s minutes. I can see this continuing as the season goes on.
LAC vs SAS – Not a lot to say on this game other than JJ Redick is not owned in enough leagues still. (60%); Sure he depends on making 3’s but he starts, and he currently is making 3’s. Get your shit together. Weird starting lineup.Duncan is a machine when he plays. Insane per avg. Great game limit 9-cat roto player. Good to see Parker back, I don’t seem him having any problems hitting his old production.
SAC vs GS – BOOOOGIE BOOOGIE BOOOOGIE BOOOGIE! God I’ve missed you Boogie. The new coach seems to be doing…. well, exactly what the old coach was doing. I don’t see any differences yet. But we don’t know if they’ll get a new head coach before the year is out yet. D LEE is back as well. But it looks like he will ease his way back in. And I don’t think Kerr wants to mess with what works too much. As I said in a previous post. Expect Speights to take the biggest hit in mins, and small drops from Barnes and Green though they should be fine. The big surprise is just in time for the (Justin) holiday season Festivus Ezeli getting the start and playing well with his mins. I don’t know if they want that kind of defender in to start the game, similar to Bout, but he is a deep league add for me, and should be watched to see how he is utilized. I think the Justin Holiday showing was a fluke.
CHI vs NYK – I went a little overboard with Jimmy Buckets at the beginning of the year, quickly crowning him as Most Improved and probably All-Star. Somehow, I have undershot just how much he has improved. The best part is that he fills up the stats. His FT volume is Harden-esq. Ability to get Blocks/STLs and 3’s. He is basically doing Nic Batum plus 15 ppg. Jimmy’s production though does rely on his usage: 40 mins per game. But with Thib’s lust for wins, and constant back court injuries, there is no reason to think he won’t keep those mins. Speaking of constant injury, I would wager that a majority of games one of the Bull’s bigs will be sitting out. And why not? You have the luxury of having 2 bench guys who would start on most teams. Niko Mirotic should be owned in all but shallow leagues for this reason. Or you should watch the twitters and spot start him when one of the bigs are out. I like “Don’t call me Chris Rock” Aaron Brooks over Kirk when Rose is out.
I’ll refrain from crapping on the Knicks. The Melo situation is troubling as I mentioned earlier this week, but panic produces opportunity. Melo will sit more, but he could be a buy low for a panic stricken owner. I really liked how Cole Aldrich played in this game. With the Knicks drowning, he could have value moving forward, give him a watch for now. Pick Cole up in deep leagues. Amare with the throw back game, he has been criminally underrated, but discerningly so. He isn’t owned in enough leagues, but I’m staying away from his knees, be prepared to drop him.
GSW vs OKC – I really don’t want to worry about Wesbrook and KD being injury prone. It makes for a sad panda. KD could be one of the greatest players of all time, I would give my first born to ensure his long and healthy career. Copy/Paste Alert: Ibaka owners on the other hand might not be happy about his role reducing. I, for one, am very pleased to see Serge get back to his old ways. He has struggled in the last month or so, there is no reason to think he wouldn’t finish the year in the top 15 like he has the last 3. A buy slightly low candidate. Like clockwork, Bogut suffers another injury, that will nag him for the year. “Heyyy Morreese” Speights has been playing very well with his limited minutes should get a nice bump until D Lee gets back. He could be a good pickup in large standard leagues; should be owned in deeper leagues.
NOP vs HOU – Freak Tyreke’s injury should give a bump to Jrue Holiday for the time being. Also bump Austin River’sminutes, but this injury should be brief. I do see some occasional flashes in Rivers, keep watching him. Trevor Ariza’s hot start has come crashing back down, but he might be treading into buy low status. Expect him to flash great runs, but he’s more than likely back to a normal level of play. D Howard has looked solid in his return. Seems pretty safe for now, until when though? I irrationally like to watch Donatas Motiejunas. He should be better than he is. But he becomes pointless once T Jones is back. Where in the world is T JONES!
MIL vs SAC – BOOOGIE!!!!!! He’s back to his old ways, which is pretty impressive considering how draining his condition makes you, plus his probably weight loss. I don’t see this effecting the beast-man Boogie one bit. Though, he might take a week or so to get back into the swing of things. The Bucks were a good first opponent. With Boogie out though, it seemed like Ben McLemore started to understand his role better, and play to his strengths. I like how he has improved this year. McLemore doesn’t do anything great, but he doesn’t do anything bad either. And that is a great quality. In larger standard leagues, or in most Roto leagues, guys who chip away at all stats without hurting you anywhere are an under-appreciated asset.
GREEK FREAK!!!!!! My favorite two all-caps players. And they deserve it, because they are great to watch each night. Fantasy-wise though, the Freak has a long way to go. He is Keeper #1 in all those leagues that actually have good keeper rules, not those leagues that let you keep Harden for no reason. With Sorry Jabari out, Bayless and Dudley are getting more mins. Bayless has been the more impressive guy, though a lot of that comes from his hot shooting streak. He still is worth a look in big leagues and all deep leagues. Don’t sleep on Dudley though, he has had fantasy-value in the past, keep watch.
Thoughts on Rondo Trade:
Trades like this are rare this early in the season, or in the season at all. Boston got hosed, but it was get hosed or lose Rondo for nothing. But this is a big trade that completely changes the dynamic of both teams. Lets start with the winners:
Rondo is first and foremost the winner here. He will actually be playing with a great team around him. He will be motivated to play to his full potential, and will hopefully allow him to believe he can score. Expect him to improve much.
Marcus Smart is now a starting PG in Boston. I don’t think he will turn into an all-star, or even a current Rondo this season, but he is elite in steals, will get plenty of rare assists, and will play a ton. Worth taking a flyer in all leagues, must own in big/deep leagues.
TY CHAN no reason he won’t get better looks/oops/dunks with Rondo feeding him the ball instead of Jaqueer. Offensive game bump means fantasy bump;
Evan Turner? With Smart grabbing the staring guard role, they need another ball handler, and Turner is the only one they really got. He should get more playing time with the 1st team and run point on 2nd team.
Everyone else on Dallas other than Monta You know who likes being open? Everyone! Parson’s more open? Dirk more open?? They are already cooking with the best offense in the league, so don’t expect big bumps, but slight bumps are nice. and being open improves FG% and PTS
There was no real point guard in Dallas. Jaqueer/Harris combo is no longer relevant, but weren’t much anyway. Monta Ellis was the defacto point guard. He needs the ball in his hands to operate, and has had the green light all season. Rondo changes that. Rondo will have the ball in his hands much more, taking possessions/usage away from Monta. Though now he will be more open with Rondo feeding him the ball, expect a slight dip in production
Smelly Kelly/Ty Zeller this ongoing feud is now been forced into a halt. Both of these players were made much better than they are by Rondo’s play making ability. Sadly this is more true for Ty Zeller, without Rondo getting him the ball, he is not going to score much. Not saying Smart can’t do 60-70% of what Rondo did, but that is a huge difference.
Sully and Bass are now in a crowed front-court with Wright showing up wanting minutes. Less mins equals less productivity.
I think Green will be fine with his role in Boston
Brandan Wright: I might be off on this one, but are we so sure Brandan Wright is a starter? This could go either way. He finally blows up with the chance to play big mins, or his FG% and other stats turn out to be based on his low usage against second teams, and he can’t handle the starting role. Even if he is starting that is? I think what actually might happen is somewhere in the middle. They try to get him going, he’s a little better at usage stats, but his elite status at FG% falls off. I expect a small, but not significant dip in overall rating. Also, you would think this leads to another trade by Boston to free up some playing time for their crowded front-court.
GSW vs MEM – Who wants a 7-game series? Please basketball gods, let this be the Western Conference Finals. Some how the West playoffs will be better than last year, and this series will be why. Both teams got better, but only one got the hype. It is hard for the general public to get pumped up about super sexy bear-man Marc Gasol’s pick and roll defense, or still-improving Mike Conley’s floater, but they should. Sure the Warriors were without Lee and Bogut; sure there were two really shit technicals late in the 4th over a mild reaction to Conley’s obvious travel (a 4-pt swing with 3mins left swung the game).
But let’s focus on Zach Randolph. He is having a better fantasy year then he has in the past three, and I think it all has to do with Gasol taking the offensive load off of him. This allows Zach to choose a better shot selection, turn the ball over less, and he can position for rebounds more than going in the block. These are only minor bumps to his main stats, but they make him more efficient and that is worth a bump between bench decision to full time starter in standard leagues. But his stats are deceiving. 17/11 every night looks great, but 2-cats don’t win leagues. Almost a steal a game is good for a big man, but one assist isn’t. And no blocks is completely unacceptable. You only have a certain amount of starting slots, understanding why 17/11 from Zach is not as good as Marcin Gortat’s 14/8 is a key to winning your league.
Like clockwork, Bogut suffers another injury, that will nag him for the year. Heyyy Morreese Speights who has been playing very well with his limited minutes should get a nice bump until D Lee gets back. Hecould be a good pickup in all but the shallowest leagues; should be owned in deeper leagues.
OKC vs SAC – Wherefore art thou, Boogie? The Boogie-less Kings gave it their best, but the rising Thunder were just too much. Durant and Westbrook still aren’t in full form, which is insane to think about. I would consider both of them worthy of trading for, but I doubt the owner would entertain anything other than the most outrageous trades. Ibakaowners on the other hand might not be happy about his role reducing. I, for one, am very please to see Serge get back to his old ways. He has struggled in the last month or so, there is no reason to think he wouldn’t finish the year in the top 15 like he has the last 3. A buy slightly low candidate.
The Boogie train should be back in the next week or so, but now we must worry about the moronic Kings front office. They fired their head coach, who Boogie liked, who had Boogs, Gay, and Collison all playing some of their best basketball, and had the team start out on a very nice win streak. Now there is a Vinny Del Negro sighting. All bad signs for bad things to come. When it comes to fantasy though, it’s hard to predict what this will mean. Already, Collison has seen a drop in production, hopefully that can be chalked up to Boogie being out, but Ramon Session ended up getting almost the same amount of mins as Collison. Way too early to tell if this was just a hot-hand rotation move. But you should watch this situation
Lightning Round and Other Notes
MIN vs WSH – Thad Young getting back into the swing of things, shaking off his buy low status, hope you got on that.Shabazz getting after it, he doesn’t really do much other than PTS/REB, and never turns the ball over, but if you are in a deeper league he will be getting the mins for you to pick him up. The more interesting guy to me is Zach LaVine. Not ready for prime time yet, but full of potential, and a bit crafty, and most important: starters mins. Watch him moving forward.
Lebronless’s vs Broke-lyns – With very little info on Bosh’s injury, signs point to Wade being forced to play. This turns Wade into a crap shoot. When Wade plays, he is prety good (minus his TOs and unacceptable FT%). Bosh being out forces Wade to take over, so you’ll finally get some boosted value out of him. But he will also be forced to play through his nagging old knees. Which could hurt Wade in the long term this year. The longer Bosh is out the more I’m worried about Wade’s long-term health. This will be the perfect opportunity to sell high once Wade gets going. Sell him after another big game or 2, and before Bosh gets back.
DAL vs NYK – Oh jesus the Knicks. I got to see them live in my first trip to MSG against the Raptors. Neither team wanted to hold onto the ball, and the Knicks offence consisted of Melo ISO. Where is that triangle I heard so much about? Nothing great about the Knicks, except Melo’s fantasy value. You think Melo will put this team on his back all year? or do you think he will start to dog it once they are out of the playoffs (aka now). Maybe some extra “rest” for those bumps and bruises? I would watch him closely for signs of disillusionment and sell high if you think he will call it a season. Though if he plays, he will still be a great fantasy option.
UTAH vs NOP – Burk boys looking much better, they just can’t shoot. Trey Burke should continue to improve and be a starting guard with good stats. Owned in under 50% of leagues, he is a low tier standard league PG. Get those Assists! Ry Anderson shooting his way out of a slump, he is also losing his buy low status. Omer gets the start, but not the mins, stock is falling. Ok, ok ok ok… Diamond pEnes Kanter really figured out how to get it in the hole. He was all up in dem guts of Utah’s defense. He really finished strong. I’m gonna have to even say he is on the rise………
EXTRA NOTES BONUS SECTION!!
A ton has happened in the last week, so here is some extra crap:
- Taj Gibson playing starters mins is a must own in all leagues, go pick him up you fools. #FreeNiko
- If you haven’t picked up G Hill, now is the time (last week was the actual time)
- Raise your hand if you forgot about Jodie Meeks. Everyone put your hand up you dicks! I’d pick him up in all leagues if you need his stats.
- Sorry Jabari! Huge bump to Khris Middleton, and probably even more tick for my man the GREEK FREAK!
- Hope you sold Dragic, because I did not… Pick up Gerald Green while he is out.
- Ed Davis starting over Boozer, 2 months sooner than I thought. Booze has played more mins and has better stats. Suck it Ed Davis lovers
- Smelly Kelly Olynyk is having some monster games. (Against really shitty teams once every other week)#TeamZeller
- Seriously look at Ty Zeller’s FG/FT%s. Ok also look at Smelly’s 3’s and STLs; Both should fit a need somewhere in most leagues. They are barely owned.
- Patrick Patterson is worth watching in standard leagues, if not taking a flyer on. If your team doesn’t have someone you can drop, go trade a 2 for 1 now. Always be able to drop someone for a hot hand. Speaking of I don’t believe the Rasual Butler hype, but I’d still take a flyer on his ass.
CLE vs BKN – Everyone was talking about the King after this game. The future King of England that is. With little regard to the actual basketball game being played, the whole crowd almost rushed the court when Prince Will and Kate came strolling in. Get a grip America. This also might have suddenly interested your girlfriend/wife into this game. Which I would like to send my condolences to you and your families as her head probably exploded when this happened
Suspiciously, “King” James only started playing when actually royalty showed up, blowing the game wide open in the 3rd. Dion Waiters stole Kyrie’s stats this game, which he has done every 8 games or so. You have to think Neon Dion figures out how to play with this team, but it certainly is taking longer than it should with the talent around him. In deep leagues I would take a flyer on him, and watch in standard leagues. Brooklyn struggled as they were unsurprisingly injured. Get used to that for the next few years. I did like Teletovic’s play until he got hurt. I still think he is worth a spot start in medium to deep leagues while Blopez is injured. He really has a nice 9-cat skill set. Deep leagues might want to watch Sergey Karasev and how he fits into the rotation when JJ is injured.
BOS vs WSH – The double overtime “free basketball” bumped everyone’s stats nicely. Paul Pierce is performing nicely with his limited minutes. He is only owned in 61% of leagues, but he definitely a proven vet that deserves to be owned in all leagues. Sure he is old, and he won’t produce what he used to, and will likely miss some time. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t giving you solid production, with the occasional nice line. John Wall has gone out of his mind, out of his mind with Turnovers. I guess you will have to accept the fact that his increase in production is going to go hand in hand with TO’s. This leads back to a question I had about worrying about Turnovers. My answer was don’t. The best players in the league have the ball in their hands, and that means they will turn the ball over. Punting turnovers is a great strategy, and even in roto, you have to be bad in a few categories, that is one to choose
Smelly Kelly Olynyk continues to have one great 9-cat game after crapping the bed for a week. Congrats if you won the “guess when to start Kelly” game last night. For everyone else, the starting Tyler Zeller is starting to show improvements, and will at least average at a steady pace. His most impressive attribute is his FG/FT%’s. Very elite for a standard big man. He isn’t going to fill up all 9-cats, but he does make a difference in specific ones. The ongoing Zeller vs Olynyk saga continues. Why doesn’t Rondo want to score? It is really weird, but he is in one of his moods. A lot of people base their players on the wow stats: points and rebounds. He would be a buy low if his owner does.
PHX vs LAC – One of the most exciting games of the year had some questionable calls, and insane stat lines. A big boy triple-dub from Eric Bledsoe solidifies his role as the number one guard in PHX. He has been on this path since the 3 guard experiment started, and now it is official. The question might now be, who hurts Goran Dragic more? Bledsoe or Isaiah Thomas? I don’t think PHX is maxing Dragic’s ability, and his current run without Thomas makes it obvious. There has to be a trade in the future. But trades are tricky to predict. Sell high on Dragic before Isaiah gets back. More minutes for Alex Len, I’ve had him in the watch pool for a while.
Blake Griffin had a monster game, though the officiating helped him get to that point total. Blake started a little slow for Blake at the beginning of the year, if you were able to snatch him up, congrats. So go Blake, so go the Clips. He is a hold.J.J. Redick has been a buy low for me for a while, if he is still available in your league (56% owned), snatch him up. He is getting hot right now, and he is the starting 2 on a team with multiple weapons to leave him open.
ATL vs. IND – Al Horford, who has been a buy low candidate for a while, had himself a great game against Indy. If he starts a swing of good results, his value will bump back up to appropriate levels. Deeper leagues should be aware thatThabo Sefolosha is seeing more of a role in the rotation, though he has never had much fantasy value. Another lack-luster effort from Indiana. They seem to be a little manic with their quality of play. Go stash George Hill
DEN vs TOR – Another OT game, lots of free stats tonight. Copy/Paste Alert: Tim Mozgov should continue to get more mins on this team that has lost its identity, but I’ve said this before. I don’t know why they didn’t unleash him last year. Very good FG/BLK guy. Great at FT%. Solid every where else for a standard big. I don’t see why he couldn’t play at this level with the minutes he is getting. His consistency will be in question since he is known to get in foul trouble, and he might sit if they get blown out. You can feel safe with him moving forward.
GSW vs MIN – Draymond Green is playing out of his mind, I don’t think he can finish the year this high, but I am not worried about him keeping his minutes or role with the return of David Lee. Maybe a few mins and a few stats. If you wanted to sell super high on him, get a ransom in return. Other than that hold. Andrew Wiggins showed that he does have that potential, but I don’t think this is the start of a hot streak. Rookies being rookies, he’ll struggle with consistency. Gorgui Dieng still has another 10 days of starting according to sources.
UTAH vs SAC – Don’t Die Boogie! The Kings are struggling with out their main threat, and it could be a bit before he gets back. Reggie Evans has been taking his minutes, and Reggie can rebound, but that is about it. Jason Thompson has taken more of the big man offensive role now. He is no Boogie, but he should be considered in all but the shallowest leagues. Nik Stauskas had a rare nice game, but Ben McLemore’s job is probably safe. Alec Burks is back, maybe he can get back on track to improving this year.
Reddit AMA – Early December
CLE vs. NYK – The Lebron’s are on a winning streak, and more than a few people think that they have started to figure it out. I’m more inclined to look at the teams they’ve played in the last 5 games instead. But it does there does seem to be a change in their style of play. Lebron has become more of a facilitator, boosting his ASTs into elite levels. This looks to be more of an experiment in style of play, a luxury that only Lebron can tinker with. I can’t see this being how he plays the rest of the season, but it has gotten Love more involved in the offense, which is boosting his value.
Kyrie is simply benefiting from everything going on. On most possessions he is either left open, his driving lanes part like the red sea, or he is exploiting a mismatch. All this without being forced to carry the load. I expect him to play like this all year, and hopefully he doesn’t get hurt. Knicks really looked bad (and lost by only 3 btw). Though they did get a throw back game from Amare, along with big contributions from Quincy Acy and Tim Hardaway Jr. I’m going to count all those as flukes, but you always want to watch Hardaway. Amare is in a little of a hot stretch, you could ride it if you’d like even in standard leagues, just don’t expect him to be consistent.
IND vs. POR – Donald Sloan has struggled a bit, though on a Pacers team I’m not sure why that matters. He got a DNP, and doesn’t seem to be hurt. Really bad news for deep leagues. Sloan has been occasionally impressive. I thought he’d earn a place in the rotation, but with Stuckey, Watson, and the soon to be returning George Hill, Sloan probably doesn’t have a place. falling hard By the way, now would be a good time to stash George Hill in your shallower leagues, we are at that sweet spot where it is a little too early to be thinking about picking him up, but in a week people will start talking about his return nationally. Hill should start, and run the point, once he’s back and deemed healthy.
Batum owners will be pleased that slick Nick is coming around, he has been a buy low candidate since the beginning of the season, he still should be right now, and to the untrained eye, his low points undervalue him. But his 9-cat threat of getting silly makes him oh so valuable. He is working his way back from that injury. Wesley Matthews probably benefited the most with Batum out. I wouldn’t let this bad game throw you, he is still going to have a very nice year, but he has been ranked in the top 20, and that is a bit of an over achievement. Depending on your need, he is good sell high,but I think he won’t drop off hard.
MOP vs. GSW – WARRIORS, COME OUT AND PLLAAYAYYAYYYY. This team is borderline unfair right now. Curry is out cheat coding Monta Ellis right now. Must have stole that code before Monta split town. You have to wonder what happens when David Lee comes back. Expect someone on this roster to struggle to adjust, and maybe even the whole team slump a tad from how they are playing now. That doesn’t mean sell before David Lee comes back, it means owners of these players might think Lee’s return is hurting their players. Watch to exploit this situation by buying if someone slumps, because I think it will be a temporary adjustment. Though, you do have to wonder if Lee’s return means less minutes for Draymond Green. I would say him or Barnes are the prime candidates. But I think the real answer might beSpeights. There are enough mins to around for the starters, and it is hard to imagine Lee demanding anything on a team that is rolling this hot. This team has 6 guys that should be owned in standard leagues, and maybe 7 if you includeSpeights that is incredibly impressive.
I’m constantly shocked that AD doesn’t get the ball more on this Pelly’s team. They have not found a way for FreakTyreke and Davis to work together. With Eric Gordon out, Tyreke seems to want to be the focal point of the back court. Good for increasing his production, bad for everyone else. Austin Rivers has been getting more mins in Gordon’s absence as well, and sometimes he looks not bad. He should be watched
- CHI vs. CHA – Jo Noah had a slow start to the year, but has put up some vintage Noah stat lines in the last few games and impressively, while he has been hurt. He rolled his ankle bad against the Mavs and rolled it again against the Hornets. I’m not sure if this is a good that he is playing well despite of that, or bad that he is forced to play on it at all. Noah does have a history of lingering injuries, but so do most big men. With the glut of front court talent, and Derrick Rose jacking up shots, Noah still expects to have a sharp decline from last year’s top 20 finish. sell high.Speaking of D Rose, did you know he attempts more 3 pointers per game than Kyle Korver… Why? This is good for fantasy owners though, unless you care about FG%. He has also been shooting poorly from FT for some strange reason. It is too early to tell, but I don’t think you are going to get a top 15 point guard out of him this year falling. Speak of slow start PGs, Kemba Walker is also shooting a poor FT%, but I expect that to adjust back to normal. If you were expecting good FG% out of him, you are doing it wrong, but at least Kemba provides STLs, and his assists are starting to come back up rising. I’ll say it again: Nikola Mirotic
- LAL vs. WSH – Bradley Beal was on my bad list, so of course he goes off, and starts dropping the assists he needs to actually take a fantasy leap. But lets slow down a tad, because he went off against the Lakers. The terrible, no defense Lakers. He still needs to string together some games where he does more than score. Marcin Gortat also played very well, but he has been playing well for the last week or so. And Gortat is known to play very well for a while and then come back down to his standard/boring lines. Enjoy it, or sell high if you can trick someone with his streak. The Lakers are impossible, but at least you know Kobe and Swaggy P will shoot the lights out. Kobe has taken it upon himself to put up insane stats all year, and Swaggy has just taken it upon himself to shoot. P will get you points and 3’s and not much else. Poor Lin just when you thought he was gaining a little bit of traction he craps the bed. I’m expecting more of his recent levels moving forward
- DET vs. BOS – Copy/paste alert: Andre Drummond is alive! I’ve talked about how Stan Van is trying to mold him into an all-around big man, not just a put-back dunker. And while he will still have trouble with this role, it is good to see him put together some games. I have been telling people to buy low on Drummond for a while. He will bounce back, he is young enough to improve. Also, if people are punting FT% in your league, he is now trade bate for them when he starts to blow up. Josh Smith has been balling, and not shooting threes for once. Well not shooting a lot of threes. I would normally tell you to sell high with Smith at all times. As a roto player, I’m an avid J Smooth hater, but there is the chance that Stan Van has made a change in his game. If so, this could be a up swing with Smith, not that he’ll ever shoot the ball well, but maybe he will start getting his goddy REB and BLK stats he used to. I’d hold on to him right now, and see how it plays out. Kelly Olynyk also made my bad list and believe me he has been bad. But even though he lost his starting job, which is normally a good sign to drop, he put together a career game. I was wrong about dropping him to pick up Tyler Zeller, knee jerk indeed. If you think this is going to be a typical line, though, you are dead wrong. There is a reason he is on the bench, and that is because he legit craps the bed 1/2 of his games. So, if you are rolling with him, you can either play the guess right game, start an on-average mediocre player, or look on the waivers for a better player (which is what I would do in standard leagues).Rondo apparently can’t or won’t shoot and has gone full Rondo mode. Not a good sign overall, but enjoy those rare assists.
- SAS vs. BKN Spurs shot horrible last night, but the Nets really seemed to want to lose this game. Gave Danny Green an open look into OT and turned the ball over to let Spurs have a chance to tie/win. Speaking of Green, he is just filling up the stat sheet in 9-cat, and shooting elite 3’s plus getting blocks. He is only owned in 53% of leagues, and I’m wondering how I’ve been missing him, because apparently he is owned in all my leagues for a while. He becomes great when he gets the mins, and the Spurs allow guys like Green to shine, even when they don’t sit their starters. must own. Brooklyn got a great game out of almost all their players, except Joe Johnson. Normally it’s the other way around. Not a good sign that they still almost lost. Brook Lopez finally got tired of you people talking about how he doesn’t rebound. I’m not expecting teams to miss this many shots against the Nets in the future, though. Mirza Teletovic is the most interesting guy on the Nets because you can see his stretch potential, with KG out he got the mins and made the most of it. He would be a good spot start when/if KG gets hurt. He isn’t very impressive with his STLs or BLKs, so only deeper leagues should consider owning him, but only if he gets the mins.
- ATL vs. MIA – When Dwyane Wade plays he doesn’t mess around, but you always have to assume he’ll sit for extended periods during the year. Mario Chalmers stepped up this game, but he is just a roller coaster night by night. Copy/Paste Alert: you can either play the guess right game, start an on-average mediocre player, or look on the waivers for a better player. Except Mario is a point guard, and there are more stretch bigs in the league then guys who can drop 10+ assists. (Owned in 52% of leagues) I still think Mario can be owned in all leagues because of his STLs, potential, and playing time. But don’t expect these nights from him. I’m very glad defense have let Kyle Korver alone, but probably had to do with Luol Deng going out with a hand injury. Looks like Shabazz Napier got more mins, but don’t think that means anything other than in deep leagues.
- MEM vs. HOU – Houston basically ran away with this one and Memphis played their bench, but my favorite deep leaguer Kostas Papanikolaou played well, but the better named Donatas Motiejunas really had a great run. He has been playing well over the last few weeks and is worth a flyer in standard leagues while Terrance Jones is out. By the way, are we sure Terrance Jones was a real person, or did we all collectively hallucinate that first week of games?
- DAL vs MIL – I only want to talk about Monta Ellis. Criminally underrated his whole career, he in his prime (only 29!) and is the poster child of wrong place/wrong time. In Golden State, he was a wonder to watch, but without a team, he was considered a chucker, even though he had to carry that team. Now on Dallas, you can see what a team dynamic has done to him. Watching him basically send 2 games into OT into a win in such a cold-blooded fashion makes me very scared of the Dallas Mavs. Also, with a team around him, his all around game has made him a better fantasy player, with the weird PG rotation in Dallas, he is the facilitator, improving his ASTs. His STLs have always been elite, and his FT% is underrated. Only hurts you in TO’s which you shouldn’t worry about in all formats, unless you really build around the no TO style. Monta is underrated in your league, guaranteed. I think he might be in a career year. Hold
- PHI vs. MIN – PHILLY WINS! PHILLY WINS! STOP THE PRESSES: They don’t call him MCTripleDubs for nothing. Michael Cater-Williams is almost averaging a triple double in the last week, and not just one of those lame Rondo triple dubs, or all around Jo Noah triple dubs. We are talking almost 20-10-10; K.J. McDaniels has to start get more playing time, as well. If I don’t care about FG% or FT%, I want both of these guys on my team in all leagues. (Owned in 28% of leagues) I’ll say it again: Gorgui Dieng.
- TOR vs UTAH – Kyle Lowry has become a monster with DeMar DeRozen out, and he shows no signs of stopping.rising . Looks like Lou Williams and Greivis Vasquez are also benefiting. Trey Burks has the talent to play well, I wouldn’t give up on him. For deep leagues:Rodney Hood is getting the start with Alec Burke out.
- ORL vs LAC – I was all ready to praise Kyle O’Quinn as a great spot start with Nikola Vucevic out on injury, and he still is, unless get gets a Flagrant 2 for blocking a shot and blocking Blake Griffin’s face. It was more of a Flagrant 1.5. Still he should be picked up as a spot start in all leagues. Elfrid Payton is getting more mins, good news for those Rondo stats, but bad news for Evan Fournier’s minutes. For those who were doubting the Clippers, you are very short-sighted. It is a long season, and there is an Eastern Conference. J.J. Redick has finally caught alight. You should pick him up if you need those 3PM; Been on the buy low train for Blake Griffin during his slow start. That train has sailed. Channing Frye is struggling, but he is a starter with highly proven fantasy value. Buy Low
There were a lot of games over Thanksgiving Break, and in further hopes that people have started looking at the box scores themselves, I’ve decide to take a slight departure from my usual analysis to bring you a high level overview of the long weekend, along with some strategy.
The season is already 20% over. That’s right, you have played 20% of your games in Roto Leagues, H2h leagues have a few more weeks, but you should be right around the same percent. What does this mean? The first month is critical in understanding the layout of the league, the trends of players, their outlook for the year, the quality of your current players, and the most important thing: emerging talent. Picking up guys off the waivers at the beginning of the season can make or break your year. Come listen to times of yore when picking up Steph Curry changed the fate of a keeper league so drastically that all the rules were rewritten. Will K.J. McDaniels change your fate? Will permanent starting time benefit Tony Wroten or Gorgui Dieng? Have you even heard of any of these people before the season? Did you stupidly think Garrett Temple was good?
You should be aggressive on the waiver wires for the first month. There will always be unknowns coming in to the year, and guys that come out of no where, no matter how deep your league is. A good strategy in drafts is to allow your last few picks to be guys you can live without. I’d rather take a chance on young potential guys Julius Randle or John Henson just to drop them a day or two into the season for guys who come out of the gate swinging. In fact, all season long you should be prepared to drop a player off your team. It is worth it to keep at least 2 roster spots to pick up streaky players, or take a chance with some potential.
Some people still have Rodney Stuckey on their bench or Danilo Gallinari, hoping they start playing well. Don’t wait on middle of the road players, you probably missed out on the Courtney Lee or Draymond Green. The worst case scenario is you get month of great play out of from Green, then Danilo comes back to his old self, which was around 50th overall. Draymond is currently ranked 56th. So instead of taking a chance on potential, you waited on former talent. I would say this rarely works outside of the 4th/5th Round or so. Don’t get hung up on your guys, play the waivers aggressively
At this point, you should know strengths and weaknesses, but more importantly you should know your opponents’. Leagues aren’t won in the draft, or lost really. Every single person on your team, except Anthony Davis, should be tradeable. Find your counterpart: Are you murdering people in Rebounds and Blocks? Find the guy who isn’t and move in on his team. Round out your team, even in H2h, you still have to win a majority of categories. This is why I recommend Roto over H2h. Not only are you playing the stats game, but you are playing the points game against everyone else. Say you aren’t very good at STLs, but everyone else is bad at steals too. Maybe a slight bump in steals will move you up 4 spots, and maybe you can get those steals off the waivers instead of trading? It becomes the game within the game. Leading by a lot in one category? Build it up even further then trade one of your solid players for two guys who are good at a stat you need. You are 3 points away from 1st place? Trade your 3pt shooter to the low point guy so he can gain some points on the 1st place guy, dropping him down. At all points of the season, there are different strategies you can make to manipulate your and your opponents’ point results: go play roto
- Tyson Chandler has found his old self. He must like that Dallas air. He doesn’t fill up your 9-cat, but he does Reb/FG%/Blks at high to elite levels, and doesn’t hurt you anywhere else, other than FT%, but for a big man, that isn’t bad. Right now he is shooting 76% FT, and his career avg is 64%; Always lean toward career average for FT%. Could TyChan be having a renaissance year. He looked pretty old in NY, but he is only 32. I would have guessed older, but the risk is there for a drop off from his current production. Even in a drop off, he does what he does great, and doesn’t hurt you elsewhere, and that Dallas team really has things working well. You could sell high, or take your chances.
Nikola Mirotic – Have I not been pushing Niko on you hard enough while Taj Gibson is out? Subtle tweets @LTDeng_mc, and mentions in multiple posts. Well, I hope the 10% of you who own him like 12.6p/8.6r/1.6a/1.4b/1.0s/1.6(3pm) in the last 5 games. That is about everything you need to fill up your 9-cat (34th overall in the last 2 weeks. His value will drop when Taj is back, but not as hard a some might think. He’s earned his minutes. He should be owned in all but the shallowest of leagues as a spot start. Deeper leagues should own for the season
- Russell Westbrook is back. Is this guy human? How is he back already? Well he only posted 32/8/7 in 24 mins so he might be off to a slow start… I really want to see him run this team by himself. Stay out of the way Kevin Durant.
- Russell Westbrook is back. Is this guy human? How is he back already? Well he only posted 32/8/7 in 24 mins so he might be off to a slow start… I really want to see him run this team by himself. Stay out of the way Kevin Durant.
- Jamal Crawford and Lou Williams who might have been cloned at birth, minus the years between them, are both heating up the league with their shooting and steals, they should be owned in all leagues right now, I’m sure Jamal is, but Lou still has some people waiting on him. He’s going to get the playing time with DeMar DeRozan out for who knows how long. DeRozen’s absence should also bump James Johnson’s mins as well.
- Jabari Parker – as with all rookies, it takes a while, usually a few season, to figure out your game, and the NBA speed, and how that all fits together. Over the weekend Jabari put together some quality performances. I think it will be a few more months before you will see consistency from him, but hi should be a quality starter later in the season.
- Kelly Olynyk – Lost his starting role to Tyler Zeller, if you got him on your team, you should probably have Zeller on your team instead, or really anyone else on the waivers.
* There is a lot of hope in the return of Bradley Beal, but as a former owner and hype man of Beal, I cannot endorse him as the savior of your team. Beal is young, and is always on the cusp of making the leap. I think he will in real life, but fantasy-wise, I’m not sure how much more he can improve, other than consistency. He is actually similar to Kyle Korver, except he hurts you in both FG% and surprisingly FT%. He will turn the ball over more and make less 3pt/game. Unless he turns into more of a PG, I don’t see how he breaks the top 40.
Let me go even further: Bradley Beal won’t break the top 75
- Kenneth Faried – His minutes are dropping, he is not being reported hurt. But I wouldn’t doubt if something was lingering there. Denver is not good (every time I write this they beat a good team), and Faried is having a pretty bad season. He was never an amazing fantasy guy, though had a few months stretch last year that was top 40. But he has never finished a full year top 80; If his minutes are going to drop I’m not sure he should have a roster spot in standard leagues.
- Mo Williams – owned in 31% of leagues – This guy is straight ballin on people in Ricky Rubio’s absence, and you should know how I feel about point guards by now. You could have convinced me his career was about over last year. Do I think he can keep this up, well maybe not to this level, but he has the minutes, he has the team around him to run, and make shots. There is no reason not to take a flyer on Mo Money. Should be owned in all leagues
- Thad Young and David West are back. Young is definitely the better fantasy player and should help Mo Williams with his role, both should be owned in all leagues.
- Wilson Chandler and Nerlens Noel both had a very good weekend. With Noel’s uptick in playing time, I would happily take a flyer on that potential of STL/BLK combo. Wil Chandler seems to be benefiting from a struggling Denver team, and I wonder if his production is directly related to Faried’s decline. I would ride his streak, but not expect it to last for a long time
DISCLAIMER: All suggestions are made on a whim based on nothing but lots of time playing Fantasy and watching the NBA. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS consider your league format and team makeup in every move you make. ALWAYS