Fantasy Basketball, Week 13
Mr. Fantasy’s got a new crush.
Running a close fourth among the Benefits of Writing a Fantasy Hoops Column—after the 1) Money, 2) Women and 3) Power—are the invitations to industry fantasy leagues.
These leagues are made up of guys who work within fantasy hoops circles and almost always have an excellent live draft, followed by a very competitive season. The guys from DroppingDimes, and Dr. A from RotoWorld were all gracious enough to invite me into their leagues again this year. Eager for some fresh blood, Dennis from DroppingDimes asked if I knew anyone else from SLAM that might want to get down. It’s a 14-team league with weekly lineup changes.
It just so happened that Ryne had previously asked me to put him on if something opened up, so there it was, SLAM had two representatives in the league.
While I’m always happy to have another member of the team on board, I’m sure you understand the risk I’m running here. As SLAM’s resident fantasy scribe, losing to the online editor would be far from a good look. While I remained confident in my ability, and with full respect to Ryne, the title of Mr. Fantasy would lose a bit of its shine if I took an L at his hands.
Fortunately, my team felt my situation and my boys came through. I’m anchored by my forwards and Kevin Durant, Danny Granger, Kevin Garnett and Jeff Green all had big weeks for me. Waiver pickups Mardy Collins and Andrea Bargnani were also solid and my title defense was affirmed with a 7-2 knockout.
I was going to be slick and compare the excitement surrounding Barack Obama’s inauguration to your favorite team acquiring a stud free agent (in this case, America represents all of our favorite franchise). A lot of the emotions are the same: The freshness, excitement and possibilities. The wind was snatched from my sails, however, when I heard Bill Simmons make the exact same comparison on his podcast this week. He chose to compare it to Philadelphia landing Elton Brand this summer, but depending on where you stand politically, it’s a lot closer to LeBron signing with the Knicks in 2010.
If you’ve been holding your ticket for the Greg Oden coming out party, it was officially punched when he went for 24 points, 15 rebounds and 2 blocks Monday against the Bucks. I don’t own Oden in any league, and although I was fortunate enough not to be facing him, I wouldn’t have been mad if I was. That’s how much I want to see this kid succeed. His rookie season has been extremely up and down so far, but this was clearly his best effort and could be what he needed to break out.
My regular readers know how much I value players with center eligibility. It’s the hardest position to fill in fantasy basketball, and the waiver wire is always dryer than a college student’s mouth the morning after pounding Natty Ice—Yuck. This is why I’m advising all of you in 12+-team leagues who need help at the 5 spot to run out and grab Jason Thompson. As in, stop reading and do it now. He’s quietly having a very strong rookie campaign, and with the Kings looking to trade Brad Miller, now is the time to get him on your roster. Although the Bucks are known to make opposing bigs look like All-Stars, Thompson went off for 22 points and 11 rebounds against them this past Friday. He followed that up with 18 points and 11 rebounds last night. He’s got a hold of the starting job, and he’ll be a solid play the rest of the year.
Admittedly, there’s not much happening on the waiver wire this week. The guys that follow are all worth consideration, but Thompson is the long-term baller in the bunch.
Sasha Pavlovic – Deltone West will miss up to six weeks with a fractured wrist and Pavlovic is starting in his place. Two seasons ago, Sasha was worth owning in fantasy leagues and should be in line for a major boost in production. He’s scored in double figures in both games since West’s injury.
Mardy Collins – I know I put Collins on this last week, but because he’s my favorite player in the League, I’m going to make an exception. He’s put together two weeks of solid production and potentially has earned a role on the team even when Baron Davis returns. For a player that was discarded as a throw-in for Zach Randolph, he’s been great for the Clip Set.
Jason Thompson – If I showed Thompson anymore love in this column I’d be teetering on a man crush. The case is made for Thompson above and he should be owned in all 10+ leagues right now.
Danilo Gallinari – There’s no reason to run out and snag Gallinari yet, but keep your eye on his production. The Knicks are going to give him time this season so he can develop and learn the NBA game. That means production. He’s been solid during spot minutes so far. His back is going to be a question mark, but if troubles surface you can cut bait without losing a thing.
Erick Dampier – The trade that sent Diop out of town leaves more minutes for Big Damp down in Dallas. He might provide you with an occasional double-double and that’s good enough for 12+ team leagues.
Thanks for reading. Please leave any questions or comments below, and I will get back to you ASAP.