Fantasy Basketball, Week 5
Taking stock of CDR’s New Deal.
by Charles Peach
I’ve found that while covering fantasy basketball it’s easy to slip into the habit of discussing only the waiver wire players. Free agents are essential to the upkeep of your team and its fun to constantly be in search of the next breakthrough player, but we shouldn’t take our fantasy studs for granted. It’s important to recognize the guys carrying the load for our teams each week. So without further ado, it’s time for this column to show love to some of those franchise fantasy players:
LeBron James – Let’s just take a minute to admire what the King provided fantasy owners with this week:
11/17 vs GS – 31 pts (11/19), 12 asts, 5 rebs, 2 blk
11/18 @ WAS – 34 pts (12/20), 9 asts, 2 stl
11/20 @ IND – 40 pts (13/25), 7 asts, 9 rebs
11/21 vs PHI – 32 pts (13/20), 9 asts, 7 rebs
That’s 137 points on 58 percent shooting while averaging 9.2 assists per game. Wow.
Kobe Bryant – Just your average Kobe week; 29 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 6.7 assists. His 29.8 ppg rate has him sitting behind only Melo for the league lead. He’s also fifth in the League in steals. Now he has Gasol back so expect the assists to increase.
Carmelo Anthony – Lots of owners passed on Melo in their drafts this year and he’s making us pay! Very solid week for the League’s leading scorer including a 30 points, 11 rebounds, and 7 assists performance against the Bulls on Saturday. He has still yet to be held to fewer than 20 points in a game this season. Melo is also improving his defensive efforts this season. His 1.7 steals per game is a step up from his 1.1 career average.
Dirk Nowitzki – Season averages of 26.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, and a saucy 90.1 percent at the charity stripe have Herr Nowitzki owners grinning from ear to ear.
Kevin Durant – Here is a sign of Durant taking another leap this season: He has already scored 35 points or more three times this season. It took him 13 games to do so. Last year it took him 44 games. The threes aren’t even falling for him right now. Once they do…
Dwyane Wade – Coming into this season’s draft, I had doubts about Wade staying healthy for the entire year. After the freakish year he had last season, I really would be surprised if he put together another similar performance. Well, so far that’s exactly what he’s doing and making me look like a fool. His 28.1 points, 5.2 assists, and 4.9 rebounds per game are just a hair short of last season’s totals but the very intriguing numbers, 2 steals and 1.2 blocks per game, are right on pace. He is incredible.
Chris Bosh – Contract year and he’s killing it. He’s second in the League in rebounding with 11.7 per game and trailing only the six aforementioned gentlemen on the League’s leading scorers list with 26.6 points per game.
This week I’m separating the waiver wire players into two categories; Pickups (should be owned in most leagues) and On The Radar (not immediate pickups but players who you should definitely keep your eyes on):
Drew Gooden – Dampier missed the last four games and Gooden tore it up. In that stretch he posted 14.7 points and 13 rebounds. Be sure to snag him if he’s still sitting around on the wire. It isn’t known when Dampier will return from this ‘illness’ but even if it’s soon the Mavs have to be pleased with the way Gooden is performing.
Chris Douglas-Roberts – People are probably well-aware of what he’s doing at this point but he must be owned. Even with Devin Harris back in the lineup they will still find enough minutes for CDR because he’s been on fire.
Will Bynum – I mentioned him before and I’ll do it again. He’s the sixth man in Detroit and scoring consistently and efficiently (50 FG%).
Al Thornton – He has really stepped up his play in the absence of Eric Gordon. Though Gordon should be back soon, I don’t think it will effect Thornton’s minutes too much. He’s scored in double figures in his last six games.
Golden State Warriors – Poor Nellie, he has so many players injured right now he has to play people like Anthony Randolph consistently. With C.J. Watson, Kelenna Azubuike, and Andris Biedrins out, Raja Bell selecting season-ending surgery, and Stephen Jackson out of town there are players getting consistent playing time in Golden State! Along with Randolph, Anthony Morrow, Corey Maggette, and Stephen Curry are playing regularly. All of those players should be owned with the exception of Morrow who you should keep on your radar. He still has too many single-digit scoring nights which leave you scratching your head.
Kevin Love/Tyrus Thomas – If these guys are available in your league you should consider stashing them if you can afford to do it. Both will return in about three weeks and should make an immediate impact.
Ersan Ilyasova – This guy has been on my radar for a while but unfortunately he was snagged by wise opponents of mine in both leagues. He showed flashes earlier in the season but with Bogut now sidelined for a few weeks he is a starter and producing. Last week he averaged 14.7 points and 9.7 rebounds, adding 9 threes in four games.
Larry Hughes – One of the streakiest players out there and can cause a lot of headaches but at the moment he should be owned. He should remain valuable for at least a few weeks and hopefully contribute more performances like his Indiana game (22 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals, 3 threes).
On The Radar
Marcus Thornton – Darren Collison is the real fantasy treat during CP3’s absence but Thornton has been getting his as well. He averaged 19 points last week in four games. But BEWARE: The Hornets only play 2 games this week so he might not be your best option.
Steve Blake – Andre Miller came off the bench in the Blazers last game. The two guards had been starting together but now it looks as though Blake will be the starter. In four games last week he posted 11.2 points and 6.7 assists per contest and hit 9 threes during that stretch.
Kyle Lowry – He’ll have a game here and there where he doesn’t produce much at all but he remains a decent source of assists, rebounds, and steals off the wire. Keep your eyes on him to see if his minutes increase.
Kurt Thomas – One of the Bigs in Milwaukee needs to step up while Bogut is on the shelf. It doesn’t appear that “stepping up” is in Dan Gadzuric’s repertoire so the winner by default: Kurt Thomas! In the Bucks game at Memphis on Saturday he put up 8 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks.
James Harden – He proved to everyone this week that he’ll be a great long-range shooter (that is, if you ignore Sunday’s 0-10 three-point brickfest in Los Angeles). In his two games prior to the Lakers match-up he hit 10 of his 13 three-point attempts.
Luke Ridnour – Even with the breakout of Brandon Jennings, Ridnour is getting minutes. Sometimes he’s playing right alongside Jennings, so Skiles is finding ways to make it work. In a four-game week he averaged 13.7 points and 6 assists. Mike Redd is back though, so monitor his minutes closely.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas – Shaq has been racking up the DNPs lately and Big Z has started the last five games for the Cavs. In that stretch he averaged 10.2 points and 7.6 rebounds. He also has blocked at least one shot in the last 11 games. Don’t be surprised to see Shaq continue to miss games and even if he plays Z should get enough minutes for fantasy relevance.
Martell Webster – He had an exciting performance, but I wouldn’t get too excited about it. He did it against the Timberwolves, at home, in a rout. It was his first start in the last 10 games but Rudy Fernandez and Andre Miller need to get their minutes too so don’t expect that 21 and 13 game to occur regularly.
Jason Williams – With Jameer Nelson injured again, its White Chocolate who gets the opportunity to become the waiver wire addition of the month. His last game was promising, as he played 39 minutes, scored 16, grabbed 5 rebounds, dropped 3 dimes, stole it twice, and didn’t turn it over – like a true vet is supposed to.
Jared Dudley – He brings a lot of intensity and a nice stroke from downtown off the Phoenix bench. Although he isn’t a reliable source just yet, if anything were to happen to one of the Suns’ starters he would be must-add.
Other Fantasy Notes
-- The oft-injured Michael Redd is due to return to the Bucks tonight against the Spurs. It will be interesting to see how Skiles uses him since the Bucks are off to a hot start (8-3) without his services. If he does see his normal 30+ minutes, look for Ridnour, Charlie Bell, and Carlos Delfino to struggle finding playing time.
-- Finally, the Elton Brand we’ve all been waiting for (unless you played against him last week) has arrived! In three games this week he accrued 59 points, 31 rebounds, 11 blocks, and 8 steals.
-- Mike Bibby’s injury is costly for the Hawks but don’t expect a player to emerge as a fantasy factor in his place. Jamal Crawford will likely slide into Bibby’s position and happily hoist any extra, available shots.
– Mike Miller tore his calf muscle. He’ll inevitably miss a considerable amount of time. Andray Blatche and Randy Foye could become relevant again because of his injury.
– Brook Lopez sprained his ankle. It isn’t a severe sprain, however if he misses any games Josh Boone could be a short-term source for boards and blocks.
Fantasy Line of the Week
LeBron James (@IND) 40 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, 13-25 field goals, 13-14 free throws
This is the first appearance here by King James and probably not the last. He keeps flirting with these monster triple-doubles and one of these days he’s going to get one. It’ll be something absurd like 50, 15, and 13. Do they play the Knicks or Warriors again soon? How about the Suns?