Fantasy Basketball, Week 16
Don’t let the trade deadline pass you by!
The All-Star Break is sometimes misconstrued as the halfway point of the NBA season. Not only does the February classic occur 50-plus games into the season, but in fantasy it signals the final turn before the finish line. Yes, there are only 6 weeks remaining in YaHoo! Leagues before the playoffs, and this week is a short one – essentially ending Thursday.
Teams on the brink of the playoffs have to make their surge right now. Make a deal. Start streaming to maximize their games per week. Anything you have to do to get in, now’s the time to do it.
The trade deadline is Thursday, February 18. Rumors are swirling and we keep hearing the same names: Amar’e Stoudemire, Andre Igoudala, Samuel Dalembert, Monta Ellis, Kirk Hinrich, Kevin Martin, Jason Thompson, Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, Tracy McGrady, and Chris Douglas-Roberts. It appears that Toronto and Utah, who are both playing their best basketball of late, will probably hang on to their stud power forwards Chris Bosh and Carlos Boozer. Additionally, the Cavs, who were rumored to be interested in acquiring Antawn Jamison, seem to be content and probably don’t want to mess with the chemistry of a team that is an Association-best 41-11.
More than ever, the next 10 days will be the time you really want to stay on top of the late-breaking news so that you can be the one in your league to get the steal off the waiver wire when a trade goes down.
Here are some candidates to be that “steal” – the free agent who is valuable all of a sudden because the guy playing in front of him was traded:
Andray Blatche – Smells like a possible fire sale in DC and the rest of the Wizards season could be lead by Blatche and the rest of the youth movement – Nick Young and JaVale McGee.
Marreese Speights – Buried on the bench lately but the youngin’ has game and could potentially become relevant again. The same goes for Lou Williams if the Sixers are able to move somebody in that crowded backcourt.
Anthony Morrow – If a Monta Ellis deal were to go down, Morrow, who just returned from a knee injury, could be a nice pickup as long as the Warriors didn’t bring in another guard who likes to jack shots. The young, 6-5 guard from Georgia Tech has made 153 of his 335 (45.7 percent) three-point attempts since entering the League last season.
Beno Udrih – He was having a great season playing alongside Tyreke Evans and the Kings were winning. But then Kevin Martin came back, Udrih found himself on the bench more often and the Kings found themselves in the Loss column more often.
DeAndre Jordan/Craig Smith – If Marcus Camby is dealt to a contender in need of a big (like Denver or Portland), one of these guys could become relevant in the box score.
Please share your thoughts on other players who you think could suddenly become valuable, trade ideas, comments, and questions below. Now, to the waiver wire…
Nate Robinson – He’s back in the starting five. After all of the turmoil between him and Coach D’Antoni, it seems all is forgiven as Nate replaced Chris Duhon as starting point guard. In the last three games he’s produced the way fantasy owners imagined he would to begin the season, averaging 20.7 points, 7 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 2 threes, and 1.3 steals.
TJ Ford – Welcome back to the court, TJ! After an 18-game, Nate Robinson-esque streak of healthy DNPs Ford returned to action last weekend. No, he didn’t score 41 points like Nate did in his first game out of the doghouse but in his two games back this weekend he averaged 15.5 points and 4 assists in limited minutes. More impressively, he made 13 out of 18 shots including 3 of 4 behind the arc. In his previous 31 games this season he made 1 of his 28 three-point attempts. The opportunity arose for Ford when Earl Watson was forced to sit out for personal reasons. Watson is expected to return Tuesday so we’ll soon learn if Ford’s performance was enough to win him a place back in the rotation.
Brad Miller – Joakim Noah has been shut down through the All-Star break because he’s suffering from plantar fasciitis. Miller will see increased minutes in that time especially because his other rival for minutes, Taj Gibson, is also dealing with plantar fasciitis. Miller had a good game against Miami on Saturday night with 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 steals. He’s also been knocking down the three-ball pretty well for a big. However, unless Noah or Gibson misses extended time after the break his value will likely be short-lived.
ON THE RADAR
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute – Scott Skiles is one of the more difficult coaches to figure out when it comes to rotations. In the Bucks last two games the rotation certainly favored The Prince and he responded by averaging 17 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 1.5 blocks while shooting 81 percent from the field. He’s such a versatile defender that he will always find minutes in Skiles’ defensive-minded game plan.
Donte Greene – So far this season, he’s had a handful of big games amidst a swarm of below-average ones. On Friday in Phoenix he had a big one – 31 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Jason Thompson missed that game because of a death in his family so that helped create the opportunity for Greene to get his. He obviously has potential but isn’t really worth adding in 12-team leagues unless the Kings make a trade which would allow for him to get more looks in the offense.
JJ Hickson – Showing signs of consistency over the last three games; averaging 12.3 points on 58.6 percent shooting and 6 boards. Anderson Varejao really prevents him from being a solid fantasy source and the upcoming season debut of Leon Powe won’t help him much either.
Kris Humphries – Hitting the boards hard lately. He might’ve been added in a deep league near you when he was traded from Dallas to New Jersey, but if he’s available and you’re in need of rebounds then give him a look. He’s averaging 10 rebounds per game through his last four.
Antoine Wright – Comes off the bench to replace Upper Case aka DeMar DeRozan and has been effective lately. He started when Upper Case and Hedo Turkoglu both sat against New Jersey, scoring 18 points and 7 rebounds. But when they returned to the starting lineup on Sunday against Sacramento, Wright still did his thing in his 22 minutes; scoring 16 points and adding 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
James Posey – Playing his best basketball of the season right now. Through his last three games he’s averaging 9 points, 9.3 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 threes. He’s definitely one of the key veterans the Hornets are looking to for leadership while Chris Paul is out.
Juwan Howard – The reasonable mind would suggest that Portland would trade for a center before the deadline. If reason doesn’t prevail then Juwan should be owned for the rest of the season. He’s been a respectable source of rebounds, averaging 7.5 rebounds per game since Joel Przybilla went down on December 22.
Will Bynum – After missing a little over a month with an ankle injury, Bynum returned last week and averaged 9.7 points and 4.7 assists in his first three games back. In the beginning of the season he was a valuable fantasy player averaging 15 points and 4.5 assists during the month of November. With most of the Pistons healthy now, unlike November, the minutes will be much more difficult for Bynum to get his hands on so consider him a deep league addition only.
Joey Dorsey – Received the first legitimate playing time of his career last weekend playing 18 and 19 minutes in consecutive games. He collected 19 total rebounds in those two games and could be a sleeper in deep leagues if he continues to see comparable minutes in the future. However, it isn’t likely that you’ll be able to rely on that since he’s playing behind Chuck Hayes, Carl Landry, and Luis Scola.
Ramon Sessions – Averaging 10.8 points and 5.2 assists in his last six games. Jonny Flynn has had a very busy rookie season and Sessions has been quiet in the backup role. Keep an eye on Sessions’ minutes down the stretch to see if the T’Wolves choose to preserve Flynn during a lost season.
FANTASY LINE OF THE WEEK
LeBron James (2/6 vs NYK) 47 points, 8 assists, 8 rebounds, 6 threes, 5 steals, 17-31 FG, 7-7 FT