Fantasy Basketball, Week 17
Interesting adds, interesting trades.
Five weeks remaining! And, even less in the really deep leagues. Half of your league’s owners will soon be history and the rest will contend for the hallowed fantasy basketball crown. If you want to be part of the latter group, don’t sleep! You have to be ready to wheel and deal like NBA GMs this week. Their trade deadline is Thursday and if they want to get anything accomplished they’ll be replacing pillows with double espressos.
One big deal was made this weekend. It was the Wizards, who we expected to be sellers, trading Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson to Dallas in exchange for Josh Howard, Drew Gooden, Quinton Ross and James Singleton. What fantasy impact will this trade bring? Well, nothing for Stevenson, Ross and Singleton. Butler and Haywood’s numbers shouldn’t change much. It is probably time to release Erick Dampier, who is battling a knee injury, if you’ve been hanging on to him. Haywood, who is in a contract year, should garner the majority of the minutes at center for the Mavs, making Dampier a very inconsistent fantasy option. Jason Terry will probably see slightly less action as he goes back to his role as sixth man. The starting rotation will probably be Jason Kidd, Butler, Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki and Haywood.
Josh Howard, also playing for a contract, should see some major minutes in DC to finish the season. His fantasy value will probably increase more than anyone else affected by the deal. Mike Miller and Andray Blatche are the others who I think will see a spike in production. Blatche could start at center in the Wizards current rotation. But many believe the Wizards have only begun, and Antawn Jamison could be the next man to go. The most recent rumor has Jamison linked to Miami. If Jamison is moved, then Blatche must be owned. Even now, Blatche has been added in both of my 12-team leagues. I added him in one of my leagues, dropping George Hill (reluctantly… I really like Hill but it came down to him, Lou Williams or Randy Foye. Flip Saunders is trying to see if Foye can develop into a point guard and will probably have the rest of the season to audition. Williams deserves to be starting at point guard and, with Allen Iverson reportedly on the brink of retirement, he could be doing more of that in the weeks to come. On a related note, I’d like to slap Eddie Jordan in the face). Sorry, I digress.
The Wiz, reportedly, will save $17 million next season because of the trade. Mike Miller should be a great player to own moving forward, and Nick Young could emerge as a good source for points, threes, and steals. Drew Gooden seems linked to the Jamison deal, so he might not even unpack his bag in the nation’s capital. Wherever Gooden lands he’ll probably be good for 8.9 points and 6.9 rebounds, his season averages.
The rumors are popping up on the minute and will continue until the 3pm ET deadline on Thursday. Will Amar’e land in Cleveland or Philadelphia? Jamison to the Heat? Will Kirk Hinrich be moved? Will Denver and Portland add centers? Who wants Tyrus Thomas? T-Mac to the Knicks? Kevin Martin staying in Sacto? Ray Allen leaving Boston? Lots of questions to be answered between now and then and plenty of fantasy implications to come.
In other fantasy-related news:
• What to do with Chris Paul? The Hornets are currently two games behind the Blazers for the eighth seed in the West. They’re 3-4 in the last seven games with Paul out. Will he try to rush back to save the Hornets playoff hopes? He’s expected to return sometime in the middle of March. To a fantasy owner who needs to go balls to the wall to make it into the playoffs, CP3 isn’t going to do them any good. Conversely, an owner who has all but clinched their playoff berth may want to think making a gutsy move for Paul now.
• Taking a look at each team’s remaining number of games, there are a few things to consider: Between Weeks 17 and 21 (the remaining regular season in most leagues) the teams playing the most games (19) are the Knicks, Grizzlies, Jazz, Celtics, and Pistons. The teams playing the fewest games (16) in that time are the Lakers, Magic, Blazers, and Raptors. During Weeks 22 through 25 (the fantasy playoffs) the teams playing the most games (14) are the Thunder, Bucks, Wizards, Spurs, Raptors, and Rockets. The teams with the fewest games (11) during the fantasy playoffs are the Cavaliers, Blazers, and Hornets. Notice, the Blazers are listed under both ‘fewest’ groups. It could be time to move LaMarcus Aldridge, Brandon Roy, and Andre Miller for similar-producing players so you can gain the advantage in games played down the stretch.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute – I picked up The Prince this week (dropping Ronnie Brewer) because he’s averaging 12.7 points, 10 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, and 1 steal through his last four games. As SLAM’s Seth Gruen points out, Scott Skiles recognizes the importance of having Cool Hand Luc on the floor.
Andray Blatche – As mentioned above, Blatche is worth a pickup now and if Jamison is moved then it’s a no-brainer. He’s kind of headache but can certainly put up numbers.
Nazr Mohammed – Whoa, Nazr! Who needs Tyson Chandler? Mohammed has two monster games in February, so far; a 23 point/17 rebound game against the Lakers and a 21/20 game Wednesday in Minnesota.
Delonte West – Made his return after missing nine games because of a broken finger. He played 23 minutes, scored 8 points, hit 2 threes, and added 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Mo Williams will probably miss at least two more weeks so West should be valuable until then.
ON THE RADAR
Steve Blake – If Portland sends Andre Miller away, perhaps Blake could return to fantasy form. He gave us a taste of what that’s like on Wednesday, when he started alongside Miller in Phoenix, dropping 22 points and 12 assists on the Suns.
Anthony Tolliver – His last three games have been solid; 11 points and 11 rebounds [vs OKC], 14 points and 11 rebounds [vs DAL], and 29 points against the Clippers. However, the return of Corey Maggette this week will stifle his production.
Ronny Turiaf – He averaged 13 points, 5.5 assists, and 5 rebounds in two games last week. They were his best two games of the season. Perhaps finally he’s feeling healthy and could be a sleeper to scoop up for the rest of the season.
Marreese Speights – Philly is involved in trade talks, so this could be the next sneaky waiver wire pickup a la Blatche.
Ersan Ilyasova – Scott Skiles is really making things tough on us. In the last three games that he has played at least 20 minutes, Ilyasova is averaging 19.3 points. Skiles hasn’t done anything consistently lately besides frustrate fantasy owners so just keep Ilyasova in mind in case his crazy coach falls in love with him, again.
Francisco Garcia – If Kevin Martin is moved before the deadline, Garcia could get some solid burn to finish the season. He hasn’t played a game this season after breaking his wrist while working out on a yoga ball in early October. Last season he averaged 12.7 points, 1.4 threes, 3.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.0 block through 65 games.
DeAndre Jordan – Marcus Camby is too good to spend his remaining years with the Clippers, right? The Clips should send him to a contender, get some young talent in exchange, perhaps some cap relief, and let DeAndre blossom. I’m just sayin’.
FANTASY LINE OF THE WEEK
Stephen Curry (2/10 vs LAC) 36 points, 13 assists, 10 rebounds, 7 threes, 3 steals