Fantasy Basketball, Week 19
The nicest fantasy players have nice pre-Playoff schedules.
This is the time to look yourself in the mirror and figure out what kind of fantasy team you really have. It’s hard to be objective when analyzing your own team, but be real with yourself. Is your team good enough to win the championship?
For instance, we know the Lakers and Cavs are the favorites to make the Finals. We know the Magic, Nuggets, Mavs, and Hawks have a reasonable chance to disturb the epic Kobe-LeBron showdown. And we know the Celtics, Jazz, Spurs, Suns, and Blazers are all good teams, but longshots to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
So, whom does your team compare most closely with? Are you championship-caliber or a longshot? Well, I looked my two teams up and down tonight and came to different realizations for both. In one league, I have a solid chance to win it all if Chris Paul returns in time for the fantasy playoffs. But in the other league I realized — I’m the Jazz. I’ve got a solid squad but there’s no way I’m going to knock off both of the top two teams in my league. Unless I make a big trade before the Thursday deadline, I’ll most likely be a quickly forgotten, first-round elimination.
Since I’ll probably finish the regular season somewhere around fourth place, I can safely begin concentrating on playoff strategy. I’m taking games-played into heavy consideration as I try to formulate a trade. Many leagues begin playoffs in Week 22 (March 22) and run until the end of the regular season (April 14). I will furiously try to trade those who play the fewest games in that time period in exchange for players who will give me 14 games (the maximum) during the playoffs. Here are some of the guys I’m trying to ACQUIRE:
Kevin Durant, Andrew Bogut, Chris Bosh, Aaron Brooks, John Salmons, Manu Ginobili, Andrea Bargnani, Luis Scola, Jeff Green, Andray Blatche
Conversely, these players play the fewest amount of fantasy playoff games so you may want to TRADE:
LeBron James, Chris Paul, Brandon Roy, David West, LaMarcus Aldridge, Antawn Jamison, Mo Williams, Andre Miller
Now, I’m not saying it’s ever a brilliant idea to trade LeBron. He is capable of doing in 11 games what might take others 20 games to accomplish. But think about what you would want more: Durant with 14 games or LeBron with 11? The same logic goes for the rest of this group; they have to perform lights-out in 11 games to keep pace with the players who play 14 games in the same time.
Based on season averages, here are a few examples of how some of these swaps could work for you:
LeBron for Durant = +86 points
Aldridge for Scola = +26 rebounds
Roy for Brooks = +21 threes, +17 assists
I’m not saying you should go out and make these exact deals. In fact, in many cases, you can probably get more for LeBron, Aldridge, or Roy.
Could you imagine trading Antawn Jamison straight up for Andray Blatche in the beginning of the season? People would think you were out of your mind. They would’ve been right — but my, how the tides have changed. Right now it would be silly to give up Blatche for Jamison, especially considering the difference in games-played down the stretch.
Take a look at last week’s column to get the complete breakdown of each team’s amount of games-played during the fantasy playoffs.
It was ‘Fantasy Hoops du Jour’ on Friday night in case you missed it. When looking at your team’s results on Saturday morning, I bet some of you double-checked to make sure you weren’t looking at the weekly totals. Four different games went to overtime. Here are some of the stat-lines produced on that amazing evening:
Al Harrington – 37 points, 7 rebounds, 5 threes
Andray Blatche – 26 points, 18 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks
David Lee – 25 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists
LeBron James – 36 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds
Jason Kidd – 19 points, 17 assists, 16 rebounds, 4 threes
Dirk Nowitzki – 37 points, 9 rebounds
Josh Smith – 18 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists, 7 steals
Russell Westbrook – 18 points, 15 assists, 8 rebounds
Stephen Jackson – 32 points, 11 rebounds
Luis Scola – 30 points, 13 rebounds
Robin Lopez – 30 points, 12 rebounds
David West – 40 points, 10 rebounds
Carlos Boozer – 26 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists
Tyreke Evans – 24 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists
Pau Gasol – 23 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists
Andre Iguodala – 13 points, 10 assists, 9 rebounds
That’s one of the craziest, regular season nights in the League I can remember. The Houston Rockets, alone, had three guys get 30 on Friday.
Spencer Hawes – The Jason Thompson injury is the best thing that could’ve happened to Hawes. Paul Westphal was going with a starting combination of Thompson and Carl Landry and it seemed like Hawes was in the doghouse, but now he’s back in the lineup. In his last two games he’s averaging 15.5 points and 10.5 rebounds. He blocks a good amount of shots and can also knock down the three.
Drew Gooden – Doing his same old, same old with the Clip-Show. Since being traded for the zillionth time, this time to Los Angeles, he’s averaging 15.5 points and 9.7 rebounds in his first 4 games.
Anderson Varejao – All of a sudden the Cavs are without Shaq and Big Z. Ilgauskas might be back in 30 days once he re-signs with Cleveland, but Shaq could miss up to six weeks. Varejao will get plenty of minutes in the coming weeks, so he should be owned in most leagues.
Yi Jianlian – Somebody must’ve told him to be more aggressive in a way that actually got through to him because against the Wizards on Sunday he attacked the glass and the rim much more than he has in the past. He gobbled up 19 total boards (12 on the offensive end) to go along with 20 points.
Beno Udrih – Seems like the starting job is his to lose. He averaged 17 points, 5 assists, and 2 steals in his two starts over the weekend and the Kings won both games.
Nicolas Batum – He broke out on Saturday night with 31 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 threes, 3 steals and 0 turnovers. Nate McMillan cares very little about keeping fantasy owners happy so I wouldn’t be surprised if Batum sees under 20 minutes in the next game or two. But, even McMillan should be intrigued by Batum’s performance and hopefully we get a few more nights like this before the season is over.
George Hill/Jarrett Jack/Randy Foye – If these guards are still floating around in your league snatch ‘em up. They are going to come in handy during the playoffs because they all play the maximum number of games.
ON THE RADAR
TJ Ford – Scoring 15.4 points per game through his last five and he earned a starting spot in the last two. If he maintains his starting job he’ll be worth owning but if he goes back to the bench I’d only recommend him deep leagues.
Wesley Matthews – It appears Jerry Sloan favors this rookie over Kyle Korver and CJ Miles. He has maintained the starter’s role since Ronnie Brewer was traded to Memphis. The numbers aren’t always pretty, he is in there mostly for his defense, but he can score. He’s just an option for deep leagues at the moment but he’s averaging 11.4 points in his last 5 games and can get you some threes and steals.
Jason Maxiell – Put together two nice performances last week, both on the road, against the Clippers and Nuggets. In both games he made 7 of 9 shots and grabbed 8 rebounds. As the season winds down, I don’t understand why Ben Wallace would be out there pounding away with the Pistons playing for nothing. Keep your eye on Maxiell in case Detroit follows that logic.
Anthony Tolliver – So, minutes before tipoff in the Warriors locker room, some of the players remind Coach Nelson he still needs to name a fifth starter. Coach polishes off his fifth of Jameson, bends over, and spins the bottle on the floor and when it stops, it’s pointing towards Devean George. “Hey! You! Yeah, you! Get ready, you’re startin’.” That’s how I like to envision it happening anyway. No, the Jameson bottle hasn’t been friendly to Tolliver in the last couple of games but he did have a great performance off of the bench on Saturday. George started, but Tolliver played 42 minutes and tallied 19 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 threes.
Jerry Stackhouse – Didn’t think I’d be mentioning him in here this season but, sure enough, he earned a spot. In his last three games he’s averaging 15.7 points and 2 threes per game. He’s a solid pickup for deep leagues; however, I’m not quite ready to trust him in my 12-man leagues.
FANTASY LINE OF THE WEEK
Take your pick from Friday night. I’ll go with JKidd.