Fantasy Basketball, Week 4
Which aging stars can still get it done?
by Charles Peach / @Charles_Peach
Time to check in on the NBA’s equivalent of the Champions Tour. While the League undergoes an incredible youth movement, some of the League’s seniors are still getting it done. Here is a look at their fantasy impact thus far:
Tim Duncan (34 years old) – The greatest power forward of all time is off to a slow start, but only by his standards. We’re used to the guy who has averaged 21.1 points and 11.6 rebounds for his career, so 13.4 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2 blocks manages to raise eyebrows. Though the Spurs are 8-1, Duncan has struggled lately, finishing with less than 10 points in three consecutive games for the first time in his career. Look for Timmy to bounce back and continue to lead his Spurs on yet another playoff run.
Steve Nash (36) – While trade rumors swirl and his personal issues are hitting the news, he’s off to a blazing start. He’s averaging 19.5 points and 9.6 assists through the first 10 games of the season.
Jason Kidd (37) – Though his scoring and field goal percentage are currently sitting in career-low territory, he’s on pace to challenge is career-high 10.8 assists per game. Most of his points come in the way of three-pointers, which are crucial to fantasy success. He also ranks 10th in the NBA with 2 steals per game.
Shaquille O’Neal (38) – The oldest player in the NBA. He’s going to be a big help in the Celtics fight to get revenge on the Lakers, but Diesel’s fantasy days are behind him. He’s had some nice games when he’s been healthy this season, but his playing time is too minimal to rely on.
Chauncey Billups (34) – He’s too young for his production to be tailing off this much. He currently sits 36th in the League in assists at 4.1 per game. That’s not much higher than his backup, Ty Lawson, who averages 4 per game. Could the long summer, playing with Team USA, be the reason for the decline? Keep your eye on Lawson because he’s been providing some much needed exuberance as Billups’ replacement.
Kevin Garnett (34) – Averaging a double-double through the first 10 games (15.4 points and 10.4 rebounds). He’s playing 35 minutes per game, which, if he continues that pace, would be his highest average as a Celtic.
Ray Allen (35) – His jump shot is still on fire after all these years. He’s shooting 46 percent from downtown, hitting 2.8 three-pointers per game.
Marcus Camby (36) – The numbers have dipped a bit, but he’s on pace to average more than 10 rebounds per game for the eighth consecutive season. He’s also swatting 1.6 shots per game.
Antawn Jamison (34) – He’s coming off the bench for the Cavs and, in the last three games, has provided instant offense. During that stretch he’s averaging 16 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.7 three-pointers in just less than 26 minutes per game. Surprisingly, he was cut loose in a number of leagues after the slow start and for missing a few games with a sore left knee. If he’s around in your league scoop him up now, not later.
Grant Hill (38) – This photo of Brandon Jennings should give you a good idea of how long Hill has been doing this. It is great to watch him producing for the Suns, as it looks like he has even a couple more seasons in the tank. His 10.7 points and 6 rebounds per game make him a fringe fantasy player.
ON THE WIRE
Kyle Lowry – The point guard job is officially his until Aaron Brooks returns from injury. Despite Lowry’s lousy shooting percentage and turnover rate, he is a must-own player right now because he fills it up.
Tyson Chandler – He’s been catching JKidd oops on the reg, blocking shots on the reg, rebounding on the reg. Make sure he’s not a free agent in your league.
Mike Dunleavy – Found his stroke in the 54-point quarter the Pacers dropped on the Nuggets last week. He has 12 three-pointers in his last three games.
DeMar DeRozan – I always want to keep capitalizing every other letter when I type out his name. He logged more than 40 minutes in each of the last two games, in which he averaged 23.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and shot 23 free-throws.
Channing Frye – Robin Lopez will reportedly miss a month. Frye stepped in after Lopez went down and played his best game of the season, hitting four three-pointers and finishing with 20 points. The win should be a reminder to the Suns that they win games by firing away from downtown, the style that caters to Frye’s skill set. Last season he was a dangerous fantasy player, drilling 172 three-pointers. The win against the Lakers could be enough to earn Frye some extra playing time.
Wesley Johnson – Logging substantial minutes as the Wolves starting shooting guard. He’s connecting often behind the arc, assisting and rebounding just enough, and limiting his turnovers. He’s worth a look in deep leagues. Let’s just hope he solves his handshaking woes.
Brad Miller – Yao Ming is injured. I know – crazy, right? Miller is the starter while he’s out. Against Indiana he had a strong game, tallying 23 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 three-pointers. The following game, against the Knicks, he played only 13 minutes because Chuck Hayes was a better fit against New York’s small lineup. You’ll probably continue to see a mix at the center position while Yao is out but Miller should get the majority of the work and is an adequate short-term addition.
Yi Jianlian – He had 10 blocks in two games off of the Wizards’ bench. If Al Thornton starts to struggle (which is more of a ‘when’ than an ‘if’) the door could open for Yi to log more minutes. If he continues to block shots at a high-rate, that would help him challenge JaVale McGee for minutes as well.
Travis Outlaw – Making a case for a more consistent role while Terrence Williams sits with an abdominal strain. He’s shooting 56.8 percent from three-point territory this season. Williams, who should return this week, cuts into Outlaw’s fantasy potential quite a bit so add with caution.
Sebastian Telfair – He’s played admirably since Luke Ridnour joined Jonny Flynn on the injury list, averaging 11.6 points and 6.4 assists in five starts. He earned praise from coach Kurt Rambis for his tempo and defense. Problem is, Ridnour and Flynn could both return this week. Monitor this brimming backcourt situation. My fear is that none of the three players will be worth owning because they’ll either be sharing the minutes or taking turns starting.
Ramon Sessions – As Mo Williams deals with a nagging groin injury, Sessions could be in line for some more starts at point guard. Starting in Williams’ place on Saturday against the Pacers, he finished with 17 points, five rebounds, and five assists.
DeJuan Blair – Continues to start at center for the Spurs. On Saturday he exploited the weak 76ers frontcourt for 13 points and 12 rebounds. Then, on Sunday, he grabbed 11 boards in 16 minutes in a win in Oklahoma City.
The Brandon Roy Saga – Wesley Matthews and Rudy Fernandez will be seeing more minutes with Roy suffering from knee pain. Right now, the plan is to reduce his minutes but the situation sounds gloomy, as he’s already had his knee drained twice this season. Roy finished Saturday’s game with two points in 22 minutes. Matthews had 14 and 5 rebounds in 24 minutes.
Thanks for reading Charles Peach’s weekly fantasy rant. For fantasy information and other hoops fodder, follow him on Twitter @Charles_Peach