Owning a player in the dreaded time share is a situation all astute fantasy owners try to avoid finding themselves in. Each week Iâ€™ll take a look at a few position battles that could affect your fantasy team and then I and my Magic 8 Ball which moonlights as a crystal ball on weekends will try to predict the best course of action if you own these players or are considering adding or trading for one of them. Last week we took a look gander at the Eastern Conference. This week weâ€™ll peek in at the Western Conference. If there was a Southern Conference weâ€™d look at that next week but thereâ€™s not so weâ€™ll just hit up the Eastern Conference again. Back and forth weâ€™ll go each week like a ping pong ball, or something like that. Letâ€™s get to it, shall we?
What do you think of that snazzy headline â€śClass is in Sessionsâ€ť? I thought it was rather clever. You see, of course, itâ€™s a play on â€śclass is in sessionâ€ť but it also means Ramon Sessions has class. Pretty cool, right? Maybe itâ€™s not as cool as I thought since Iâ€™m explaining it. Anyway, at the moment Mike Brown is content starting Steve Blake while Ramon acclimates himself to the Lakers offense but it seems only a matter of time before Sessions is garnering close to 30 minutes of burn a night. Let me ask you a question though, Mr. Fantasy Basketball Enthusiast. When was the last time a Kobe Bryant led team had a solid fantasy producing point guard? Every year! Never. With Ramon in the fold, however, that could change a bit. On Tuesday night, he dropped 14 points, 2 boards and 4 dimes with a steal in 29 minutes while Steve Blake started but posted 2/1/3 in just 19 minutes of burn. Keep in mind that Sessions hardly shoots threes but as long as you have expectations in check youâ€™ll be good to go in standard leagues. Iâ€™d look for something along the lines of 12 points, 6 assists, 3 boards and around a steal per and 2.2ish tovs. Those are solid, yet unspectacular numbers. As for Steve Blake, well, heâ€™s deep league material only. I mean deeep.
Last weekâ€™s trade for Nick Young confirms the Clippers lack of faith in Randy Foye as the starting shooting guard. Right off the bat letâ€™s go ahead and dismiss Randy as fantasy relevant in anything but the deepest of leagues. That leaves us with Mo Williams fighting with Young Gun for the majority of the minutes while Foye pulls a Ross Perot on us. Remember Ross Perot? He cost the Republicans the Presidential election back in 1992 because he stole votes from Bob Dole. Bill Clinton won and the rest is, well, on the dress. Anyway, Nick basically provides you with points (16.6), threes (1.8), FT (.862) and close to a steal per (.8). He did all that while averaging 30.3 mpg and 14.8 FGAs per in DC. Can Nick average 14.8 FGAs in Clipperland? My Magic 8 Ball says heck no. Itâ€™s a special Magic 8 Ball, got it on eBay. Just on that fact alone, you have to slightly downgrade him but if you need low teen points and close to 2 threes per, Nick is still your man. As for Mo, go ahead and assign him similar value with just a slight downgrade but not enough to consider losing him. Foye can be lost for a hot free agent. Insert sad face emoticon here.
O.J. Mayo has played pretty darn well this year after a terribly disappointing 2010/11 campaign. With Zach Randolph now back in action, however, thereâ€™s going to be a minutes squeeze and something has to give between O.J. and Tony Allen. Right off the bat, you have to downgrade both of them since they will be cutting into each otherâ€™s minutes going forward but will they both be able to maintain their fantasy value? Good question, excellent question. Letâ€™s try to predict the future. If you own Tony you have him for steals and thatâ€™s pretty much it outside of a smattering of points. On the season heâ€™s averaging 25.9 mpg while stealing the ball 1.8 times. For his career Tony has averaged 19.5 mpg and stolen the ball 1.2 times per. Reasonably assuming Tony Tony Tony garners somewhere between 20-25 mpg, then he will have done it again. Done what again, you ask? Why steal the ball! Go ahead and assign him similar fantasy value even with a slight reduction in minutes. As for O.J., he needs minutes to produce. In March heâ€™s averaging 31 mpg but this past Sunday that number dipped to 20 while he posted just 4/1/2. On Tuesday he saw only 16 minutes of burn and dropped 6/1/2. Thatâ€™s not gonna get it done no moâ€™ in standard and semi-deep (14 team) leagues so start looking to cut bait for a hot free agent. The O.J. got squeezed! (for minutes).
Out goes Jordan Hill who was averaging 15 mpg and in comes Marcus Camby who should see 20+ minutes of burn per. Sam Dalembert is averaging 24.8 mpg while grabbing 7.7 boards and swatting 1.9 balls per. The boards and blocks guys just seem to tend to do what they do. Look at DeAndre Jordan since Kenyon Martin was signed, for example, heâ€™s still getting his boards and his blocks. Go ahead and hold onto Sammy and figure heâ€™ll just keep doinâ€™ what he do. As for Camby, did you know that he was just traded for the number 2 (Hasheem Thabeet) and number 6 (Jonny Flynn) overall picks in the 2009 NBA Draft. Camby is that good! Anyway, Bamby does two things well, rebound the basketball and block the basketball and sometimes he can even steal the basketball so letâ€™s call it 2 1/2 things. Now letâ€™s look at his minutes per game while heâ€™s doing the things he does well: 22.4 mpg. Yep, thatâ€™s all, 22.4 mpg to average 8.4 rpg/1.4 bpg/.8 spg. Reasonably assuming Marcus gets similar run, Iâ€™d go ahead and assign him the same value in Houston as he had in Portland.
Pardon me but Iâ€™m not as excited about Captain Jack as other fantasy media seem to be. Nope, Iâ€™m not drinking the Kool-Aid because heâ€™s reunited with Pop in San Antoneâ€™. Go ahead and take a whirl in deep leagues but Iâ€™m not dropping anyone getting steady minutes for him. Kawhi Leonard will see just enough minutes to keep both of them a tough play in standard sized leagues. Youâ€™ll see, my Magic 8 Ball says so.
Joel Przybilla should be owned in deeep leagues while Kurt Thomas and Hasheem Thabeet should only be monitored at this point. I remember watching the unathletic Hasheem Thabeet while he starred at UConn and couldnâ€™t actually believe he was going to be a lottery pick. Iâ€™m not holding out much hope for him to become fantasy relevant after 3 busted years in the NBA. With apologies to his mother, of course.
Owning a player in the dreaded time share is a situation all astute fantasy owners try to avoid finding themselves in. Each week I’ll take a look at a few position battles that could affect your fantasy team and then I Â and my Magic 8 Ball which moonlights as a crystal ball on weekends, will try to predict the best course of action if you own these players or are considering adding or trading for one of them. This week weâ€™ll start with some position battles in the Western Conference. Next week Iâ€™ll look at some crucial position battles in the Eastern Conference. Back and forth weâ€™ll go each week like a ping pong ball, or something like that. Letâ€™s get to it, shall we?
Coming off a monster break out fantasy season last year, big things were expected from Wesley Matthews in 2011/12. Unfortunately for his owners, things havenâ€™t gone quite as planned. Through 31 games, the 6â€™5, three point specialist out of Marquette is averaging 33 mpg/12.6 ppg/3.3 rpg/1.8 apg with 1.6 3pm and 1.4 spg on .413 FG. While the threes and steals are certainly respectable, it doesnâ€™t tell the whole story. In 11 February games, Mathews minutes have increased to 34.2 per game yet his scoring averaged dipped to 11.4 and 1.3 threes per. The lack of production combined with the red hot play of Nicolas Batum has forced Coach Nate McMillan to recently make a change in the starting 5. This past weekend, Batum found himself in at the two guard while Wesley found his way to the pine. Over his last 5, Batum has averaged a sizzling 38.6 mpg/.519 FG/.846 FT/20.6 ppg/5.8 rpg/1.6 apg/1.6 bpg/1 spg/2.0 3pm. Folks, those are top 20 fantasy type numbers. It remains to be seen if Batum, at 6â€™8, can defend smaller, quicker shooting guards but for now this position battle is clearly favoring him. Matthews isnâ€™t droppable in standard sized leagues but you can lose him in shallow leagues for a hot free agent if you havenâ€™t already.
This is a position battle that I never thought would be worth writing about but the extremely poor play of Raymond Felton coupled with the hot shooting hand of Jamal Crawford has made minutes for Felton and his fantasy owners a possible issue going forward. Over his last 5, Felton has averaged 29.6 minutes per, down from his season average of 32.8. Meanwhile, recently Crawford has gotten run at the point late in the 4th quarter of games and Felton has stated he doesnâ€™t feel he has Coach McMillanâ€™s confidence. Stylistically, you couldnâ€™t have two different point guards here. Felton is a ball distributor while Crawford has never met a shot he didnâ€™t like, as his 13.1 attempts in just 26 minutes of burn would attest. In the long run, Felton is the better fit for this offense so those of you sitting with him should not drop him or trade him for a bag of peanuts and a bottle of pop. Does anyone say pop anymore? Anyway, Feltonâ€™s value is low at the moment and the rule of thumb in fantasy is donâ€™t deal your players when their value is at its lowest. Conversely, Crawford is a fine sell high candidate if you can get solid value in return, ie. a starter playing 30+ minutes per for him.
John Salmons has been flat out terrible all season. In 29 games, heâ€™s averaging just 7.1 ppg/3.2 rpg/0.8 3pm/1 spg. Clearly, these numbers arenâ€™t getting it done for fantasy owners if you have any intention of winning your league or finishing in the money. I assume you do. Enter Isaiah Thomas who has thrived this year in mostly garbage time minutes. The real position battle is for minutes and not necessarily the small forward position. Heck, Thomas is just 5â€™9 so heâ€™s certainly not playing the three spot. However, Tyreke Evans is capable of sliding over to small forward to make room for Thomas in the back court and on Friday night, thatâ€™s just what happened. Then on Sunday, Thomas exploded for 23 points, 8 boards, 11 assists and 3 threes in 43 startersâ€™ minutes. On Monday, Coach Keith Smart intimated that Thomas may stick in the starting 5 for the foreseeable future. While his defense may yet be his downfall from fantasy glory, Thomas is a must add in all standard leagues at the moment. As for Salmons, well, you can lose him if you havenâ€™t already.
By now, itâ€™s clear Randy Foye is the starter and Mo Williams has continued to come off the bench and work with the second unit. The question is will one of these players start to trump the other in terms of minutes. Through January, Williams averaged 27.4 mpg. In 11 February games, Mo is averaging 30.8 minutes per. Despite the bump in minutes, heâ€™s been slumping this month on just .363 FG. I think that makes him a decent little buy low candidate if his owner is frustrated with him. As for Randy Foye, over his last 5, heâ€™s averaging 32 mpg/10.4 ppg/3.4 rpg/3.4 apg/1.6 3pm/1 spg. Numbers that certainly arenâ€™t eye popping but the minutes stand out to me. The Clips will continue to give both players around 30ish minutes of burn per so donâ€™t be shy to make a move for Foye if youâ€™re in need of a smattering of points, useful board and assist totals, 1.5 threes and a steal per. Itâ€™s all good in LAC for both of these players.
Assuming Jarrett Jack returns to full health, Greivis Vasquez will start to cut into Marco Belinelliâ€™s minutes at the two guard spot. Whoâ€™s the better player to own going forward? In my mind, it has to be Greivis. Heâ€™ll not only get run at the two but heâ€™ll spell Jack at point guard making it possible for him to still see around 30 minutes of burn a night. Eric Gordon is basically goooone so both Vasquez and Belinelli are worth grabbing. Iâ€™d grab Vasquez in standard leagues everywhere if he was dropped by his owner who figured heâ€™d lose minutes and Belinelli in deep leagues if youâ€™re in need of the 3 ball.
The rookie Markieff Morris has been coming on of late having scored In double digits in 4 of his last 5 while averaging 23 mpg/12.6 ppg/5.4 rpg/1.2 apg/1.6 bpg/1.8 spg/1.4 3pm over that time. His season percentages (.405 FG/.686 FT) are a cause for concern but otherwise he has a fantasy friendly game. Meanwhile, fortunately for his owners, the veteran Channing Frye has also played well during that time, averaging 26 mpg/11.2 ppg/6 rpg/1.8 apg/1.2 bpg/1.4 spg/1.4 3pm. Morris should continue to cut into Fryefectaâ€™s minutes at the power forward spot but Channing has proven in the past that he doesnâ€™t need 30+ minutes of run to produce what you drafted him for, ie. A smattering of points, around 1.5 threes and close to a block and steal per. Iâ€™d continue to run Frye out there in standard leagues even with as little as 25 minutes of burn per while Markieff should be added in all 14+ team leagues and monitored in standard leagues or grabbed if you have room. His upside is real niiiice.
Hector Roman is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and is the founder of www.hecmanhoops.com, a fantasy basketball blog providing advice, strategy and insight to help you win your fantasy hoops league. If you would like to contact Hector, you can email him at email@example.com and/or follow him on Twitter Â @hecmanhoops
This week was definitely a unique one in the fantasy basketball world. Below is a list of players that have started to pick up the pace and should be scooped up in all leagues where they are still available on the waiver wire.
(PG, NYK)- Jeremy Lin has absolutely rocked the sports world during the last week and rightfully so. The Harvard graduate has played at a super-star level with Anthony and Stoudemire sidelined, scoring at least 20 points in each of his five starts (including a 38 point performance against the Lakers).
The guard hasn’t dished out less then seven assists in all five starts, and has literally carried the Knicks on his back as of late, leading them to five straight victories.
It’s apparent that Lin has solidified himself as the Knicks starting point-guard for the future, and he should be picked up in all fantasy leagues if he is still available for some reason.
Even once Anthony and Stoudemire return to the floor, Lin should be able to post solid numbers consistently (even though you can’t expect him to keep up the torrid pace that he has been playing at as of late).
Greivis Vasquez (PG, NOH)- With Jarrett Jack sidelined for the last bunch of games (and expected not to return for at least another week), Vasquez has taken full advantage of his starting opportunity.
The Venezuelan is averaging 13.5 PPG, 7.6 APG, 3.8 RPG, and 1.6 SPG in 32.6 MPG during his last six games.
Vasquez is clearly a must add in all fantasy leagues right now and should continue to post these numbers until Jack returns to the floor. Even then, Vasquez will cut into Jacks minutes and could remain as a solid contributor.
Expect a very similar week to what the guard just had.
Linas Kleiza (SF, TOR)- Kleiza has been known to go off when given the opportunity to play solid minutes, and now could be the time for him to shine.
During his last five games, the forward has dropped 16.6 PPG, including a 30 point performance. Even though Kleiza’s minutes aren’t exactly where they should be, averaging just 24.2 MPG during five games, his playing time will definitely increase with leading scorer Andrea Bargnani sidelined indefinitely.
Kleiza can consistently provide scoring above anything else, and should be picked up in all fantasy leagues if you’re in need of a solid forward.
Randy Foye (SG, LAC)- With Chauncey Billups out for the rest of the season, Randy Foye has slid into the starting lineup for the Los Angeles Clippers.
In three games as a starter, Foye is averaging just over 12 points per contest. Foye is a very solid guard option who can go off on any given night. The great thing about Foye is that he can contribute all across the board, as he is an efficient shooter, passer and defender.
Foye’s minutes should continue to increase for the remainder of the season and his fantasy production should keep climbing upwards as well. The guard should definitely be picked up in your league if you’re in need of a consistent guard.
Ersan Ilyasova (PF, MIL)- Ilyasova has been on fire recently, averaging 15.3 PPG and 11.3 RPG during his last three games. The forward has shown flashes of brilliance in the past and now could be the time for him to really come out of his shell.
With Andrew Bogut out for the rest of the season, Milwaukee is in need of solid big man to step up and replace the production that Bogut used to provide.
Ilyasova’s minutes will continue to rise if he can keep up the production, which we expect him to.
Pick up the forward if he is still available in your league and ride the wave that he is currently on.
Brandon Ribak, CEO/Co-Founder of www.FanSkills.com, provides you with weekly advice, strategy and tips on how to win your fantasy basketball league. If you have any fantasy questions or would like to contact Brandon, please reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.