By Matt Rochinski
February 4, 2013
While the approaching week is not necessarily ideal for fantasy players with Bobcats on their team with road games in Miami, Cleveland and Philadelphia, the good news is that any Cats on your squad will get four total games with the Lakers also visiting Charlotte. That means you have to get players like Kemba Walker, Ramon Sessions, Gerald Henderson and Ben Gordon into your starting lineup. Make sure to pull Michael Kidd-Gilchrist from your lineup too. He suffered a concussion in Houston on Saturday and no word has been given on his return yet. So who’s a Cats fantasy sleeper this week? For the first time, I’m advising you to take a flyer on two Bobcats this week who could surprise you with the amount of action they’ll see in the next four games. Want more good news? They’re both owned in less than one percent of leagues, so they are available for you.
Jeffery Taylor should see his minutes increase with MKG sidelined. Playing time has been key to Taylor’s performance this season, and if he’s back in the rotation for the Cats it’s great news for his fantasy owners. A quick breakdown of Taylor’s last eight games looks like this:
Jeffery Taylor Averages over Last Eight Games:
Over 20 minutes (three games) – 11.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.00 steal
Under 20 minutes (five games) – 3.0 points, 1.2 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.60 steals
Clearly Taylor has been effective when given the chance, and he’ll have a chance to be an unexpected fantasy star this week. But he’s not the only Cat who could surprise. Shock the rest of your owners by grabbing forward Jeff Adrien for at least the next week. The former D-League standout got his first start of the season on January 28 in Chicago and responded with his first career double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds). He’s been in the starting lineup the last three games and is posting 8.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 0.67 blocks while shooting 50.0 percent from the field and 75.0 percent from the free-throw line. Those are solid numbers for a guy who’s not really on anybody’s fantasy squad right now
In terms of who the Cats will be facing this week, we’re looking at a virtual who’s who of some of the NBA’s top fantasy performers.
I already talked about how good LeBron James has been in our Miami preview, but it’s not only James who’s filling the stat sheet from game to game. Remember that point early in the season when TNT analyst Charles Barkley mentioned he thought Dwyane Wade was in essence losing a step. That wasn’t the case in January as Wade put up one of his best fantasy months of the season with 21.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.80 steals and 1.00 block in 13 games. He hasn’t slowed in February either, with averages of 20.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 2.50 steals and 1.50 blocks in two games.
While Wade continues to get it done for the Heat, second-year guard Kyrie Irving has put the Cleveland Cavaliers on his back and may be doing the same thing for your fantasy squad in 2012-13. Irving currently ranks sixth in the NBA in points per game (24.0) while shooting 47.1 percent from the field, 41.2 percent from long range and 85.1 percent from the charity stripe. Like James and Wade, he’s a fantasy stat stuffer with 5.4 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.77 steals. About two months shy of his 21st birthday, Irving will be a fantasy force to be reckoned with for some time.
The Lakers chemistry issues this season have also had a direct result on many of their stars’ fantasy production, but Kobe Bryant just continues to get things done regardless of who is on the court with him. Kobe is currently third in the NBA in scoring (27.7 points), while handing out 5.4 assists, bringing down 5.2 rebounds and swiping 1.42 steals. Earlier I mentioned how fantasy owners could expect Jeffery Taylor’s numbers to increase, but keep in mind he’ll also have tough defensive matchups against the likes of Kobe and D-Wade this week.
The week ends with a quick turnaround for a road game in Philadelphia on Saturday. While most fantasy owners have been salivating over the way point guard Jrue Holiday has played this season, sixth-year forward Thaddeus Young has been putting up monster numbers in 2012-13. With averages of 15.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.63 steals and 0.93 blocks, Young is well on his way to career bests across the board. He’s another player Taylor could be looked to try and shut down as well in what could be a crazy fantasy week for the Cats.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
Cats Hit the Road
Walker a Must Start
MKG a Tough Fantasy Matchup
Injuries Provide New Options
6th Men Stepping Up
Big Men on the Rise
Bench Putting Up Big Fantasy Stats
Kemba's West Coast Matchups
Henderson, Redick Becoming More Versatile
Reserve Guards, Fantasy Gold
Youth and Experience Valuable in Fantasy
Gordon and Melo Peak Performers
Reserves Playing Like Fantasy Starters
Consistency Counts for Haywood
Cats Guards Locked In
Is MKG Heading for Fantasy Breakout?
Mullens, Lopez and Mayo Sleepers Waking Up Fantasy World
Walker and Gortat Filling Stat Sheets