Fantasy Forecast: The Andrew Bynum Situation
The big news in the NBA this week has to be the Cavaliers suspending Andrew Bynum indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team. The suspension was lifted on Sunday, but he's been excused from all team activities. Word is they are expected to waive him before January 7th, which is when his contract would become guaranteed.
This actually has little impact in fantasy terms as he is averaging just 8.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks a game this season. His knees have him averaging 20:02 MPG and he ranks #217 in Yahoo standard scoring formats this season. Bynum was selected in the middle of the 5th round on average, and is giving back 18th round value, which means you’d be better off cutting him loose and letting someone else deal with this headache.
One of my faithful emailers is Alan from the Philippines, and he is always looking for trades. The problem is he can’t decide who he should keep and who he should trade. One of the main guys I tell him to move is Dwayne Wade because I think he is overrated in fantasy terms. D-wade hasn’t played in back-to-back yet this season, and it is only Week 10. What do you think is going to happen when the Heat lock up their playoff spot in an Eastern Conference that has the Raptors as the 4th seed with a 13-15 record? Wade turns 32-years-old in January and once the Heat have things locked up he will rest up even more than he is now. And, what’s worse for fantasy owners is that will be in the fantasy playoffs, when you need him the most.
Wade has more name value than actual fantasy value. When filtering by totals, Wade is ranked 63rd overall according to Yahoo. That means owners who drafted him in at the top of the 2nd round are getting 5th round value in return. You would be better off to float some 1-for-1 trade offers out there for guys pre-season ranked around him (Dirk Nowitzki, Kyrie Irving, Monta Ellis, etc.) and see who bites.
Brandon Knight – PG Bucks: The Bucks are all over the map in terms of production, so you kind of have to know how to ride the waves when it comes to owning their players in fantasy leagues. Knight is actually ranked 197th overall this season in standard scoring formats when looking at the stats as a whole. But, over the last two weeks he has managed to put up 129 points, 41 assists, and 39 rebounds, which ranks him 48th overall. Knight was my pre-season sleeper pick at PG and it looks like he is putting it together just in time for Giannis Antetokounmpo to break out and Larry Sanders to anchor down the middle. With Knight being available in 30 percent of Yahoo leagues, I’d make sure he isn’t available on your waiver wire right now. And those in daily leagues can still pick up Knight for fairly cheap in terms of PGs.
Nick Young – SG Lakers: It’s easy to get lost on the Lakers, without Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, and Pau Gasol. Wait, no it’s not! Over the last two weeks Young has stepped his game up and is averaging 20.9 points and 2.9 3-pointers a night, while shooting a healthy 45.9 percent from the field. The drawback to Young is that he is only putting up 2.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists a night over that span. While he may be empty points and 3s, everyone can use 21 points a night off the waiver wire or at a dirt cheap price in daily leagues. Young’s owned in 56 percent of Yahoo leagues right now, and the Lakers play a 3-game schedule this week with all the games against sub .500 teams.
Kris Middleton – SF Bucks: Middleton was on this list just a few weeks ago, then went on to the drop list, and is now back on the pick-up list (remember the waves with Knight). Over the past month Middleton is averaging 14.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and is shooting 44.7 percent from the field. With the Bucks being dead last in the NBA, there are sure to be bumps in the road for him as the season goes. But, he has locked up the starting SF spot and is playing over 33 MPG over the past month. He’s owned in just 42 percent of Yahoo leagues right now, so go check your waiver wire.
Terrence Jones – PF Rockets: Jones started the first six games of the season off unimpressively, averaging just 2.3 points and 1 total rebound in the 4 games he played in them. But, since them he has put up 11.8 points and 7.5 rebounds a night. Over the past two weeks he is averaging 11.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks in his 28:30 MPG. There is no reason why this guy should be sitting on 56 percent of Yahoo waiver wires (none of the Rockets starters played well in that lopsided loss to the Thunder on Sunday) right now with guys like Ersan Ilyasova and Bynum owned in 67 and 68 percent of Yahoo leagues respectively.
Miles Plumlee – C Suns: I go into the Suns a little more in-depth down below when I talk about Channing Frye, so I won’t do it here. What I will say that is Plumee kind of flies under the radar (49 percent owned on Yahoo) when it comes to fantasy basketball a lot of the time because he just doesn’t have a name yet in most fantasy players’ minds. Over the past month he is averaging a near double-double with 10.4 points and 9.9 rebounds, and he is throwing in 1.6 blocks and a 55.6 FG percentage to sweeten the deal! I actually dropped John Henson from the Bucks as I was writing this in my league with a sports talk show radio host, J.J. Buck at 610 The Sports Animal in Albuquerque, NM. And yes, I am dominating the league with a record of 83-28-5 (Head-2-Head, 13-cat scoring) at the end of week 9.
Jeremy Lin – PG Rockets: Lin recently got the starting PG job back when Patrick Beverley fractured his right hand. In the last five games Lin has averaged 33 minutes and put up a total of 67 points, 16 rebounds, and 18 assists. But, he has also turned the ball over 15 times and is shooting 39.1 percent from the field. If you filter out his total stats and his average stats for the past week, there is about a 40 spot difference in the rankings, which is HUGE in fantasy terms. While he helps in points and 3-pointers, he hurts you in field-goal percentage and turnovers, and doesn’t truly make an impact in the PG stats we like to see such as assists and steals. The Rockets play just two games this week and Lin is overrated in my book.
Victor Oladipo – SG Magic: Oladipo has been one of the worst players in fantasy basketball over the past two weeks with an average of 9.5 points on 30.8 percent shooting from the field. The simple truth is that Oladipo is struggling right now (yes, he had a nice game Saturday) and with two of the three games this week against the Warriors and Heat, it will be tough for him to get things back on track. And, since the Heat do have a day off between the Warriors and Magic, Wade should be in the line-up for them. Those in daily leagues will want to find other options this week.
Andre Iguodala – SF Warriors: Iguodala is one of those players who has too much talent to cut, but isn’t producing enough to keep. So, what do you do with him? If I owned him, I’d trade him as soon as possible to an owner who thinks he will turn it around. Since returning from his hamstring injury, Iguodala is averaging 6.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.0 steals a night. The problem as I see it is that Iguodala looks like he is taking a back seat to guys like Stephen Curry and David Lee. In Philadelphia and Denver he was more of a focal point, so he was able to put up stats worthy of his #69 pre-season ranking on Yahoo last year. But, he’s no longer the go-to man and owners who took him at the start of the 6th round are paying for it.
P.S. If you are one of the 60 percent of people who still own Harrison Barnes, you should have dropped him the second Iguodala hit the floor. They basically cancel each other out and Barnes doesn’t have the killer instinct to put up fantasy stats in his limited action on the floor.
Anderson Varejao – PF/C Cavs: I could have put Ilyasova here, but who wants to see an article with almost every Bucks player in it? Let me preface this by saying I do think Varejao has fantasy value and could be worth owning if all you need is rebounds without any turnovers. With that said, I think too many people are going to go grab him with Bynum out of the picture in the hopes that he will be waiver wire gold. All Varejao is going to give you is 7-8 points, 8-9 rebounds and maybe a steal and a block most nights, nothing more. If you pick him up, you need to understand you are getting the textbook definition of a one-dimensional player. Think Dennis Rodman when picking him up, without the 20 rebound nights.
Channing Frye – PF/C Suns: Frye is a little like Iguodala in the fact that he is too good to cut, but not good enough to want to cut. When you look at the season in a broad view he looks good, with averages of 11.6 points, 2.1 3-pointers, and 5.6 rebounds a night. But, when you zoom in and look at the last week (8.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 0.7 3-pointers), you can see that he has really cooled off. Then you have the problem of trying to predict who will be hot each night out of Gerald Green, Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris, and Frye. If you can figure out the pattern of which of those Suns players will do well each night, you and I are going to Las Vegas and letting it all ride on the 00!
Jon Leuer – C Grizzlies: When Marc Gasol went down in late November, it was Leuer that stepped up and became a must-own player in early December. From December 3rd – 18th Leuer averaged 13.7 points and 6.8 rebounds, while shooting 52.6 percent from the field and playing about 24 MPG. The problem is that Kosta Koufos is averaging 7.7 rebounds over the last two weeks compared Leuer’s 4.0. And, it looks like Gasol is closer to days than weeks from returning. If you picked up Leuer when I told you to earlier this month, his run is over and it is time to cut him loose for another hot FA off the waiver wire.
James Morris hails from Rio Rancho, NM and has been playing fantasy sports for just over 15 years. Not only does he write the Timberwolves fantasy basketball section, but he crosses over the sports boundary and writes the Miami Dolphins and Cincinnati Bengals fantasy football sections. Just send him an email and he will reply back the same day with your answer. Or, find him on Twitter (Fantasyguy23) and Facebook to get all your NFL news before it hits the national media. For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com.