Fantasy Forecast: Brewer Is Becoming Fantasy Relevant
This week marks the one-month point in the 2013-14 NBA season, and if you haven’t checked your roster and checked the waiver wire, you better do it now. The worst thing that you can do in any fantasy sport is draft a team, set a line-up, and forget about it until mid-season. However, the reverse of that is also true in that you can mess up a good thing by being a waiver wire troll who adds and drops players on a near daily basis.
Right now in Yahoo Fantasy Basketball it is Kevin Garnett that is leading the pack in drops (2,666) this week. So far this season KG is averaging a career-low 5.8 PPG due to his 30.0 percent shooting from the field. While he is adding 7.8 rebounds a night, the 0.5 blocks and 0.5 free-throws made per night are alarming. Yes, Garnett did grab 14 rebounds against the Suns on Friday, but he shot just 25 percent from the field and ended up with a mere four points. My view on Garnett is that he is all but washed up at 37-years-old. He will have good games here, but he is going to have so many bad ones in between the good ones that it will end up hurting you more than helping you. I’d be willing to cut ties with him and let someone else deal with the headaches he is sure to cause this season.
This week you need to know that the Clippers play a 5-game schedule on the high side, while the Lakers, Pelicans and Raptors all play a 2-game schedule on the low side.
The Wolves play four games and head into the week with a 7-4 record. Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic are all having great fantasy seasons thus far. Corey Brewer started off a little slow, but over the past 14 days he has put up a total of 124 points, 23 rebounds, 14 assists and 17 steals. Those numbers rank 44th overall (last 14 days) in Yahoo’s 9-category scoring format. Brewer’s value is more in points and steals, but I am willing to bet that there is someone on your team right now that should be cut for a guy like Brewer.
Steve Blake – PG Lakers: PG and C are the two hardest positions to find replacements for in fantasy basketball. Even with the Lakers 2-game schedule this week, I would go grab Blake off the waiver wires if you are in need of a PG right now. Last Monday the Lakers announced that Steve Nash would miss at least the next two weeks due to nerve root irritation in his back. Over the last week Blake has averaged 12.0 points, 9.8 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.3 steals a night, while shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 52.9 percent from 3-point land. Over that same span Jordan Farmar has put up just 3.5 points, 3.8 assists, 2.1 rebounds, and 0.3 steals a night (his shooting numbers are appalling). Blake has run away with the job until Nash is back, and will have excellent value until Kobe Bryant hits the floor in another week or so.
Jordan Crawford – SG Celtics:Crawford is ranked 35th overall for the last 14 days in 9-cat leagues with a total of 113 points, 44 assists, 29 rebounds, and 14 steals. And, as if that wasn’t enough, Crawford has seen his MPG (Minutes-Per-Game) increase each week this season from 17.3 the first week, to 27.7 the second week, and 32.8 last week. Despite the numbers, Crawford is available in 61 percent of Yahoo leagues as of Sunday night. With the Celtics playing four games this week, Crawford can certainly help in the G flex or utility spot for those teams in need. Cory Brewer – SF Timberwolves: As I mentioned in the opening, Brewer is flying under the radar right now and putting up pretty solid fantasy numbers. Right now he’s owned in just 41 percent of Yahoo leagues and ranked 44th over the last two weeks. Those in need of points and steals should look at your roster and shake things up a bit. He will lose value when Chase Budinger gets back, but that shouldn’t happen until around mid-December.
Al Jefferson – PF Bobcats: Jefferson has to be one of the most frustrating players to own right now in fantasy basketball because he was drafted high and has a high ceiling, yet can’t see to get healthy enough to play a game anymore. Jefferson is missing game after game with a lingering ankle injury and that means owners are undoubtedly losing patience with him. So why is he on t he start list you ask? Because the loss of patience and high ceiling make him an excellent guy to scoop up for pennies on the dollar! I don’t see Jefferson having surgery and missing the rest of the season (no mention of it), so I will assume that the Bobcats are just trying to get him as close to 100 percent as they can get him before letting him hit the floor. When that happens, owners will get a near double-double average in points and rebounds with a block or two mixed in most nights. Obviously he is day-to-day so you have to wait for him to play, but I would see if you can steal him in the meantime.
Jordan Hill – C Lakers: Yes, the Lakers play twice this week, but like Blake and Jefferson, Hill is a free agent on many waiver wires and deserves a look. Over the last four games he is averaging 17.0 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks. While those numbers are slightly inflated because of two monster games, the other two games were above average for a guy sitting on 58 percent of the waiver wires on Yahoo right now. Center is a tough position to fill off the waiver wire, and blocks are like gold when talking trade with people. Hill fills both of those needs and comes at a remarkable price, free!
Deron Williams – PG Nets: And the most overrated PG in fantasy basketball over the first month of the season is, Deron Williams! While Yahoo projected D-Will 15th overall in the pre-season, he has put up just 10.0 points, 6.5 assists, 1.9 rebounds, and is shooting 41.9 percent from the field. Those numbers rank him 190th overall this season in Yahoo when filtering by season average in the 9-cat format. The Nets play four games this week, but Williams is nursing an ankle injury that forced him to miss their last game and play just five minutes the game before that. I’d sit him down until he shows signs of life.
Victor Oladipo – SG Magic: So far this season Oladipo has not lived up to his No. 2 overall draft pick with an average of 11.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.5 steals, and an alarming 4.0 turnovers per game. To put that in perspective, Oladipo is averaging the third most turnovers-per-game this season and plays just 25:30 MPG, nearly 12 minutes a night less than the No. 2 guy (Monta Ellis). Since he is owned in 82 percent of Yahoo leagues and drafted on averaging in the 9th round, all I can do is tell you to sit him until he figures out the NBA game better and stops turning the ball over so much. Truthfully I don’t see the turnover thing happening, so I’d be floating him out there in trades to see what I could get for him.
Tyreke Evans – SF Pelicans: Evans is one of guys whose name holds more value than his game, speaking in fantasy basketball terms that is. This season he is averaging just 9.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists a night, while shooting an embarrassing 38.5 percent from the field and 62.5 percent from the free-throw line. The truth of the matter is that Evans doesn’t have a defined role with the Pelicans and will see his opportunities wither away even further with Ryan Anderson back and ready to play major minutes. The good news is that he has scored 34 points over the past two games, and I would use that as a selling point to a more inexperienced owner via a trade.
Markieff Morris – PF Suns: Morris had an amazing run where he averaged 22.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals over a 4-game span two weeks ago. The Suns played just twice last week, and in both games combined he managed just 12 points and 10 rebounds. He did rack up another five steals, but canceled that out for fantasy owners as he shot 23.5 percent from the field in those games. Because of that hot streak he is now owned in 64 percent of Yahoo leagues and owners are wondering what to do with him now. I’d say hold on to him and see if he can get back on track this week with the Suns playing four games. Notice I said hold on to him and not start him. Give him a game or two before you play him because what I see is really high highs, and really low lows for Morris right now.
Zaza Pachulia – C Bucks: From stud to dud, Pachulia has come full circle for me in fantasy basketball. When Larry Sanders failed to be the block and rebound master this season that he was last season, Pachulia was an interesting pick-up off the waiver wire to start the season because over the first four games of the season he 13.3 points and 8.0 rebounds. The problem is that over the next four games he has put up a total of 18 points (19.8 percent shooting from the field) with an average of 9.0 rebounds a night and has blocked just two shots total this season. If you are desperate for rebounds at the Center position, then Pachulia can help. But, he is killing you with his shooting right now, doesn’t block shots, and turns the ball over more than I’d like from a one-trick pony (2.4 turnovers-per-game over the last two weeks).
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.