Fantasy Forecast: The Chase Is On!
With the NBA All-Star festivities set to kick off this weekend, fantasy owners will have to be creative in order to win their week 16 match-ups. All but four teams play a 2-game schedule this week, with the Clippers, Knicks, Magic and Suns all playing just a single game. Obviously those in daily cap leagues like FanDuel and DraftStreet will want to play the odds with the match-ups and total games played. Those in standard Head-2-Head leagues will want to try and gear their team more towards total games played.
Kevin Martin suffered a non-displaced fracture to his left thumb during Friday night’s game, and as a result will be out indefinitely. An indefinite tag at the All-Star break means fantasy owners can go ahead and cut Martin loose. Chase Budinger gains the most fantasy value from this injury as he should start at SG for the rest of the way. On Saturday Budinger put up 19 points (3-of-6 from 3-point land), 5 rebounds and a steal in the starting SG role. Kevin Love was out with an injury, but I could see this being a fairly normal line for him going forward.
Steve Blake – PG Lakers: Blake burst back onto the scene last Wednesday when he put up a triple-double (11 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds) against the Cavaliers. Blake is owned in just 44 percent of all Yahoo leagues and still comes in fairly cheap for those cap leaguers, so I would run and grab him right now. I was asked by a few readers if I would cut Jeff Teague to get him, and my answer is yes. Blake is going to put up solid stats for you and should be a safe bet to log around 30 minutes a night for a Lakers team that is all but dead in the water.
Chase Budinger – SG/SF Timberwolves: As I already said, Budinger is the logical choice for the Wolves to plug and play with Martin out. With him being owned in just 10 percent of Yahoo leagues, he should be available on almost all waiver wires right now. And, those in cap leagues can pick him up for pennies on the dollar, thus allowing them to spend their cap on larger names like Kevin Durant. Budinger is a sleeper pick-up with his points, rebounds and 3’s.
DeMarre Carroll – SF Hawks: Carroll did see a small up-tick in ownership (40 to 44 percent) this week, but he is still unowned in over half the Yahoo leagues. The guy is averaging15.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.5 steals a night over the last two weeks. And, he is shooting52.2 percent from the field during the same span. What more do you want from a guy you get for FREE off the waiver wire? Go grab him NOW!
Khris Middleton – SF Bucks: There aren’t really any PFs I like right now other than the ones already owned, so I am going to give you another SF to pick up. The Bucks don’t have too much to be happy about right now outside of Middleton. Over the past two weeks he is averaging 16.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.1 steals a night, while shooting 48.9 percent from the field. As long as the line-ups stay the same for the Bucks, Middleton is a great pick-up in most leagues.
Jared Sullinger – PF/C Celtics: Center is probably the hardest position in fantasy basketball to fill, so when a guy is worth picking up you have to be Johnny on the spot to get him. After Sullinger put up 31 points against the Kings last Friday, owners went crazy picking him up. His ownership shot up a few percentage points on Yahoo in just two days thanks to the 5,371 adds he had as of Sunday night. If you look at his last 5 games, with Sunday’s game included, he is averaging 21.2 points, 13.4 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks a night. Any time you can go to the waiver wire and get you a double-double Center who will throw a block in most nights, that was a good day!
Darren Collison – PG Clippers: Beyond the fact that the Clippers play just one game this week, Chris Paul came back to action on Sunday and that means Collison’s run in fantasy basketball is over. If you own him, I’d suggest snatching Blake or even a guy like Patrick Beverly who is averaging 33 minutes and putting up 9.0 points, 4.6 assists, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.0 steals a night over the last 14 days.
Ty Lawson – PG Nuggets: Lawson suffered a fractured rib against the Pistons on Saturday, and the team has him listed as doubtful to play on Monday. The Nuggets also play on Wednesday, but the smart move would be to just give him the whole week off and let him rest up and see how he feels before their next game on Feb. 18th. Even if he does play on Wednesday, I’d question at what level he will be able to take contact with a fractured rib. I’d sit him down in fantasy leagues and find a better option at PG.
Arron Afflalo – SG Magic: The Magic are another one of those 1-game teams this week, so it is hard to imagine a scenario where he is a better play than a guy with two games. Over the past month he is averaging 17.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and is shooting44.6 percent from the field. Those are all very solid numbers for a SG, but the 2.1 turnover [a night] over that span hurt slightly, and he doesn’t provide anything in the way of steals (0.6) or blocks (0.1) to help owners out in a short week. He isn’t a terrible option in rotisserie or H2H leagues, but those in daily cap leagues can certainly find better options at SG this week.
Gerald Green – SG/SF Suns: Green has been the main beneficiary with Eric Bledsoe injured. But, with the Suns playing just one game this week, Green has me seeing red when it comes to plays at the SG position. Over the past two weeks he is averaging 16.1 points and shooting 45.1 percent from the field, but the 2.3 turnovers-per-game put him well within the top 25 players at the SG position (which also includes a lot of SFs) in that same timeframe. You’d be better off with a guy who plays twice and gives you 75 percent of the stats Green does, adding up to a total profit of 50 percent when he plays both games. Understand the math and you will win the game!
Jeff Green – SG/SF/PF Celtics: Green is one of the hardest players in all fantasy basketball to own because right when you are ready to cut him, he goes out and drops 36 points on the Sixers. While he has averaged 17.3 points and 5.7 rebounds a night over the past month, he also has shot a putrid 38.0 percent from the field and 33.7 percent from the 3-point line. Not to mention the 2.1 turnovers a night he put up over the same span. While he does help in points and rebounds, he kills you in FG and 3-point percentages. I own him in many leagues myself, and I can’t bring myself to cut him, so I won’t tell you to either. But, I would certainly sit him down and pray that he finds a way to co-exist with Rajon Rondo if he isn’t traded before the February 20th trade deadline.
Derrick Favors – PF/C Jazz: Favors played both on Friday and Saturday last week after missing the previous three games with a hip injury. The problem is he managed to put up just 14 points and 13 rebounds combined in the two games. I’d give him a rest over the short week and hope he comes out firing on all cylinders again after the All-Star break.
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.