Fantasy Forecast: Monday, April 1, 2013

Hopefully everyone had themselves a happy Easter, and now they are ready to make the final push for the fantasy basketball championship. We did receive some good news this past week as Kyrie Irving was able to return to action on Sunday and exploded for 31 points and six assists. Irving was only dropped in roughly 11 percent of Yahoo leagues, so chances are slim he is available on your wire right now. Nevertheless, go check and make sure.

On the other side of the coin we saw the 56 percent of people still holding onto Danny Granger get disappointed as the Pacers announced he would undergo surgery on his knee and miss the remainder of the season. With the Pacers sitting at 47-27 as of Sunday night, and holding onto second place in the Eastern Conference, those in dynasty leagues have to wonder what the future holds for Granger. The team is succeeding without him, and Paul George has shown that he can handle the SF role. No matter what, Granger fans and dynasty owners’ will want to keep a close eye on the Pacers news this off-season.

On the Wolves front, Greg Stiemsma played a career-high 40 minutes on Saturday and put up 12 points, seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks in place of Nikola Pekovic. If Pekovic’s ankle prevents him from playing on Monday, Stiemsma can be used as a sneaky spot starter for those in cap and daily transaction leagues.

Start ‘em

Kyrie Irving – PG Cavaliers:
Usually when a player comes off an injury in which he missed a sizable amount of games, the team eases him back into his role and plays it safe. However, Irving is young and the only real “star” the Cavs have, so he going to play every minute his body is available to play from now until the final whistle blows. Get him back in your line-up right now.

Randy Foye – SG Jazz: Foye isn’t someone that is going to come in and carry you through the fantasy playoffs, but he can provide a solid source of points, 3’s and steals off the waiver wire if you need them. The Jazz are in a dog fight with the Lakers and Mavericks for the final playoff spot in the West, so a sniper like Foye is just what the Jazz need late in the fourth quarter to win them games. He is currently ranked 29th over the last 14 days in Yahoo 9-cat scoring leagues, and owned in just 33 percent of Yahoo leagues. That means a guy who is virtually unowned outside of the deep league is giving owners’ back mid second round value, and sitting on the waiver wire. Go grab him.

Jeff Green – SF Celtics: Green is owned in just 65 percent of Yahoo leagues, and is giving his owners’ back late first/high end second round value these days. The Celtics haven’t gotten any younger, so a guy like Green is going to get every chance to produce at a high level to finish out the regular season. If this guy is available on your waiver wire, slap yourself and correct that error immediately.

Brandon Bass – PF Celtics: Another Celtic makes the list because he is owned in just 54 percent of Yahoo leagues, yet is giving owners’’ back late second round value of the last 14 days. I saw one highly touted fantasy website say that Bass’ 13-point, two-rebound, and three-block effort last Friday could be just the type of performance that could land him on the waiver wire again. Did they forget the 22 points and five rebounds from the game before? I like Bass to provide a solid source of points, rebounds and blocks off the waiver wire, and that is all you can ask for in the final days of the fantasy season.

Brandon Wright – C Mavericks: Center is the worst position in all of fantasy basketball to “need” someone at. No matter if it is Week 3 or Week 23, there are only a handful of “good” centers, a good 5-7 solid ones, and then the rest. Now that we are in Week 23, a guy like Wright could have some appeal for those needing rebounds, blocks, and points every other game. He logged his first double-double of the season Saturday, so the Mavericks might just give him some extra run as they fight for a seat at the playoff table.

Sit ‘em

Ty Lawson – PG Nuggets:
Lawson is dealing with a plantar fascia tear in his right heel. Coach George Karl says he thinks most people in the organization are confident Lawson will be "fine," but I am not buying what he is selling there. This type of injury is extremely painful, and to try and play basketball at the NBA level while dealing with it is a nightmare. I want nothing to do with Lawson down the stretch unless he can prove he has the ability to brush the injury off and produce at the fantasy level we need him to.

Dwyane Wade – SG Heat: Ok, take this with a little grain of salt. Wade is hobbling around and the Heat have all but locked up their road to the NBA championship by most accounts. I see the Heat resting Wade as much as possible to get him healthy for a playoff run as they have nothing left to play for in the regular season with the Eastern Conference title clinched. He has given fantasy owners’’ late 10th round value back over the last 14 days, and I think we can expect more of the same to finish out the season.

Manu Ginobili – SF Spurs: Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said that Manu Ginobili's (hamstring) timetable is closer to weeks not days, meaning he is safe to cut in all but dynasty leagues. This is one of those cut and dry situations as the Spurs won’t risk further injury as we inch closer to the NBA playoffs.

Kevin Garnett – PF/C Celtics: Reports came out from coach Doc Rivers that KG was feeling “a lot better” before Sunday’s game, but his two week timetable still puts him a week away from returning. The reality for me is that KG is no spring chicken and if you feel like you are at 10 percent, but now feel like you are at 60 percent, while that may be a lot better, it isn’t close to returning the an NBA game either. Keep Garnett benched until we have concrete word he is going to play.

Joakim Noah – C Bulls: Noah is dealing with plantar fasciitis, and has now missed the past five games. While he may play this coming week, you can be sure the Bulls will want him to take it easy and get ready for the playoffs as they are in no real danger of falling out of the race in the East. I would expect him to put up less than expected stats as he tries to work his way back from this nagging injury.


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.