Fantasy Forecast: Monday, April 8, 2013

With just two more weeks to go in the NBA regular season, fantasy owners are making the final push for the championship round of their league playoffs. While some are in contention for the league title, others are righting for the highest spot possible in the consolation round. No matter what, the fantasy season isn’t over until the final whistle blows!

Remember that due to teams playing either one or two games in Week 25, Yahoo combines Weeks 24 and 25 into one long fantasy week. Meaning, instead of the final round ending on Sunday as it normally does, you will continue to play games this round until the final league day of April 17.

The Hawks, Pistons, Magic and Jazz all play just four games over the final two weeks of the season. So, while there is unlikely to be much worth owning on your waiver wire at this point, you will want to make sure you look at total games played as we finish the season out. Give yourself the best chance possible to win by playing the max amount of games possible. The Nets, Bulls, Cavs, Heat, Timberwolves, Bucks, Knicks and 76ers all have six games left on the schedule, so their players will have the optimal value to finish out the season.

Start ‘em

Beno Udrih – PG Magic:
I know I said above that the Magic play just four games over the final two weeks, but that doesn’t mean Udrih doesn’t hold value as a bench role player for your fantasy squad. Over the last week he is averaging 19.3 points, 8.3 assists and 2.0 steals a night, while shooting 55.3 percent from the field. If you are holding on to Jameer Nelson for some odd reason, I’d cut bait there and grab Udrih off the waiver wire. If you just need to add some fire power for the final push, Udrih is a great option since he is owned in just 32 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Randy Foye – SG Jazz: Foye has cooled off in the points department, scoring 15 points in his last two games thanks to his 27.8 percent shooting from the field over that span. But, what he does do regardless is provide a good source of 3-pointers off the waiver wire for those in leagues that count them. Over the last 14 days he has hit 23 3-pointers, tops in the NBA for all guards. As of Sunday, Foye was owned in just 41 percent of all Yahoo leagues, so he could be a nice piece to the championship puzzle if your league counts 3s.

Maurice Harkless – SF Magic: Harkless doesn’t give you much outside of points and rebounds, but he does provide plenty of each if you need them. Over the last 14 days he has an average of 15.1 points and 5.9 rebounds. There is a drawback though as he is shooting 42.6 percent from the field and 65.5 percent from the free-throw line, so weigh your options and make sure you can take the shooting percentage hit before adding him.

Tobias Harris – PF Magic: Just like Udrih, Harris is depth only due to lack of games played to finish the season. That being said, I bet most people didn’t know that over the past month Harris has averaged 15.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.9 blocks a night while playing just over 38 MPG. Harris is owned in 60 percent of Yahoo leagues, so go check your waiver wire and get you 15 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks a night for free.

Jonas Valanciunas – C Raptors: Valanciunas is back at the right moment for fantasy owners as he has managed to average 16.6 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.4 blocks a night over the last 14 days. He is owned in just 42 percent of Yahoo leagues right now, and center is most certainly the hardest position in all fantasy basketball to find depth at. If he is available in your league, make sure he isn’t for long.

Sit ‘em

Kyle Lowry – PG Raptors:
Lowry is owned in 93 percent of Yahoo leagues, which would suggest a fantasy stud ranking. The reality is that over the past month he is giving owners back 11th round value thanks to his 9.4 points, 6.7 assists, 1.1 steals, and 37.9 percent shooting from the field and 74.2 percent shooting from the free-throw line. From a fantasy standpoint, it has been a while since Lowry has put up the fantasy numbers to justify his high ownership percentage.

Dwyane Wade – SG Heat: Wade is dealing with swelling and soreness in his knee, and with nothing left to play for in the regular season, we could very easily see Wade sit out the remaining regular season games and heal up for the playoffs. Mike Miller will continue to start at SG as long as Wade is out. Miller can be a sneaky fantasy pick to finish out the season, but you need to understand his production is hit or miss, so hang on for the rollercoaster ride.

Nicolas Batum – SF Trail Blazers: Batum is dealing with a superior labral tear in his right shoulder and believes he can play through it. The problem is it isn’t his call, and he won’t be re-evaluated until Monday, which means he could play on Wednesday in the best case scenario. The problem with that is he hasn’t even so much as shot a ball in over a week, and they face the Lakers, Thunder and Nuggets this week. Meaning he is going to be playing at less than 100 percent, and against two of the top three teams in the Western Conference.

Josh Smith – PF Hawks: Smith missed Saturday’s game against the Spurs with a knee injury that was classified as an “irritation.” There has been no further update as to what that means specifically, but I have a feeling that it has a lot to do with the Eastern Conference being pretty much set in stone and the Hawks wanting to make sure everyone is healthy for the playoffs. I don’t know that he will miss more games this week or next, but I will venture to say that his minutes and production won’t be what fantasy owners are accustomed to.

Dwight Howard – C Lakers: This will be the final time that I say how Howard has more Kryptonite in game than fantasy owners realize. Over the past month Howard has put up 18.9 points, 14.6 rebounds and 2.9 blocks a night. But, he has also shot 49.4 percent from the free-throw line and has the most turnovers of any player in the NBA that isn’t a primary ball handler with 39. When you look at the aggregate of the numbers, and filter them out by 9-cat fantasy scoring leagues, Howard is giving owners back mid 22nd round value thanks to the turnovers and foul shooting. Because it is next to impossible to nullify the free-throw shooting and turnovers, he alone will end up losing you those two categories each and every week of the NBA season!


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.