Fantasy Forecast: Monday, Dec. 17, 2012

Week 8 of the NBA season seems to be marking the start of trading in most of my fantasy basketball leagues. So, I thought I would break down a few rules you should all know before getting involved in trade discussions.

1) Most owners will only do a trade if they think they are clearly winning. I’ve got a guy in one of my Yahoo leagues that is near the bottom in rankings, so he thinks he wants to improve his team via the trading block. The problem is he continually offers his worst players for my best players, and then tells me to counter if I don’t like it. We are so far apart, I see no point.

2) If you want to improve in one stat, understand you will have to lose ground in another. You can’t add points or rebounds without giving up assists or steals. You have to look at what you are strong in, where you are weak at, and then come up with a trade that allows you to give up a strength while getting back a weakness.

3) Try and find the village idiot. Trust me; you all have one in your league! There is some guy or girl that doesn’t really put forth the effort and can be taken advantage of via a trade. Offer them some underperforming big-name player (Dwight Howard) for a lesser known guy who is doing well (Larry Sanders and a kick-in player), and I bet they jump at it while you come out ahead. But, this leads into No. 4.

4) Every league has a way to veto a trade, so try and put some lipstick on that pig! Understand that while you may have ripped the village idiot off, others in the league can still veto the trade. Don’t be mad if they do, you knew the trade was unfair!

5) Offer trades to each team to see who is active and who has abandoned their team. Most people won’t initiate trade talks, but they will kick trade offers back and forth once you do. So, send reasonable offers to each team and see who engages in talks.

Start ‘em

Jarrett Jack – PG Warriors: Jack may be coming off the bench for the Warriors, but he is putting up starting PG numbers while doing so. Over the last 14 days, Jack is averaging 12.8 points, 5.4 assists and 1.3 steals in an even 30:00 MPG. Because he comes off the bench there will be fluctuation in stats. But, for someone owned in just 35 percent of Yahoo leagues, those numbers are amazing.

Ricky Rubio – PG Timberwolves: Rubio made his season debut on Saturday and made Wolves fan swoon with his 8 points, 9 assists and 3 steals in 18 minutes off the bench. The team is going to keep him on a minutes count for a little while, but he already looks like he is ready to push the gas pedal and leave a fire trail behind him. He is owned in 79 percent of Yahoo leagues, so if you are in one of the few leagues he is available in, go grab him right now!

J.J. Redick – SG Magic: Redick is a streaky player, but right now he is riding a hot streak that has him averaging 15.8 points, 4.8 assists and 3.0 3-pointers in 32 minutes over the last 4 games. His 18 3’s over the last 14 days have him tied for seventh in the NBA, so make sure he is owned in your league (68 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) until he cools off.

Matt Barnes – SF Clippers: Barnes is one of those players who is a wild rollercoaster ride for stats. He never sees more than mid 20’s for minutes, but has been producing despite coming off the bench. Over the last 14 days he is averaging 13.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals and is shooting 56.5 percent from the field in 24:42 MPG. He is owned in just 16 percent of Yahoo leagues, so ride him until the wheels fall off this bandwagon.

Andray Blatche – PF Nets: One of the biggest busts so far this season has to be Kris Humphries by far. Yahoo pre-season ranked him No. 69, and he currently sits at No. 180. Benefiting the most from the flop is Blatche, who went undrafted in most leagues and is returning mid third round value over the last month. It is going to be interesting to see how his role changes once Brook Lopez is cleared to play more minutes, but one would hope the Nets move him into the starting PF slot and put Humphries on the bench where he belongs.

Robin Lopez – C Hornets: Lopez is erratic at best with his stats, going from 20 points and 8 rebounds to 2 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocks the next game. But, word in New Orleans is that Jason Smith has a torn labrum and will need surgery. That gives Lopez added value since the rotation at center just got a little smaller. With 4 games this week I’d pick up Lopez (49 percent owned) and give him a ride to see how he responds. Center is the thinnest position in the NBA, so even an average center can be a great waiver wire addition.

Sit ‘em

Aaron Brooks – PG Kings: Brooks is starting to cool off, while Isaiah Thomas is starting to heat up. Over the last 14 days, Brooks is averaging 11.3 PPG, but is dishing out just 3.7 assists and shooting 42.6 percent from the field. Keep a close eye on the situation in Sacramento, but I think a switch is coming at PG for the Kings.

Kobe Bryant – SG Lakers: Calm down, this is more for people in weekly transaction or salary cap leagues. Bryant and the Lakers only play 2 games this week, so even though he leads the league with 29.3 PPG, there are no stats for practicing or sitting at home this week. Those in cap leagues can sell Bryant now and make a small profit, then buy him back at the end of the week at a discount; work smart, not hard!

Michael Beasley – SF Suns: Beasley is owned in 64 percent of Yahoo leagues, and they had him with a pre-season rank of 85th overall. That means top-end seventh round value if you don’t want to do the math. The problem is he is producing numbers worthy of being on the waiver wire (currently ranked No. 273 overall this season). If you own him and won’t cut him, at least bench him.

Dirk Nowitzki – PF Mavericks: I keep getting emails and social media messages asking if Nowitzki is close to returning after he warmed up with the team on Friday. The quick and dirty answer is yes, kind of. If all goes according to plan, he is expected to start practicing with the team this coming week. Nowitzki has yet to test his knee with any hard cutting, but that should to be the next step in the rehab process. He has said in the past that he'll need a week or two to get into game shape, which could put his return date around New Year's Day.

Nene Hilario – C Wizards: Besides playing for the worst team in the NBA (record wise), Hilario is also wildly erratic with production, is dealing with chronic plantar fasciitis, and came into the season TOTALLY overrated by Yahoo (pre-season ranked No. 56). As of Sunday evening, Hilario was ranked No. 281 in Yahoo fantasy scoring for the season. That means they projected him as having mid fourth round value, and he is producing mid 23rd round value. And in case you are wondering, there IS NO 23rd round in fantasy drafts! I am positive there is a better center on your waiver wire right now, so go get him and cut Hilario loose.

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