Fantasy Forecast: Monday, Dec. 24, 2012

Week 9 of the NBA season comes right in the middle of Christmas, and hopefully it also brings with it good news for fantasy owners. Pau Gasol and Steve Nash returned to the Lakers line-up this past week, which is great news because they are owned in every fantasy basketball league known to man. DeMarcus Cousins got suspended indefinitely, which is no real surprise given his attitude problems.

Ricky Rubio is has been back for a few games now, but his production and minutes are still erratic. Compounding things for Timberwolves fans is that now Kevin Love is dealing with an eye injury that kept him out of Sunday’s game against the Knicks. Worry not Wolves faithful, Love is expected to be back in the lineup on Wednesday when they take on the Rockets. The silver lining to Love’s absence on Sunday has to be that Nikola Pekovic grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds while scoring 21 points. The only thing that is keeping Pekovic from being a fantasy stud is the lack of blocks from the center position.

Start ‘em

Jarrett Jack – PG Warriors:
If you remember last week, I told you to pick-up and start Jack in any league he was available in. Over the last 8-games he has averaged 17.4 points, 2.0 3-pointers, 4.5 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.3 steals a night. For a guy owned in just 51 percent of Yahoo leagues, he is ranking No. 1 over the last 14 days at the PG position. This type of production is unsustainable from Jack, but you should certainly ride this bandwagon until the wheels fall off!

J.J. Reddick – SG Magic: Reddick was another one of the players I told you to start last week, and my view on him is the same as on Jack, keep riding them for a little while longer. Some of the big-box websites seemed to think Reddick had cooled off on Friday when he went 3-9 from the field and 0-for-5 from 3-point land, but he bounced back on Sunday by hitting 5-of-10 from the field and 2-of-5 from 3-point range, for a total of 14 points and 5 assists. He is owned in 69 percent of Yahoo leagues, so go grab him before he really does cool off.

Metta World Peace – SF Lakers: MWP has been one of the more underrated fantasy players at the SF position this season, averaging 13.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 35:11 MPG. Over the last 14 days he has jumped that average up to 16.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 2.1 steals a night. He is owned in 72 percent of Yahoo leagues, meaning he just might be available in your league now. The player formally known as Ron-Ron is giving back low second/high third round value so far, so there is absolutely no reason he shouldn’t be owned in all formats!

C.J. Miles – SF Cavaliers: As a bonus pick-up at the SG/SF position, Miles is playing out of his mind over the last 14 days and is averaging 16.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and is hitting 3.1 3-pointers per-game. Obviously you need to keep an eye on his production and be ready to dumb him when he cools off, but as someone who is giving back mid second round value of the last two weeks, Miles is certainly someone you want to own right now.

Ed Davis – PF Raptors: Not only are the Raptors without Andrea Bargnani, but now they are without Jonas Valanciunas when he fractured his right ring finger. That is the same injury that knocked Kyrie Irving and Stephen Jackson out and there is talk about a 3-4 week timetable. That means Davis will log plenty of extra minutes in the meantime, and is a must-own player in most formats. He posted a 24 point and 12 rebound game against the Nets just a few games ago, so you see the potential there. I’d also look to add Amir Johnson if you need help and Davis is gone.

Robin Lopez – C Hornets: Who remembers last week when I also said to pick-up and start Robin Lopez? All he did was explode on Saturday with 24 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals and 6 blocks in 38 minutes against the Pacers. The return of Anthony Davis has not affected him at all, and he is a HUGE sleeper at center since he is owned in just 48 percent of leagues out there. GO GRAB HIM NOW!

Sit ‘em

Aaron Brooks – PG Kings:
It is only a matter of time before the Kings see what the rest of the NBA already knows, that Isaiah Thomas has outshined Brooks all season long, and Brooks is getting worse with each passing game. When that happens, they will make the switch and Brooks will be cut worthy. As it stands right now, I’d try to trade Brooks before his value bottoms out with an inevitable benching.

Marcus Thornton – SG Kings: Yes, we could just list the entire Kings roster on the sit list because I don’t think anyone who watches basketball can figure out what they are doing with their rotation and minutes. Thornton has the talent and skill set to be a true asset in fantasy leagues, but the Kings are doing him no favors. I’d say to keep holding onto him, but stash him on the bench until the team decides on what they are doing exactly.

Rudy Gay – SF Grizzlies: Let me first say that I believe Gay is an extremely attractive buy-low candidate as he is shooting a career low 41.8 percent from the field and his owners are starting to get worried. That being said, he is still averaging 18.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.5 steals per-game for the Grizzlies this season. But, this week they play just two games and there is only so much damage he can do in those games. Hopefully he takes the time to rest and work on finding better shots. And, the short week gives you time to work on a trade for him before he gets on track with his shot.

Amare Stoudemire – PF Knicks: STAT’s value is sinking faster than the Titanic, and the Knicks can’t give him away. The New York Times reported that the team tried to trade him to virtually every team in the NBA this off-season, and as you can see, it didn’t work. His role is up in the air when he finally does return, but Coach Mike Woodson said Saturday that Stoudemire might not return until practicing with the team after a three-game West Coast trip. You obviously have to keep him on the bench for now, but I’d try and trade him to someone who still thinks he is a Phoenix Sun!

DeMarcus Cousins - C Kings: I could do a whole stand-up comedy routine on the Kings if I wanted to, but instead I just talk about them here. Brooks is dropping in value, that is why he made the list; Thornton can’t seem to log the minutes, that is why he made the list; Cousins can’t seem to keep from getting sent home and told not to show up to work, that is why he makes the list. Right now he is suspended indefinitely, but there have been rumors that he could return as early as Wednesday. No matter what, the kid is showing him immaturity and it is obviously wearing thin with the Kings organization. I’d let him be someone else’s problem if at all possible.


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.