Fantasy Forecast: Monday, Dec. 3, 2012

The good news this week for fantasy owners is that all the NBA teams play either three or four games. That means you can feel free to play all your regular starters as you normally would, and those in cap leagues can fill their roster out with the best possible players.

That being said, you still need to know who has the better match-ups, who is hot and who is not heading into Week 6. I had a fan ask me if they should keep Andrew Bynum, Danny Granger and Derrick Rose on their roster, and here is my analysis of the two players.

Bynum can’t even go bowling without tearing his knee up—this guy cannot walk from here to there without needing to visit a trainer afterwards. I question his drive and desire to play the NBA game at a high level, and with the latest injury, I’d be surprised if he takes the floor at all in 2012-13.

Granger has been seen walking around without crutches and seems to be working out. The problem is he is still targeting a return in February, and there are 28 days in the month. There is a huge difference between Feb. 1 and Feb. 28 in fantasy terms. Either way, I cut Granger in the one league I owned him in a few weeks ago because he would just be taking up a roster spot for roughly 2-3 months. I’d cut him loose and pick him back up around mid January in the hopes that he makes it back on schedule.

Rose has an oar in the boat right next to Granger, rowing down the same river. The thing that makes Rose’s situation worse is that the Bulls won’t even put a timetable on his return. Not only that, but Rose has admitted that he is facing a mental hurdle with regards to cutting because he “doesn’t want to hurt himself again.” So, not only does he have to get his knee healthy, but he also has to get his mind right. Confidence is HUGE in professional sports, and I don’t want a player on my fantasy team that is playing at 75 percent because he doesn’t want to risk getting hurt if he plays at 100 percent. I’d cut Rose as well and wait for a concrete timeframe for his return before adding him.

Start ‘em

Jose Calderon – PG Raptors: Even though Calderon isn’t the starter (Kyle Lowry), he is managing to provide a good return off the bench thanks to his 10.0 points, 7.8 assists and 1.9 3’s per-game over the last 14 days. Coming off the bench means there is a fair amount of risk since he has scored fewer than 10 points in three of the previous six games. He is riding a 3-game streak in which he has averaged 12.3 points, 5.3 assists and a total of 8 3-pointers. He is a great back-up PG to have.

* Ricky Rubio – PG Timberwolves: is now owned in 69 percent of Yahoo leagues, and that number is climbing with each passing day. He is likely to return in about two weeks, so you need to make sure he isn’t available in your league. When he gets back and is right (beginning of January-ish), the Rubio-Love tandem is going to fill box scores throughout the rest of the season.

Randy Foye – SG Jazz: Foye has quietly been putting up great numbers over the last two weeks (12.7 points on 46.9 percent shooting and 21 3-pointers over the last 14 days), and he is still owned in just 36 percent of Yahoo leagues. Foye dual qualifies at both PG and SG, so his value is slightly higher than a traditional SG. He will see his share of single-digit scoring nights, but overall he is a good player to own for SG depth.

Chandler Parsons – SF Rockets: Parsons missed just one game with a strained shoulder, and returned in force scoring 19 points, grabbing 3 rebounds and adding 3 assists, 2 blocks and a steal Saturday night. Parsons has established himself as an every-night starter in fantasy leagues, so make sure he isn’t available in your league right now (owned in 75 percent of Yahoo leagues).

* Andrei Kirilenko – SF Timberwolves: (back) didn't practice on Sunday and remains questionable to face the 76ers on Tuesday. It usually takes about a week for his back to get right, so expect him to be a true game-time decision against the 76ers. If he is active, stick him in your line-up for well rounded stats (13.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 1.5 steals per-game this season).

Patrick Patterson – PF Rockets: Another Rockets’ player makes the start ‘em list this week as Patterson is riding a hot streak that has him scoring 20-plus points in four of his past five games. Besides his 18.9 points average over the last 14 days, Patterson is also averaging 5.7 rebounds and 54.5 percent shooting from the field. He is owned in just 53 percent of Yahoo leagues, and I bet you need help at the PF/C position. Go grab him before someone else does while he is hot.

Larry Sanders – PF/C Bucks: I told you about Sanders back in Week 2 of the NBA season, and now all the big-box websites are pumping him like they just discovered oil in Milwaukee. Why are they so excited you ask? On Friday, Sanders messed around and got a triple-double thanks to his monster line of 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks. He followed that impressive performance up with 18 points, 16 rebounds and 5 blocks on Saturday. He is now owned in 41 percent of Yahoo leagues thanks to roughly 10,000 people that picked him up over the weekend. If he is available in your league, snatch him up ASAP!

* Nikola Pekovic – C Timberwolves: Pekovic is surprisingly owned in just 69 percent of Yahoo leagues, despite averaging 14.3 points and 9.5 rebounds a night over the last 14 days. Granted, he doesn’t block many shots (13 this season), but the points and boards are more than enough to be enticing for a position as thin as center in the NBA. Grab him now and drop the guy on the end of the bench who never plays anyway.

Sit ‘em

Jarrett Jack – PG Warriors: Yahoo fantasy owners have dipped their toe in the Jarrett Jack water, and that is not a bad idea considering he put up 18 points and 5 assists in back-to-back games at the end of last week. The problem as I see it is that Jack is as erratic as they come with production, scoring just one point in 23 minutes against our Timberwolves, then putting up 18 points in 29 minutes against the Nuggets in his next game. If you want to grab him and stick him on the bench, fine. But, I wouldn’t trust him to continue to put up double-digit scoring totals off the bench given his recent shooting struggles.

Jordan Crawford – SG Wizards: Crawford proves that about half (44 percent) the fantasy basketball owners out there only really focus on scoring when looking at stats. Crawford is scoring 14.0 PPG over the last 14 days, but he is shooting 40.2 percent from the field while adding just 2.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists and turning the ball over 2.2 times per-game. All he provides is empty points, while killing your FG percentage and racking up turnovers for those in leagues that count them. I cut him loose weeks ago, and so should you.

Paul George – SF Pacers: I have spent time with George, and I like the guy a lot. But, this season hasn’t exactly been the breakout campaign we were all hoping to see from a rising star. He is shooting a hideous 38.5 percent from the field, 78.8 percent from the free-throw line, and turning the ball over 2.5 times per-game this season. The only redeeming qualities to his fantasy game are his 13.5 points and 6.5 rebounds a night. With Granger out, this is George’s time to shine, and he simply isn’t doing it as a whole. I’m worried with the shooting percentages and might look to see what kind of trade value he has left if you aren’t punting the FG percent, FT percentage and Turnover stats all together.

Andray Blatche – PF/C Nets: Blatche is going to have a little bit of spot start value until Brook Lopez is able to come back from his sprained foot (sometime this week). He was able to put up 20 points and 8 rebounds against the Heat on Saturday, but he has been erratic over his previous seven games, and Lopez is due back any day now. You can hold on to him until Lopez is officially back; once Lopez returns, get rid of Blatche.

JaVale McGee – C Nuggets: McGee can’t seem to get on the floor for more than 20 minutes most nights. And because of that, he has only been able to average 9.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per-game. Until Nuggets coach, George Karl, let’s McGee out of the doghouse, he is going to be a disappointing fantasy play just about every time he takes the court. The guy has the skills to be a top fantasy center play, but he can’t seem to keep a coach happy.

*Trade Alert*

I’m officially putting Dwight Howard on my trade list this week. Despite the guy racking up an astounding 17.9 points, 10.9 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per-game over the last 14 days, he’s still ranked No. 180 in Yahoo for leagues that count turnovers and free-throw shooting. If you have enough players to make up the pathetic 47.0 percent Howard is shooting from the free-throw line this season, then great. But, if you are like most of us that didn’t build a team around free-throws, Howard can actually be forcing you to completely punt the FT category each week single handedly.

I know it sounds unthinkable to trade Howard, but you might be surprised at the king’s ransom he will bring. Not to mention how much better off you could be overall if you can take emotion out of it and look at the stats objectively.


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.