Fantasy Forecast: Monday, Feb. 25, 2013
At this point of the NBA season injuries are becoming a nagging problem that most fantasy teams are dealing with. The biggest question most of the time is how long a player will be out, and is it worth it to keep him. Kevin Love is still looking at a mid-march return, meaning in about a week you will want to grab him off the waiver wire if you are in a league where he was cut (79 percent owned in Yahoo, down from 100 percent at time of injury). Let’s take a look around the rest of the NBA and look at a few fantasy starters who are injured and see what their fantasy prognosis is this season.
Pau Gasol: Gasol is "close" to getting off crutches and could return if the Lakers make it into the playoffs, according to Coach Mike D'Antoni. That means he will not be back in the regular season, and there is no reason to hang on to Gasol at this point. He should be cut in all but the dynasty leagues.
Derrick Rose: Rose recently went through some 5-on-5 drills and felt fine, meaning he just needs to get back into basketball shape before he returns to the court. Even though Rose has made progress, Coach Tom Thibodeau has set no timetable for his return, and fantasy owners just have to use a wait-and-see approach. Right now Rose is owned in just 81 percent of leagues, so be ready to grab him when we have an idea of when he might play.
Andrew Bogut: Centers fetch a premium price in fantasy leagues because good ones are hard to come by once you get past the first few. So, guys like Bogut and Andrew Bynum are being held on to in the hopes they can contribute down the stretch. An MRI revealed that Bogut's back spasms are being caused by a protruding disc, and he has been ruled out indefinitely. Owners should just cut him loose and move on (65 percent owned) as he can’t stay healthy and is just taking up space on your bench.
Jarrett Jack – PG Warriors: Can you believe that Jack is owned in just 67 percent of Yahoo leagues, but over the last month he is ranked No. 37 overall thanks to his 17.7 points, 7.3 assists, 1.9 3-pointers and 47.0 percent shooting from the field? The guy is giving back high-end third round value, and is sitting on the waiver wire in some 33 percent of Yahoo leagues. Grab him; play him; ride his bandwagon until the wheels fall off!
Jeff Green – SF Celtics: If you look below you will notice I give a Celtics player a sit ‘em ranking because the team plays just two games this week. And, while I agree that you will want to keep Green on your bench in weekly transaction leagues and cap leagues, I give him a start ‘em ranking because he needs to be owned in all formats going forward. Over the last two weeks, Green is putting up 18.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks a night, while playing 34:30 MPG and shooting 57.8 percent from the field and 96.4 percent from the free-throw line. With Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce sure to get more rest down the stretch, Green is going to have every opportunity to put up great fantasy numbers for the Celtics. He should not be on anyone’s waiver wire right now!
Danny Green – SG Spurs: I told you last week to grab Green and start him, and since then he has done nothing but put up 18.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.7 steals a night over the last seven days. This week the Spurs play three games and Green is owned in just 62 percent of Yahoo leagues. Go grab him before someone else does.
Amir Johnson – PF Raptors: Maybe Johnson isn’t talked about in fantasy circles because he plays up in Canada for the Raptors; maybe it’s because his fantasy numbers don’t put the wow factor in you. Either way, Johnson is well worth owning and is averaging 10.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks a night over the last two weeks. Those numbers rank him 38th in Yahoo 9-cat scoring leagues, which equates to third round value. Not bad for a guy who is owned in just 56 percent of their leagues.
Omer Asik – C Rockets: Asik is owned in 77 percent of leagues and flies under the radar because his value lies more in rebounds and blocks than points, and fantasy owners love to see points in the boxscore. Did you know that over the last month Asik is averaging a double-double with 10.7 points and 12.9 rebounds, and also gives owners 1.2 blocks per-game while shooting 53.4 percent from the field? If I were looking to steal a center in a trade, Asik is someone I would target because he gives me exactly what I want at that position, FG percentage, rebounds and blocks, with about 10 points mixed in nightly.
Andre Iguodala – SG Nuggets: Iggy is struggling to find his exact role with the Nuggets, and fantasy owners are feeling his pain as they suffer with him. Taken in the middle of the 3rd round, Iguodala is giving back mid 9th round value this season. Over the last two weeks he has averaged just 6.8 points, 6.5 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals a night, while shooting 40.0 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from the free-throw line (58.8 percent for the season). Given his enormous potential, you can’t cut him; and given his production you won’t get anything of value for him if you try and make a trade before your league’s deadline. So, just stick him on your bench and hope he finds his groove before the season ends.
Danny Granger – SF Pacers: Granger finally made his season debut on Saturday, but shot just 1-10 from the field in 19 minutes. Pacers Coach Frank Vogul “it is going to take time” when referring to Granger returning to his usual form, and fantasy owners would be best served to keep him on their benches until he gets his legs back under him and feels comfortable on the court. Understand too that Granger is no longer the focal point of the offense, that role has switched to fellow SF Paul George. So, Granger’s role will change and you won’t see the stats you have become accustomed to if you are a Granger fan.
Jason Terry – PG Celtics: Terry has actually been productive enough to own over the last two weeks thanks to the loss of Leandro Barbosa. Terry is averaging 13.3 points and 2.3 3-pointers a night over the last two weeks while playing 27:49 MPG. The problem with the PG this week is that the Celtics play just two games. I would add Terry in deeper leagues where you need 3’s and points, but don’t expect much more than that from the Celtics back-up guard.
LaMarcus Aldridge – PF Trail Blazers: Aldridge is dealing with a sore wrist right now, and that is hurting his fantasy production lately. Over the last two weeks he is averaging 19.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, and is shooting 46.0 percent from the field. Those numbers sound amazing until you consider that they rank him as Yahoo’s No. 62 player over that span. Owners took him in the middle of the 1st round, and No. 62 is fifth round value. The Trail Blazers play just two games in week 18, so owners will have to hope the team lets him spend all his free time in the training room getting the wrist worked on so he can finish the season out with 1st round value.
J.J. Hickson – C Trail Blazers: I normally don’t like putting two players on the same team on the sit ‘em list, but Hickson is someone that is somewhat under the radar in fantasy terms, but has started gaining ground the last few weeks. Over the past two weeks, Hickson is averaging 14.6 points and 7.8 rebounds; and, the 74.4 percent shooting from the field is a major plus for teams who own players like Stephen Curry (43.6 FG percentage), Paul George (42.6 FG percentage), or Russell Westbrook (42.9 FG percentage). Right now he is owned in just 79 percent of leagues, which means he could be available on your waiver wire right now. Those in cap leagues can still get him at a decent price, and I would own him in any format going forward.
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.