Fantasy Forecast: Monday, Feb. 4, 2013
With the NFL season officially over, fans can now turn all their attention to the NBA and give 100 percent of their effort to winning a league championship in fantasy basketball. We are just under two weeks away from the All Star weekend, and now is the time when many owners start making a push to complete trades in order to bolster their chances at that title. The main thing to remember is that most people will only do a trade if they think they are CLEARLY winning in the deal. So, when someone proposes a trade to you, make sure you look at all the stats and read the latest news on all the players involved before accepting or rejecting it.
On the Timberwolves front, President of Basketball Operations David Kahn reiterated that Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio are "untouchable in trade talks." This is important because as we approach the NBA trade deadline, there are going to be plenty of NBA reports out there trying to make headlines with sensational claims of possible moves with Love and Rubio. Rest easy Wolves fans, these two are here to stay for a long time! Love is still looking like an early April return, so if he was dropped in your league (down to 77 percent owned in Yahoo), wait until early-mid March before picking him up.
Rubio has been turned loose of his minutes limit, so fantasy owners are going to see a steady increase in his production from here on out. Derrick Williams and Dante Cunningham are sharing the stats at the PF position, making both players hard to own. Their fantast numbers are erratic and unpredictable, which means they are only truly worth owning in 14-team or deeper leagues.
Nate Robinson – PG Bulls: Robinson is owned in just 37 percent of the Yahoo leagues out there because he is actually third on the Bulls depth chart for PGs. The reason he makes the start ‘em list is because with Derrick Rose still a few weeks away (knee) and Kirk Hinrich at least a week away (elbow), Robinson has logged 41 minutes in the last two games. The Bulls are forced to start Robinson and he is taking full advantage of it by averaging 16.8 points, 5.5 assists and 1.8 steals over the last two weeks. He is a short-term pick-up off the waiver wire, so be ready to drop him when his minutes are cut back down.
Nick Young – SG 76ers: Young looks like he has could overtake Jason Richardson for the starting SG spot once Richardson returns from his knee injury (whenever that may be). Over the last two weeks, Young has managed to average 17.2 points, but is shooting just 43.8 percent from the field. Swaggy P (Young’s nickname) is a notoriously streaky shooter, so pay attention to his FG percentage as if it drops much more, he could also see his minutes drop. But, for now, he is producing and will continue to see the lion’s share of minutes while Richardson is out.
Kyle Korver – SF Hawks: One of the hottest players in the NBA over the last two weeks, Korver is averaging 17.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 4.3 3-pointers in 39:10 MPG. Those numbers are even more impressive when you consider he is hitting 58.9 percent of his shots from the field, and 90.9 percent of his free throws during that span. He is owned in just 66 percent of Yahoo leagues, so make sure your league isn’t one of the ones he is available in. He has starting SF value while he is getting the minutes for the Hawks.
Tristan Thompson – PF Cavaliers: Thompson started the season off slow, but has picked his play up over the past month, averaging an impressive 15.5 points and 10.7 rebounds while shooting 54.0 percent from the field. Thompson went undrafted in a vast majority of Yahoo leagues and has provided third round value since the start of January, so make sure he is owned in all formats and league sizes!
Nikola Vucevic – C Magic: Vucevic is ranked in the top 15 in Yahoo leagues over the last two weeks thanks to his 14.9 points, 12.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per-game average. And, to sweeten the pot for owners, he is shooting 57.7 percent from the field and a respectable 87.5 percent from the free-throw line during that span. He is owned in 81 percent of Yahoo leagues, so check your waiver wire and see if he is floating out there. Chances are he is not, but those in cap leagues should still be able to get him for cheap as he isn’t a household name.
Chris Paul – PG Clippers: When CP3 first injured his knee and was missing time, there was speculation that the team was playing it safe and Paul wouldn’t return until he was fully healthy. While that hasn’t completely changed, his lack of practice suggests there is more bite to this injury than first reported. There is still no timetable for his return, and because he has yet to practice, I don’t have a lot of faith in him playing in a majority of the Clippers four-game schedule this week.
Eric Gordon – SG Hornets: Gordon is dealing with back and knee problems, and the Hornets are sitting him out on the second game of back-to-back games. Gordon has put up just 95 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and 8 steals over the last two weeks total, and because of the games missed his production has been erratic. Gordon is owned in 90 percent of leagues and there is no reason to cut him, but you may want to sit him down in weekly transaction leagues until he can get his rhythm back on track.
Ray Allen – SG Heat: I know I usually try and hit all the positions once, but Ray-Ray has been nothing short of atrocious over his last 3 games and owners are suffering because of it. During those 3 games, Allen has scored a grand total of 7 points on 2-9 shooting from the field. He was held scoreless against the Pacers on Friday night for just the third time in his 16-year career, and would have went scoreless on Sunday against the Raptors had it not been for the free-throw he hit (1-2 on the night) to finish with just 1 point. Allen is slumping right now and I would sit him in weekly leagues and sell him high in cap leagues. Wait until you see him snap out of the funk, but know that he only has value in leagues that count 3-pointers.
Gerald Wallace – PF Nets: Crash is owned in 82 percent of Yahoo leagues, but his fantasy value lies more in his name than in his production these days. Over the past month he has only been able to average 6.4 points and 3.6 rebounds, while shooting a dismal 64.7 percent from the free-throw line. With Joe Johnson, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez all wanting their share of shots, there just isn’t room for Wallace to put up the type of numbers that people were expecting when they took him based on his prior production.
Dwight Howard – C Lakers: I don’t own Howard in a single one of my 23 NBA fantasy leagues. But if I did, I would be in full blown fire sale mode with the Lakers disappointing star center! The reality is that Howard is one hard bang away from having shoulder surgery and missing the rest of the season; and, the Lakers are currently sitting 11.5 games behind in the Pacific conference thanks to their 22-26 record as of Sunday night. Meaning, if the Lakers can’t pull it together and get in the playoff hunt post All Star break, Howard could shut it down himself as he is going to be an unrestricted free agent this off-season and will not jeopardize his market value to play out a losing season with the Lakers. I’ve been telling you to jump ship for two months now, and you need to grab you a life vest and head for the rafts before there are no more seats left.
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.