Fantasy Forecast: Monday, Jan. 14, 2013

Week 12 of the NBA season brings with it both highs, and lows, for fantasy owners from around the world. Timberwolves stud Kevin Love is going to miss the next 8-10 weeks after breaking the same hand that he broke in October. On a more positive note for the Wolves, it sounds like Ricky Rubio is close to being lifted from his playing time restrictions after saying "I'm feeling good and I want to talk to doctors and see when I will be ready, I think it be like soon" when talking about playing in his first back-to-back games this season. Owners will soon be rewarded handsomely for holding on to Rubio when the Wolves turn him loose on the NBA!

I’ve been getting emails asking about whom to add with Love out, Dante Cunningham or Derrick Williams. My answer is Cunningham is the guy to own, but keep an eye on Williams. The thing with Cunningham is that he is going to put up junkyard dog type of stats, not flashy or stud stats like Love did. Over the last week, Cunningham is averaging 7.3 points and 6.3 rebounds a night, while playing 33:00 MPG. He has to bring the FG percentage up drastically (37.0 percent) to be a real option in standard leagues, but he is worth adding as a utility player for those needing points and boards. Williams on the other hand is a rollercoaster ride for fantast stats, and it’s not a ride I am getting on at the moment. Williams has tons of talent, but has a tendency to disappear in games and consistency is a major struggle for the 21-year-old forward. His talent makes him worth keeping an eye on in standard 12-team leagues, but I would add him in 14-team and deeper leagues as bench depth now. With options being thin in larger leagues, even an inconsistent player is worth owning because of the big night potential.

Looking around the league, John Wall made his return for the Wizards on Saturday, and put up 14 points and 4 assists. The Wizards need him to produce and I would get him back in my line-up ASAP. Derrick Rose is also getting close to a return, but you’ll have to stay tuned for an exact date on that one.

Start ‘em

Isaiah Thomas – PG Kings:
The Kings look like they may have finally settled on a PG, and Thomas looks to be the winner over Aaron Brooks. With Brooks out on Saturday (flu), Thomas erupted for a career-high 34 points versus the Heat. Over the last two weeks, Thomas is averaging 16.4 points, 4.0 assists and is shooting a healthy 50.6 percent from the field. He is owned in just 56 percent of Yahoo leagues, and after his coming out party on Saturday, I’d expect that number to climb this week. Make sure he is not on your waiver wire any longer.

Carlos Delfino – SG Rockets: Delfino is once again on my start list because he has found his groove with the Rockets and they have been able to carve out an average of 26 MPG over the last 8-games for him. With the added playing time, he has been able to average 13.0 points and 3.3 3-pointers per-night over the last two weeks. He doesn’t provide much in the way of peripheral stats (3.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.1 steals), but the 49.3 percent shooting from the field and 86.0 percent shooting from the free-throw line make him a top 40 player over the last two weeks. And, being that he is owned in just 18 percent of Yahoo leagues, he is a sexy FA pick-up with 4 games in week 12.

Matt Barnes – SF Clippers: The Clippers play four games this week, and Barnes has been one of the more underrated FA pick-ups this season with his hot play. The problem with the big-box websites is they keep waiting for him to drop off with his production, whereas I don’t care when or if he drops off; the point is he is hot right now and I am going to ride this bandwagon until the wheels fall off! Over the last two week Barnes has averaged 11.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and is shooting 46.5 percent from the field in his 30 MPG.

Andray Blatche – PF Nets: Blatche is owned in just 31 percent of Yahoo leagues, despite being ranked just inside the top 100 players this season (98). Over the last two weeks he has put up 13.0 points and 8.5 rebounds, while shooting 50.0 percent from the field. His minutes are limited (21:49 per-game), but he makes the most of his time on the floor and is worth owning in most formats. Blatche is giving back late third round value over the last two weeks, and that is a steal for a guy sitting on nearly 70 percent of waiver wires out there!

Tiago Splitter – C Spurs: Center is the hardest position in fantasy basketball to fill if you don’t get some solid guys early in the draft. So, when a guy like Splitter starts averaging 10.4 points, 6.4 rebounds in 26:52 MGP over the last two weeks, you need to jump on him like a loose ball in the fourth quarter. His stats are somewhat erratic, but I can deal with the 8 points/5 rebound nights because he also gives me the 14 points/14 rebound nights. Right now he is owned in just 20 percent of Yahoo leagues, and I would have no problems picking him up in all standard 8 and 9 scoring category leagues.

Sit ‘em

Rajon Rondo – PG Celtics:
I completely understand you can’t sit down Rondo in standard Yahoo scoring leagues. But, I would certainly consider trading him. His name carries more weight than his fantasy value does, as proof by his current season ranking of #70 overall if you look at totals. Yes, he averages 13.0 points and 11.1 assists a night this year, but over the last two weeks those numbers have dipped to 10.8 points and 8.8 assists, while he is shooting just 42.3 percent from the field and turning the ball over 3.7 times per-game (2nd highest in the NBA). Since his 1-game suspension, he has responded by shooting 37.5 percent on 24 attempts and in both games he had just 8 assists. Other big-box websites have him as a buy-low candidate, whereas I view him as a sell-high guy with his name being worth more than his fantasy game.

Jason Kidd – SG Knicks: The Knicks play just one game this week, so no matter what the format and what the league size, anyone in a Knicks uniform is going to put up less than stellar numbers in week 12. Those in salary cap leagues will want to sell Kidd and pick up someone like Thomas from the Kings while they are cheap.

Carmelo Anthony – SF Knicks: Just like Kidd, Melo plays just once this week and there is only so much damage he can do in that one game. Even if he matched his season highs of 45 points, 6 assists and 13 rebounds in his lone game, the reality is that a lesser player like say Shawn Marion or Barnes would do better overall this week due to the additional 3 games they play. Work smart people, not hard!

Patrick Patterson – PF Rockets: Earlier in the season Patterson was playing 30-plus minutes and had a run where he scored in double-digits in 12 of 15 games throughout November and early December. But, the Rockets are getting healthy as a whole and Patterson has scored single digits on his last 4 games, dropping from a high of 9 points down to a low of 3 points on Saturday. With the direction his game is going, you could do better on the waiver wire right now.

Marcin Gortat – C Suns: Gortat has had his struggles this season, but has picked up his play over the last months averaging 12.2 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per-game. The problem this week is that he plays just 2 games, and there is only so much damage he can do in those games. Obviously you want to play him if you are in a daily transaction league, but those in weekly or cap leagues will want to look at centers who play more games and have a better chance at putting up more overall stats. Splitter from above is a good option, as are Blatche, Larry Sanders and Amir Johnson (all qualify at center).


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.