Fantasy Forecast: Monday, Jan. 21, 2013
We are now in Week 13, and that means we are officially past the halfway point for the 2012-13 season. As with any season, fantasy owners have had to navigate the rocky waters that are chopped full of injuries, sleepers and busts. This week I thought we could take a look at a few guys who may be ready to bust out and are strong candidates for buy-low trades.
Steve Nash – PG Lakers: The Lakers are currently 17-23, and nobody likes what they see with this team. Nash has had his struggle with turnovers this month (38; 13th most in the NBA), but he also ranks fourth in assists (124) and is shooting a blistering 53.7 percent from the field. Not to mention that he hasn’t missed a free-throw this season! I would bet if you played on how bad the Lakers are and how they will only get worse, Nash’s owner will trade him to you at a reasonable price. If you look at pure PG stats, Nash is a must-start player every single night.
Bradley Beal – SG Wizards: Playing for the Wizards doesn’t help your case for many things other than for being undervalued. Beal has been hot lately, averaging 18.0 points, 3.1 assists and shooting 48.4 percent from the field over the last 14 days. And, to sweeten the pot, Beal has been hitting an average of 3.0 3-points a night over that span. With the Wizards being in last place in the NBA, and John Wall returning to the line-up, I’d be willing to bet that Beal can be had if you mention both of those facts when talking trade.
Danny Granger – SF Pacers: Granger hasn’t played a minute this season, and the 76 percent of owners who have been holding on to him are in desperate need of stats at this point. Granger is scheduled to return in early February, which means now is the perfect time to throw out a trade and remind his owner that Paul George is taking over the Pacers. Make sure you say you are offering it up because you need help at SF, and he has Granger just sitting there. If you play your cards right, you might get you a starting SF who wants to show the NBA he is still healthy at a bargain price.
Amare Stoudemire – PF Knicks: STAT is back for the Knicks, but he is coming off the bench. The good news is that he seems to have accepted his role and even referred to the Knicks as “Melo’s team.” I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he has seen the light and is willing to do whatever it takes to win, and that is great news for fantasy owners looking for bargain deals. Since he is only playing about 20 MPG over the last month, his owner is bound to be wondering if that will change. I do think his minutes will increase after the All-Star Break, and he will once again hold starting PF value.
Eric Bledsoe – PG Clippers: Yes, Bledsoe is the back-up to mega-star Chris Paul. But, did you know that over the last 14 days he has averaged 8.8 points, 1.7 steals in just over 21 MPG? What makes him an interesting play this week is that the Clippers play five games and he will spank every back-up PG in the NBA when he gets on the floor. With the Mavericks and Nuggets both playing just two games, those in weekly and cap leagues could roll the dice with Bledsoe and come out on top given the extra game or two he plays over the rest of the league.
J.R. Smith – SG Knicks: The main problem with Smith these days is that he is not hitting his shots from beyond the arc. So far in January he is shooting just 26.8 percent from 3-point land, and has hit more than one 3-pointer just once since January 1st. That being said, Smith is a notoriously streaky shooter and it is only a matter of time before he catches fire again. The Knicks play 4 games this week and I wouldn’t have a problem sticking him in my starting line-up and hoping he snaps out of the funk. It is a risk, but the reward will be worth it if he comes through.
Andrei Kirilenko – SF Timberwolves: When Kevin Love went down after re-fracturing his hand, Wolves nation was left wondering what the team would look like in his absence. The good news is that AK-47 has stepped up and is averaging 14.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.9 steals per-game over the last 14 days. The only thing that is going to slow him down is his trouble-some back, but if it holds up I see a bright fantasy future for him this season.
Nikola Vucevic – PF/C Magic: I know Vucevic is listed as a center on the depth charts, but he qualifies as a PF and C in Yahoo fantasy formats. He is owned in 79 percent of Yahoo leagues, which is a little insulting considering that he is averaging 14.5 points and 13.9 rebounds a night over the past month. The guy is a double-double machine, so if he is somehow on your waiver wire, snatch him up right now and stick him in your starting line-up!
Larry Sanders – PF/C Bucks: Sanders scoring has been erratic at best lately, but he still puts up consistent center stats in blocks and rebounds night in and night out. Over the last 14 days he is averaging 9.1 rebounds and an astounding 3.7 blocks a night, and currently leads the league in blocks with 121. I’ve been pumping this guy all season long, and he is still owned in just 74 percent of Yahoo leagues. Make sure your league is not one of the 26 percent he is available in!
Darren Collison – PG Mavericks: I saw one major fantasy website call Collison a low-end PG just a few days ago. That is an amazing statement considering that over the last 14 days, his fantasy ranking is 20th in the NBA thanks to the 14.6 points, 5.1 assists, 2.0 steals and 51.5 percent shooting he is putting up. If being ranked No. 20 is low-end, then I would love to know who they consider mid-range. With all that being said, the Mavericks play just two games this week. That makes a sleeper like Collison worth sitting or selling for those in cap leagues.
Andre Iguodala – SG Nuggets: The Nuggets play just twice in week 13, but that isn’t the only reason for sitting Iggy. This season his shooting is down 2.3 percent from the field. And, while that may not seem like a lot, there is a HUGE difference for a guy who is shooting 45.4 percent from the field (as he did in 2011-12) and a guy who is shooting 43.1 percent as he is this year. Then you have to look at his Dwight Howard-esk free-throw shooting (60.8 percent) and you will understand why he is currently ranked as Yahoo’s 151st player this season when filtering by season average. This looks like a down year for Iggy, and he is someone I would consider selling if you can get fair value for him.
Gerald Wallace – SF Nets: Crash is back from a rib injury that sidelined him for 3-games. The problem with Wallace is that he is no longer the same guy he was in Charlotte. He is averaging just 9.5 points and 5.3 rebounds, while shooting 41.9 percent from the field and 67.3 percent from the charity stripe. Being that he is owned in 86 percent of Yahoo leagues, I’d say that far too many people are hoping for a rebirth and rejuvenation from him. I’m not a fantasy fan and wouldn’t want him on my team as anything more than bench depth in standard 12-team formats.
Dirk Nowitzki – PF Mavericks: Dirk has found his groove within the Mavs offense and has become a reliable fantasy player once again. The problem this week is that 2-game schedule the Mavericks play. Even if he puts up his season average of 14.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in both games, that is just 28 points and 11 rebounds this week, and you can do better than that by grabbing someone like Amir Johnson from the Raptors (3 games) or Andray Blatche from the Nets (4 games).
Kosta Koufos – C Nuggets: Koufos is worth owning for sure, but his stats are erratic. He is averaging just 9.9 points and 6.0 rebounds over the last 14 days, down from the 10.2 points and 6.5 rebounds he has averaged if you filter by the past month. JaVale McGee has picked up his play recently and that is a big reason for the drop in production. The good news is that Koufos is still the starting center; the bad news is that timeshares almost always kill the fantasy value for both players involved. And, the Nuggets play just two games this week to boot. Sit him down and hope the short week brings some clarity to the minute situation in Denver.
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.