Fantasy Forecast: Monday, Jan. 28, 2013

This time of the year all the national media is talking about is the NFL Pro Bowl and the upcoming Super Bowl. But not me, I am still all about the NBA and fantasy basketball!

The big news for this week goes to the Boston Celtics who lost Rajon Rondo for the rest of the season with a torn right ACL. This news is just as devastating for fantasy owners as now they have to scramble to replace someone they spent a low second or high third round pick on. Avery Bradley becomes a must-own player in all formats, and Jason Terry should be on your radar as a possible waiver wire addition for those league that count 3-pointers. I would leave Leandro Barbosa on the waiver wire until there is a real reason to grab him, as Bradley is going to be the main beneficiary from Rondo going down.

Lou Williams of the Atlanta Hawks also went down with a torn right ACL. Kyle Korver becomes a must-own player in all formats (59 percent owned), and is going to be a steal for those leagues that count 3’s. I would leave John Jenkins and DeShawn Stevenson on the waiver wire in the hopes that they become someone else’s problem.

Chris Paul is still nursing a bruised right knee-cap and has now missed four straight games. The Clippers haven’t given a timetable for his return and word is they won’t rush him back until he is 100 percent healthy with Eric Bledsoe being a capable replacement. CP3’s owners will just have to take a wait and see approach with him this week, but those in weekly transaction and cap leagues would be better off just sitting him as the Clippers play just three games this week.

On the Timberwolves front, Derrick Williams and Dante Cunningham continue to battle it out for the PF minutes. Williams looks like the better player to own as he has been a bit more consistent averaging 10.9 points and 5.4 rebounds in 27:30 MPG over the last two weeks. If you have Cunningham over Williams, you won’t be missing much if you own Cunningham who is averaging 10.7 and 4.6 rebounds in his 30:51 MPG over the same two weeks. Ricky Rubio looks like he is on the verge of busting out as he put up 14 points, 8 assists and 5 steals against the Bobcats on Saturday. He did suffer a thigh contusion in the game, but played through it and is fine for the coming week.

A sneaky fantasy pick-up right now is Luke Ridnour (owned in 49 percent of Yahoo leagues), who is averaging 15.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.2 steals and a 3-pointer per game over his last five games. Those numbers put him in the top 60 for Yahoo rankings, and that is a nice little waiver wire gem for owners savvy enough to make the move.

Start ‘em

Jarrett Jack – PG/SG Warriors: I have been pumping Jack for a few weeks now, and he is starting to climb up the Yahoo percent owned ladder (62 percent owned now). Over the last two weeks he has averaged 15.3 points, 8.1 assists, and is shooting 46.6 percent from the field in his 32:45 MPG on the floor. Jack qualifies at both PG and SG, so he can be used at either spot and that is great news for those who already have a starting PG on the roster.

Carlos Delfino – SG/SF Rockets: For the season Delfino has been hovering right around the top 100 players in the NBA according to Yahoo standard scoring fantasy leagues. But, over the last two weeks he has been able to punch that up to a top 50 ranking thanks to his 13.9 points, 2.9 3-pointers and the 47.6 percent he is shooting from the field. Delfino doesn’t provide anything outside of points, but at this point you have to take what you can get when it comes to waiver wire stats. He is a notoriously streaky shooter, so make sure you hop off the bandwagon when you see him cool off.

Martell Webster – SG/SF Wizards: Webster is virtually unowned (8 percent), but he has been providing top 60 stats over the last two weeks thanks to his 10.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 52.9 percent shooting from the field. Trevor Ariza is still there to steal minutes from Webster, but Webster is playing better right now and the Wizards will ride the hot hand.

Metta World Peace – PF Lakers: As bad as the Lakers are this season, MWP has been a nice surprise after being taken in the middle of the 11th round. As of right now he is averaging 13.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.7 steals a night for the Lakers, which equates to low-end second round value. He is owned in 75 percent of Yahoo leagues, so the chances are he isn’t available in your league. But, he flies under the big-box websites’ radars, and is certainly someone I would trade for at the right price.

Amir Johnson – PC/C Raptors: Johnson is another one of those guys that just keeps flying under the radar and gets no love from the big-box fantasy websites. Over the last month he has averaged 13.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 1.1 steals a night, while shooting 57.7 percent from the field for the Raptors. He is averaging 33:16 MPG on the floor, and is giving back late fourth round value. There is no reason this guy should be owned in just 46 percent of Yahoo leagues, which guys like Amare Stoudemire and Nene Hilario are hurting more teams than they are helping with their underwhelming fantasy numbers this season.

Sit ‘em

Chris Paul – PG Clippers: As I mentioned above, the Clippers play just three games this week and CP3 hasn’t practiced yet. He could return for the Jan. 30 match-up against our Wolves, but I don’t see the Clippers playing him in all three contests with just one day off in between.

Kyle Korver – SG/SF Hawks: As much as I like Korver as a must-own player going forward, the Hawks play just two games this week and that limited his effectiveness in all fantasy formats. It also needs to be noted that while Korver is averaging 16.0 points and 3.7 3-pointers per-game over the last two weeks, he is putting up just 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists for peripheral stats. That means he is little more than a points machine, so understand where his value lies when deciding if you should add him or try and trade for him.

Rudy Gay – SF Grizzlies: I’ve noticed a trend of fantasy owners looking to jump off Gay’s bandwagon recently. Heading into the season, Yahoo ranked him as their No. 29 player for standard 9-cat leagues, but he is currently sitting closer to the No. 85 range. Gay was taken at the top of the third round in Yahoo leagues, but is currently providing seventh round value. And, that number has gotten worse over the last month as he has been averaging 15.5 points and 5.9 rebounds, but is shooting just 39.5 percent from the field, which equates to 15th round value. I would be a buyer of Gay if the price is right as he inch closer to the All Star break.

Serge Ibaka – PF Thunder: Ibaka’s value lies in his blocks and rebounds, two areas he has slowed down in this month. On the season he is ranked No. 15 in Yahoo 9-cat leagues thanks to his 14.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per-game, but over the last two weeks those numbers have dropped to 12.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per night. The numbers don’t sound big, but as I said, his value lies in blocks and boards, and he’s only had double-digit rebounds once in his last 8 games. And, it doesn’t help that the Thunder play just two games this week, meaning his already slowing stats will be even further limited.

Tiago Splitter – C Spurs: Splitter is someone I have recommended you pick up and he has not disappointed. Over the last two weeks he is averaging 14.3 points and 8.5 rebounds while shooting a blistering 67.6 percent from the field. He doesn’t help too much in blocks (0.5 BPG over that span), but the points and boards are well worth adding off the waiver wire (39 percent owned). However, the Spurs are another one of those teams that play just two games this week, meaning those in weekly transaction and cap leagues will want to look elsewhere for their center play for Week 14. I would still add him in all formats, but stick him on the bench this week.


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.