Fantasy Forecast: Monday, Jan. 7, 2012
With three teams (Pistons, Clippers and Wizards) playing just two games in Week 11, there are some interesting questions for owners as we are nearing the halfway point to the NBA season. This week we got some devastating news as Kevin Love re-fractured his hand and while no timetable had been set, he could be out another 4-6 weeks as the bone heals again. But, we also got some good news as John Wall is expected to be back for the Wizards within the next two weeks. It will be interesting to see how the PF battle between Dante Cunningham and Derrick Williams shakes out for the Wolves. But, for now, Cunningham has the starting job and is worth a pick-up in standard 12-team leagues. Don’t cut a player of value for him, but I bet you have a bench player worth cutting anyway.
On a side note, Ricky Rubio is said to be targeting Tuesday for his return after dealing with back spasms. He was supposed to be back on Saturday, but missed that game as well. So, we will have to take a wait and see approach today and tomorrow before knowing how to proceed moving forward this week. The reality is that we may not get good fantasy numbers from Rubio until after the All Star break, so his owners will need to exercise their patients in the mean time.
Lou Williams – PG Hawks: Williams has been hot over the last 14 days, averaging 18.6 points (3.3 3-pointers), 5.9 assists, 1.1 steals and is shooting 48.5 percent from the field. He is owned in 78 percent of Yahoo leagues, meaning he is available still in almost a quarter of the leagues out there. For someone playing at a top 25 level over the last two weeks, Williams is a must-own player at the moment.
Danny Green – SG/SF Spurs: Green isn’t someone that you think of when it comes to fantasy basketball typically as he comes off the bench for the Spurs. But, because of his 3-point prowess, he is always on the radar in leagues that count that category. The good news is that because of his recent cold streak, Green is owned in just 55 percent of Yahoo leagues. With him knocking down 42 percent of his shots from beyond the arc this season, he is certainly worth owning after he scored 13 points (3-for-7 from 3-point land) on Saturday night. He is going to be a little streaky, so stick with him through the bad times and he will come through during the good times. His value is mostly in 3’s, points and steals.
Kyle Korver – SF Hawks: Korver is a sniper with his shot, but he goes unnoticed in a lot of leagues because he doesn’t bring with him the peripheral stats like rebounds and assists. Yes, he is only averaging 3.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists per-game over the last two weeks. But, he does give owners in 8 and 9 category leagues 10.1 points and 2.9 3-pointers while playing 31 MPG. Understand what he provides you in the way of stats before picking him up. Those in 8 and 9 category leagues need to own him regardless of your depth at the SF position.
Tristan Thompson – PF/C Cavaliers: Did you know that Thompson has grabbed double-digit rebounds in 7 of his last 8 games? Did you also know that he has scored double-digits in 8 of his last 10 games? Thompson has been a double-double beast over the last few weeks, and nobody is taking notice as proof by his 41 percent ownership in Yahoo leagues. Those who own Love will want to go check and see if Thompson is available in their league, as they will need to replace the stats while he heals.
Kosta Koufos – C Nuggets: Koufos has been riding a hot streak lately, and I am not backing off my must-own recommendation for him still. His scoring is erratic, but he is a great source of rebounds and blocks off the waiver wire. Owned in just 26 percent of leagues, Koufos is putting up 9.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks a night over the last two weeks. With Center’s being so hard to come by, Koufos is certainly worth owning in all formats until his role changes for the Nuggets.
Nikola Pekovic – C Timberwolves: Pekovic is still unowned in roughly 25 percent of Yahoo leagues, and the man is a double-double BEAST! Over the last two weeks he is averaging 15.7 points, 10.0 rebounds and shoots 50.7 percent from the field. He will be an even more important part of the gameplan with Love out now, so there is no reason whatsoever he should be on your waiver wire.
Ty Lawson – PG Nuggets: Lawson isn’t so much of a true sit as he is a be aware and beware player this week. He returned to the starting line-up on Saturday, but you have to wonder how his sore Achilles will affect his minutes this week. There is some risk with him this week as Andre Miller has dished out 28 assists over his last three games. Keep an eye on Lawson’s news or email/social media me and I will keep you up to date.
Marcus Thornton – SG Kings: Thornton has missed four straight games with a bum ankle, and he is questionable to return on Monday against the Grizzlies. With the Kings playing just three games this week, this could turn into a 2-game effort for Thornton if he misses Monday, or plays limited minutes. I’d give him one more week off for those in weekly transaction or cap leagues, and look for him come back and play starter minutes in week 12.
Carlos Delfino – SF Rockets: Some of the big-box fantasy sites are hyping Delfino after his 22-point nights against the Hawks and Bucks recently. But, the reality with him is he is a 3-point specialist whose minutes and shot attempts are sporadic. Don’t be fooled, he scored less than 10 points more often than he does over 10 points, and that limits his fantasy value to 14-team and deeper leagues.
Charlie Villanueva – PF Pistons: C-Nova was riding a hot streak at the end of December, but has gone ice cold to start off January. You would be surprised how something as simple as the $25,000 fine he got for a flagrant foul on Isaiah Thomas could mess with a guys play. The Pistons play just two games this week and I would pay close attention to how he does in those games. If he doesn’t snap out of this funk and get back to double-digit scoring and 6-7 rebounds, I’d cut him loose and move on until he gets his groove back.
Amare Stoudemire – PF/C Knicks: Because of his name, STAT will be owned in virtually every league on Yahoo. But, the reality is that his name carries much more value than his stats do. The Knicks tried every trick in the book to trade him, and nobody wanted him. That should tell you something if teams that are struggling to get fans in the doors don’t even want him. Now that he’s back, I would look to cash in and trade him before he shows you just how little fantasy value he actually provides for the price you paid to draft him.
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.