Fantasy Forecast: Monday, March 4, 2013
With the NBA season getting closer to an end, fantasy owners are just three short weeks away from seeing their regular season end as well. At this point there isn’t much on the waiver wire worth owning, and people who stuck it out with Andrew Bynum are regretting that decision. I put him on my do-not draft before he could hurt me, but there are still 64 percent of people playing Yahoo fantasy basketball that have faith he will come through by season’s end. The reality is that Bynum isn’t going to help you, so feel free to cut him in all formats except dynasty leagues.
Tony Parker of the Spurs has been diagnosed with a Grade 2 ankle sprain, meaning he will miss approximately four weeks. The Spurs are a team that exercises extreme caution when it comes to their star players health, and if Parker does miss four weeks that puts his return right around the beginning of April. The reality of the situation is that once Parker does get back the team is more likely to prepare him for the playoffs than to finish the regular season off strong. It makes Patrick Mills an interesting addition for those in deeper leagues, but I wouldn’t add any of the Spurs PGs if you are in a standard 12-team league until someone separates themselves from the pack.
On another front, Danny Granger is back to playing for the Pacers. That is good because he is a personal friend of mine, but bad because his production is not what we’ve become accustomed to. So far he is shooting 31.3 percent from the field, 62.5 percent from the free throw line, and is averaging just 6.8 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.8 assists in his 16:45 minutes a night. I want to tell you to stick with him and ride the storm out because I know he has the skills to turn this around. And, if you’ve stuck with him this long, another few weeks isn’t going to hurt.
Isaiah Thomas – PG Kings: Thomas is back to being a fantasy asset thanks to his 17.0 points and 5.0 assist average over the last two weeks. It doesn’t hurt that he is shooting 49.3 percent from the field and 96.3 percent from the free throw line over that span. This week he plays a 4-game schedule, and should be owned in all formats while he is hot.
Thabo Sefolosha – SG Thunder: Sefolosha is one of those players that flies under the fantasy radar, but is actually worth owning in all standard 8 and 9 cat leagues. Over the past month he has averaged 9.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.0 blocks a night, while shooting 48.9 percent from the field and 90.0 from the free throw line. Those numbers actually rank him as a top 30 player when filtering by a 30-day average, and he is owned in just 24 percent of leagues right now. It’s not always the flashy stats that help you win; sometimes you need a guy that does the little things around the basket to come out on top in fantasy leagues.
Jeff Green – SF Celtics: I said it last week, and I will say it again this week, Green is someone that should be owned in all formats to finish the season out. The Celtics are not a young team, and Green has the ability to play multiple positions and contribute across the board for fantasy owners. Over the past month he has averaged 15.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.8 blocks a night, while shooting 52.2 percent from the field and 86.8 percent from the free throw line. He will continue to see around 30 MPG for the rest of this season, and he is owned in just 39 percent of Yahoo leagues right now.
Elton Brand – PF/C Mavericks: The first thing you need to understand with adding Brand is that Brand 2013 isn’t Brand of 2006-07. He isn’t going to get you 20 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks a night. Instead, Brand is going to put up about 12 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks most nights; still not bad stats for a guy who is coming off the bench and playing 25 MPG. Right now he is owned in 56 percent of Yahoo leagues, but is giving back fifth round value over the last two weeks. He should be owned in all formats as PF/C depth for the fantasy playoffs.
Larry Sanders – C Bucks: Sanders is one of the most underrated fantasy players out there right now. Over the past month he has averaged 11.7 points, 11.6 rebounds and 3.7 blocks a night. Those numbers put him in the top 25 for all NBA players in 9-cat leagues. Not bad for a guy that is owned in just 75 percent of leagues and who I’ve been pumping since the second week of the NBA season and telling people to grab off the waiver wire! Simply put, Sanders is giving back second round value and should be owned and played no matter what the league size and league format.
Steve Nash – PG Lakers: When it rains it pours for the Lakers; Nash has turned into the PG version of Dwight Howard for fantasy owners as he is no longer putting up numbers worthy of a starting PG in most fantasy formats. Over the last two weeks, Nash is averaging 12.8 points, 5.8 assists and 0.6 steals a night for the Lakers. What’s worse is that he averaged below 8.0 assists per game for January and February, a total he hasn’t seen in any full month since 2004.
Joe Johnson – SG Nets: The great thing about Johnson in fantasy leagues is that he has no problem looking for his own shot, so you know he will score you points over the course of a season. The bad thing about Johnson right now is that he is dealing with a sore heel that caused him to miss three games and underperform in the two since his return. A heel injury is one of the hardest injuries for an NBA player to play through, and it is likely to be a while before he is healed enough to put up the stats we have become accustomed to. The Nets play a favorable three-game schedule this week against the Bobcats, Wizards and Hawks, but I would sit Johnson down until he shows he is ready to play at full speed.
Danny Granger – SF Pacers: As I said above, I know Danny and know he has the skills and desire to be the player he was last year. The problem is there is plenty of rust to knock off before he can get there. And, to make things even more complicated, you have Paul George coming into his own and taking on a leadership role on the court. Hold on to Granger, but it is best to keep him on your bench so he doesn’t drag down your FG and FT percentages while he tries to find his groove.
Tim Duncan – PF Spurs: Duncan is still one of the best fantasy players out there, so father time is still chasing him around the arena. But, the Spurs play just two games this week and those in weekly transaction or cap leagues will want to find a fill-in replacement. Yahoo had Duncan projected as their No. 58 ranked player in the pre-season, and so far he is ranked No. 6 when filtering by season average in a 9-cat league. Pretty impressive for a guy who is turning 37-years-old in April.
Marcin Gortat – C Suns: This is more of a warning than a true panic, but Gortat has become erratic with production since February, and I don’t think it is going to get much better as the Suns finish out their season. Over the last two weeks Gortat has seen his per-game average drop from 11.6 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks a night from Nov – Jan, down to 10.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks a night in February. The dip doesn’t seem big when you look at the numbers on the surface, but they are concerning when you consider that the only reason they were as high as they were in February was due to a few big games to even out the many poor games throughout the month. Jermaine O’Neal has been showing signs of life, and may be an option for owners in deeper formats to finish the season out.
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.