Fantasy Forecast: Monday, Oct. 29, 2012

The NBA season is finally upon us, and that too means it is time for us to get ready for the weekly grind of setting line-ups, adding and dropping players, and fielding trade offers from others in the league looking to get a leg up on the competition. Remember that the draft is only the first step in a journey of 1,000 miles. You have a team, but now it is your job to manage it properly. So, let’s go through a few rules governing fantasy basketball team management.

1: Don’t be a waiver wire troll. There are people I play in leagues with that finish the season with 100-plus transactions, and that is just ludicrous. Just because a guy has a good [or bad] week, doesn’t mean you need to rush to the FA list and make a move. There is a difference between breaking out and being a flash in the pan.

2: Know your scheduling. A very good player that plays 2-games in a week is less appealing than good player that plays 5-games. There are leagues that have weekly line-ups (sets on Monday and locks until the following Monday), and there is a good chance it would be better to sit a more talented player for a player that plays more overall games that week. Try and look at the big picture.

3: Trades are almost impossible to make even. Understand that most fantasy owners will not do a trade unless they feel they are CLEARLY winning in the deal. Sure, sometimes you get the village idiot that wants to create his own personal basketball card collection online, but that is the exception to the rule.

4: Know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em. Don’t forget what I said earlier about being a troll, but also don’t hold on to someone that obviously isn’t going to snap out of it. If the player isn’t performing, look at making a trade or dropping him for someone else if the option is realistic.

5: Know your league’s scoring set-up. I’m in one league where I drafted Ray Allen in the middle rounds, and Kyle Korver towards the end, and people laughed. RayRay and K-Squared are 3-point snipers, and will help me lead the league in that particular stat.

And, don’t forget that the Oklahoma City Thunder pulled off a blockbuster trade with the Houston Rockets on Saturday. The Thunder send James Harden, Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward, while they get back for Kevin Martin, rookie Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks and a second-round pick.

The only real fantasy implications here are for Harden and Martin. Harden gains even more value than he previously had, while Martin holds relatively the same amount of mediocre value that he held before the trade.

Start ‘em

Greivis Vasquez – PG Hornets: So much is being made about Austin Rivers’ NBA-ready skill-set, that people are forgetting how solid Vasquez was last year. He isn’t going to hold down your starting PG spot, but as a flex or back-up PG he is one of the better ones. With 3-games this week against the Spurs, Jazz and Bulls, Vasquez makes for a solid opening week play.

O.J. Mayo – SG Mavericks: Mayo is someone I have on my SG sleepers list, and with the injury to Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks are going to need him to score even more than before. I think Mayo is going to be a steal with his 9th round draft position, and his 3-games this week make him a sexy fantasy play.

Michael Beasley – SF Suns: Beasley is a productive fantasy player when healthy, but health isn’t one of his strong suits the last few seasons. The good news for fantasy owners is that the Suns are going to be hurting for offense, and Beasley is going to get every opportunity to shoot the ball. Beasley was taken in the middle of the 8th round on average, and as long as he stays healthy I think he will give owners a nice return on investment (R.O.I).

Jae Crowder – PF Mavericks: Crowder dual qualifies at SF and PF, and should be added in all 12-team or deeper leagues. With Dirk Nowitzki out possibly six weeks, Crowder will get plenty of chances to make his mark on the court. He has scored in double-digits in six straight games this pre-season, so go grab him for some short term waiver wire gold.

Dwight Howard – C Lakers: I normally wouldn’t put someone as obvious as Howard on a start ‘em list, but there are some injury concerns surrounding him that his owners are nervous as the season draws near. The reality is that Howard is going to start the season off slow and his minutes will be managed, but the Lakers also are the only team in the NBA to play 4-games in the opening week. That means Howard is going to get an extra game on guys like Greg Monroe, Roy Hibbert and DeMarcus Cousins. I’d play him with confidence until his back acts up again.

Sit ‘em

John Wall – PG Wizards: Wall opens the season with just 2-games, and they are against Kyrie Irving and Rajon Rondo. While I do think Wall is an obvious star in the NBA, his match-ups are tough and the Wizards offense isn’t exactly going to scare many people with Trevor Ariza, Jen Vesley, Jordan Crawford and Nene Hilario. You might be better off playing someone like Darren Collison who has an extra game and will probably get you more stats when all is said and done.

Devin Harris – SG Hawks: Harris is long past his prime, and it looks as though he will start at SG for the less than impressive Atlanta Hawks. Yes, Joe Johnson isn’t there to kill the offensive flow, but Harris has is an injury waiting to happen, and hasn’t isn’t much more than a 10-11 point scorer who adds maybe 2 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal per-game. At best he is a flex option in most formats.

Meta World Peace – SF Lakers: The artist formally known as Ron Artest is one of those players who holds real NBA value, but not near the same fantasy basketball value. With Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Howard surrounding him, shots are going to be hard to come by. He is likely to become a “junk-yard dog” if you will, counted on more for his defense than his offense. I would stay away from Ron-Ron if I could, and would see what I could get for him on the trade market before the season gets underway.

Glen Davis – PF Magic: Davis started the pre-season out hot (19.25 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.25 steals per-game), but cooled down over the final three games (13.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 0.3 steals). For a fantasy PF, Davis doesn’t score enough (7.9 PPG career average), doesn’t rebound enough (4.3 RPG career) and doesn’t even contribute with enough blocks (0.3 BPG career) like a Serge Ibaka to make up for it. I think he is overrated as he is owned in 100 percent of Yahoo fantasy basketball leagues.

Brook Lopez – C Nets: Lopez enters this season healthy and happy with his new contract. But, will the stability of knowing he is staying with the Nets be enough for him to up his RPG from the 6.0 he saw in 2010? And, now he has to contend with Kris Humphries, Andray Blatche, and Gerald Wallace for them. The Nets play just 2-games the first week, and Lopez will battle Tyson Chandler and Jonas Valanciunas, both of which are much more proficient on the boards.

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