Fantasy Forecast: The Playoffs Are Here!
All hail, the fantasy basketball playoffs have arrived! The main thing you need to know about this week is that the Clippers play just two games, so all their players are going to be risky plays in head-2-head scoring and daily cap leagues. You can’t sit them in standard Yahoo leagues where there is a daily transaction, but those in weekly leagues could probably do better outside of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
Looking around the league, the best free agent to be had right now has to be Bucks PG Ramon Sessions. Over his last seven games he is averaging 11.7 points, 4.0 assists, and just under 27 minutes a night. Those numbers aren’t special, but at this point in the season they will do nicely if you are looking for an end of the bench player who can add some points and assists for the playoffs. However, because the Bucks rotation issues are well documented, you will want to monitor his minutes carefully so you can jump ship the second that the coaching staff decides to kill what little fantasy value he has.
D.J. Augustin is also hot once again, so you’ll want to give him a look. I will talk about him more below, but check now to make sure he isn’t on your waiver wire.
The Lakers also finally announced that Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash would miss the remainder of the season due to injuries. My guess is that if you drafted Kobe and held on this long, you probably aren’t in the playoffs anyway. But, if you are and you own either, this is your last warning to cut them and move on.
Lastly, make sure you check your league settings for the playoffs. Some leagues have it set up so that the finals actually run two weeks instead of the normal one. You’ve made it this far, so make sure you know all there is to know about your league so you can take home that league title.
Start ‘em D.J. Augustin – PG Bulls: Augustin is a streaky fantasy player, and thus he can be a frustrating player to own in all formats. The good news right now is that he is on a hot streak, averaging 18.8 points, 3.6 assists, and 2.4 3-pointers per-game over the last two weeks. Right now he is owned in 53 percent of Yahoo leagues, and still fairly cheap in daily cap leagues. The Bulls play a 4-game schedule this week, making Augustin a solid play off the waiver wire.
Gerald Green – SG/SF Suns: The problem with Green is that he has highs and lows, and nobody can predict which will happen. Green put up 41 points on March 6th against the Thunder, then totaled just 12 points in two games against the Cavs and Celtics. He did recover with 28 points against the Raptors on Sunday, so he might have got his groove back just in time for fantasy owners to ride him in the playoffs. With him seeing about 33 MPG recently and the Suns playing 4 games this week and next week, Green is a very good play if he is on your waiver wire.
Danny Green – SG/SF Spurs: One of the main things that jumps out to me when I look at Green’s numbers recently is that he is only averaging 22 MPG over the past two weeks. The good news is that he is producing in those 22 minutes with averages of 10.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 blocks a night over that span. It doesn’t hurt that he is shooting 46.6 percent from the field and is hitting 2.7 3-pointers a night. Owning a Spurs player not names Tony Parker or Tim Duncan is hard to do, but Green is someone that should be owned in most formats as we head into the playoffs. He won’t wow you, but he will provide solid supplemental stats that compliment your studs that got you this far.
Chris Andersen – PF Heat: The Birdman doesn’t put up those sexy fantasy numbers that we all want to see. But, the last two weeks he has managed to average 6.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per night. Did you know that the Heat play a 4-game schedule every week throughout week 24? Sheer number of games will make him worth owning and playing as long as he keeps producing.
Amar’e Stoudemire – PF/C Knicks: When people mention Amar’e Stoudemire these days it is usually as the punch line to a joke. The problem is if you aren’t paying attention, you wouldn’t know that over the last two weeks he is shooting 61.3 percent from the field, and averaging 17.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks a night. The Knicks play 11 games over the next three weeks, so as long as he keeps this up, Stoudemire is worth owning in all formats.
Brandon Jennings – PG Pistons:
Probably one of the more overrated fantasy PG’s out there, Jennings is owned in 97 percent of fantasy leagues, and started in 64 percent of them. Despite a pre-season ranking from Yahoo of #40 overall, he is currently ranking out #188 over the past month with an average of 12.0 points, 7.2 assists, and a 36.0 field goal percentage. The assists are a nice thing to have, but the FG shooting, lack of steals (0.9 over past month), and 1.5 turnovers per page cancel the assists out. I thankfully don’t own Jennings in any of my leagues, but I know a lot of my readers do. I’d sit him down if at all possible, and sell him in all the cap leagues.
Darren Collison – PG/SG Clippers:
Collison has been able to retain his fantasy value longer than I thought he would because Jamal Crawford came back too early and looks like he may have aggravated his calf injury. However, as I said in the opening, the Clippers play just two games this week and Collison is only giving you between 15-20 points with about 3-4 rebounds and assists a night. Double that and you can see that you can most likely do better on the waiver wire with a player that plays 4 games.
Josh Smith – SF Pistons:
I can’t tell you how much I dislike Smith as a fantasy player. While the 18.7 points and 7.3 rebounds a night over the past two weeks look nice on paper, the 39.1 percent he is shooting and 2.7 turnovers he commits a night do far more harm than good. While you can’t turn over 18 points and 7 rebounds, it’s also hard to recover from sub 40 percent shooting and 3-4 turnovers three times in one week. You can’t cut Smith because of the points and rebounds he provides, but he is no slam dunk to play either. I’d avoid him in cap leagues at all costs.
LaMarcus Aldridge – PF Blazers:
Just when Aldridge returned to the line-up and started helping fantasy owners once again, he took a nasty fall and messed up his back. So far he has missed two games, and the possibility of him missing more is very real. With the Blazers playing just three games in week 21, my advice would be to sit him in weekly transaction leagues, and sell him in daily cap leagues. He is still using crutches to get around, which is a HUGE red flag for owners.
Carlos Boozer – PF/C Bulls:
There really aren’t any true centers that I want to warn you about, so instead I wanted to hammer home my point from last week about Boozer. Over the past month he is averaging 11.8 points, 7.4 rebounds and is shooting just 43.4 percent from the field. That low of a FG percentage is just unforgivable for a PF/C. What makes it worse is that he hasn’t had a block since February and he’s turning the ball over 1.6 times a night over the past two weeks. Boozer doesn’t offer enough in points and rebounds to justify the low shooting percentage and high turnover rate for a guy who plays under 27 minutes a night.
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.