Fantasy Forecast: Who Replaces CP3?
Every week fantasy basketball players scour the waiver wire, hoping to find gold where others see fodder. The key to finding that gold is to know about all the news as soon as it happens. Take for instance the Chris Paul injury that occurred on Friday night. As soon as he went down I went to work calling everyone I knew to find out the severity of the injury. Within maybe an hour I had it posted on my Twitter and Facebook pages that he dislocated his shoulder and would miss weeks, not days, of action. It is now known that Paul has a Grade-3 shoulder separation and will be out "up to six weeks," but will not require surgery.
As soon as that happened I went out and picked up Darren Collison because he is going to be that gold for the next month or more. Go check your wire now to see if Collison is on there. Those in daily leagues should buy him right now because he is going to give you amazing return on your investment while he is still cheap.
In other news, there are rumors that the Celtics and Grizzlies are in talks to complete a Courtney Lee for Jerryd Bayless trade. There is no real fantasy impact in this trade unless a few injuries were to take place on both the Celtics and Grizzlies. Jordan Crawford and Avery Bradley are playing too well for Bayless to jump either of them on the depth chart, and with Tony Allen and Mike Miller in Memphis, Lee is going to come off the bench. This is one of those moves that has more of an NBA impact than a fantasy impact, and I wouldn’t own either of these players unless you are in a deep league.
On the Timberwolves front, Coach Rick Adelman said that Chase Budinger is "close" to returning. While he may eventually take over the starting SF position from Corey Brewer, that isn’t going to happen until Budinger gets his game legs back under him. Brewer is averaging 10.2 points and 2.2 steals a night over the last two weeks, but fantasy owners aren’t getting much else from him with just 2.2 assists and 1.7 rebounds in that time. His value is in his FG percentage (47.2 last two weeks), points and steals. The truth is he is ranking out in the top 90 players in the NBA over the last two weeks and he isn’t a bad source of points and steals off the waiver wire. If you have an extra spot, Brewer is a bit of a sneaky option.
As for Budinger, you will want to just monitor him for the time being. Even when he is officially back, it will still take some time before he gets a shot to start over Brewer. When/if that happens, he will give you about 9-10 points a night with 3-4 rebounds and a 3-pointer or two. And for those who ask why I never include any Timberwolves players in my start/sit section, it’s because Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, Kevin Love, and Nikola Pekovic are all owned in over 90 percent of fantasy basketball leagues out there. I have built a reputation for not padding my accuracy stats by giving you common sense picks like Rubio or Love. Instead, I tell you what you may not know, or confirm your thoughts on a move you have been thinking about but were afraid to pull the trigger on.
Just know that you should play all the Timberwolves you have with the team 2nd in the NBA for total points scored per-night with 106.8, 4th for total rebounds per-game with 45.8, 6th with 23.5 assists-per-game, and 2nd in the NBA with 9.3 steals-per-game!
Darren Collison – PG Clippers: As I said above, with CP3 out for a reported 3-5 weeks minimum, Collison is locked into the starting PG role on a team that plays 14 games in the month of January. Add to that the Clippers putting up the 6th most PPG as a team (104.8) this season, and Collison should have plenty of value as a starting PG in all formats.
Kendall Marshall – PG Lakers: I told people to grab Marshall when Jordan Farmar went down because there just isn’t anyone there to challenge him for minutes. With that said, too many people are going to see those 20 points, 15 rebounds, and 6 assists against the Jazz and think he is a stud. That was a fluke game against a rookie who needs a few days to rest up. Marshall is probably more of a 10 point, 7 assist, 2 rebound guy in all honesty. He is owned in just 33 percent of Yahoo leagues as of Sunday night, and he isn’t a bad pick-up with the Lakers playing 13 games this month and no competition for minutes.
Gerald Green – SG/SF Suns: Green (35 percent owned on Yahoo) is one of those guys that you love to hate in fantasy terms. Over his last 10 games he has scored in double-digits in six of them while averaging 26 minutes-per-game. Green doesn’t provide much in the way of peripheral stats (rebounds and assists), but he is going to be starting at SG for a week with Eric Bledsoe injured (see below), he hits plenty of 3’s (7th in the NBA with 83 this season) and is averaging 2.2 steals a night over the last two weeks. With the Suns playing 4 games this week, Green is a solid pick-up.
Terrence Ross – SG/SF Raptors: Did you know that Ross (28 percent owned) is tied for the 2nd most 3-pointers made over the last two weeks with 21? That’s right, he is averaging 3.0 3-pointers a night over the past two weeks, which largely accounts for the 14.4 PPG over that span. He laid up a dud on Sunday night with 8 points and 1 rebound in 33 minutes, but it was against the Heat, so a little slack can be given. His points are directly tied to the number of 3’s he hits, so if he goes cold from beyond the arc you will want to get him out of your line-up ASAP! For the time being though he is giving owners top 75 overall value in leagues where 3-pointers are counted.
Terrence Jones – PF Rockets: I told you to go get Jones a couple of weeks back, but did you listen? I did see his ownership increase slightly on Yahoo (46 percent now), but that is still far too low for a guy averaging 12.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks a night over the past two weeks. Even if Omer Asik does stay in Houston past the trade deadline, the Rockets made it pretty clear they are moving on from him by openly shopping him this season. Jones should be owned in most formats.
Boris Diaw – PF/C Spurs: Tiago Splitter suffered a sprained right shoulder on Saturday and will be out 3-5 weeks. The guy I see getting the biggest bump in fantasy value is Diaw, who is owned in just 9 percent of Yahoo leagues out there. In the 23 minutes a night he has been averaging this season, Diaw is putting up 9.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists a night. I’m not going so far as to saw Diaw is a must-own players right now, but he is someone you can grab off the waiver wire if you won’t have to cut someone that matters.
Trey Burke – PG Jazz: If there was a player in the NBA more in need of a break right now, it would be hard to find. Burke won the Western Conference Rookie the Month award in December, and has celebrated it by shooting 25 percent from the field (6 for 24) in the first two games of January. Not only that, but he got torched by Kendall Marshall for 20 points, 15 assists and 6 rebounds on Friday. The Jazz play two games this week, so those in weekly transaction leagues will want to get Burke on the bench or sell him and grab a cheaper PG option like Collison.
Eric Bledsoe – SG Suns: Bledsoe is going to miss “at least” one week according to Coach Jeff Hornacek, so make sure he is out of your line-up or sold in daily leagues. I doubt he loses his starting role to Green since the Suns are 3-4 without him in the line-up. But, the “at least” tag is not definitive either. Keep an eye on this and pick up Green in the meantime if you need help at SG.
C.J. Miles – SG/SF Cavaliers: With Kyrie Irving dealing with knee problems, and Jarrett Jack out with back spasms, Miles started at SG while Matthew Dellavedova started at PG for the Cavs on Sunday night. Because of the depleted line-up, Miles went off for 21 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Too many owners are going to go grab him, but I am telling you not to. Irving wasn’t ruled out until about an hour before the game, and Jack was in uniform, so this is likely to be a one-and-done thing for Miles.
Jeff Green – SF Celtics: While Green does provide owners with 13-15 points and 4-5 rebounds a night on average, it comes at a price with his 43.7 percent shooting this season and turning the ball over 1.9 times a night which is 12th among all players rated as a SF in fantasy leagues. Even if you shorten the spectrum down to two weeks, while Green is averaging 13.0 points and 5.2 rebounds, he is also shooting 37.7 percent from the field and turning the ball over 2.2 times a night. Because of the shooting and turnovers, he is ranking out in the 140th overall range in standard 9-cat scoring leagues.
Josh Smith – SF/PF Pistons: Smith is a lot like Green in that he helps in a few areas, then kills you in others. While his 15 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 1 block on most nights looks really nice, his now 39.961 (just to show you it is technically below 40 percent this season) percent shooting and 2-3 turnovers hurt too. When playing Smith you need to really look at the guy as a whole, not just in terms of points and rebounds. If you can afford to take a hit in field goal percentage, the Smith is a good play. But, if you already have guys like Damian Lillard (42.0 percent shooting), Ryan Anderson (43.8 percent), or John Wall (42.6 percent) on your team, you might want to think of trading Smith. Or, you could just punt the FG percentage stat all together and play Smith.
Larry Sanders – C Bucks: It goes without saying that the Bucks line-up is a complete wreck with a record of 7-26 this season. To start with you have Coach Larry Drew playing musical chairs with the starting line-up, causing guys like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton to be a roller coaster fantasy rides despite their obvious talent. Then, we saw Sanders and Gary Neal get into a heated argument during Saturday night’s blowout loss. Sanders’ value lies in blocks and rebounds, of which he is averaging 1.9 blocks and 6.1 rebounds a night. The blocks are good, but the rebounds are not what owners expected when they took him at the top of the 3rd round. I might float him out in some trade offers if you want more rebounds because the team chemistry is already rocky 33 games in. Imagine what is going to be going on when the fantasy playoffs roll around and the Bucks are 15-45.
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.