Fantasy Forecast: Who Replaces Kemba Walker?
It wouldn’t be a regular week for fantasy owners if there wasn’t some injury that occurred in the NBA that sent ripples through the fantasy world as well. Bobcats PG Kemba Walker is going to miss 10-14 days after an MRI on Sunday revealed he suffered a second degree ankle sprain. While two weeks isn’t the end of the world, it does hurt owners who drafted Walker to be their starting PG. Ramon Sessions will step into the starting role for Walker while he is out, and he should be picked up in most formats.
I’ve been getting some emails from people thinking of trading Ricky Rubio due to his FG shooting and lack of scoring overall. There is more to look at in fantasy sports than a single stat category. Yes, Rubio has shot 33.0 percent from the field over the past month. And, he is averaging just 6.8 PPG over that same span. But, he also dished out 8.3 assists with 2.1 steals and 5.1 rebounds over the past month. PGs are there to get you assists and steals; it is the SG, SF, and at times a PF, that gets you the points. I can pad the FG percentage with my Center and PF and take the hit from Rubio as long as he keeps giving me 8 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals a night. I would suggest you do the same and even trade for him if the deal is right!
As I suspected he would last week, Nikola Vucevic missed week 12 after suffering a concussion back on January 6th against the Clippers. There is still no timetable for his return to the line-up, so owners in weekly transaction leagues will want to sit him down for week 13. Those in daily cap leagues have to just sit him until we know for sure that he will be in the starting line-up. If he is coming off the bench then I sit him down and see what he looks like before spending a game on him.
D.J. Augustin – PG Bulls: Augustin is proving that not being the starter on the depth chart is not always a bad thing. Over the last two weeks he has averaged 14.3 points, 2.1 3-pointers, 6.9 assists, and 1.3 steals a night for the Bulls. Those in need of PG help should seriously give Augustin a look as he is owned in just 26 percent of Yahoo leagues, and is dirt cheap in daily leagues.
Randy Foye – SG Nuggets: Foye has quietly been on a tear the last two weeks, averaging 18.0 points, 3.9 3-pointers, 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 0.9 steals a game. Add in the 51.8 percent he is shooting from the field and you have a top 10 player in the NBA when filtering by average stats over that span. Right now Foye is owned in 54 percent of Yahoo leagues and still comes in at a fairly reasonable rate for those in daily leagues. Given the Nuggets 4-game schedule this week, I would suggest picking him up before someone else does.
Tyreke Evans – SG/SF Pelicans: Evans is one of those players that is stuck coming off the bench, but like Augustin he still produces. With Jrue Holliday out for a month or more, Evans is going to see an increase in minutes and should have the ball more than he has all season. Evans is easy to overlook because he isn’t a starter, but he has been putting up 14.6 points, 4.9 assists, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.3 steals a night over the past month. As my friend Tiffany Dorsey says, “The Shaolin Space Ninja (Tyreke Evans) is going to carve defenses up!” You got to give her style points guys.
Terrence Jones – PF Rockets: Jones has been one of the better waiver wire additions for fantasy owners over the past month, averaging 14.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per night for the Rockets. Jones exploded for 36 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks against the Bucks on Saturday, and pushed his 2-week average up to 18.4 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks a night. There is no reason why he should be sitting on 40 percent of Yahoo waiver wires right now.
J.J. Hickson – C Nuggets: Did you know Hickson is owned in just 59 percent of Yahoo leagues despite averaging 11.5 points and 10.1 rebounds a night over the past month. He is only averaging 0.7 blocks a night over that span, but a double-double in points and rebounds is nice off the waiver wire. I’d look on yours now to see if he is available, as I bet there is a player that can be cut for him on most rosters right now.
Trey Burke – PG Jazz: The Jazz played two games back in week 11, then played 4 in week 12, and are now back to two games for week 13. With such a limited workload for Burke, those in weekly leagues will want to get him out of their line-up. Those in daily transaction and cap leagues need to consider playing him at all as he goes up against Rubio and John Wall this week.
George Hill – PG Pacers: Hill entered the season as a must-own player with players like Paul George and Roy Hibbert to dish the ball to. But, those lofty hopes have been all but squashed as Hill just hasn’t put up enough numbers to be worth owning in most fantasy formats. Over the past month he is averaging a sub-par 9.4 points, 2.6 assists, and 0.6 steals a night. For a PG, 2.6 steals just won’t feed the bulldog! I’d go ahead and put Hill on the trading block and see if you can convince some poor owner that he will turn things around in the 2nd half of the season.
Jeff Green – SG/SF Celtics: Green started the season off hot averaging 15.5 points on 44.3 percent shooting in November and December. But, January has been a whole different animal as he is now shooting 39.0 percent from the field, 30.0 percent from 3-point land, and averaging nearly a point less per-night (14.7 PPG). The PPG haven’t been an issue because as he misses more shots, he takes more shots, thus causing the FG and 3-point percentages to tank. Maybe the addition of Rajon Rondo helps take some pressure off Green. For now, I would sit him down unless you can take the hit in shooting percentages to get 14-16 points and 6-8 rebounds a night.
Derrick Favors – PF Jazz: Favors struggled late in week 12 as he put up back-to-back 8 point games on Friday and Saturday, which is sure to worry some of the more worrisome owners in fantasyland. While I wouldn’t be too concerned if I owned him, I would be concerned at the two games the Jazz play this week. Maybe the rest will be good for him, but he can’t help fantasy owners if he isn’t on the court putting up stats. Those in daily leagues can play him, but those in weekly leagues will want to sit him if they have any, and I mean ANY, other realistic options.
Andrew Bynum – C Free Agent: I have received more than a few emails asking if I think they should pick up Andrew Bynum off the waiver wire. The answer is without a doubt no! There is a reason why Bynum was traded, waived, cleared waivers, and still has yet to be signed; because he almost as fragile as Greg Oden is! If someone does sign Bynum, it will just be for another body to clog up the middle for a few minutes a night. Remember, Bynum has averaged just 52 games-played per year after 2007. Even if he is signed by the Heat for a title run, they also have Chris Bosh and Oden for him to fight for minutes with. Wherever he goes, he is depth and shouldn’t be on your fantasy radar.
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.