Fantasy Forecast: Who's Your MVP?
This season has been exciting for me because through my effort on social media, I have been talking with NBA fans from around the world. The most commonly asked non-fantasy question is who I think the MVP is as we near the All-Star break. Well, while I can make a strong case for guys like Kevin Love, Stephen Curry, Lebron James, and even Paul George, I have Kevin Durant as my first half MVP.
This is one time where fantasy mirrors reality because Durant is also Yahoo’s No. 1 ranked player overall. So far he is averaging 31.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.5 steals, and is shooting a ridiculous 51.2 percent from the field. Of the 48 games he’s played in this season, he’s scored fewer than 25 points in just 11 of them, and recently scored 30-plus in 12 straight games.
Now, if I had to go for a No. 2 pick, it would be Love. For that I say look at the overall numbers this season instead of averages. Love has put up 1,172 points, 105 3-pointers, 604 rebounds, and 185 assists. To put that in perspective, he ranks 4th in total points scored, 3rd in rebounds, 37th in assists (4th for non-guards), and 14th for 3-pointers made. On top of that factor in that Love is a PF, so he doesn’t handle the ball like Durant, James, and the other big name players.
And for those who start up the LaMarcus Aldridge is the best PF in the NBA talk, I point you back to the stats. Aldridge is 6th in points (1,147), 5th in rebounds (547), 76th in assists, and has hit just a single 3-pointer this season. While Aldridge is a very good PF, I would rather have Anthony Davis over him in fantasy basketball (while he is healthy).
D.J. Augustin – PG Bulls: I told you last week to grab Augustin because even though he is coming off the bench, he is putting up starter numbers in fantasy basketball. Over the past two weeks he is averaging 20.9 points, 3.4 3-pointers, and 5.4 assists a night while shooting 47.2 percent from the field. He is still only owned in 56 percent of Yahoo leagues, and comes fairly cheap in daily cap leagues. I would check my waiver wire to make sure he isn’t still on it, ESPECIALLY if you own Darren Collison.
Jodie Meeks – SG Lakers: Shooting guard is not an easy position to fill if you didn’t plan ahead via the draft, or your starter is either hurt or under-performing. A guy like Meeks flies under the radar with the Lakers because Kobe Bryant is the starter (when healthy) and the team is 16-31 as of Sunday night. I bet most people didn’t even know that over the past two weeks Meeks is averaging 18.6 points (47.2 FG percentage), 3.0 3-pointers, and 2.3 steals a night. He doesn’t help out in rebounds, blocks, or assists, but he will provide help in points, steals and 3s. If the Lakers continue to plummet in the standings, it’s possible Bryant sits out the remainder of the season and Meeks continues to shine.
DeMarre Carroll – SF Hawks: One of the hottest players in the NBA right now is also a guy that most people don’t even know, DeMarre Carroll of the Atlanta Hawks. His 15.8 points, 2.3 3-pointers, 6.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 57.1 percent shooting from the field over the past two weeks ranks him 9th overall in the NBA in standard 9-cat scoring systems. He is owned in just 33 percent of Yahoo leagues, making him a nice waiver wire addition. Since the Hawks play just 3 games this week and 2 next week (All-Star shortened week), I’d wait until week 17 to add him.
Channing Frye – PF Suns: I am a big fan of Frye’s when it comes to fantasy basketball, but I am in the minority according to other “experts” out there. The proof is in the stats. Over the past month he is averaging 14.4 points, 2.8 3-pointers, and 5.0 rebounds. And, he is shooting a solid 45.8 percent from the field over that span. You find me another PF/C off the waiver wire that will give you 14-15 points, 2-3 3-pointers, and grab 5 rebounds most nights and I will give you a shout-out in my next article! Frye being owned in just 61 percent of Yahoo leagues is a travesty!
Nikola Vucevic – C Magic: Vucevic returned to action last Wednesday and has managed to put up a total of 42 points, 27 rebounds and 3 steals in the three games since. The Magic waited until he was symptom free before letting him take the court, so he should be fine to stick back in your line-up or buy low in daily cap leagues. With the Magic playing a 4-game schedule this week, he makes for a great cap league play in week 15.
Darren Collison – PG Clippers: Chris Paul is supposed to return on either Feb. 7 or 9, meaning Collison’s fantasy value is about to sink like a rock. While Collison is worth playing while he is the starting PG, his owners need to go ahead and look at the waiver wire for a replacement. Don’t cut him yet, but have a plan in place for Week 16.
Gerald Henderson – SG Bobcats: Henderson is one of the more overrated players in fantasy basketball in my opinion. He had an ADP (Average Draft Position) of 98.1, putting him in the 9th round. Up to this point in the season he is ranking out in the 150 range (when filtering by average stats), which means he is giving back roughly 13th round value. And with 75 percent of people owning him on Yahoo, and 61 percent starting him, I would have to say that he is doing more harm than good to far too many line-ups.
Andre Iguodala – SF Warriors: Another one of the more overrated players in fantasy basketball has to be Iguodala. Consider that he is putting up just 8.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and is shooting 43.4 percent from the field over the past month and one has to wonder why he is still owned in 90 percent of Yahoo leagues. Unless you are in the deepest of deep leagues, there is an excellent chance of a better SF being on your waiver wire right now. Too many people are thinking of the Iguodala of 2009, and not the Iguodala of 2014. The reality is he is a role player now and he doesn’t provide enough stats to truly be a fantasy asset. I’d move on sooner rather than later.
Ersan Ilyasova – PF Bucks: I got a lot of questions about Ilyasova this past week after he put up 43 points and 12 rebounds in a 2-game span. I think people were hoping he finally turned the corner and would now be worth playing again. The problem with him this season is the 38.1 percent he is shooting from the field. It hardly makes sense for the 74 percent of people still owning him to run him out there and take home 10 points and 5-6 rebounds while he tanks your FG shooting stat in the process. The Bucks are a mess and there is very little chance of him turning this thing around like he did at the end of last season.
Marc Gasol – C Grizzlies: Gasol hasn’t been the same dominating player since returning as he was prior to the knee injury. In the 10 games since his return to the court, four of them resulted in fewer than 10 points scored, and he’s grabbed 7-plus rebounds just three times. The bright side is his blocks haven’t suffered as he has a total of 13 blocks in those 10 games. I know most people can’t sit him down due to his draft position. But, if you can, I’d sit him against the Thunder and Mavericks this week and turn him loose against the Hawks and Cavaliers. He is a double-double threat every single night, but I don’t think he gets it going after the All-Star break personally.
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.