Fantasy Forecast




Fantasy Forecast: Week 18

The NBA is officially past the halfway point of the season, but I want to talk about the dunk contest before we get into this week's picks. Why did Blake Griffin win when JaVale McGhee had put together more creative dunks from start to finish? How did Serge Ibaka jump from the free-throw line (a legitimate free-throw line dunk too... no foot crossing the line stuff) and come in last place? Why did the basketball world go nuts because Griffin jumped over a compact car hood? That had to be one of the most boring dunk contests I have seen and it didn't have the same flare that they did in the late 80's.

Why has the NBA not taken out the dunk contest and put in a 1-on-1 competition? Make it mandatory for guys like Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony to participate in it… that would be SO much more interesting than a dribbling and bounce-pass competition.

Ok, now that I have got that monkey off my shoulder, let's get up to date on the latest trade rumors from around the league.

Carmelo Anthony: Word is the Knicks have made a reported final offer of: Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Eddy Curry and a draft pick for Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Renaldo Balkman and Shelden Williams. Since Melo has not said he will sign an extension with New Jersey, expect things to move fairly quickly this week for the Nuggets.

Anthony Randolph: If Melo gets traded, Anthony has been linked to the Timberwolves in exchange for a first round pick and Corey Brewer. There is no room in the starting lineup for Randolph, so he will come off the bench and will take a week or two to get back into game shape. Brewer would end up being in between a rock and a hard spot with Aaron Afflalo, J.R. Smith, Danilo Gallinari, and Wilson Chandler all in Denver.

Rumor mill: I heard a rumor of a deal that would involve Devin Harris, Anthony Morrow, and Travis Outlaw to the Trail Blazers for Andre Miller, Rudy Fernandez, and Joel Przybilla. And yet another that has Ramon Sessions headed for Atlanta. Personally I don't put much stock in the website floating these rumors and neither should you.

START 'EM
PG - Baron Davis: On the season, Davis' highlight has been throwing the ally-oop dunk to Griffin final round of the dunk contest. That being said, over the two weeks prior to the break he averaged 18.4 points, 8.0 assists, 2.4 steals in 36:34 MPG. He only shot 43.5 percent from the field, but I can deal with the poor shooting if he can put up the other stats consistently.

SG - Rodrigue Beaubois: Beaubois is on 82 percent of waiver wires at this moment, and word broke on Friday that he would remain in the starting lineup after the All Star break. Because of how the minutes will break up with the Mavericks, Beaubois isn't going to be a stud waiver addition, but someone certainly worth owning.

SF - John Salmons: Salmons duel-qualifies at SG and SF, plus he is on a hot streak right now. The week prior to the All Star break, Salmons posted 24.5 points and 6.5 assists a night for the up and down Bucks. I like him a lot this week, but pay close attention as he can go cold once again.

PF - Josh McRoberts: I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I like what McBob has been doing over the past two weeks. Over that time, he has put up 10.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and shot 68.8 percent from the field in 26:34 MPG. He still has Tyler Hansbrough to contend with for minutes, but he is doing his best to secure the bulk of the playing time. He is erratic, but a nice waiver wire player who is available in about 85 percent of leagues.

C - Marcin Gortat: I can't believe that Gortat is still available in 44 percent of fantasy leagues, despite the fact that he has put up 12.9 points and 9.7 rebounds a night in his 27:30 minutes on the floor. The guy shoots 58.1 percent from the field and 81.8 percent from the free-throw line, what more do you need to pick him up?

SIT 'EM
PG - Devin Harris: Harris put up a modest 13.0 points and 4.5 assists a night, while shooting 40.0 percent from the field, in the final week leading to the break. The Nets get some extra rest this week as they only play two games, so I see no reason to play Harris unless Melo is on the roster. He is still a solid third tier fantasy PG, but his stats are going to be as erratic as the Nets down the stretch.

SG - O.J. Mayo: Mayo is still owned in 70 percent of leagues, yet he has averaged an empty 8.4 points in 22:48 MPG over the past month. He has basically fallen out of favor with the Grizzlies, so if you are among the 70 percent that own him, get right with Jesus and pray for a trade before the deadline.

SF - Trevor Ariza: I was once a buyer of Ariza`s, and now I am a seller. Ride the wagon until the wheels fall off… and they have come off the Ariza wagon. In the two weeks prior to the break, he managed to shoot a meager 36.2 percent from the field on his way to 10.8 points and 5.5 rebounds a night. The inconsistent scoring just isn't enough to make up for the poor shooting, so I would look to deal Ariza before the fantasy trade deadline if you can.

PF - Boris Diaw: On the season Diaw is averaging 11.3 points and 5.2 rebounds, but those numbers are down over the last 30 days (9.9 and 4.1) and14 day (10.5 and 3.2) timeframe. I just simply don't trust the Grizzles in the second half of the season, nor a player whose stats are on the decline.

C - Marcus Camby: Camby is scheduled to come back from his latest injury (knee surgery) sometime this week or next week. But, those plans might be on hold now because he doesn't want to showcase himself and be traded at the deadline. The risk is simply too great to play Camby this week and I would sit on him until next week.


James Morris hails from Rio Rancho, N.M., and has been playing fantasy sports since 1997. In addition to writing the Timberwolves Fantasy Forecast, Morris also writes fantasy articles for the Boston Celtics, and Indiana Pacers, as well as the NFL fantasy forecast for the Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Arizona Cardinals. You can also find him on Twitter or get him on Facebook for all your fantasy sports updates.