Fantasy Forecast: Mid-Season Reviews
One of the worst things fantasy basketball players have to deal with is a coach that can’t make up his mind on a player and keeps toying with said player’s minutes. And to prove this point, look at the Houston Rockets and coach Kevin McHale. Samuel Dalembert started the season off with sub 20 MPG numbers, and then we saw his value spike when McHale started giving him 30-plus minutes a night. But, that was then and this is now. Dalembert was moved to the bench on Sunday in favor of Patrick Patterson and fantasy owners have flooded my inbox with questions of what to do.
The truth about Dalembert is I have no idea what McHale is going to do next, and I suspect his players don’t either. Maybe he is trying to motivate Dalembert; maybe this is a permanent switch; maybe McHale was playing the matchups and wanted to bring Dalembert off the bench to keep his fouls low. As of right now all you can do is wait and see how the line-up shakes out for the Rockets after the All Star Break.
A quick note on Jeremy Lin: I said it before and I will say it again, hold on to the kid unless someone offers you a king’s ransom in trade. Yes, he is going to struggle with high turnover numbers, but the numbers are due to the amount he handles the ball and the Knicks couldn’t replace him at PG right now unless John Starks came out of retirement and wanted to run the point. Chuck Norris may have Tim Tebow pajamas, but he uses a Jeremy Lin nightlight!
Be aware that this is All Star week, so teams play a max of 3 games. The Bobcats and Raptors both play just one game this week, so get their players out of your line-ups.
Since this is a short week, I thought we’d go through some of the first half winners and losers.
Jeremy Lin: Even though the kid has only been a household name for under a month, he has already managed to rack up enough stats to put himself in the No. 7 spot for ESPN’s Player Rater at PG this season. The formula is a little complex to explain, but essentially Lin’s total numbers make him the 7th best PG so far this season and waiver wire gold for those lucky enough to have snagged him. His T.O.’s may be high, but so are the rest of his fantasy stats!
Paul George: George has really come into his own as a player this year and owners smart enough to grab him love the payout. Projected by Yahoo to be around the No. 107 range this year (another example of why their rankings are so off), George is currently ranking out at No. 32 in all of fantasy basketball, and No. 4 at SG.
Thaddeus Young: Young isn’t as well known as some of the others players around fantasy basketball because he plays at a star studded position (SF) and he also plays behind Andre Iguodala for the 76ers. Even though he comes off the bench, Young is still giving owners 12.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals a night, numbers that put him right around 5th-6th round value if the draft were held today.
Ryan Anderson: Every year this guy gets no love from the big box fantasy stores like Yahoo and ESPN, and every year the guy finishes in the top 10-15 at the PF position. This year Anderson is averaging 16.8 points and 7.2 rebounds a night, and he has drained a league leading 91 3-pointers. If there is talk about a mid round golden boy, Anderson is surely No. 1 on that list.
Samuel Dalembert: Remember, this is a first half report, so Dalembert makes the winners list simply because he has had some really big weeks thus far. Because he has scored a total of 22 points and grabbed 148 rebounds and blocked 62 shots so far, he is ranking just inside the top 50 players in the NBA. But, because of the problems I outlined earlier, I wouldn’t want to own him going into the second half of the NBA season.
Raymond Felton: Even though Felton is owed in over 90 percent of fantasy leagues, he is killing owners with his 36.6 percent shooting from the field and 79.7 percent free-throw shooting. He is going to get you about 10 points and 6 assists a night, but the shooting is a major problem that is hurting many owners to this point.
Eric Gordon: The key player in the Chris Paul trade, Gordon has seen two games of action this season and now the team is refusing to disclose the nature of his latest knee procedure. After being taken at the top of the 3rd round in most drafts, his owners are going to have a hard time just cutting him loose. But, I wouldn’t be at all shocked for the team to just him down all together this season seeing as how they are currently 7-23 this season and are sporting the second worst record in the NBA.
Carmelo Anthony: Melo has been just that for fantasy owners thus far, mellow. So far Anthony has missed 10 games due to injury and there are real questions as to how he is going to handle the emergence of Lin at the point. The truth is for all that he is in terms of being a great scorer, Anthony is a black hole when it comes to the ball; the ball goes into his hands, but it doesn’t come back out to other players. If he buys into the Knicks offensive scheme, Lin could make him a better player. On the other hand, if he doesn’t, Anthony is going to be a major bust this season in real life and fantasy basketball!
Blake Griffin: It is almost blasphemy to mention loser and Griffin in the same fantasy sentence, I know. But, if you look at the numbers, Griffin is really a 2-trick pony that doesn’t do anything on defense and kills you with the free-throws. He does average 21.2 points and 8.1 boards a night, but he shoots 53.3 percent from the line and averages less than one steal and block per game (0.8). Griffin is a prime example of name value trumping actual fantasy value, and he is someone I would float in trade talks and see if you can get a Ryan Anderson or Paul Millsap for him.
Nene Hilario: Nene was supposed to be a dual-qualifying PF/C player for the Nuggets that would shine for them this season, but that hasn’t been the case. Playing in 22 games so far, Nene is averaging just 13.4 points and 7.8 rebounds a night. His blocks are subpar at best (0.8 per-game) and his 63.6 percent shooting from the free-throw line doesn’t help his fantasy value at all. He isn’t someone I cut right now, but I would keep a close eye on his calf problems.
For more Fantasy advice, follow James Morris on Twitter or on Facebook and tune into SiriusXM channel 87 and Sirius channel 210 every Thursday at 9:30 a.m. CT when he talks NBA fantasy hoops.