Fantasy Forecast: It's Rubio Time
Week 2 of the NBA is coming up and the main difference we notice is instead of having one or two teams playing a packed schedule of games, we have four teams playing five games and another 23 teams playing four games. The low-man on the totem pole this week happens to be the highly touted Clippers with just two games, and the 76ers and Celtics both play three games.
More games usually means more stats for you, but this season is different since everyone has more games and stats each week. It is more important than ever to keep an eye on the waiver wire and roster production so that you can make moves when they are needed and not get caught up in the name hype.
On a side note, those holding onto Andrei Kirilenko in the hopes that he would play this NBA season can officially cut him loose. His Russian team, CSKA Moscow, released a statement that said he was going to finish out their season. If you are one of the 40 percent of people who still own him, cut him right now!
Kyle Lowry: Lowry is as hot as any player in the NBA right now, averaging 13.3 points, 11.5 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 2.5 steals per-game so far. Now, the likelihood of this continuing is unknown this early into the season, but since you most likely grabbed him in middle of the 4th round, I’d say you got yourself a steal!
* Ricky Rubio: If for some odd reason he is still available in your league, grab him! He is owned in roughly 70 percent of leagues, up from 50 percent the week before thanks to a coming out party in which he lit the Heat up for 12 points, 12 assists and 6 rebounds. Did you know Rubio was the first Wolves' player to record 12-plus points, 12-plus assists and 6-plus rebounds since Sam Cassell did it in 2004?
Paul George: George was one of my pre-season sleeper picks at SG, and he is doing nothing to discourage that prediction early on. Yes, he has been a roller coaster ride so far with two good games and two bad ones, but his minutes are averaging out to 32.5 MPG and the Pacers are a young team that has to find their groove. George is someone that I have talked to on the side and the Pacers have big plans for him in the future. He is still available in some leagues, and I would be a buyer and drop someone on your bench that is nothing but depth anyway.
Marvin Williams: Williams started the season off hot, averaging 14.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks a night through the first three games, which is good enough to rank him right around the top 20 heading into Week 2. He is owned in just under 40 percent of leagues, which means he is probably available and better than a lot of the people some of you are starting right now.
Ryan Anderson: Anderson doesn’t get much love in fantasy circles since he is overshadowed by Dwight Howard, but he is holding his own with his 19.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.0 3PT’s per-game this season. He has forced Glen Davis to a backup role and he has the confidence of his teammates and coach. If he is available in your league still, slap yourself and then pick him up!
* Kevin Love: Love is a walking double-double, and already has a 30-plus point, 20-plus rebound game under his belt this season. He is nothing short of a Top 2 PF in the NBA and one of my favorite players in the league, both in fantasy and reality. Ride him until the wheels fall off that wagon!
Spencer Hawes: Hawes doesn’t have fantasy owners in awe like he should, despite averaging 12.0 points, 12.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks a night during the first week of the season. Surprisingly enough, he is owned in just 68 percent of Yahoo leagues and 46.6 percent of ESPN leagues. Even with the 76ers playing just 3 games this week, Hawes will put up enough points, rebounds and blocks at the thinnest position in the NBA to make him a must-start in week 2.
Chauncey Billups: Billups is going to be someone you have to keep an eye on this season as he is dealing with a groin injury. Not to mention that he is now 35 years old and the NBA grind this season is going to be tough for him to endure. The simple truth is the Clippers play just two games this week and he would have to set NBA records to be worth playing in weekly transaction and cap leagues given the lack of games.
Eric Gordon: The center of the Chris Paul trade is down with a bruised knee, and there is no real word on his status other than he is doubtful for Monday’s game at Utah. Even if Gordon misses Monday’s game and makes it back for Wednesday’s contest, it is hard to image him playing in the back-to-back games on Fri. and Sat. I’d keep a close eye on him in daily transaction leagues, sit him in weekly leagues and sell in cap leagues.
* Wes Johnson: Johnson’s value comes in the form of 3-pointers. So far he has made five 3-point shots, which ranks him in the top 25 for SGs’, but his 7 turnovers also rank him in the top 25 for SGs’ and that is not a good thing. He is worth a roster spot in deeper leagues, but you will have to take the good with the bad when you play him.
Brandon Rush: There is a pretty well known fantasy website pumping Rush really hard, and I just can’t see why right now. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Rush was a complete bust with the Pacers as inconsistent play and basketball IQ are major concerns. Even with the Warriors run-and-gun style of offense, Rush’s play continues to be erratic. Case in point: he was only able to hit 1-of-6 shots for four points, two rebounds and two assists with Monta Ellis out last week’s game against the 76ers. I personally don’t like him despite that website’s man-crush on him.
Blake Griffin: Griffin is a victim of the same problem that Billups is dealing with, a lack of games to play this week. Griffin is a stud and will give you superior numbers just about every time he takes the court, but he can’t produce numbers while sitting at home. Daily transaction leagues can play him, but those in weekly and cap leagues will want to find other options this week.
Mehmet Okur: Because center is such a thin position, Okur is still a must-own player despite his 7.4 PPG and 5.2 RPG average. He is slowly acclimating to the Nets, but his production just isn’t in line with a starting fantasy center, and his name carries more value than his game. I’d look to trade high on him while you still can by packaging him with someone else and getting a nice 2-1 deal out of this waiver wire addition.
*Darko Milicic: I think Milicic will finish the season with low-end center value, but it has been a rough early going for him thus far. With him averaging just 6.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 0.7 blocks per-game, his risk/reward is not great enough to recommend playing him as anything more than a spot filler in the utility spot right now. His blocks made him worth playing last season, and without that this season he is going to find himself on the waiver wire very shortly in many leagues.
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