Tag Archive | "Fantasy"

NBA Fantasy League Week 8: Fantasy All Stars (And Name Calling)

You know you’re in a bad place with your NBA Fantasy League when the dorks who do the analysis are making fun of your team. That’s finally happened to me.

Just kidding Moe and Matt, you guys aren’t dorks (yes you are), I just suck. That’s cool, whatever. I’ll be busy talking to girls and building stuff.

Without further comment …

Matt and Moe are two of the co-founding fantasy experts of RotoAnalysis.com. You can follow them @KidCotti21 and@MoeProblems respectively, or their site @RotoAnalysis.

With the NBA’s All-Star Weekend in the rear-view mirror, we figured at RotoAnalysis.com that we should have our own “Fantasy All-Star” teams, containing the starters and bench in each league of players that have proved most valuable to their owners so far in the 2011-2012 season. Spike Eskin likely has none of these players (just kidding, by the mathematical law of averages he must have at least one!), which I’m sure will make the rest of you happy. Hope you enjoy.

Fantasy All Stars: West

Starting PG: Chris Paul

CP3 has missed a couple games, but he has ultimately lived up to his top draft status with his incredible assists, steals, and free throw shooting. His shooting percentages are some of the best among point guards, and he will make threes and limit turnovers. He’s the total package, and will anchor any fantasy backcourt.

Starting SG: Kobe Bryant

At the shallowest position in the league this season, Kobe has managed to stay in a league of his own at the top. While the league’s leading scorer has put together a nice 5.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists a game, several peripheral statistics will hurt any rotisserie lineup with Bryant. His high volume, low percentage shooting and high turnover count negate some of what still make him clearly the top SG in the West, but overall I still believe he’s earned the top spot.

Starting SF: Kevin Durant

Well this one wasn’t close. Durant is #1 overall on the ESPN player rater showing that he is far from a pure scorer—not only is he shooting at the best clip of his career (51.3%), but he has posted career highs in rebounds, assists, blocks and steals. His 8.2 rebounds/game make him the best rebounder at the SF position, and having more than a steal and a block per game is just absurd. He’s certainly the fantasy MVP at the season’s halfway mark, at least in my mind.

Starting PF: Kevin Love

Love is definitely a unique fantasy big man. He is far from offering the traditional package of high percentage shooting, high block counts, and low turnovers. Instead, he bolsters his monstrous amounts of points and rebounds with three pointers and free throw shooting. If you set up your team the right way (with a guy like Serge Ibaka or Tyson Chandler next to him) Love is fantasy gold, and most certainly the starting PF on the West’s all-fantasy squad.

Starting C: Marc Gasol

While part of his uptick in value is definitely due to Zach Randolph’s injury, Gasol has outperformed any conceivable expectations in 2012. While his FG% has gone down as his usage has gone up, Gasol’s double digit rebounds and 2.2 blocks are on par with any top center. His 1 steal and 3 assists a game put him over the edge as the best center in the West. He’s #4 in the league on the player rater for a reason.

Reserves:

–Kyle Lowry

Lowry has made the rare jump from underrated sleeper to overhyped sleeper to becoming a legitimate fantasy superstar this year. While his FG% is an obvious negative, he has been a monster as a rebounding point guard, with 5.3 per game. Lowry’s assists, steals, and free throw shooting make him a traditionally solid option and a guy worthy for my “all-star” selection.

–Russell Westbrook

He’s no Jeremy Lin – in terms of turnovers. Westbrook provides statistics more reminiscent of a shooting guard with 23.5 PPG and 4.8 RPG. His steals and shooting percentages are outstanding, making him the third best PG in the West from a fantasy perspective.

–James Harden

Harden has emerged with value across the board, not hurting your team in any category. His free throw shooting has been his best asset, providing the most value in the category of anybody in the league due to a ton of attempts at his 86% clip. With OKC’s incredible play so far this year, it should be no surprise that several of their guys will appear on the roster.

–Nicolas Batum

Batum has heated up in February, with 18.6 points per game, by far a career high in a month. He is kind of the classic example of a player who is better in fantasy than real life due to his versatility across blocks, steals, and his three point shooting. He has vastly outperformed his draft position to provide the performance of one of the best Small Forwards in the league not named LeFraud LeBron or Durant.

–LaMarcus Aldridge

His first appearance in the real All-Star Game will clearly be accompanied by also being the third best big man in the West. Aldridge provides quality with his 22.3 points per game, strong shooting from the field (51%) and the line (80%). While I’m not sure anybody would have predicted the Blazers to have two participants, the two have delivered in 2012 and deserve their slots.

–Serge Ibaka

Last Sunday, in a thrilling overtime win against the Nuggets, Durant dropped 50 points while Westbrook put up 40. The player I was most impressed with in the game, though, was Serge and his triple double (14 points, 15 rebounds, and 11 blocks). His 3.3 blocks per game are the highest player rater value of any player in any category. While the rest of his statistics pale in comparison, he will shoot and rebound at competitive margins, and is a top option in any category league for his blocks alone.

–Marcin Gortat

Always tabbed as a player who would be a top performer if given the playing time, Gortat has carried over his strong performance in the second half of last season to this season’s start. He is posting career highs across the board by limiting turnovers, blocking some shots, and shooting at one of the best rates in the league, 56%. The improvement is definitely sustainable, and has propelled him to a reserve role on my squad and a top 10 player rater performance.

Just Missed: Paul Millsap, Ricky Rubio, Danilo Gallinari

 Fantasy All Stars: East

Starting PG: Deron Williams
After starting off this season with more inertia than cerca-2010 Eddie Curry trying to run a 40 yard dash, Deron has absolutely exploded the last few weeks, making him an absolutely no-brainer for the starting point guard on the East’s fantasy all star squad. Williams is partially helped by the fact that Derrick Rose got hurt, and after Rose and Williams almost every other elite fantasy point guard is in the West, but that isn’t to belittle just how freaking awesome Williams has been this season. He’s managed over 22 points and 8 assists per game, and Deron has really become the prototypical scoring point guard thanks to the dearth of talent on his team. I expect Williams to maintain his current stats throughout the rest of the season, if not improve them.

Starting SG: Dwyane Wade

D-Wade has already missed 9 games this season, but his stats while he has played have been so good that it more than warrants a starting spot on the East’s fantasy all stars. Wade is currently averaging over 3 “Stocks” (steals + blocks, copyright Bill Simmons), which is preposterously good for a shooting guard, and shooting his highest percentage from the field for his career at over 50%. Wade has also finally stopped hoisting up so many 3’s, which has been really valuable for people in percentage leagues as he was just horrible from beyond the arc, so although he has dropped off slightly in assists and rebounds, Wade’s improvement in the percentage categories more than makes him the best fantasy shooting guard in the east so far this season.

Starting SF: Lebron James

He’s Lebron, and he’s gotten even better in 2012 than he was in 2011. Next.

Starting PF: Greg Monroe

Greg Monroe had a great rookie year, and he’s followed it up with an even more impressive Sophomore Campaign. Everyone knows about Monroe’s prototypical points and rebounds combination, but very few know about the two things that pushed him over the top of players like Dwight Howard: his incredible steals, and impeccable free throw percentage. Monroe two years in a row has managed fantastic steal totals (1.2 and 1.4 SPG respectively), with the only competitor among center-eligible players in the stat being Dwight Howard, with the two of them blowing away the competition. This season he’s managed a 77.4 FT%, which isn’t perfect, but when you can play Monroe at the same position as Blake Griffin, Deandre Jordan, or Dwight Howard, that FT% is a huge boon to your team’s success. Monroe is young, but he’s already a fantasy all-star.

Starting C: Tyson Chandler

Did I put Tyson Chandler as the East’s starting fantasy center over Dwight Howard because I had a bad experience at Disney World when I was 7 and have never forgiven the city of Orlando? Maybe, but Tyson Chandler has also straight up been better than Dwight this season, and he was drafted significantly lower. This season, Chandler has taken his biggest strength (FG%) and actually added to it, going from 65.4% from the field last season to a whopping 70.3% so far this year, while additionally scoring more points. There’s no stat that Chandler struggles at besides assists, and he’s way above average in FT% (72.2%) and rebounding (9.5 Rebounds Per Game), and as long as he pairs that with his absurd FG%, Chandler’s lack of total points is more than made up for, giving him the nod over Dwight Howard on the East’s starting fantasy squad.

Reserves:

–Brandon Jennings

I guess SAT Scores don’t correlate to fantasy all star appearances (although I don’t see Lamar Odom here…) because Jennings has been an absolute monster this season, and had the Knicks intelligently selected Brandon Jennings over perennial-scrub Jordan Hill in the 2009 draft, we could be having Jennings mania right now. The fact that he’s in Milwaukee has given Jennings less media coverage than he probably deserves, as Jennings has done something very few players do: become more efficient while simultaneously increasing his volume. For the first time in his career, Jennings is shooting more than 40% from the field, and although he still does hurt you in that category, the fact that he’s solid across the board in almost every other category, especially 3 Pointers Made, Steals, and Points, has given him great value this season.

–Jose Calderon

The fantasy community as a whole wrote off Jose Calderon going into this season in a fashion similar to how it wrote off Lance Berkman coming into the 2011 season, and in a fashion mirroring Berkman, Calderon has proven that his one down year was the one that was a fluke rather than actually declining. The best part about Calderon is that every one of his statistics appears to be completely sustainable, as he’s rebounded in FG%, is back up to over 10 in points per game (currently at 11.0 PPG) and is still great in assists (8.9 APG). Calderon is more an across the board, good in all categories type of guy than a stud in one, but he is capable of posting a FT% well over 90, and he’s currently sitting at 89.1 which isn’t too shabby. Calderon has returned phenomenal value to his fantasy owners this season, and is helping to prove an old fantasy adage that the older, unsexy pick is often a better one than the younger sexy one.

–Andre Iguodala

Did I put Andre Iguodala as a fantasy all star solely to appease Spike Eskin, even after insinuating that he didn’t deserve to be a real all star while talking to Spike on last week’s episode of the RotoAnalysis Fantasy Sports Podcast?  In this case, nope, I genuinely believe In Iguodala. What Iggy has lost in points, he’s made up for across the board, helping fantasy owners at least slightly in every single stat besides FT% or FG%, and he doesn’t even kill you in either of those stats. Additionally, Iguodala has somehow increased his 3P% up to 37% so far this year, up from a career average of 32.6%, which has really boosted his value. While that jump may not be sustainable, Iguodala has to be considered an all stare while he maintains that percentage and there is some possibility that he does sustain somewhere close to that.

–Dwight Howard

He’s Dwight Howard, I outlined why he wasn’t higher earlier, and he’s still a superstar, and almost certainly this team’s sixth man. Moving on.

–Paul George

Every one of our writers at RotoAnalysis loves Paul George, and we all agree that Roy Hibbert making the real-life All Star team over him should be deemed theft. George is only 21, but he’s already nearing fantasy stud status as he’s shooting a preposterous 40.1% from 3 on 2.4 attempts per game, has a 78.8 free throw percentage, and doesn’t kill you from the field at 43.6%. The counting stats aren’t totally at “stud” level yet, but 5.5 boards, 1.4 steals and 12.1 points are nothing to scoff at, and if he can get those assists up, by his age 24 or so season I truly believe Paul George could contend with Lebron James as he declines for the title of best small forward in the NBA. I’m looking forward to having George on this list for years to come, although it may take a little longer to oust Dwight Howard from the “Best Player with Two First Names” slot.

–Chris Bosh

Chris Bosh is certainly one of the most hated players in the NBA, but that has also made him one of the most underrated. In leagues that count turnovers, Bosh is currently 18th overall on the player rater, despite being drafted 32nd overall. Bosh is especially good in the big-man prototypical points and rebounds categories, with 18.4 and 8.3 respectively. He’s also got great percents, especially from the line, and gets his fair share of assists due to the talent around him. Bosh is no longer the scoring stud he was in Toronto, but if he can stay over 18 and keep those percentages where they are, he’ll be a top 20 player at season’s end and there’s really no question Bosh is a fantasy all star this year.

–Josh Smith

Josh Smiff Smith is one of the most unique players in fantasy this season, because coming into the year he lost an inordinate amount of weight and is now listed at 6’9”, 225 Pounds. Despite being significantly skinnier, Smith’s rebounding totals have actually increased to a career high of 9.5 per game, and his scoring hasn’t really suffered while he’s still maintaining his unique combination of steals and blocks. Smith’s issues due to weight have been way worse for real life than fantasy, as his defense hasn’t been great, which we don’t care at all about for fantasy. Smith’s extreme fluctuations in FT% have continued this year as he’s down to 55.4%, but I expect that to rebound and for his rebounding upgrades, I think this year Smith is deserving of the last fantasy all star spot, although I do worry how his personality will alter this hypothetical team’s chemistry.

Just Missed: Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Kevin Garnett, Danny Granger

You can follow along and watch league standings all year of the league HERE.

I’ve created a Twitter list of everyone in the league, you can follow that list HERE. 

And once again, please check out the fine folks over at RotoAnalysis.com for great fantasy advice for all sports, in written and podcast form.

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NBA Fantasy League Week 7: Risers And Divers

I thought, since the fine folks at Roto Analysis did a column for the league this week about risers and divers (about players), I would do a little bit here about risers and divers in the league.

Then I realized there’s only one significant riser, and only one significant diver in the entire league. The significant riser is Lee Russakoff’s Please Advise. He’s made an unheard of number of roster moves, and put his team in position to win the whole damn thing, trailing Pat Gallen’s The Verticoli by only six points. I wrote last week how much I despise Gallen’s hustle act, and you can be sure I’d love to see him fall. As much as I despise Russakoff, I despise Gallen even more.

But what fun is writing about people doing well? No fun at all.

Instead, I’m going to focus on a man who has watched the bottom fall out, after talking a whole bunch of trash. That man? CraneKicker. That team? Anthony Mason Haircut. A front-runner for most of the season, CK often bragged that he could do no wrong. The guy thought he was Kevlar. As it turns out, he couldn’t survive everything. After an injury to center Al Horford, CK’s team has dropped from first to seventh, and from over 100 points to 78.5. To put this in perspective, the Atlanta Hawks are 11-6 since Horford’s injury, and have fallen only one position (3rd to 4th) in the Eastern Conference. Anthony Mason Haircut proved itself as a team much like a house of cards, but made out of things much flimsier than cards. I don’t know what’s flimsier than cards. It’s almost like the team was a HOUSE OF PAPER.

Scram, CK. Yes, my team sits at 13th out of 14 teams. I don’t know what to say. I’m looking at an 8th place finish after Z-Bo comes back from injury though.

Now, on to the real analysis.

Matt and Moe are two of the co-founding fantasy experts of RotoAnalysis.com. You can follow them @KidCotti21 and@MoeProblems respectively, or their site @RotoAnalysis.

(please note that MATT wrote this entire piece, but I refuse to leave MOE out of the mentions, because he’s named MOE, which is awesome.)

RISERS AND DIVERS

Obviously Lin-sanity has captured much of the nation’s attention regarding the NBA. Who else, though, is having an upswing of late? And who is on the decline in recent weeks as we reach the midpoint of the season? Here are some guys who are shooting up or down the rankings due to their recent performance:

RISERS

1. Jeremy Lin

Let me preface this by saying Lin has moved up in everybody’s rankings for obvious reasons. His late-game heroics have been incredible, and should definitely be credited with the Knicks’ turnaround. Despite this “greatness” in the public eye, I’m still skeptical about his fantasy value. Lin has turned the ball over at a league-high rate since becoming a starter, and won’t be draining many threes (unless the clock is running out). In turnovers alone, he will have a negative value the same way Dwight Howard or Blake Griffin do at the free throw line. Lin’s points and assists have been incredible, but with Carmelo back he will surely be shooting less than the 19.5 field goals attempted a game in his first six starts. When Baron Davis comes back, the 39.7 minutes a game he has been getting should drop as well. In the end, while I am definitely in on Lin for his real-life value with the Knicks, he will lead your team in one category (assists) but hold you back just as much in another (turnovers). He is a hot commodity in every league, and I would sell high on him for that exact reason.

2. Nikola Pekovic

If I told you a player on the Timberwolves was averaging 16.6 points and 10.5 rebounds in February to go with a 62% field goal percentage, you may think Kevin Love has been shooting less the last couple games. Well, Love is a top five player for a reason, and is averaging much more than 16 and 10. For Nikola Pekovic, though, I’ll take it. He was an efficient per-minute player in a limited bench role earlier in the season, but has taken his new playing time by the reins and is flat out producing. While he will not provide many blocks for a big man, his point and rebound production to go with his solid percentages and acceptable free throw shooting make him a must pickup in any league where he is still available.

3. Joakim Noah

Noah started off slow. Really slow–as in average 8 points a game until two weeks ago slow. In his last seven games, however, he has looked like a new player, with 14.4 points and 10.7 rebounds per game over that time period. Like Pekovic, he will give you production in points, rebounds, field goal percentage, and won’t kill you in free throws. He has more of a pedigree to keep this performance up and should be able to revert from his early-season performance to the solid fantasy contributor he has been for his whole career.

4. Gordon Hayward

He may not jump out at you from a box score, but Hayward does all the little things, and well. Still 21, the youngster is having the best month of his NBA career with 14.4 points a game on 56% shooting. Aside from rebound and threes, he can do everything else; he will get you assists, steals, blocks, and free throws, while limiting his turnovers to a very low rate. You could do much worse at a shallow SG position (he’s also eligible at SF) this year, and is a guy I like to keep his performance up if the minutes are there.

5. DeMarcus Cousins

There may not be a more infuriating, inconsistent player around the league than Cousins. When focused and determined, he can be one of the best centers in the league. Over his past six games, Cousins has been that guy, with 22 points and 14.2 rebounds a game. While he does turn the ball over a little too much, he will block and steal just as many times on the defensive end. The potential is there for him to be a top five center in this league, and for now, just ride him while he’s hot.

6. Drew Gooden

When a journeyman like Gooden signed a 5-year, $32 Million contract, I’m not going to lie that I just laughed at the Bucks stupidity. With star Andrew Bogut now out, Gooden has done his best to impress me. He’s a solid overall player, who will fill all the “big-man” stats up for you. His shooting percentages may plunge as defenses continue to adjust to the Bucks’ new offense, but as long as Bogut is out, Gooden is a solid fantasy option in almost any league or format.

DIVERS

1. Jeff Teague

When he exceeded expectations to move from a “sleeper” to a legitimately useful fantasy player to start the season, Teague drew a lot of hype in fantasy circles. He has reverted to what made him the “sleeper” in the first place in recent weeks, with a lack of assists in recent weeks that just kills you at the point guard position. In February, he is averaging only 3.3 assists, and shooting below 43% from the field. While he is still a solid producer of three pointers and steals, I’m becoming very skeptical of his long-term value.

2. Nene

While he is definitely the first NBA player who could have his name pass for a European soccer superstar, Nene has looked like he actually wants to head over to the pitch to start off the season. He was clearly not in great shape over the offseason, and has not been able to keep up with the scorching tempo the Nuggets play at. With the depth around him, his minutes are down, and while the skills are there to be one of the most efficient big men in the league, I doubt he will perform like that this season.  He has been dinged up recently, and is shooting at his worst percentages from the field and from the free throw line since 2007.

3. Mo Williams

After Chauncey Billups got injured, everybody assumed that Williams could effectively step into his role as a shooter. Mo has fallen short of expectations in his recent play, and I fear he will never be too effective off the ball, completely negating his fantasy value. Since Billups’ injury, Williams is shooting only 33% from the field! While he will definitely supply threes and free throws, the assists will not be there with CP3 manning the point, the steals and blocks are completely invisible, and the points will not be high enough to make up for his other deficiencies.

4. Samuel Dalembert

Dalembert’s a complete stiff. And while that doesn’t matter for his fantasy value, per say, it does affect a lot of what he does on the court. While his blocks created some early season hype, he has fallen off from being fantasy relevant by posting 4 points and 5.8 rebounds a game in February. A one-category pseudo-stud just isn’t worth owning in any format.

5. Brandon Jennings

When a player has a breakout year, fantasy owners may just try to trade for that player blindly, basing their reasoning off of the hype surrounding him. While I do think Jennings has taken strides this year, his recent play suggests the inconsistency that haunted him his first two seasons in the NBA may still be daunting. He will never be a great true shooter, limiting his fantasy potential for threes and field goal percentage. Because he puts up so many shots (over 16 a game!), his performance will hold back your team’s even more. Jennings is doing a lot of things well this season, with career highs in points, steals, threes, and field goal percentage, and his lowest turnover margin ever. Despite these positives, I would still be very cautious with him going forward in any league where shooting percentages are a factor.

6. Mario Chalmers

I’ve always liked Chalmers for fantasy, but his value has slipped this year, and not just because of injury. While he ranks quite highly on the player rater, his turnovers have been rising as his assists are dropping. His steals are merely average for a PG, and while he has been shooting very efficiently and knocks down a ton of threes, the 2.5 assists he is averaging in February point to a swoon that could continue throughout the second half of the season.

You can follow along and watch league standings all year of the league HERE.

I’ve created a Twitter list of everyone in the league, you can follow that list HERE. 

And once again, please check out the fine folks over at RotoAnalysis.com for great fantasy advice for all sports, in written and podcast form.

Posted in Fantasy Sports, Fun StuffComments (0)

The NBA Fantasy League Week 4: Let’s Get Dealing

Oh man, my team stinks. It really stinks. Team Free Boosie ranks dead last in the entire league in rebounds, assists and steals, and second to last in blocks and points. My team is the fantasy version of the Washington Wizards. When you look at the team, it seems like it has some good pieces, but it’s a terrible combination and managed the wrong way. I need to put the guys in a better position. I’m sorry, fanatasy Chris Paul. This one’s on me.

In other news, The Verticoli are running away with this thing. I’ve seen some shifts from week to week, but they’ve got an 18 point lead over the second place team. I’m going to give you some inside scoop on this though. Three letters, PED. The team is being investigated currently. I can’t say much more, but it all comes from a source very close to the situation.

If you’re looking for a team to make a move at some point, I’m going to go with the Delco Dirtbags. They’re laying in the weeds a bit, but I’ve heard from my sources that there’s a method here, and there might be a second half run in them.

Finally, everyone still hates Rick Penguino and his ZWR Penguins.

Now on to the real analysis.

Matt and Moe are two of the co-founding fantasy experts of RotoAnalysis.com. You can follow them @KidCotti21 and@MoeProblems respectively, or their site @RotoAnalysis.

Trades That Should Happen

The SpikeEskin.com Fantasy Hoops league is unusual in a myriad of aspects, starting with the fact that very few of the members of the league knew each other before the draft, the league’s irregular scoring, and the 14-team format (10? Sure. 12? Common. 16? Yeah, I’ve been in a few. 14? I’ve seen very few). The league is certainly not average. But in my opinion, the most inexplicable thing about the SpikeEskin.com league is its extreme dearth of trades. Through four and a half weeks (about 37.5% of the fantasy regular season) the entire league has made a total of one trade. To give that some perspective, RotoAnalysis.com writer Moe Koltun is in a league that has had 22 trades made to this date, and that’s in a league that includes a salary cap making trades more difficult to work. In the RotoAnalysis.com “Experts” league, there have been 8, with only 8 teams in the league (albeit with 22 man rosters). So, due to this lack of trades, we have decided to come up with some hypothetical trades for the league.

Get Rid of Pinky trades Andrea Bargnani & Tony Allen to Narcoleptic E Snow Experience for DeAndre Jordan & Derrick Favors

This might be one of the most logical trades of all time. “Get Rid of Pinky” really needs rebounds; “Narcoleptic E Snow Experience” really needs free throw %. “Narcoleptic E Snow Experience” really needs 3 pointers made; “Get Rid of Pinky” really needs FG%. The Bargnani for Jordan swap in itself would also be fair and logical, but I think the extra pieces benefit both sides (Favors has huge rebound + FG% upside, Tony Allen is a solid FT% guy and okay at everything else). Overall, this trade is nearly perfect, and if the trade negotiations in this league weren’t as extinct as the velociraptor, it surely would have been made by now.

Please Advise… trades Jodie Meeks & Brandon Rush to Narcoleptic E Snow Experience for Anderson Varejao

I mean the team name is “Please Advise…” so i figured we should help a brother out. Sitting in 7th place, a perfect trade partner sits right beneath you in 8th; another option for “Narcoleptic E Snow Experience” as he tries to balance out his squad. His team ranks dead last in three pointers, while sitting in first in rebounds and blocks. “Please Advise…” is average in three pointers, while near the bottom of the league in rebounds, blocks, and points. It would be logical for the two of them to flip a shooter for a big man. “Please Advise…” still has D.J. White hanging around the roster, and decent enough guards sitting in his utility spots to hold the squad over until Manu is back (absolute fantasy stud. he was killing it before he got injured this year). As for “Narcoleptic E Snow Experience,” they have one player who has made more than 15 threes this season. While John Wall has a lot of upside, he hasn’t drained a three all season. Jodie Meeks and Brandon Rush have combined to hit 60 threes so far this year. It’s time to get Wesley Johnson out of that starting lineup, and use your depth at power forward and center to minimize the loss of Varejao, who has been a double-double machine, but is far from irreplaceable. Big Baby, Favors, Perkins, Hansborough, and Hawes (once he’s back) are more than enough to hold down your big man spots with the stud shot blockers you already have, and Greg Monroe who is on his way up the ladder to becoming a star fantasy player.

Free Boosie trades Stephen Jackson & Hedo Turkoglu to The Personal Fouls for Jameer Nelson & Mo Williams

This trade was a little bit tougher to develop than the first, but I thought that we needed to get Spike any help he could get after his abysmal start in the league, currently in 14th (better known as “Last”) place. After looking through the smorgasbord of categories “Free Boosie” is inept in, I came to the conclusion that the main problem was assists. In this trade, Free Boosie gains two players who are good in that category, while giving away one of his only categories with depth: 3 Pointers Made. I know on the surface it looks like a great deal for Spike, but Hedo Turkoglu has actually been by far the best player in this trade (6.23 Points on the “Spike League” Player Rater) where as Jameer Nelson has actually been the worst (0.86 Points on the “Spike League” Player Rater). It is a little bit of a buy low / sell high, but The Personal Fouls desperately needs 3 Pointers Made, and there’s always the possibility that Jameer Nelson’s continual injury issues once again resurface. However, for Spike, it’s more than worth it to take that chance because, what, worst case he finishes further in last? There’s nowhere to go but up.

Dino Radja trades Josh Smith to Delco Dirtbags for James Harden

One on one trades are always hard. I’m sure each of these respective owners loves the guy they own here—but with a swap, both teams could improve. Delco Dirtbags is sitting at 4th in the league, but has several teams nipping at its heels. Its two weakest categories are steals and blocks. Josh “Smitty” Smith contributes 3.2 “stocks” (steals+blocks), and his rebounds will surely help “Delco Dirtbags” get above average in that category. As for Harden, while he has been incredibly efficient, he provides only 1.0 “stocks” a game. His free throw shooting would be huge for Dino Radja, who rank 13th in the league in FT%, and 12th in the league in 3Pt, while being above average in steals and blocks. This is like the definition of a win-win trade. You’re both welcome.

You can follow along and watch league standings all year of the league HERE.

I’ve created a Twitter list of everyone in the league, you can follow that list HERE. 

And once again, please check out the fine folks over at RotoAnalysis.com for great fantasy advice for all sports, in written and podcast form.

Posted in Fantasy Sports, Fun Stuff, SixersComments (0)

The NBA Fantasy League Week 3 Wrap-Up: Time To Shine

Don’t be fooled, the title of this is not about my team shining. My team is a disaster. It’s about the write up on the league from @RotoAnalysis this week.

If the title of this post was about my team, it would be called We Suck, And We’re Only Getting Worse. Of course, Free Boosie trades for Chris Paul, and Chris Paul gets hurt. Free Boosie trades Jrue Holiday, and he has his best game of the season. Don’t even look at my roster right now. I’m serious, please don’t look. I swear my only goal is not finishing last. IN MY OWN LEAGUE.

Anthony Mason Haircut finally had a down week, after the injury to Al Horford. The GM of the team, CraneKicker, swore to me in a drunken stupor that the team would be fine. When I say, “he swore to me,” I mean he texted me the words “we’re just chillin’ bro.”

General Manager of the ZWR Penguins, Zoo With Roy is now considered the Al Davis of the league. Not dead Al Davis, but the alive Al Davis toward the end. Crazy old man Al Davis. He’s somewhere between Jerry Jones and Al Davis. Nobody likes him.

And Pat Gallen’s team, The Verticoli surge into first place. Pat swore to me in a drunken stupor that his goal, above all other life goals, was to finish in first place in this league. Never has someone wanted an autographed Mo Speights jersey so much.

All other GM’s in the league swore something to me in drunken stupors, I’ll have those quotes next week. Except for the GM of Team Reese, who still has not been seen around the office. Now, on to the real analysis …

Matt and Moe are two of the co-founding fantasy experts of RotoAnalysis.com. You can follow them @KidCotti21 and@MoeProblems respectively, or their site @RotoAnalysis.

Time To Shine

Each NBA season, players who were originally backups are thrust are into a starting job and given opportunities to shine. Some, like Ryan Anderson, seize their opportunity and prove their worth in the NBA while others, like Sebastian Telfair, continually prove they don’t have what it takes to compete at the highest level. One of the keys to running a successful fantasy franchise is being the first to see those who will potentially get an opportunity to start, and then singling out those who will capitalize once given that opportunity. Some players have already taken that opportunity and seized it, like the aforementioned Ryan Anderson or even Marreese “Free Boosie” Speights. To find the next Ryan Anderson, Matt and Moe are going to give their picks for what’s left of this year’s potential “Backup Breakouts”:

Honorable mention: J.J. Hickson, Kemba Walker, Kawhi Leonard, Brandon Rush, Klay Thompson, Patrick Patterson, Kenneth Faried,

Nicolas Batum (94.3% owned) Get Rid of Pinky

Yeah, I know Batum’s kind of a big name, but he does come off the bench, and I just want to elaborate on how great he is for fantasy. Nicolas Batum is not a great basketball player—he just does a lot of things well that make him perfect for fantasy. He shoots from 3 a ton. He’s aggressive on D to get steals and blocks. He’s outstanding at the free throw line. While he may not deliver top-notch numbers in the points, rebounds, and assists categories, Batum is an excellent fantasy option for any team out there.

Baron Davis (22% owned) Fire Millen

Baron “B-Diddy” Davis was actually a backup breakout himself earlier in his career, from his sophomore to rookie season. However, since his time at Charlotte, Davis has bounced around on five teams before eventually landing on the Knicks. Davis’ short-stayed welcomes were rarely due to talent, but mostly due to his personality issues and lack of effort. Baro,n for once in his life is getting paid a small amount of money, at least on the cap, to play basketball in a supporting role rather than as a star. You can say what you want about Baron Davis, but there’s no arguing that he is a competitor of the highest level, and one who loves to feed off the crowd. There’s no greater crowd in the world than Knicks’ fans at Madison Square Garden, and I think once Baron comes back he’ll be able to put up something along his career line of 42% shooting from the field with 32% from 3, and maybe even over his career average of 7 assists per game if he actually gets the starting job. Additionally, the players in front of him are Tony Douglas and Iman Shumpert; Douglas is really more of a combo guard and not a true 1, and Iman Shumpert is really more of a 2 guard, putting up a Player Efficiency Rating of over 24 as a 2 (a top 3 SG in the NBA so far this season) and a Player Efficiency Rating of under 3 as a point guard (bottom 3 in the NBA so far this season). Call me a homer, but I think Baron Davis is motivated to play for a good team for once in his career, and will bring it night in and night out under the lights of MSG with Carmelo and Amar’e.

Markieff Morris (17.3% owned) Free Boosie

At Kansas, his brother Marcus (currently sitting at literally last place on the ESPN player rater) outshone him as their go-to option on offense. In the NBA, however, it has been Markieff who has adjusted to the game at a much better pace. He has improved his three point shot dramatically, and is knocking down 1.3 a game at a 51.6% clip. What’s impressive is that he is able to do it while supplying all the other stats you need out of a PF, averaging 17-10-2 per 40 minutes, limited turnovers, and decent steals and blocks. This guy is the real deal; the Suns are realizing it by starting him in their most recent game against the Knicks, and so should fantasy owners.

James Johnson (3.0% owned) Get Rid of Pinky

It feels odd to like somebody who averages almost as many fouls per game as points, but James Johnson is another example of a guy who could really help out any fantasy team in a rotisserie format. In only 22 minutes/game, he is producing 1.5 blocks and 1.2 steals. By comparison, Paul Pierce is averaging 0.8 steals and 0.2 blocks in his 33 minutes/game of playing time. One must look past the lack of points and see Johnson as a true contributor for fantasy who would be an even bigger help with more playing time, especially in the defensive categories.

Goran Dragic (0.5% owned) BIG HAIR little shorts

Dragic has started two games this year, both against the Thunder, facing Russell Westbrook, one of the best point guards in the league. In the two games, he averaged 15 points, 9.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.5 steals. Yeah. In other games, his impact has been minimal, but there is a lot of potential here if he gets a starting job and Dragic is definitely worth grabbing to store in deeper leagues. Dragic will be a solid producer of points and rebounds, will shoot plenty of 3s, and supply the assists and steals you need at the PG position. Obviously Steve Nash is ahead of him on the depth chart, but Nash isn’t getting any younger. These might be more long-term guys, but in most leagues I recommend that you be the 1% to take a shot on Goran Dragic and Jon Leuer; it could pay large dividends on just a very small risk.

Anthony Randolph (0% owned) FA

I don’t think there’s a player in the NBA who’s been more royally screwed so far in his career than Anthony Randolph. To argue why Randolph was going to be a backup breakout, I was prepared to launch into a physical-tools based argument (he’s a 6’11” guy with a 7’3” wingspan who is STILL only 22) but I realized that I don’t even need to do that–his stats say it all for me. In his young career, Randolph has averaged 17.8 Minutes/Game with 8.6 Points, 5.2 Rebound, 1.14 Blocks, .7 Steals, all on 46% shooting from the field and an awesome 74.4% shooting from the line. For comparison’s sake, Al Jefferson is currently sitting at 13th among PF’s on ESPN’s player rater, and if Anthony Randolph is given a chance to start and plays up to his per-minute stats in, say, 35 minutes per game, he’d have better rebounding numbers than Jefferson (10.2 vs 9.3), better assists numbers (1.7 vs 1.6), significantly better steals (1.4 vs 0.9), better blocks (2.2 vs 1.8) better FT% (74.4% vs 70.3%) and just slightly worse points (16.9 vs 18.0) and only a worse FG% (46% vs 48%). If I told you that you could have Al Jefferson statistically, only slightly better, if a guy could beat out Michael Beasley and Wesley Johnson for a job, you’d take a shot on him too. I’m not saying run out and pick up Randolph, I’m just saying that it makes no sense that a player with this much physical upside and this much production so far doesn’t have a starting job on a team that is lacking in the bigs department. Look for Randolph to make an impact sometime this season if there’s any common sense in the NBA (well, I guess that’s a big “If”).

Jon Leuer (0.8% owned) FA

Wisconsin was a dangerously efficient team last year, but who new Leuer could bring that kind of ball to the NBA? The Bucks have moved him up the depth chart, and he has preformed with top-notch percentages, good blocks, and some points & boards. He has an extremely good mid-range game, shooting 65% from 10-15 feet from the basket so far this season. Leuer isn’t going to hit many threes, but is a solid add in leagues as deep as this one.

Ian Mahinmi (1% owned) Dino Radja

I was in shock when I saw that Ian Mahinmi was owned in the SpikeEskin.com league–I guess I underestimated the depth and intelligence of the league. After losing Tyson Chandler in the off-season to the Knicks, the Mavericks came into the season with solely Brendan Haywood slotted to start at the 5. Haywood is more or less a known quantity as a guy who has had injury issues, is a bad rebounder, a relatively efficient scorer, but overall nothing special, and is a below average center with a bad contract. Mahinmi is the only other true center on the roster, which by default makes him an interesting backup breakout candidate. Going into this year, in the limited time Mahinmi received, he was a very efficient player from the field and the line, as well as a way above average per-minute production from the field, albeit in small sample sizes. However, this season he’s been the pseudo-starter for a lot of the season, playing just .1 minutes per game less than Haywood so far. Mahinmi has thrived, shooting 65.6% from the field and 61.7% from the line with 7.8 points per game, .5 blocks, .6 steals and most importantly 5.4 rebounds to show for it. Obviously his field goal percentage will drop, but if given a normal workload, say, 30 minutes per game, Mahinmi could be a more than adequate starting center for fantasy. With Haywood’s injury history, that could happen very soon.

DEEP, DEEP CANDIDATE

Gustavo Ayon (0% owned)  FA

“Who the **** is that?” I’m sure most (or all) of you are wondering? Well, at the most basic level, Gustavo Ayon is a Mexican dude on the Hornets who they got from the Spanish ACB League. Digging a little deeper, however, Ayon was one of the more efficient players in the entire world last year, shooting 67% on two point shots in the Spanish ACB. Kevin Pelton, writer for BasketballProspectus.com and friend of RotoAnalysis.com, tweeted out before the season that Ayon’s 67% was the 2nd highest in the entire Basketball Prospectus website other than Marc Gasol, who shot 68% there once. That in itself got my attention, and Ayon’s transition to NBA basketball has also peaked my curiosity. In 7 games this season, Ayon has averaged 10.3 minutes per game, with 4.3 points on 70.6% shooting from the field with 66.6% shooting from the line, 2.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists, .7 blocks, and .6 steals. Obviously his field goal percentage will come down, but if Ayon somehow got a bigger spot in the rotation I believe that he could be a major NBA and fantasy contributor in rebounds, blocks, points, and certainly the percentage categories, which is all you’re really looking for in a center. In front of Ayon on the depth chart is the oft-injured Chris Kaman and the pretty solid Emeka Okafor. As the season goes on, the Hornets will be close to last in the West, and should look towards the future by playing their younger players more. Hopefully, Ayon can grab some playing time and work towards contributing for fantasy owners.

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The NBA Fantasy League Week 2 Wrap-Up: The First Blockbuster Trade

Before we get to the breakdown from the Roto Analysis guys, some news and rumors to get you caught up on.

First, here are the standings as of January 11th:

I traded for Zach Randolph.

Yes, in an NBA fantasy league, in a shortened season where every week means a lot more, I traded for a guy who is out for the next six weeks with a knee injury. Not to mention that guy who is out for six weeks with a knee injury is 6’10” and 275 pounds with a history of putting on some extra weight, which is not typically good for the knees.

Yes, I included Carmelo Anthony in this deal, which is pretty much the only productive player I have on Team Free Boosie.

You ask why?

Because I’m in 13th place out of 14 teams, it was worth a shot. I figure I can make things a little interesting in the last month or two of the season. Either that, or my team is so bad that I got bored and decided to make a blockbuster trade. Leave me alone.

Also going on in the league this week:

Anthony Mason Haircut is making moves. Up to first place in the league with a sizable margin, AMH really screwed Please Advise by picking up Richard Jefferson just minutes after Manu Ginobli’s injury. AMH also got my friend Smoke and I to thinking, “has there ever been another player like Anthony Mason?”

Mason, a power forward, was solid as a rock, just a physically enormous man, handled the ball like a point guard, and shaved ridiculous messages into the side of his head. He was like some kind of insane combination of Tim Hardaway, Brian Bosworth and a huge power forward with crazy eyes, I don’t know, take your pick.

The ZWR Penguins continue their free fall, as early season behind the scenes haggling and rumor mongering may have finally caught up with their GM. He’s like the Scott Boras of fantasy basketball. Leaking rumors, trying to make deals with several teams at once, all unfair.

Biggest jump of the week was from Metta World Domination, who was undoubtedly helped by the return of Andrew Bynum. Check back in three weeks when Bynum, while out for three weeks with a knee injury, gets caught for speeding again.

Finally, Team Reese is under official league inquiry, having not been to their league offices once this season.

Now for the good stuff. I can’t thank these guys enough. For any fantasy football, basketball or baseball information, please check out their site and podcast.

Matt and Moe are two of the co-founding fantasy experts of RotoAnalysis.com. You can follow them @KidCotti21 and@MoeProblems respectively, or their site @RotoAnalysis.

The Trade, Regression, and Sleepers

The Trade:

Big Hair Little Shorts traded Zach Randolph*, Mem to Free Boosie

Big Hair Little Shorts  traded Danny Granger, Ind to Free Boosie

Big Hair Little Shorts  traded Chris Paul, LAC to Free Boosie

Free Boosie traded Jrue Holiday, Phi to Big Hair Little Shorts

Free Boosie traded Carmelo Anthony, NY to Big Hair Little Shorts

Free Boosie traded Nicolas Batum, Por to Big Hair Little Shorts

Matt’s Take: I love trades like this. It’s got a lot of different factors on both sides, and there’s a lot to digest. It all starts with the X-factor in the trade, Zach Randolph. His injury is a tough one; in fact, I had a very similar injury just this past year. With a torn MCL, you will be able to run and jog relatively soon afterwards. Side-to-side motion, however, takes much longer. This isn’t an injury that will be 100% when he comes back, but one that will probably nag him for the rest of his season. Once he does come back (at least 8 weeks, so around march 1), he will probably play fewer minutes than usual, hurting him in every category. And who knows what he’ll be up to in the meantime (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/23/zach-randolph-drug-dealer-marijuana-party_n_934138.html). The bottom line is if he can come back strong for Spike down the stretch, this trade could work out really well for him.

But enough medical analysis, lets get back to the roto analysis. Obviously, Chris Paul is a stud, and should quickly become the new leader in the “Free Boosie” clubhouse. Elite in steals and assists, CP3 is solid in points and rebounds, with great percentages across the board. To acquire him, though, took Spike’s first and second rounders. What happened with Jrue?!  He has picked up the assist totals lately, but will never be on cp3’s level in any category but 3s. Consider that a huge step up at the point guard position. The balancing act comes with the step down at SF for Spike, shipping Batum and Carmelo for Danny Granger. While many say that points are an overrated category, it’s hard not to call Melo a stud. In this league, however, he is much less of a “stud.” The addition of the A/TO category makes it much harder to swallow his 3.2 TOPG. Danny Granger has had a rough start to the year, shooting only 31% from the field. I think as that reverts to his career rate of 44%, his fantasy value will be back to its normal high rate. In fact, he is picking up steals and blocks at a career-high rate, and will take an advantage over Melo in those categories. Batum is an underrated piece in the trade; in a league this deep, he is a viable starter. Like Granger, he is off to a slow start from the field, but has done several things well. He will not turn the ball over much, and is picking up a solid amount of boards and blocks, while still contributing from 3.

Looking at where Spike rests in, he’s only really doing well in 3PM and TO. There’s not much downside to shaking things up, and while his points should continue to be near the lowest in the league, his assists and A/TO should move up over time. Hopefully, his percentages can start to creep up as well. As for “Get Rid of Pinky,” he sits last in FG% but is doing solidly in every other category. With the blow to Randolph, he had a gaping whole in the frontcourt and filled it. Rebounding will suck on this team, but he has a number of solid players to keep him going strong in other categories.

In the end, in this format, it’s more important to have a stud PG than a stud SF, and in effect this is what you did, Spike. I’m not sure what the strategy is with four spots open in your starting lineup, but after this trade, I do think you helped your team’s ability to move up in the standings, even if it limits your team’s upside in the meantime.

Moe’s Take: Being as I’m the one who told Spike to make this trade, logically I should like the trade for Spike, and I do. However, I actually like it for Get Rid of Pinky as well. I’m going to break this thing down into two parts: Part I: Chris Paul and Danny Granger for Jrue Holliday and Carmelo Anthony, and Part II: Nicolas Batum for Zach Randolph.

If Part I were a trade on its own, it would strike me as shockingly fair. The difference in value between Chris Paul and Jrue Holliday is pretty closely equivalent to the difference in value between Danny Granger and Carmelo Anthony. On ESPN’s 2011 season player rater (which, admittedly, is 4 categories short of the Spike Eskin league scoring) the difference between Paul and Jrue was 5.31 Roto Points over a full season, whereas the difference between Carmelo and Granger was only 0.52 Roto Points over a full season, or a net-gain of 4.79 points in the Roto standings over a full season for Free Boosie. Obviously this season that hasn’t been the case. So far in 2012, Jrue Holiday has actually outperformed Chris Paul by .37 Roto Points, and Carmelo has outperformed Granger by an absolutely preposterous 7.3 Roto Points, or 7.67 Roto points gained in the standings so far this season for Get Rid Of Pinky.

Part I of this trade really comes down to how much you value recency. Personally, I put a lot more stock in the entirety of last season’s stats as true indicators for these players’ talents rather than just a small portion of this season. As is later outlined in my Regression Candidates section, I think that Granger is going to get better and start to close the gap with Melo. Additionally, as I wrote about on RotoAnalysis.com in my “Ten Lockout Commandments” article, players who switched teams this season were likely going to be at giant disadvantages due to the lockout to start the season, and that has absolutely held true for Chris Paul. However, as Paul gains more comfort in the system, I expect him to finish strong as the no. 1 PG and look more like his old self. On Jrue Holiday, I think it’s reasonable to think he’ll progress in many the categories compared to what he did last season because he’s a talented young player, which does make this trade closer. But, overall, I think personally of the two sides of Part I, I would have preferred the Granger / Paul side by just a hair.

Now we get into the grit of the trade, or as I so cleverly labeled it, “Part II”, Zack Randolph for Nicolas Batum. This is a conflicting trade for me for a couple of reasons, and I kind of like this part of the trade for both teams. Spike gets one of the only true 20/10 candidates in basketball (20 points 10 boards a night) with the hitch that (via RotoWorld.com) he will miss up to 8 weeks of basketball due to a “slight tear of the MCL in his right knee.” Get Rid of Pinky gets a guy who I just traded for in one of my keeper leagues, Nicolas Batum, who I’m actually a huge fan of. The issue with Batum for Spike’s team is that in order for this team to make a huge push in the standings, he needs a really impactful player, and Zebo can be that whereas Batum, as much as I love him, cannot. Batum is currently coming off the bench for Portland and averaging 23.8 minutes per night. If he gets that up to the 31.5 he averaged last year, Batum could be an impact fantasy player due to his great per-minute production and the Blazer’s new up-tempo offense. However, I like Batum more for the long-term rather than for this season because a lot of his playing time last season is now being dispersed to Gerald Wallace (who is essentially just Batum but better) and new-addition Jamaal Crawford so far this season. For Get Rid of Pinky, Part II of the trade makes sense because he’s at least within striking distance of finishing near the top of the league and could use some helps in the blocks category, something Batum is particularly keen in. So, overall, I like this trade for both sides, with maybe a slight edge toward Spike just due to the regression of Chris Paul and Danny Granger to hopefully become like their old selves. The safer side of the trade is most certainly what Get Rid of Pinky received, but the upside that Spike got makes it more than worth it for his team as well. This was a well put together trade overall and made sense for both sides, many NBA GM’s could learn a thing or two from this.

Regression Candidates

I know it feels like the NBA Season just started, but in actuality almost 1/6th of the fantasy hoops season has already passed. Now, we’re at the point in the season where short sample sizes give way to history, and statistics begin to normalize. That means that you need to strike while the iron is hot, and hit up “That Guy In Your League Who Only Looks At This Year’s Stats” with more trade offers than Isaiah Thomas received as the Knicks GM on a daily basis. Without further adieu, here are the top regression candidates so far this season, both of the positive and negative variety.

Negative Regression Candidate: Ray Allen (SG, Celtics) Team Reese

I love Ray Allen as a human being; he epitomizes the regimented and disciplined way that I wish I lived my life. However, my love for him can’t make him sustain his current stats, because he’s averaging 20.4 Points Per Game on 57.5% shooting from the field with a whopping 63.4% from the 3 point line. You better hope that the guy you’re trading Ray Allen to doesn’t have access to google, because even a preliminary look at Allen’s stats shows that he’s probably going to come down by around 20% from 3 and 10% from the field by the end of the season. Team Reese doesn’t pay enough attention to the league to change his team name, but if you pay any attention to your league, trade Ray Allen ASAP.

Positive Regression Candidate: Danny Granger (SF, Pacers) Free Boosie

As much as we make fun of Spike on twitter for currently being 2nd to last in his own fantasy basketball league, maybe his spot in the standings isn’t totally his fault (then again, it probably is considering he just traded for Granger). Of the 113 players who qualify for the “Field Goal %” stat on NBA.com, Danny Granger is literally dead last, shooting 30.7% on the season. He’s also shooting by far the worst on 2-pointers, with an abysmal 29.1%; nobody else is under 31%. Just a couple of seasons ago, Granger was an easy 1st round pick and although his stats have worsened since then, by no means is Granger the worst shooter in the league. He’ll most likely end the season around 40% shooting from the field, and probably somewhere near his previous career-low of 42.5%. Hypothetically, if Granger had been shooting his previous career-low of 42.5% rather than 30.7% solely on 2-point shots, he’d add 3.75 additional points per game to what he’s averaging right now, and that’s to say nothing of his 3PT%, which should also come up. Additionally, Granger has been an absolute monster in blocks and steals, so aesthetically his stats haven’t been all that good, but when you dig a little bit deeper and take into consideration every category, Granger hasn’t been all that bad. Right now due to a combination of bad luck and rustiness, Danny Granger is the number 1 positive regression candidate in the game, and that means you should all bombard Spike with trade offers for him………………. NOW!

Negative Regression Candidate: Mario Chalmers (PG, Heat) Free Boosie

I have nothing against Mario Chalmers and even saw the kid in action when I attended the Final Four in San Antonio the year Kansas won the national championship, but his stats just really don’t match up to his talent level. The case against Mario Chalmers is threefold: 1) he’s a mediocre talent who plays on a team that (usually) features Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to do the heavy lifting, at least on the scoring front. However, Wade and Lebron missing time has opened up a slight void in the team’s scoring as well as in other statistics, which Chalmers has filled. But, once the team is healthy, Chalmers’ statistics will normalize. 2) Norris Cole has emerged as a legitimate talent, and somebody who fits the push-the-ball, up-tempo system the Heat are now running much better than Chalmers does. Again, when the team is 100% healthy, this should also cut into Chalmers’ playing time but hasn’t so far due to the injuries. 3) Chalmers is performing either slightly better, or, as is more often the case, significantly better in every single category of his stat line besides FT% than his career averages. Yes, I mean in every single category. Most significantly, he’s shooting 57.6% from the field and 48.4% from 3. For comparisons sake, he never averaged higher than 51.6% from the field or 46.8% from 3 in COLLEGE, and he was an absolute superstar at Kansas in his senior year on the best team in the country. Also, he’s back up to averaging 1.9 steals per game, closer to his rookie average than what he’s done the past two seasons, as well as having higher than normal assist and rebounding totals. Yeah, the higher-tempo offense should help Chalmers, but when those % numbers come down I believe that he will ultimately lose his playing time to the more talented and better fit for the system Norris Cole. Be wary of Mario Chalmers, and look to trade him away if possible.

Positive Regression Candidate: David Lee (PF, Warriors) Fire Millen

Lee, for once, isn’t a percentages-based regression candidate, although those are low as well. The real issues with David Lee so far this season have been in the assists, blocks, steals, and turnovers categories, which are all significantly worse than his career norms. Lee has always been a 2-3 assists per game player, and right now he’s averaging 0.9 APG. Additionally, Lee is up to 3.0 Turnovers Per Game, his previous career high being 2.3 TO/G. This general lack of good offensive production can mostly be attributed to Stephen Curry missing time, because Curry’s passing ability makes everyone else on the Warriors better offensively, but it doesn’t explain Lee’s lack of defensive stats. He’s down to 0.6 Steals Per Game after averaging 1.0 for 3 straight seasons leading up to this year. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, losing 40% of a player’s production in one category is extremely significant. Across the board, I’d expect Lee’s stats to improve most certainly offensively once Stephan Curry comes back, and more likely than not, defensively as well just due to his career averages. It’s important not to read too much into high-variance (frequently changing) statistics this early in the season like steals, blocks or turnovers, especially in players who already average low amounts in those stats. Look for Lee to rebound in more ways then one.

 Sleepers

Time for some guys who we like going forward to step up their game, and to target in potential trades:

Caron Butler: Sleepers usually fall into two categories: a young player who is just getting his shot, or an older player who has been overlooked. Butler fits perfectly into the latter category as a true league average SF. What has been the most encouraging sign for fantasy is his role in the offense as more of a shooter and less of a slasher–he is putting up the same amount of the points, but with more 3s and less turnovers. While he won’t provide many boards or assists, Butler certainly has the pedigree and the opportunity to be of value at a shallow SF position right now.

Jeff Teague: There’s still room left on the bandwagon. While Teague teased potential owners in the playoffs last year, he has really turned it up to start the season. With the starting point guard job in his hand, Teague has been a star in the steals department, while getting pretty pedestrian point and assist numbers. His free throw shooting will improve to its career level, and he will be a solid, startable PG who won’t hurt you in any category for his position, something that is of value to any team with studs around him.

Markeiff Morris: While overshadowed by his twin Marcus at Kansas at times, it has been Markieff who scouts knew would translate to the NBA better. Suns head coach Alvin Gentry has quickly worked him into the rotation, and his versatile game is reaping fantasy owners the benefits. While eligible at PF, he provides many of the stats of a SG or a SF by dropping more than a 3 per game, sprinkling in some steals, and sitll rebounding at a strong rate. If his minutes continue to go up, or he works his way into the starting lineup, his fantasy value will continue to rise.

Marreese Speights: He’s no star, but with Zach Randolph out, Speights will have the opportunity to play a big role in Memphis’ offense. He has always been a solid per-minute player, shooting close to 50% from the field, not killing you in free throws like so many big men do, and getting the points and boards you need. He is a league-renowned ball hog, and passes the ball at one of the lowest rates in the league. As long as he keeps his job, though, he will be a startable player in leagues this deep. Also if you’re league has a “Free Boosie” category, Speights is one of the most valuable players in the game.

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