Preview: Week 19
Everyone ready for the home stretch? We’ve got 3 weeks left before most fantasy playoffs begin in Week 22. However, don’t view this as a time to coast as it could be more important than ever to pay attention to your teams. Whether you’re fighting to make the playoffs or simply looking to make those final tweaks to bring home a championship, the moves you make now could potentially decide your entire seasons. So FOCUS!
Week Nineteen Schedules
Four Games: ATL, BOS, CHA, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, IND, LAC, LAL, MEM, NYK, OKC, ORL, PHI, PHO, SAC
Three Games: CHI, MIA, MIL, NJN, NOH, POR, SAS, TOR, UTA, WAS
Two Games: MIN
ADD LIST (players owned in 40% or less in standard Yahoo! leagues)
I won’t harp on the usual suspects as you guys should know by now that Taj Gibson (SF/PF – 36%), George Hill (PG/SG – 36%) and C.J. Watson (PG/SG – 30%) should not be floating around on so many waiver wires. If these guys aren’t available, you should strongly consider:
DeJuan Blair (PF/C – 19%) – Just a last minute addition here. Was watching the Spurs/Suns matchup and observed Antonio McDyess go down with an apparent injury to his left knee (the same one that has had several surgeries). Consequently, you’ve got to jump on Blair as his 36 per numbers are absolutely fantastic: 15.5 points (on 56 FG%), 12.4 rebounds, 1.2 steal and 1 block.
UPDATE: ABC reported McDyess has a hyperextended knee, but it’s not too severe as he’s back out on the floor (I wouldn’t be surprised if he misses a game or two if it tightens up). Regardless, Blair is a fine speculative pick as we know he doesn’t need much court time to produce. Much more important to note, the Spurs play the most games the last 5 weeks of the season. Pop has already mentioned that Timmy will see extra rest on back-to-backs. Now imagine if either starting big miss time to any injury: Blair = Gold.
Drew Gooden (PF/C – 36%) – Happy to say I pegged Gooden having a signficant role in Clipperland while others said he’d be behind Craig Smith and DeAndre Jordan. He has started the last two games and averaged 17.5 points and 11 rebounds in a little over 31 and a half minutes. Look for him to continue putting up nice numbers to go along with occasional defensive numbers.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (SF/PF – 14%) – The Prince has usually been more miss than hit thus far in his young career, but he seems to have turned a corner. He’s finally become a little more consistent with his production and thus warrants a look. This past month, he is averaging 9.5 points (on 63.3 FG% and 76.7 FT%), 8.2 rebounds, 1 assist, almost 1 block/steal and .9 turnovers. Also have to point out he has a very friendly schedule for the fantasy playoffs.
Sergio Rodriguez (PG – 22%) – So far his splash with the Knicks has been smaller than most expected, but I think he’s likely to significantly improve on his averages so far of 7.8 points, 1.0 3ptm, 2.0 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.6 steals. First, he is by far and away their best option as a true point guard. Second, the Knicks need to closely evaluate whether he should be a member of their team in the future.
CUT LIST (No need to shed a tear)
Marvin Williams (SF/PF – 62%) – We’re all aware of the drop in Marvin’s production this season, but unfortunately, it looks like it might have taken another turn for the worse. Lately, Mike Woodson has preferred to play Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford major minutes in the back court. Consequently, Joe Johnson has moved to SF and thus Marvin, meet the bench. I’m sure standard leagues can find more attractive options sitting on the waiver wire.
WATCH LIST (Deep Leagues pounce, but standard leagues first weigh the options)
Nicolas Batum (SG/SF – 7%) – I’m sure you’ve heard about Batum’s stellar line last night – 31 points, 5 3ptm, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals. While it’s completely ludicrous to expect anything remotely similar, he’ll still put up serviceable numbers for deeper leagues as he has the ability to contribute in a variety of categories. However, I can’t urge everyone enough that standard leagues should really consider other options as he isn’t even the third option on that team. Also, bear in the mind that Portland plays the least amount of games the last 4 weeks of the season (13).
James Singleton (SF/PF – 4%)/JaVale McGee (PF/C – 15%) – Even though McGee emerged as a starter after the NBA trade deadline, I commented that he’d be at least as maddening to own as Roy Hibbert over at Fantasy Basketball Cafe. True enough, his minutes have been held in check and he even lost his starting gig to James in their last game. However, James happened to twist an ankle and JaVale ended up seeing the biggest minutes (and best line) he has all year. Going forward, I’d imagine Singleton gets more run as he’s simply able to better carry out Flip’s gameplan. McGee still has a lot of growing up to do, but he’ll definitely have his moments thanks to his freakish athleticism.
Anthony Tolliver (PF/C – 6%)/Ronny Turiaf (PF/C – 5%) - I was already liking Tolliver’s chances for a boost in production when it was announced Corey Maggette was going to be out at least until March 8. However, Andris Biedrins suffered a groin pull last night against the Pistons. At this point, there isn’t any word regarding the amount of time that Biedrins may be out, but considering his regression this season, it is prudent to look for more production out of Ronny. If Biedrins does miss significant time, I’d bump probably bump both of them onto the add list.
STAY THE COURSE (Don’t jump ship just yet)
Elton Brand (PF/C – 93%) – Elton’s last two game average has not been a thing of beauty: 6 points (on abysmal shooting too low to print), 3.5 rebounds, 1 steal and .5 blocks. It was revealed today that he’s dealing with a sore calf that forced him to miss Sunday’s practice. Owners should wait and see whether this clears up in a few days or limits him significantly the rest of the season. If the worst happens, Thaddeus Young’s value immediately goes up. What is unclear is whether Marreese Speights or Jason Smith would next benefit the most…
DEEP LEAGUE SPECIALS (Name(s) that could be flying under the radar in your deep league)
Darko Milicic (PF/C – 10%) – I never thought I’d be writing about Darko’s relevance in fantasy leagues as it wasn’t too long ago he stated he was looking forward to going back to Europe permanently. Funny thing happened though – the Timberwolves decided to trade for him prior to the deadline. Even more surprising is they’ve been giving the guy decent run (20 minutes a game). Subsequently, he might be able to help a deep league team as he’s got a five game average of 5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks going. More importantly, Al Jefferson has seen his minutes continue to dwindle. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is actually represents a trend as Rambis is more interested in experimenting for the future, management would like to improve their lottery position and an unhealthy Jefferson is headed for shutdown in a pointless season.
Bill Walker (SG/SF – 0%) – Admittedly, I’m taking a stab here, but that’s what this section is about, right? Recently, Mike D’Antoni mentioned he likes Bill Walker and he’ll give the kid run to see if he’d be a viable rotation for next year and beyond. Well, so far, Mike has been good on his word as Walker has seen court time with a high of 24 minutes in the Knicks last game. What’s important to remember is that those minutes might really look nice if Tmac has his moments where he misses time. As a bonus, Wilson Chandler is slated to at least miss tomorrow’s game for personal reasons…
Tracy McGrady (SG/SF – 75%) – Maybe I should have changed the title to mystery knee. McGrady’s fantasy value hinges on how his knee responds to court time. Surprise, surprise, the initial goings haven’t been stellar as Tmac’s minutes have gradually declined with a Knick low of 15 coming against Memphis. According to Alan Hahn, Tracy stated he didn’t want to push it as he was really fatigued, but that he’d be ready to go against Cleveland. It appears this will probably be the norm as I’m sure Tmac has been told by his financial advisors it’s in his best interests to make sure he finishes the year healthy so that he can cash in on a new contract. However, he knows he has to make sure he shows enough to receive decent offers. Deeper leagues should be able to handle the inconsistencies but I advise standard leagues to go ahead and make a move for a more reliable option if available.