Every once and a while you need to pray, to the Fantasy Gods of course, for a victory for the week, especially when you are inching towards a playoff berth. Every team needs to throw up a prayer once and while because without them you could lose to the underdog, or your perfect model 1st place team can come crashing into the ground the first round of playoffs.
Fortunately, if you read through these prayers, and hopefully implement, and recite them, you should be able to uncover many blessings for your Fantasy Team.
The Fantasy Gods will help you out no doubt with a little reading!
This analysis took so long it leaked into Monday, which I will have a new post for, but there is definitely a lot of value here for readers to see how their players are playing. Have fun!
OKC @ Denver
Sunday showed us a lot of Epic lines, most notable was Kevin Durant going for 51 like it was an ordinary day, while his Partner in Crime Russell Westrbook dropped 40 as well (These two guys alone outscored 7 NBA teams on Sunday), but the line that stands out (which will seem more like a regularity in the future) was Serge Ibaka’s monster triple double with 11 BLOCKED SHOTS! Yes this guy will literally be carrying your team into in blocks every week, and along with James Harden, you can roll all these guys out every night they play with confidence. I believe these 4 all have the potential to finish in the top 25 when all is said and done in H2H 9 CAT formats, something I don’t even think the Boston Big 4 were able to do. It’s also safe to say that nobody else on this roster is considered a pickup unless you are in really deep leagues.
The Nuggets had this one under control throughout 45 minutes of the game until they realized they couldn’t stay in front of either one of the dynamic duo. If you own Nuggets players, or have players match up against them, its safe to say there will be a Fantasy Feast. George Karl is really helping out Fantasy owners because he squeezes all the berries out of these guys to give you some awesome fantasy juice. It’s safe to say that almost everyone, including the bench rotation will have some sort of value throughout the year, going as deep as 8-9 guys a night. Andre Miller turned it up with a 21/10 line after his recent slump, which rubbed off on Al Harrington. I have faith he will pick it up soon. Chris “Bridman” Andersen has shown fantasy relevance over the last 4 with the injuries to Nene and Timofey, and is now part of the rotation to showcase his trade value, news of this breaking most recently after the excellent play from Kosta Koufos. Also in the mix, Wilson Chandler should be meeting with the Nugs on Monday, and looks like he got out of his contract leaving his CBA team without their leading scorer for the playoffs. That seems kind of shady, but it’s understandable considering the longer he stayed out there, the less teams he would attract as well as money. He looks like a good candidate to jump right in and get 30 minutes a game, which is bad news for Corey Brewer. Nene should be back, maybe within this week, but it would be wise to keep him out through the All-Star break as his heel injury has been an issue all Season long.
Lakers @ Phoenix
Phoenix took hold of this one early, and the Black Mamba could not bring the struggling Lakers back in this one despite going for 32, but he did rack up 10 turnovers at the same time. His slump appears to be over. The bigs Pau and Andrew Bynum has decent lines, and like usual the rest of the team is deep league flyers. Hopefully that potential point guard upgrade comes sooner rather than later, and later after the game Kobe with frustration said to the media that the organization needs to let Pau know what is up. Is he going to be traded, or not because the big man can’t focus otherwise on the court, especially when he is one of the main ‘pillars’ to the team.
The Suns were aggressive outright, as they seemed especially tired of being picked on by Kobe and the Lakers this season. Steve Nash looks like a 50/50 target of being traded, and the owner is leaving the decision solely up to him. I think a move would be appropriate considering they can get Aaron Brooks back in a few weeks to jump right into the starting PG slot, while Nash has excellent trade value, even if they eventually deal him for expiring contracts and draft picks. Jared Dudley busted out of his slump with 25 and a full stat line. Channing Frye has finally found his jumper, and in case you’ve been on Pluto, Marcin Gortat is a beast, puting up Elite Center numbers with regularity. I really hope they don’t trade Nash cause I have Gortat, and a lot of his baskets are special deliveries from none other than one of the greatest setup men in NBA history. Markief Morris has carved out a consistent role off the bench, cutting into Frye’s time a little, but both are still very effective. The talented Rookie is pushing to be apart of the 1-1-1 club (3, STL, BLK) a very rare club that makes him very valuable as a waiver flyer, so if he is available and he is worth a look. That and I have a feeling he will have a good second half of the season as he has gained Alvin Gentry’s trust.
Utah @ Houston
The Jazz were served a very cold dinner. A second half collapse which saw the Rockets rally, and they really had no answers. Devin Harris has been horrendous this season, and if your tired of him please go hit the waiver wire and pick up a guy like Isaiah Thomas from Sacramento. He has worked his way into a timeshare with Earl Watson, that’s right Earl, yes he is still playing in the NBA. Raja Bell starts at SG killing the value of CJ Miles, Josh Howard, and probably the team, and Gordon Hayward just doesn’t look comfortable at Small Forward. I think he has a problem guarding bigger guys, and that has contributed to his slump. Ty needs to make the adjustment, move him to the 2, and go with a bigger lineup with CJ or Josh Howard at the 3. Say what you want, but Howard looks as spry as his days in Dallas, and he is a great perimeter defender with long and bothersome arms. On top of that he scores in volume, which will be the attention needed to get Hayward open. Paul Milsap and Al Jefferson is a tandem I would not want to face regularly, and that is too bad for the South West Conference.
The Rockets are playing some great ball, and though Coach Kevin McHale is a fantasy team manager’s nightmare, he sure is a great Damn Coach. He gets his guys to play hard every night on both ends of the floor, and he isn’t afraid of benching starters who feel privileged enough to just run through the motions. Whatever he is doing is working because the Rockets are in the middle of the pack for playoffs despite not having a superstar, and they are knocking off legitimate teams. This is the brand of basketball everyone should enjoy. Kevin Martin had a sit down with the Coach, and he is cool with the benching, and has played with more confidence recently. Courtney Lee, his backup has been getting decent minutes regardless and looks like a good deep league special. Kyle Lowry I have been watching since a rookie, and I’m not surprised at this most improved player candidate as all he needed was the Coach’s confidence, and the keys to the ride. He is putting up Elite Value depsite his recent shooting slump, which probably had a lot to do with his court case. Regardless, 7 3 pointers on Sunday makes that slump officially over, as he hit enough 3’s for the week in 1 game. Luis Scola has been playing better lately, but is still putting up very late round value with high turnovers and the absence of any defensive stats, and mediocre percentages. It would be wise to try to package him in a trade, as I doubt he brings it together by the end of the season, and even if his Scoring and Rebounding slightly rises, he has a long hill to climb.
Miluakee vs New Jersey
Hello Ersan Ilyasova! 29 Points and 25 rebounds to cap a stretch run where he has been averaging almost a double double for 11 games, with almost a 3, STL and BLK a game. He is climbing the rankings and is for real. Scott Skiles benched him after a sluggish start, then he decided to play hard coming off the bench, then said he wasn’t happy in the NBA and would head to Europe after this season, then he regained his starting role. Man, Scott Skiles sure is a buzzkill, not only for his players, but for Fantasy owners as well. I tend to stay away from the control freaks (Skiles, Casey, McHale) for fantasy purposes because I hate ups and downs for players, and random benchings, but this guy you just HAVE TO take a flyer on if he is available because he is playing too well. Carlos Delfino I know for a fact is one of Skiles’ favorites, so if he is lingering on the waiver wire go add him as well, as he can drop 3’s and STL with the best of them. Stephan Jackson has already said he wants to play for the Nets, or Orlando, and he is fed up with his situation. A fine or a suspension will really do nothing at this point, as Captain Jax will always speak his mind. Brandon Jennings is having a great season, as he is one of the DDD (Draft Day Discounts) however his FG% is trending down, meaning his value will begin to drop as well, so I have him finishing with late 3rd value with that trend hitting the last half of the season. Drew Gooden did not fly with the team, and has some lingering Wrist and Knee problems, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he is held out through the break. He has been BALLIN’ when activated, so keep an eye out for his game status. Even without Gooden, they easily got the victory with Ersan’s broad shoulders carrying the weight.
The Nets look pretty bad, but what’s good is the return of Brook Lopez. They are just out of rhythm with people constantly coming in and out of the rotation due to injury. Let’s just hope they stay healthy and win a crap load of games in the second half of the season because that’s the only shot they have of keeping Deron Williams. Deron is a machine by the way, healthy finally, and capable of 20/10 every night. Marshawn Brooks is back from his broken toe and Achilles strain, and he really strained my fantasy week with his amount of turnovers and poor shooting. Hopefully, he should be good by the break. Jordan Farmar needs an MRI for his lingering strained groin, and those are tough to get back from, usually players come back too early and restrain them just like this guy. He lost most of his value with the return of Brooks, Anthony Morrow and Deshawn Stephenson. Morrow is coming off the bench now since his return from a personal leave, so inconsistency will follow, but he finally dropped 17 points on Sunday, so he looks to have found his touch. Kris Humphries, despite getting booed in every stadium, and is the most hated man after his break up with Kim Kardashian, still drops a double double every night and is a proven DDD. Sheldon Williams was racking up boards and blocks before Lopez arrived, but still looks like a good deep league add.
Philly @ Minnesota
Though the blazing hot 3rd place 76ers came close, they lost to the Wolves by 1 at the end of the game. Spencer Hawes was a key cog to Doug Collin’s Day shift (Starters) so he has asked Jrue Holiday to pick up the aggressiveness and attack the basket, and he responded with 20 points tonight. Jodie Meeks is just around the corner from catching fire, but is in a bad slump, and if he can’t hit 3’s consistently, he is pretty worthless. Elton Brand is struggling, and Thaddeus young is ballin, so you aren’t going to see the 15/10 brand from last year, but his steals and blocks alone give him great late round value. Meanwhile, Thaddeus, though uninspiring to look at his averages, he is putting up top 50 value, and will stay there because he is doing all the right things on the court and is extremely efficient. Andre Igoudala was supposed to be the go-to scorer this season, but that role somehow ended up with Louis Williams. No matter, several players on this roster are worth fantasy consideration, even the rookie Nikola Vucevic has strung some nice games together to be a deep league flyer.
The Wolves have looked very scary recently with the promotion of Nikola Pekovic to the Starting 5. Him and Kevin Love are already looking like the scariest 4 and 5 pairing in the league, and they haven’t even played together for a month yet in this new rotation. Nikola is battling Jeremy Lin right now for waiver wire pickup of the year, and we do expect Lin’s numbers to take a hit, while at the same time Nikola has been putting up better value over the recent 2 week stretch. Ricky Rubio went for a career high 22 points, but don’t expect him to score much. Luke is not locked in a time share with JJ Barea, who is finally healthy from his hammy injury. Wes Johnson is a waste of a starting spot, Michael Beasley looks like a trade candidate, and everything else looks like a fantasy wasteland for the wolves, but they sure do look good right now.
Sacramento @ Cleveland
The Kings are desperate for a win, so much so that Keith Smart has injected little bundle of energy Isaiah Thomas into the starting 5, however they have lost two close games, but look a lot better. Thomas is the only true PG on the roster, shifting Marcus and Tyreke to the 2 and 3, making this a three guard lineup. They push the ball and are a lot of fun to watch, and matchups will dictate how many minutes Thomas gets, but judging by the last pick in the draft’s almost triple double on Sunday I have a feeling he will carve out a nice role, and is justifiable the most added player on Sunday as a result. Other than the starting five, nobody holds anything but deep league value.
Ramon Sessions has seen a lot of minutes, which are deservedly so since he is playing like a ‘Man on Fire’. His trade value gets higher each day, and if I was the owner looking to make a trade I would do it ASAP before he tries to gut your roster because he is certifiably a starting PG on any team. Boobie Gibson reaggravated his injury, so he will be in and out, while Anthony Parker returned to practice on Monday. Kyrie Irving looks good after his return from concussion, and he is safe to roll out. Andy Varejao is now out for 4-6 weeks, and the only good news is that he doesn’t need surgery. Tristan Thompson looks like the add here, and we know he is capable of at least 8 boards and 2 blocks a game, let’s see what the offense rounds out too as Semih Erden struggles at the Starting Center Slot. Alonzo Gee is starting at the SG slot with all the injuries, and was still getting 28-30 minutes even off the bench. He is good for the tail end of your 12 team league or higher.
Charlotte @ Indiana
The Bobcats got steamrolled in this one. The bodies are getting healthy every week, which has introduced a new problem of a logjam at the wings and PG positions. Kemba Walker moves back to the bench, though his production hasn’t really been affected, DJ Augustin is back in the PG slot, and I love his AST:TO ratio, but wish he could nab at least a steal a game cause that would seriously boost his value. Gerald Henderson is set to return on Wednesday from his hammy injury, spoiling what little value Reggie Williams was holding. He should eventually regain his starting job back. Corey Maggette has return, pushing Tyrus Thomas out of the Starting 5 and into irrelevance. Bismack Biyombo with a not so polished offense, will get you an average of 8 boards and 2 blocks a game when you average out the ups and downs. Analysts are set for him to have a big second half, but I’m not buying, he is only 19 years old and will need a lot of development, though I could see it happen through next season. Boris Diaw should be called Boring Diaw as that’s the type of lines he puts up, with little enthusiasm. And the rest of the bunch is nipping to get some minutes on the worst team in the league, that means stay away for fantasy purposes.
Indian is really rolling with the 3rd best record in the East. With the acquisition of David West, you see a lot of stability on this team. They have a deep bench that with the George Hill set to return this week, some great defensive wings, and a quick scorer/rebounder Tyler Hansbrough. However, with the deep bench, the only guys of relevance is the starting 5, until George Hill gets healthy, he will deserve roster consideration at the tail end of 12 teams.
Boston @ Detroit
A late scratch by Kevin Garnett with his lingering, and a Rajon Rondo ejection with consequent two game suspension means if you took the +6 betting line on Detroit than you were fairly happy with the results as the Celtics looked lost in a loss to the Pistons. Their play of recent memory is mediocre, and that contributes to their key defensive cog KG in and out of the lineup. Chris Wilcox has looked like a good spot start in his place, and Jermaine O’neal went down with another injury on Monday to his wrist, naming him most brittle player in the NBA. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce will pick up the slack during this week, while Mickael Pietrus is set for an increased role as well. He is a good play for the manager desperate for scoring and 3’s in deep leagues.
Detroit looks good. Rodney Stuckey is attacking the paint like a savage and getting to the line 12 times a game over his last 3. Pick him up if he is still available after a sluggish start to the season. Brandon Knight has held on to the starting PG job, and looks like a good add for the tail end of your 10-12 team leagues. Ben Gordon is back from his shoulder injury, and in his natural 6th man role you can expect the same results. Jonas Jerebko is really fighting for minutes behind Jason Maxiell, who was inserted into the starting 5 because of his defensive prowess, and the Pistons are winning games, so I think this will stick, while Jerebko will be a source of scoring off the bench much like Ben Gordon, but with less touches, that means deep league only. And of course Greg Monroe is trucking along with his DDD providing 1st value, which I don’t expect to fall, unless he dips to early 2nd round value for the rest of the season. 1.5 steals out of the Center slot is something you don’t see every day.
Orlando @ Miami
If you haven’t gotten the theme between these Florida rivals, you should by now, when the visiting team arrives at either arena, they usually get beat up pretty bad and go home with a loss. It was Orlando’s turn this time. Nobody had a particularly good game except for JJ Redick dropping 5 3’s with 17 points spot starting for Jason Richardson who is out with what doctors are calling a virus infection in his lungs. Aside from JJ and the Starting 5, everyone else is a deep leaguer
Miami is rolling along, and last week was the first team to win a back-to-back-to-back road games since 1970-71 season (Philly) Same old story here, with James, Wade, and Bosh sucking up most of the fantasy value, while Chalmers is a 3 point and steals specialist who will probably finish in the top 50 this season if his swollen hand will let him, and Udonis Haslem is a rebound specialist for deep leagues. Everyone else is deep leaguers (16+ teams)
Dallas @ New York
Jeremy Lin did it again. Dallas took a tough road loss despite 34 from Nowitzki, Jason Terry looked good in his return, while Kidd is putting up some Kidd lines in limited minutes. Everyone else played pretty average. Delonte out indefinitely with a nasty broken and dislocated finger will open up minutes for Kidd, Terry, and Roddy when he returns from his personal leave. Haywood looks like a deep leaguer, and the rest of the starting 5 is playing at their normal level.
Linsanity strikes again, and he is balling like usual, even with the return of Melo on Monday, it looks like he will maintain his value. JR Smith made his debut, knocking down 3 3 pointers, and looks like he will fill the same role as he did with the nuggets, hurting Landry Field’s value at the same time. Shumpert has knee problems, opening up the debut for Baron Davis against the nets, nothing to see here. Steve Novak will lose minutes with the return of Melo, but has earned a spot in the rotation because he meshes well with Lin and others on the roster. Bill Walker is gone into the 4th dimension. Tyson Chandler took 2 falls injuring both wrists and back, which he took x-rays of, but still managed to play Monday with a decent line (Monday’s blog coming up shortly) This team will need a few more games before we can figure out where the value goes, so stay tuned for our next blog discussing Monday’s action.