Dennis Velasco is talkin’ fantasy, givin’ advice…

Have you been naughty or nice? This question is for all of the female readers and I ask that you all please go into detail in the comments section. I’m sure whatever you write, particularly if you’ve been naughty, will be a better read than anything that I write this week.

However, I’ll give it a shot and look at players on the waiver wire that have been nice, as in “Billy Dee Williams’ game back in the day was nice!”

Standard League Pick-Ups

Shane Battier, SF, Houston Rockets (48% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
Battier is the consummate jack-of-all trades as he literally does everything well to some degree. He won’t wow you with any one category, but look across the board and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. He’s kind of like the David Spade of the NBA. Both come from great programs — Battier from Duke and Spade from “Saturday Night Live.” Both were never stars, but did their thing — Battier’s a two-time All-Defensive team member and Spade was in “Black Sheep” and “Tommy Boy.” And you might be surprised by their stats — Battier averages at least one trey, steal and block per game in his career and Spade has hooked up with numerous Playboy Playmates and actually impregnated one.

In any case, in the past week (four games), Battier has averaged 31.8 minutes, 12.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 3.3 triples, 0.8 steals and 2.5 blocks. It’s not as cool as knocking up a Playmate, but in the world of fantasy basketball, that line is pretty damn impressive.

Linas Kleiza, SG/SF, Toronto Raptors (40% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
I can tell you what Kleiza wants for Christmas. He wants Sonny Weems’ back spasms to continue so that he keeps starting. Since Weems has been out of the lineup (past three games), the Lithuanian has gotten busy while starting. Kleiza averaged 40.0 minutes, 21.0 points, 9.0 boards, 2.7 dimes, 2.7 Kerbys and shooting well from the field (52.1 percent) and stripe (83.3 percent). Kleiza was the starter at the beginning of the season, but played himself out of it. The past week has given him the opportunity to play himself back in.

Brandon Bass, PF, Orlando Magic (26% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
I’m a huge fan of Bass and wondered all season why Stan Van Gundy wasn’t starting him, so I just chalked it up to SVG’s turtlenecks being on too tight. In any case, for all of you advanced metrics geeks, Bass’ PER the past four seasons has increased season-to-season (15.9, 16.4, 16.5, 18.2) all above the average PER of 15. Simply put, Bass needs more burn.

During his recent five-game stint as a starter, Bass averaged 30.3 minutes, 14.4 points and 7.0 rebounds. Those are some solid numbers from the four and I’m certain Bass could do better given consistent minutes and a chance. Bass is more of a speculative grab at this point, but considering the Magic will probably have to trade one of their wings in order to get a back-up center and Hedo Turkoglu can go back to the three without taking minutes at the power forward spot, Bass is worth the chance on your end. Unless you wear tight turtlenecks.

Deep League Pick Ups

Rudy Fernandez, SG, Portland Trail Blazers (13% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
Brandon Roy? The Blazers don’t need no stinkin’ Brandon Roy! In the three games that Roy has sat to rest his knee, Fernandez has gotten a ton of minutes in Roy’s place, averaging 38.3 minutes per, as well as 19.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 2.7 threes, 2.0 steals while shooting 53.7 percent from the field and 85.7 percent from the free-throw line. Don’t those numbers look Roy-like?

Knee injuries can be tricky and Roy seems more broke down than he’s ever been. Deep leaguers need to pick up Fernandez fast and hope Roy’s minutes are limited when he returns. If anything, the Spainard’s performance has to open up some eyes in Portland and get him more than the under-20 minutes of play he’s been averaging. ¡ARRIBA!

Gary Neal, PG/SG, San Antonio Spurs (3% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
It’s almost unfair how the Spurs pick up/draft these seeming nobodies and have them flourish in their system. Neal, a rookie, is the latest find and he’s been doing damage in the past week (four games), particularly in the last three games that fellow “find” George Hill has sat due to injury. Neal has averaged 26.3 minutes, 15.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.5 dimes and 2.3 three-balls in the last week. Even when Hill comes back into the guard rotation, Neal has been playing so well, he’ll still contribute as the primary backup for Manu Ginobili.

Earl Boykins, PG, Milwaukee Bucks (1% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
Unless you’ve been walking the Earth like Caine from “Kung Fu” without any electronics along your path, you’ll know that Brandon Jennings is out four to six weeks. While Keyon Dooling is the back-up-turnt-starter for the Bucks at the lead guard position, don’t sleep on Boykins. In the Bucks’ last game, the diminutive Boykins scored 22 points in 26 minutes of play. In the previous game, he only scored six points, but he played 26.5 minutes and took one less shot (11) than he did in the 22-point outing. Boykins is getting the opportunity both in time and shots and that’s a big thing for such a little guy.

True Or False

Gilbert Arenas will fire up the hibachi once again with the Orlando Magic.
False. Arenas will never ever ever ever be the player he once was. He won’t get as many opportunities to touch the ball with both Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu on the roster and able to facilitate the offense. He won’t be able to chuck as freely as he’d like because of the aforementioned players — as well as Jason Richardson–  joining him on the perimeter and Dwight Howard down on the block. However, being surrounded with all of that talent should make Arenas a more efficient player once the Magic figure out their rotation. In fact, when things go right, the Magic will score a ton of points, some of which will be Gil’s. Just not as many as there used to be.

What I Did This Week

Once I heard the trades the Magic were involved with go down, I immediately picked up Bass for all of the reasons above. I’m a fan and a believer and think he’ll eventually be the starter for good. I dropped Jason Thompson to accommodate Bass on my roster and all I have to do now is be patient.

Fantasy Thoughts To Jump Off From

- I don’t own Raymond Felton in any of the three leagues I’m in, but I am a fan. However, I can’t help but wonder if he’s eventually going to get tired and see his spectacular numbers drop. Don’t get me wrong, he’s an awesome player in that Knicks system, but in the month of December, other than an increase in assists from the previous month (8.6 to 10.2), Felton’s numbers dropped. There is only a 0.4 difference in points from November (18.6) to December (18.2), but he’s taking a full two more shots this month (15.7) compared to last (13.7). Plus, he’s shooting an ugly 42.7 percent from the field in December after knocking shots down at a 47.5 percent clip in November. Unfortunately for New York fans, that’s more in line with his career 41.3 percent performance. I know I’m picking nits, but the Knicks need a solid back-up at the one.

- If the NBA can have you vote for its real life All-Stars, the fantasy basketball community can do the same! Check out the poll over at fbasketballblog that Jason has set up. I’ve already voted and you should do the same.

- My final fantasy thought is more of a wish. And that is wishing all of you readers a great Christmas/Festivus/Kwaanzaa/Whatever the heck you celebrate!

Number of Team Games in Week 10

Five Games: DAL