Going to change things up a bit this week and also take a look at players owned in more than the 30 percent range, when I usually try to suggest players actually available in a majority of leagues. Why? Because, like a Nicholas Sparks movie, everyone needs love.
Oh, and next week, we’ll have a special All-Star edition round table from various fantasy basketball experts answering a few questions. Enough about the future, let’s get going with this week’s suggestions.
Danny Green, SG/SF, (47% owned in Yahoo! leagues and ranked fifth overall in the past week) and Kawhi Leonard, SG/SF, (58% and eighth), San Antonio Spurs
Both Spurs wings benefited in the past week (two games) due to Manu Ginobili being out and Tim Duncan playing relatively few minutes. Green had eight treys in the Spurs’ last game, finishing with 28 points. In the same game, Leonard finished with 19 points and 10 boards. However, while Green is an excellent source of triples and Leonard has great upside to contribute everywhere, both require consistent burn to warrant a pickup in standard leagues. Plus, there’s always the possibility of someone like Gary Neal, Stephen Jackson or Matt Bonner of getting hot. Pick Green and Leonard up for now, but once they slow down, drop and pickup someone else.
I Hope You Heeded My Words
Nick Young, SG/SF, Philadelphia 76ers (36%)
Jason Richardson goes down for the season and Nick Young falls in to some prime playing time, as he’s received 37 minutes per in three games in the past week. In those three games, Young dropped 14.7 points, grabbed 5.7 boards, dished 1.7 assists, stole the ball 1.7 times and rejected a shot per game. His triples output (0.7; 14.3 percent on 4.7 3PA) stunk, but with the amount of opportunities he’ll have moving forward, Young is a good bet to even things out a bit and produce more treys, just like any human with the surname Kerby. Pick him up in all leagues!
Earl Clark, SF/PF, Los Angeles Lakers (43%)
And Pau Gasol goes down too. Like Young, Clark will continue to benefit from injury to a teammate. However, even before the injury to Pau, I suggested to you fine folks a few times to pick up Clark because of Dwight Howard’s nagging and nagging injuries, as well as fitting well in Mike D’Antoni’s system. In the past four games, Clark averaged 12.3 points on 48.8 percent shooting from the floor (10.3 FGA), 9.8 rebounds, 0.5 three-pointers (22.2 percent on 2.3 attempts), 1.0 steals and 1.5 blocks in 38 minutes per contest. THIRTY-EIGHT MINUTES. Since Pau is out for about six weeks and Howard is dealing with injuries that don’t seem like they’ll be going away any time soon, Clark warrants being owned in all leagues.
Give Him That 20-Spot
Samuel Dalembert, C, Milwaukee Bucks (41%)
In the past week (four games), Dalembert averaged 12.8 points on 66.7 percent shooting from the floor (9.0 FGA), 7.0 boards, 1.0 steal and 1.5 blocks in only 18 minutes per game. A 35-point explosion against the Denver Nuggets skews the points average a bit, but putting that aside, Dalembert has been producing in his normal boards and blocks categories, especially if he plays 20-plus minutes. In four of his last six games, when he did play over 20 minutes, Dalembert averaged 11.5 rebounds and 3.0 rejections. Give the man some burn and Dalembert will show that he was Larry Sanders before Larry Sanders.
Take Your Team To New Speights
Marreese Speights, PF/C, Cleveland Cavaliers (24%)
The general feeling, however much rooted in both truth and comedy: no one wants to be in Cleveland. Even people not talented enough to go to South Beach. However, Speights is the exception here as he’s been producing nicely when on the floor. Since joining the Cavs, in six games Speights is averaging 14.7 points on 52.9 percent shooting from the deck (11.3 FGA) and 83.3 percent from the freebie line (3.0 FTA), 7.3 boards, 1.2 dimes and 0.8 blocks in only 25 minutes. Buh-bye, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, you cockblockers! Speights is going commando and loving it! Man, I feel kind of dirty now. I blame Cleveland.
If A Trade Goes Down … TAJ!!!
Taj Gibson, PF/C, Chicago Bulls (27%)
No one hopes the Carlos Boozer trade rumor is true more than Taj Gibson. Gibson has been a very good player since joining the league and his four-game opportunity in the past week showed that. Gibson averaged 12.8 points, 56.8 FG% (11.0 FGA), 10.8 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in 39 minutes. Beast. However, now that Boozer and Joakim Noah are healthy again, Gibson is coming off the bench. He’s a must-own in deep leagues and those in standard leagues should be prepared to snatch him up just in case.
What the What?
Dwight Howard ranked last in Yahoo!’s ranking (601) for statistics in the past seven days (averaged stats), which speaks volumes about three things: 1) free throw percentage is ridiculously important to Yahoo!, 2) Mark Price must own Yahoo! and 3) everybody hates Dwight Howard with Price hating him the most, thanks to Dwight’s 16.7 percent mark from the stripe in the past week. OK, so D12 only played one game, but still.
And The Answer Is: Brian Flood
Brian Flood works for a fancy sports league that just concluded in New Orleans. He swears unplugging some wire in the press box didn’t cause any blackout. Brian previously worked as an NBA Fantasy Writer for CBSSports.com and does freelance work for numerous websites, including Rotoworld.com. He also dabbles in stand-up comedy and can be seen playing at venues across NYC on a weekly basis. Follow him on Twitter (@briansflood) or peep one of his comedy sets.
TBJ: Which players, who aren’t owned in most fantasy leagues, are primed to have relatively huge second halves?
Flood: Sometimes a free agent pickup can win your fantasy league. Remember when Jeremy Lin was a free agent last season, and within a span of two weeks had the value of Deron Williams, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook combined? Well, don’t expect something that drastic to happen again, but I guarantee someone currently on your waiver wire will finish the year starting for the team that wins your league.
Eric Bledsoe is a stud. However, he’s only owned in 46 percent of Yahoo! leagues. He should be owned in every league. During Chris Paul’s absence, he’s played like a must-start fantasy stud and while Paul will be back soon, as well as Chauncey Billups, it doesn’t matter.
If Bledsoe gets traded to a team such as the Boston Celtics, you’ll want to own him. Trust me. If the Kentucky product stays with the Los Angeles Clippers, he should still be productive and it’s not like Paul and Billups are the game’s most durable players.
If for some reason Earl Clark is still available in your league (43%), pick him up immediately after reading this column. With Pau Gasol on the shelf and Dwight Howard being softer than a $500 pillow, expect Clark to continue to thrive in Mike D’Antoni’s system. Oh, and we don’t think Kobe hates Clark yet, which is relevant on the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Philadelphia 76ers’ Nick Young (36%) should see more minutes with Jason Richardson experiencing serious knee issues and being ruled out for the rest of the season. Young is capable of scoring 15-20 points on a nightly basis and will drain some three-pointers with a sprinkle of everything else. He’s also fun to watch if you’re into that sort of thing.
I’ve always liked Marreese Speights (24%). Since his days at University of Florida, he’s reminded me of a poor man’s Elton Band. And I’m referring to when Brand was a star, not the current version. With a fresh start with the Cleveland Cavaliers, he could quietly turn into a double-double machine.
In Roto-style formats, Bismack Biyombo (18%) will single-handedly move you to the top of the blocks category. He’s available in most leagues and the Charlotte Bobcats big man is extremely fun to own. Biyombo isn’t a very good basketball player, but could swat four or five shots on any given night. With the exception of decent rebounding numbers, he’s basically a one-category guy. If you need to make up ground in blocks, go Biyombo!
Sometimes injured superstars sit on the waiver wire a little bit too long. Ask the guy who snagged John Wall right before his return. If Derrick Rose (86%) is available in your league, he could impact your fantasy standings in the second half of the season. Snag him now. Danny Granger (82%), Billups (20%), and Andrea Bargnani (73%) could all come back and start for your squad upon return, too.
Check your waiver wire daily and scoop up anyone that lesser owners drop for the wrong reasons. Owners do dumb things and the team that capitalizes on those dumb things often hoist fantasy trophies.
Number of Team Games in Week 16 (2/11-2/17)
Three Games: LAC
Two Games: ATL, BKN, BOS, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, HOU, IND, LAL, MIA, MIL, MIN, NOR, OKC, PHI, POR, SAC, SAS TOR, UTA, WAS
One Game: GSW, MEM, NYK, ORL, PHO
Dennis Velasco can be followed on Twitter (@dv140) where he recently tweeted about his sketch comedy group, Temple Horses, and their great review on The Huffington Post about the group’s latest video, a parody of ESPN’s Around The Horn talking about gun control. Click here to watch.