2012 Fantasy Basketball: LeBron James, Andrew Bynum, Kobe Bryant, Eric Gordon and More
Line of the Night: LeBron James (3.37 WARP) came out on top of Kevin Durant both in real life (where the Heat won 98-93) and fantasy, where LeBron nearly triple-doubled with 34 points, 7 rebounds and 10 assists. He was also 3-7 from three and added 4 steals while playing nearly 42 minutes. Durant still holds the small lead over LeBron for the year on our player rater, so while LeBron just won the battle, Durant is winning the war.
Honorable Mentions: Andrew Bynum (2.73) didn’t hit any threes last night (although he did take one according to the box score), but led the Lakers to a win over the Clippers with 36 points (shooting 13-20 from the field), adding 8 rebounds and 4 blocks. Kobe Bryant (1.67) added 31 points on 13-19 from the field (trying to make amends for his recent 3-21 shooting game, no doubt), with 5 rebounds and 6 assists. Poor Pau Gasol (0.15) was mostly an afterthought in this one, but Ramon Sessions (0.86) – 16 points, 8 assists and 2 steals – continues to play well in a starting role.
Although Chris Paul (1.12) finished with 22 points and 16 assists for the Clippers, the team’s best fantasy line came from an unexpected place: Caron Butler (1.41). Butler was 4-8 from three and scored 28 points and appears to be back after some mid-season shooting struggles derailed his fantasy game.
The Jazz lost a close one to the Suns, but Paul Millsap (2.08) was the beastlist beast on the court with 25 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks in the game. Derrick Favors (0.08) only saw 15 minutes off the bench and yet somehow finished with 9 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks in the game. Get that man some more minutes. Gordon Hayward (1.10) chipped in a 20 and 10 for his second straight 20 point game.
The on again-off again dynamic duo of Raymond Felton (1.78) – 14 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists – and Nicolas Batum (1.76) – 20 points, 4 threes and 10 rebounds helped Portland to a 101-88 win over the Nets. You know, the Nets team currently starting Johan Petro at center and Sundiata Gaines at PG because Deron Williams didn’t feel well. Yeah, that Nets team. You go for that top-3 lottery pick NJ!
With the Nets team as it currently stands, Kris Humphries (1.18) continues to put up solid lines and has been one of their only consistent pieces this season. He had a 21 and 11 last night for his third double-double in a row.
A night after putting up a biggest loser type game, Jrue Holiday (1.52) bounced back against the Raptors with 20 points, 5 assists and 3 steals. While it’s probably not the start of something great for Holiday, it at least means he’s out of his horrible three game slump. And despite losing to the Raptors by nearly 20 points, Elton Brand (1.89) had one of two Sixers top-10 fantasy lines last night, finishing with 20 points (on 9-15 from the field) with 4 blocks. Spencer Hawes was the only other Sixer to score in double-digits and he had 10.
Jose Calderon (1.29) led the Raptors with 12 points and 13 assists, while Andrea Bargnani (1.15) dropped 24, hitting 3-7 from three.
Chris Kaman (1.51) got the start at center against the Nuggets (pushing Jason Smith to PF and Gustavo Ayon to the bench) and was better than good, finishing with 14 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocked shots in 33 minutes. If you were sitting on Kaman while he was out of the Hornets lineup, it’s definitely time to get him back in there.
Speaking of Hornets returns, the much anticipated return of Eric Gordon (-0.08) happened last night. It wasn’t quite an unqualified success as Gordon showed some rust – shooting 3-11 from the floor and turning the ball over 4 times. But he finished with 15 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists in a surprisingly high 34 minutes. Gordon is still a risky play for the rest of the week, but those in H2H playoffs probably don’t have the luxury of sitting him. The counting stats will be there for Gordon as long as he’s healthy, just hope he doesn’t kill your FG% and TOs along the way.
And then there is Kevin Love (1.27), who simply put up 29 points, 12 boards and 5 assists against the Warriors. It’s notable in that Love was coming off two straight games where he didn’t double-double (gasp).
Waiver Wire Line of the Night: Anthony Parker (2.87) – yes the Cavs Anthony Parker – finished second on the night in terms of WARP with a 27 point game in which he went 4-7 from three and 11-14 overall. He added 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. To show you what kind of game this was for Parker, 27 points is by far a season high, 4 threes is a season high, the 3 steals is a season high, and the 7 boards is one off his season high. The only explanation is that Parker is secretly a Nerdluck who recently stole the powers of a real basketball player… like Shawn Bradley. While Parker is not going to repeat this line anytime soon, he has actually been playing better over the past couple of weeks and is worth a look in 14+ team leagues if you could use a guy who does a little bit of everything.
Pick Up Lines: J.J. Hickson (1.46) also bounced back from a biggest loser type outing on Monday to score 18 points, with 8 rebounds and 3 blocks in 26 minutes off the bench against the Nets. He’s owned in 45% of Yahoo leagues, so he’s probably gone in competitive leagues at this point, but just check to make sure.
Sebastian Telfair (1.30) managed to put up 9 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals in only 16 minutes off the bench behind Steve Nash last night. Unless Nash were to get hurt, Telfair has little to no fantasy value. Or to put it another way, I actually owned Telfair in my 30 man league and I still didn’t play him.
Wayne Ellington (1.20) dropped 17 points, 3 threes and 7 rebounds on the Warriors last night. With Ridnour out, Ellington is going to be the first Wolves guard off the bench in most games, but he simply doesn’t do enough on the court consistently to have much fantasy value.
Speaking of Wolves with marginal fantasy value, it’s easy to forget that Wes Johnson (1.16) is still the starting SF for the Wolves, a position he’s held most of the year. Johnson put up 12 points, 2 steals and 3 blocks in 38 minutes against the Warriors. He’s likely to see his minutes drop back down to the mid-20′s in his next game, so stay away unless you are looking for the occasional blocked shot from your SF.
Richard Jefferson (1.09) went 3-3 from three in 27 minutes off the Warriors’ bench to finish with 13 points and 2 steals. Just like when he was on the Spurs, if you are in need of threes, Jefferson is worth a look, if not, he doesn’t really do much of anything else to be worth owning.
We are starting to go deep here. The Warriors new starting center, Jeremy Tyler (0.97), finished with 6 points, 2 steals and 3 blocks in 25 minutes against the Wolves. He might have a little board/block/steal potential if he starts getting 25+ minutes a game consistently, but it’s something I’d want to see him do a couple more times before I trusted him.
Greivis Vasquez (0.90) got the start at PG for the Hornets with Jarrett Jack out because of a sore ankle. He responded with an 11 point, 10 assist double-double in 37 minutes. Like earlier in the season, Vasquez is definitely worth an add if Jack were to miss time. Considering the team is not commenting on Jack’s injury yet, that is a good bet to happen.
Drew Gooden sat in last night’s game due to a sore back, so Ekpe Udoh (0.50) got the start at center and did his thing with 11 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks in 32 minutes. Gooden is day-to-day with the injury and Udoh is only worth owning if he’s starting, but keep an eye on the situation and jump on it if it looks like Gooden is going to miss more time.
A guy to keep an eye on is Alan Anderson (0.50), who was recently signed to a 10-day contract by the Raptors. He got the start at SF for James Johnson (DNP) and responded with 13 points and 4 boards in 31 minutes. Here is what Yahoo says about the James Johnson situation:
Coach Dwane Casey tried to explain Johnson’s benching in part as a way for the Raptors to get a good, long look at Alan Anderson; Johnson hinted at there being a bit more to it. There was no more elaboration. “It’s internal,” said Johnson, who would not speculate if he would be back in the lineup Friday against Cleveland. “I don’t know, it’s internal and whatever he thinks I deserve — I’m just going to have to deal with it like a man.”
As expected, J.J. Barea (-0.35) made his return to the court last night for the Wolves, just in time to fill in at PG for the injured Luke Ridnour. Barea had an interesting game, finishing with 15 points, 6 boards and 8 assists, but also turning the ball over 7 times and shooting 6-15 from the floor. Still, Barea got 37 minutes of run and with Ridnour expected to miss some time with that sprained ankle, I’d consider Barea a must add if you could use a PG while Ridnour remains sidelined.
With Kyrie Irving out with a sprained shoulder for at least the next week and possibly more, Donald Sloan (-0.04) becomes a player to add if you need some PG help. Sloan got the start at PG for the Cavs and had a decent game with 12 points and 8 assists in 36 minutes. Sloan is not a three point shooter (in fact, he’s shot 7% from three this season), doesn’t steal the ball and he’s not a great shooter from either the floor or the line. But other than that, he’s a superstar. In seriousness, you are basically going to get assists out of Sloan with the occasional steal, but assists are one of the tougher stats to find off the wire. Add him if you need help there.
The Charles Jenkins (0.10) and Nate Robinson (-0.75) battle might be heading towards a place where no one wins. After two solid games in a row, Robinson was limited to 14 minutes off the bench and finished with 2 points and 4 assists against the Wolves. Jenkins, who has coming off a pretty bad game, bounced back with 19 points and 7 assists in 33 minutes. Jenkins still has the upper hand being the starter and the only one of the two with any type of long term future with the Warriors, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable starting either guy if I were in a H2H playoff battle this week.
Injury of the Night: D.J. Augustin’s demotion only lasted one game, as he was back in the Bobcats’ starting lineup over Kemba Walker last night against the Hawks. However, Augustin left the game after only 10 minutes with a knee injury, giving Walker (21 points) plenty of run off the bench. Augustin I’d assume will be day-to-day going forward, but if you recently picked up Walker, hold onto him as he will have some good fantasy value if Augustin misses time.
Biggest Loser: John Wall (-1.52) had the 239th best line of last night out of 239 players. He did score 13 points against the Pacers, but also contributed 1 rebound, 3 assists and 5 turnovers while shooting 4-15 from the field. Wall actually has a negative WARP over the past couple of weeks – the result of him killing your FG% and killing you in TOs while providing 6.8 assists and not much else. Ouch.
As a Zach Randolph (-1.24) owner, it’s been rough watching him struggle ever since his return from that MCL injury. Last night was no exception, as he scored 4 points on 2-6 from the floor, adding 5 rebounds and 1 assist in 23 minutes off the bench. At this point in the season, I think I’m committed to Randolph for the rest of the season, but he’s definitely not making it any easier to hold onto him.
Daily rankings and stats come from the GMTR H2H Player Rater (beta version). They are based on the stat Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP) an estimate of the number of wins a player produces per week in H2H leagues over a replacement (waiver wire) player.
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