Line of the Night: Wesley Matthews (2.52 WARP) has come a long way since losing his starting job earlier in the year. Post Gerald Wallace trade, Matthews has been better than good, averaging a 0.97 WARP over the past two weeks, which is #13 on the GMTR player rater over that span. He’s also scored in double-digits in 11 straight games. Last night against the Jazz, Matthews was even better than that, scoring a season-high 33 points on 5-6 from three and 10-12 overall. It’s was a rough ride for Matthews for most of the season, but with fantasy playoffs in full swing, now Is a pretty good time for him to get red hot.
Honorable Mentions: It took most of the season, but Luis Scola (2.20) finally has shown up to the party, posting a 0.6 WARP over the past couple of weeks – which is top 50 player material. Against the Bulls he finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks in 40 minutes on the court. The steals and blocks both tie a season high for Scola and it’s nice to see him putting up some peripheral numbers in addition to the points. Goran Dragic (1.73) chipped in 21 points with 5 assists and 4 steals for the Rockets.
The Bulls were led by Joakim Noah (1.64), who scored 15 points (on 7-11 from the field), with 9 rebounds and 4 blocks. Luol Deng (1.46) chipped in 24 points (on 9-14 from the field), with 7 rebounds.
But the big news for the Bulls is that Derrick Rose missed his 11th straight game and now appears to be targeting the end of the season as a goal for his return, stating that his groin injury was worse than he originally thought. Thanks for that update captain obvious. He also still has no timetable for return – so I think at this point if you are still holding onto Rose and are in a playoff situation, it is time to drop him. Rose will likely be on the court sometime before the end of the regular season, but I doubt most teams have the luxury of waiting for that to possibly, maybe happen sometime before the end of the season. [UPDATE: there is this report that says Rose could be cleared for contact as soon as today, so maybe you don't want to drop him after all if you can survive without him this week. The question is how long do you let the Bulls play mind games with you?]
Nicolas Batum (2.03) also filled up the box score for the Blazers with 16 points, 4 threes, 10 rebounds, 2 steals and 3 blocks. But he had a costly turnover at the end of the game to help the Jazz seal the win. Also helping the Jazz was Paul Millsap (1.37), who scored 31 points (on 14-20 from the field) and had 11 rebounds.
The Wizards lost to the Bucks, but Jordan Crawford (1.84) was the best fantasy performer in the game, scoring 23 points, with 3 threes, 5 rebounds and 6 assists. Crawford has been averaging about 20 points per game since Nick Young was shipped away, including four straight games where he scored exactly 20 points. He’s a must play in all leagues at this point.
The Bucks were led by the three headed monster of Ersan Ilyasova (1.10) – 16 points and 11 rebounds – Brandon Jennings (0.97) – 19 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists – and Monta Ellis (0.84) – 17 points, 5 boards and 6 assists. The Bucks also moved within two games of New York for the final playoff spot in the East. Time to break up this juggernaut.
An injury to Marcus Thornton probably boosted Tyreke Evans (1.72) a bit – as he scored 24 points, with 10 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals in a win over the Wolves.
Finally, the Thunder’s best fantasy performance didn’t come from Durant or Westbrook, but rather Serge Ibaka (1.62), who scored 12 points with 5 rebounds, and more importantly blocked 6 shots on the night.
Injury Notes: In addition to the Thornton injury (discussed in more detail below) Luke Ridnour sprained his ankle in the third quarter of last night’s game against the Kings. He had to be carried off the court and left the arena on crutches. That is not a good sign for his availability in the short term, but fortunately for the Wolves, J.J Barea is expected to make his return for their next game on Wednesday. Even if you don’t own Ridnour, Barea becomes a must add as long as Ridnour is out.
Devin Harris also sprained his ankle and left the Jazz game after playing 13 minutes. His injury doesn’t appear to be as serious as Ridnour’s, but it could still force him to miss some time. Jamaal Tinsley actually got the call after Harris left the game, although he’ll probably split time with Earl Watson if Harris missed any time. Neither would have too much fantasy value.
Waiver Wire Line of the Night: The Mo Williams injury has been a boon to Randy Foye’s (2.14) fantasy value. Not only is Foye getting a lot of Williams’ old minutes, but he’s apparently inherited all of his three point attempts as well – as Foye went 8-15 from three against the Mavs to finish with a season high 28 points in 35 minutes. Foye is still likely to be maddeningly inconsistent, but it’s now three straight games where Foye has scored 17+ points and he deserves a look if you are in need of a guy who isn’t afraid to launch it from three.
Pick Up Lines: Wow, we just had a Brad Miller (1.02) sighting in Sacramento. The Wolves allowed Miller to start at center against the Kings as a way to say goodbye to the city that he spent a number of years in. Miller responded like this was an actual promotion, hitting 3-4 from three and finishing with 11 points and 6 assists in 22 minutes. But with Nikola Pekovic back on the court, Miller is likely going to back to getting DNPs for the Wolves after this one.
Speaking of Pekovic, his much welcomed returned to the court was productive as he scored 17 points in 19 minutes, hitting 7-8 of his shots Overall though, he admitted he was playing in pain and his conditioning needs a little more work after basically not doing any running for the past two weeks. But as long as his ankles hold together, his fantasy owners will be happy.
Thanks to a Marcus Thornton calf bruise that forced him to leave last night’s game in the first quarter, Terrence Williams (0.96) played a season high 32 minutes and finished with an impressive 12 points, 12 rebounds and 2 steals. Thornton’s injury is not serious, but since the Kings play 5 times this week, the team may keep him out a game or so just to play it safe. In the meantime, Williams is a nice spot start as long as Thornton is out.
It’s Jimmer Time! Jimmer Fredette (0.69) also benefitted from the Thornton injury, as he saw 25 minutes off the bench for the Kings (the most in about 2 months) and scored 19 points on 3-7 from three. Again, if Thornton were to miss a game, Fredette might have some brief deep league value, but Jimmer is down on the Kings depth chart as long as everyone is healthy.
Chase Budinger (0.82) scored 13 points in 26 minutes off the bench for the Rockets, going 3-4 from three. Budinger is sort of hanging around the edges of fantasy relevance, putting up some decent lines every second or third game while getting 20ish minutes off the bench. But given the Rockets bad schedule this week (they only play 3 games) I’d stay away unless it’s a spot start in a deep league.
Ekpe Udoh’s (0.65) trade to Milwaukee hasn’t exactly done his fantasy value any favors. But against the Wizards, Udoh was his old self, scoring 15 points and adding 8 rebounds and a career-high 5 assists in only 21 minutes off the bench. However, this came after a game in which he played 10 minutes and didn’t do anything on the court, so overall, Udoh’s minutes aren’t consistent enough on a (dare I say) deep Bucks team.
I did not see the Jazz game last night, but somehow Derrick Favors (0.62) got 35 minutes off the bench with both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap playing and he responded with a double-double – 11 points and 11 rebounds. The Jazz must have went big for a lot of the game with Millsap at SF and Favors at PF would be my guess. It’s an interesting development for Favors, as he’s demonstrated all season he should be getting more time on the court. I’d personally want to see the Jazz do this at least one more time before I trusted Favors in my lineup – he could just as easily go back to getting 20 minutes a game if the Jazz decide that the matchups aren’t right to go big. Definitely keep an eye on the situation, or possibly stash Favors on your team if you have that ability.
Jan Vesely (0.59) has been a black hole most of the season for fantasy purposes. But he’s starting again for the Wizards with Trevor Booker out and has put up three decent games in a row (we’re digging deep here). Last night against the Bucks, he played 39 minutes and finished with 14 points and 7 boards. Not exactly world class production, but it does play in deep leagues at least while Booker is out.
Biggest Loser: You didn’t think the J.J. Hickson (-0.73) bandwagon was going to make it to happy town without any problems, right? Coming off the bench against the Jazz, Hickson finished with 4 points and 5 rebounds on 2-8 from the field. It isn’t the worst biggest loser line we’ve seen this year, but Hickson doesn’t do much on the court other than score and board, so when he’s not doing those things his fantasy game really pays the price. I still think Hickson is worth owning long term, but we do need to temper our expectations about what he is. I mean, the Kings might not be the smartest organization in the world, but there is a reason they released Hickson less than a year after giving up a first rounder to get him.
The shortened season is still too long for DeAndre Jordan (-0.69), who is basically mailing it in at this point. His latest uninspired game included 4 points, 6 rebounds and no blocks against the Mavs. The way Jordan has played over the past couple of weeks he’s not even been worth owning in a 12-team league. And if he’s not blocking shots, then he really has no fantasy value at all.
It is time to drop Samuel Dalembert (-0.51) if you haven’t done so already. Kevin McHale has been looking for a reason not to play Sammy D and he finally found one in Marcus Camby. With Camby inserted as the Rockets new starter, Dalembert got 5 minutes off the bench last night and had 2 points and a board.
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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