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2012 Fantasy Basketball: Brandon Jennings, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Steve Nash

Line of the Night: In a year where just about all PGs are struggling (especially with their shots), Brandon Jennings (2.96 WARP) has somehow found a way to improve his FG% from 39% last season to 44% so far this season. Of course, maybe none of that really matters, as Jennings shot just 9-25 from the floor against the Heat, and yet led all fantasy lines last night thanks to 31 points (going 7-14 from three), with 8 assists and 4 steals. Jennings is going to continue to score in bunches in a Bogut-less Bucks’ rotation, just prepare for the inevitable Kyle Lowry-like 25% shooting run that is eventually going to come. I still consider him a sell high candidate.

Honorable Mentions: The Heat lost to Milwaukee, but don’t blame LeBron James (2.21) (ok, blame him a little) who scored a season high 40 points, hitting 4 threes, with 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. Dwyane Wade (1.34) chipped in 23, 8 and 6.

Another PG who has been defying the odds (and father time) is Steve Nash (2.81), who scored 30 points on an incredible 13-16 from the field, with 10 assists against the Hornets. And he did all that in only 29 minutes on the court! Nash is now shooting 55% from the floor this season, which is not just tops among PGs, but is actually fifth in the league overall behind 3 centers and LeBron.

The tandem of Chris Paul (2.68) – 34 points, 5 rebounds, 11 assists and 3 steals – and Blake Griffin (2.47) – 31 points, 14 rebounds and 3 blocks – was so huge against the Jazz that the rest of the Clippers’ starting lineup scored a combined 16 points and they still won. Al Jefferson (1.31) was back in the lineup for the Jazz after missing a game with some ankle swelling and had 27 and 12 in this game.


The Pacers beat the Wolves thanks to Danny Granger’s (2.15) first 30+ point game this season. He finished with 36 points, 5 threes and 7 rebounds and was 13-15 from the line. The scoring has definitely come around for Granger after a bit of a slow start to the season and those who were able to buy low on Granger seem to have been rewarded. Darren Collison (2.00) added 20 points, 6 rebounds and 9 assists in the game, while on the other side of the ball Kevin Love (1.03) finished with 21 and 17, but also shot 6-16 from the field.

Kevin Martin’s (2.07) 29 points, 6 threes and 9 rebounds weren’t enough to hold off Tim Duncan (0.83) and the Spurs from a comeback win. Duncan had 25 and 7 boards in the game, while Tony Parker (1.06) chipped in 24 points.

The Blazers dismantled the Bobcats 112-68 and their best fantasy performance actually came from Jamal Crawford (1.98), who scored 24 points and hit 4 threes in 21 minutes off the bench. Gerald Wallace (1.92) and LaMarcus Aldridge (0.73) also had nice games scoring 23 and 22 points, respectively. The Bobcats leading scorer in this game was Gerald Henderson (-0.50) who finished with 16 points and was ranked 173 out of 230 players in terms of his fantasy WARP score. Whoooo, Bobcats basketball!

Dwight Howard (1.62) had 23 and 18 as the Magic hung on for a win against the Wizards. Ryan Anderson (1.81) was 6-9 from three, while J.J. Redick (1.31) scored 21 points and hit 3 threes. More on the Wizards’ best performances below.

And OKC beat the Mavs 95-86; Russell Westbrook (1.64) handed the offense with 33 points and Serge Ibaka (1.87) was all over the D. Ibaka was only 2 of 8 from the floor, but his owners’ will gladly take it as Ibaka blocked 10 shots on the night. Thanks in part to that performance, Ibaka is now blocking 2.8 shots a game and his only behind Jordan and McGee in terms of blocks per game this year.

Waiver Wire Line of the Night:Greivis Vasquez (2.12), yes the Greivis Vasquez, had a career high 20 points and 12 assists for the Hornets coming off the bench behind Jarrett Jack and DaJuan Summers (yes, the DaJuan Summers). Vasquez is both a) not going have this type of game again this season, and b) still looking like a sneaky good pickup while Eric Gordon is out if you need assists in a deep league. He’s gotten 25+ minutes in each of the Hornets last four games and has 28 assists over that span. Add him while he’s hot.

Pick Up Lines: On the opposite end of the spectrum from Vasquez is Rashard Lewis (1.52), who scored a season-high 20 points, adding 3 threes, 8 rebounds and a couple steals in the Wizards’ loss to the Magic. When Lewis’ shot is falling, he can still put up a pretty decent looking line., Unfortunately, like a full moon, his shot only makes an appearance once a month for so. The last thing any fantasy team needs is a shooter who can’t shoot. All you Jason Richardson owners know what I’m talking about.

The Bulls got some smack handed to them by the Sixers, and as a result C.J. Watson (1.30) got a little extra run, scoring 20 points (to D-Rose’s 18) and hitting 4 threes in 27 minutes. Watson makes a nice handcuff for any Rose owners, but otherwise on most nights he’s only going to see 10-20 minutes on the court.

Ahoy, Lavoy!!! Lavoy Allen (0.90) – a 6-9 PF for the Sixers – has played himself into some minutes for the Sixers off the bench recently. Last’s night blowout of the Bulls gave him some extra run and he finished with 15 points (on 7-10 from the field), with 6 rebounds. I love hustle guys as much as the next person, but this gives me the opportunity to break out one of my general guidelines for waiver wire pickups. If a guy comes out of nowhere and shoots 70%+ from the field on any given night, don’t pick him up off waivers because he’s not going to shoot that well again. Plus, Allen is currently the 9th guy deep for the Sixers, making his minutes going forward really spotty.

Ten starts in a row for the Hornets’ Jason Smith (0.89) at PF, three half-decent lines during that time. Ok, make that four. Against the Suns, Smith saw a season high 34 minutes, shot 8-9 from the field and finished with 16 points and 3 blocks. See my 70% rule above and apply that to Smith.

Trevor Booker (0.89) remains a low upside option (not that there is anything wrong with that) with Andray Blatche is out for the next few weeks. Booker finished with 8 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks in 21 minutes off the bench against the Magic. He’s behind Jan Vesely on the depth chart, but makes a much better fantasy play than Vesely as a guy who can board and put up some decent defensive numbers.

Booker’s teammate Jordan Crawford (0.89) scored 19 points with 3 threes and 6 assists off the bench. If you could care less about your team’s FG% and need a scorer, Crawford just might be your guy.

Quick Hits: Ersan Ilyasova (0.32) continues to do nothing but grab rebounds for the Bucks, and I mean that in both a good and bad way. Despite Darko being back in the lineup and starting for the Wolves, backup Nikola Pekovic (-0.41) saw more minutes off the bench and double-doubled 13 points and 12 rebounds. Don’t be surprised if he takes over the starting job eventually, so keep him on your watch lists. Ed Davis (0.23) also double-doubled against Boston with 10 points and 12 boards and is worth owning in most leagues while Andrea Bargnani is out.

And thanks to a crazy number of injuries for the Nets, Jordan Farmar (0.68) got the start alongside Deron Williams in the Nets backcourt. He scored 15 points in 31 minutes and makes a good short term play while MarShon Brooks is out and Anthony Morrow remains sidelined with a sore left ankle. Shawne Williams (0.89) also got the start at SF for the Nets and scored 11 points and grabbed 5 boards in 38 minutes. Given the choice between the two, I’d rather own Farmar, who has shown he can put up consistent numbers when getting minutes in the past.

Biggest Loser: The Raptors lost to the Celtics 100-64, so it’s really not a surprise that DeMar DeRozan (-1.98) had the 230th best fantasy line out of 230 players who stepped on the court last night. The Celtics’ did what they do and basically assaulted DeRozan every time he touched the ball. The result was 8 points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists and a 3-12 shooting performance.

You’ve just been Scoled! After what looked like a semi-promising run last week of games where Luis Scola (-1.46) was actually grabbing more than 5 boards a game, the bad Scola is back and killing your fantasy team by not doing much of anything. Scola scored 4 points and grabbed 3 rebounds in 24 minutes against the Spurs, adding 5 turnovers for good measure. Hey, at least last night was an improvement over his 1 rebound game on Monday.

And in case you wondering about Dirk Nowitzki (0.20) and his very un-Dirk-like 2-15 shooting performance against the Thunder. His 8 boards, 2 steals and 4-4 from the line were at least enough to make his WARP score not an embarrassment. Not that’s going to make Dirk owners feel any better about this game.


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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