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2012 Fantasy Basketball: Dwight Howard, Greg Monroe, Monta Ellis and More

While Zeus himself Dwight Howard‘s (1.86) 45 points, 23 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 blocks were probably more useful to fantasy owners who have already given up on their Free Throw Percentage (he made only 21 of his NBA record setting 39 free throws), that very free throw percentage kept him from securing the best line of the night, despite having 40 and 20 for the first time since Shaq did it in 2003. It was another big man whose team lost and who gets no flashy headlines that the Player Rater favored on Mt. Olympus last night… (Can you tell I’ve never seen Clash of the Titans and haven’t studied mythology since high school? No? Good, carry on.)

Line of the Night:Greg Monroe (3.17) scored 32 points with not just terrific FG shooting (12-16 from the field) but he was also a perfect 8-8 from the line, to go along with 16 rebounds, and 2 steals.

Honorable Mentions:
Stephen Jackson (1.84) had a nice game with 25 points (3 threes, 4-4 from the line), 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals. Carlos Delfino (1.82) did that thing he does where he gets some nice defensive numbers and threes and makes you think that maybe, just maybe, he’s worth starting. Look at the 9 points, though, and try to see through the mirage of 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. Monta Ellis (1.71) continued to score and dish in Stephen Curry’s absence with 30 points (3 threes), and 11 assists. Brandon Jennings (1.55) continue his 2-on-2-off method of preserving his energy with 27 points via 3 threes, 9-15 from the field, and 6-6 from the line.

Then there’s Joe Johnson (1.54), who had arguably his best game so far this year, and who, with the other Hawks, picked up the slack for the injured Al Horford, soaring to a 30 point win. JJ had 23 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists, which leads us to…

Injury of the Night:Al Horford tore his pectoral muscle on the 11th, and as we all found out yesterday, he’ll be out for 3 months. The Hawks are talking about hopefully getting him back for the playoffs, and when teams talk like that, they really mean he’s done as a fantasy player this year. Replace him with whoever you can find while he rehabs and let’s the newly crowned Mrs. Al Horford (Amelia Vega) do all the work (I mean, housework of course).

Since the Hawks backup is the perennially mediocre Zaza Pachulia, there is talk that they might try to trade for a replacement big man. Even if Zaza does get the starting gig long term, I wouldn’t count on him to produce anything worthy of a 12 team league. If you don’t want to take my word for it, Patrick did some of his fancy math and projected Pachulia in the 150-160 range for the season. Sure he had 10 and 10 last night, but note that it was against a lineup that would probably get dominated by Mrs. Horford (who is a former Miss Universe and stands at a runway model height of 6′ 1″ – nearly tall enough to make Boris Diaw look average).

It will most likely be the other Hawks who benefit most from Horford’s injury. For example, look at Joe Johnson’s line from last night. He might end up as one of the best value picks of the fantasy season if he gets back to the old Joe Johnson type numbers.

Yes, since Al and Amelia (Almelia?) got married on the eve of the season, I’ve been waiting for something big to happen with Al Horford so I could throw up some traffic-attracting (and crowd-pleasing) pics. I was hoping it would be Big Al going for 45 and 23 and certainly not wanting the incident to be a season-ending injury, but I’m trying to make a lime margarita out of these lemons. I don’t think it’s going to work, but I’m going to keep trying, because I had one of those Jose Cuervo Margaritas On Tap last night at the Blackhawks game and man I love the potency and drinkability of those things.

Waiver Wire Line of the Night: Evidently there is someone in the league named Jon Leuer (1.67). I’m sure a lot of people were saying the same thing yesterday when they saw some guy named John Lucas put up a near triple-double. Well, this other Jon’s 15 points (6-9 from the field), 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks are not quite as impressive, but he did start his first game for the Bucks and has put up three pretty nice games out of his last three. He’s still only 4% owned, probably thanks to the fact that he plays in Milwaukee. Take a look if you need a big man, especially one who appears to be good at free throws. Perhaps he’ll be clashing with the titans soon enough…

Pick Up Lines: As the Knicks wait for Baron Davis to finish his next movie, they’re struggling to find a guard rotation that works, and in the mean time, Bill Walker (1.55) played 21 minutes and was very efficient in scoring 14 points (4 threes, 5-8 from the field) (1% owned). With Toney Douglas slipping out of favor and Landry Fields very much on the bubble, Walker might make a good speculative add in deep leagues. Once Davis is back, though, he and Shumpert will probably lock down most of the minutes at Guard for New York.

I had picked up Markieff Morris (1.09) for my small ball team, but I had to give him up for Chandler Parsons because Patrick said so. Nevertheless, if Parsons has already been snatched up, look at Morris, who had 13 points and 8 rebounds and has only shown up on the radar for 28% of fantasy owners.

Klay Thompson (0.91) showed some of his potential with 14 points (4 threes, 5-8 from the field) (3% owned), but I’d leave him be for now. After this short season is over, he’ll have a good long time to practice and be a worthy fantasy player next year.

The youth are kind of starting to take over in Detroit. What with Greg Monroe getting Line of the Night and Brandon Knight (0.91) scoring 20 points on 7-9 from the field, and 4-4 from the line. He’s up to 39% owned, and as long as Rodney Stuckey is out, that number will probably continue to rise.

Biggest Loser: Further proof that Detroit needs to start trading for more draft picks: Ben Gordon (-0.98) had 9 points, 1 rebound, and 4 assists while shooting only 3-14 from the field. But since Gordon is only 66% owned, let’s go to the next guy on the list, who happens to be 100% owned: Amar’e Stoudemire (-0.80). Amar’e scored only 6 points on 1-7 from the field (adding 3 rebounds and 1 assist), leading Yahoo to feature Bill Walker as the top performer for the Knicks in their box score. It didn’t help the Knicks that Toney Douglas (-0.55) was 3-13 for 8 points, 2 rebounds, and 4 assists.

Then there’s Boris Diaw (-0.29), who I bring up for two reasons: 1) One of the guys in my work league is starting him this week and after his last two games (which included last night’s 0 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 turnovers), I’m looking forward to saying “How you feel about Diaw niaw?” and 2) because Patrick said (once upon a time) that he makes DeSagna Diop look like a runway model and I figure that’s a good lead in to the gallery… (and that’s what we in the business refer to as a “callback”).

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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