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2012 Fantasy Basketball: Kevin Durant, Jeremy Lin, Deron Williams, Kyle Lowry and More

Line of the Night: It certainly wasn’t as sexy as his 51-point game on Sunday, but Kevin Durant (2.72) continues to shoot lights out as he zooms his way past LeBron to the top of our player rater. Against the Hornets, Durant finished with stat filling 31 points, 3 threes, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. A quick look at GMTR’s new game logs shows that he actually hasn’t had a negative WARP game all season – which means even Durant’s off nights are still better than half the league’s on-nights.

Honorable Mentions: I actually feel bad for Jeremy Lin at this point. Well, as bad as you can feel for a dude who is going to make millions of dollars off Linsanity. I’m sure more than anything else the guy just wants to step on the court and play some basketball, and yet he’s been swept away in a whirlwind of media attention, none of which is his own doing as far as I can tell (it’s not like he’s stoking the fire Charles Barkley style or anything). Now enter Deron Williams, who has gone on a Kill Bill-like odyssey to take him down.

It appears that the tweets that Deron Williams (2.53) got two weeks ago after Lin burned him to start the Linsanity craze have been seared in his mind:

“When somebody says they destroyed you, and you watch the tape and you don’t feel like you got destroyed, you circle those games,” Williams said. “I took offense.”

Took offensive he did. Williams came out for blood in this game and got it, scoring 38 points on 8-14 from three and adding 6 assists in 34 minutes on the court as the Nets beat the Knicks 100-92. The narrative of the day is going to be that Linsanity is on the decline (because it would sell newspapers, if they still existed), but Jeremy Lin (1.83) was still the best Knick on the court last night, scoring 21 points and adding 7 rebounds, 9 assists and 4 steals on the night. Even better is that he only had 3 turnovers. Things didn’t exactly mesh perfectly with Melo back on the court, but Lin is not to blame for that. More on Melo below.

Kyle Lowry (2.37) filled up the box score in a win over the Grizzlies with 24 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists and 4 steals in nearly 47 minutes on the court. So much for the 25 minutes of run that Goran Dragic was getting per game a few weeks ago (he got 15 in the game). Meanwhile, Lowry has been playing 36+ minutes a night over the last week plus. Samuel Dalembert (-0.14) got his starting job back after being benched for missing a pre-game walk through over the weekend. He finished with a weak 9 points, 6 boards and 0 blocks in 20 minutes as his high flying act to begin the season is now well behind him.

Monta Ellis (2.09) scored 32 points, adding 4 threes, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in a win over the Clippers. David Lee (1.47) chipped in 24 and 13 in the game. Randy Foye might be starting for the Clips, but Mo Williams (0.76) is the guy really poised to benefit from the Billups’ injury, as he hit 6 threes on his way to 22 points in the game.

It appears that much needed rest Dirk Nowitzki (2.07) took a few weeks ago was exactly what the big man needed to turn his season around. Dirk scored 23 points and had a season high 16 rebounds in win over the reeling Boston Celtics. I love the C’s, but everyone is recording record high rebounding numbers against them this year. It’s almost like Jermaine O’Neal isn’t a good starting center anymore… Oh, wait…

It was a lonely bandwagon to be on last month, but I know Erik and I tried to stress the fact that Channing Frye (1.87) was a notorious slow starter over his career. And while a month is way longer than anyone should need to get things started, Frye has finally started producing at the level we expected this season. His 19 points on 4-7 from three with 11 rebounds and 2 blocks against the Wizards was one of his best games of the season so far. His history suggests that he’ll remain hot the rest of the year.

Andrew Bynum (1.85) had 14 points and 19 rebounds in a win over the Blazers. Nicolas Batum (1.85) made roto owners especially happy last night with 18 points, 3 threes, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 4 blocks. Now that’s how you fill up a box score kids.

Tony Parker (1.76) had his third point/assist double-double in a row with 23 points, 6 rebounds and 11 assists against the Jazz. I’m smelling a career year from Parker. Big Al Jefferson led the Jazz with 20 and 11 in the game.

Orlando/Milwaukee was a rebound fest. Dwight Howard (1.04) finished with 28 and 16. Ryan Anderson (0.71) added 11 of his own. Ersan Ilyasova (0.65) had another amazing game with 15 points and 15 rebounds in 40 minutes on the court. He’s now averaging 12.6 rebounds over his last 5 games.

Finally, Derrick Rose (-0.07) returned to the Bulls’ lineup after missing 5 games with a sore back. He scored 23 points, adding 5 boards and 6 assists in the game. Now if he can just stay healthy the rest of the season, all will be good.

Waiver Wire Line of the Night: Rookie Kenneth Faried (1.87) is taking advantage of a Nene-less Nuggets team. Faried got the start at PF for Denver against the Timberwolves and finished with a double-double – 10 points and 14 rebounds, with 2 steals and 3 blocks. It’s his second double-double since Nene has been out of the lineup and with Denver playing two more times before the break, he makes a nice add this week if you’re looking to squeeze a few games in. Long-term once Nene gets back, he’s going to have a tough time finding the minutes to be worth owning in fantasy leagues.

Pick Up Lines: I actually picked up Matt Bonner (1.59) in one league last night before his 20 point, 5 three game against the Jazz because the Spurs have a unique Tuesday/Thursday schedule this week. Bonner has his ceiling as a player – he’s not going to do much other than hit threes and score some points, but he has his uses, especially if your team is playing very, very small and is punting boards/blocks.

Larry Sanders (1.37) is the latest Buck to seemingly come out of nowhere and put up a fantasy line that screams “pick me up”. With Luc Richard Mbah a Moute in some mysterious Scott Skiles doghouse (any Bucks fans out there feel free to help us out with this one), Sanders got a season high 28 minutes and finished with a double-double: 13 points, 12 rebounds, 2 steals and 3 blocks. This came after a game in which he played 4 minutes and racked up 2 fouls as his only stat, so I’d definitely wait on picking up Sanders until he consistently starts seeing time off the bench for the Bucks.

Ekpe Udoh (1.36) got the start at center for the Warriors and exploded, scoring a season-high 19 points (on 9-14 from the field), with 8 rebounds and 2 blocks in 38 minutes. Now before you go out and grab Udoh (too late?), as I mentioned on the comments of another post, Andris Biedrins missed this game with flu-like symptoms, which was the reason that Udoh got the start and saw so many minutes. Second, his per-30 averages suggest that he might never score 19 points again in his career. Even if he were to see 38 minutes a game the rest of the season, 8 and 7 is likely around what he’d average. Ok, he’d block 2-3 shots per game as well, which has it’s value if you are really looking for blocks on your team.

Quick Hits: Yes, Jannero Pargo (1.30) is still in the league and playing for the Hawks. He hit 5 threes against the Bulls on his way to 19 points and 5 rebounds. He’s averaging 11 minutes a game this season though, so stay away.

Ronnie Brewer (1.22) also had 13 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals in that Bulls’ game. He is currently starting at shooting guard for the team, although his offensive game on most nights is about as good as mine. His upside is limited on his best nights and at his worst he’s a black hole for fantasy purposes.

After straight four games of fairly pathetic lines, Trevor Booker (1.15) scored 16 points and added 8 rebounds against the Suns. Andray Blatche should be back for the Wizards sometime soon after the All-Star break and Booker isn’t really setting the world on fire right now, so I’d only consider him in 14+ team leagues at the moment.

Steve Blake (1.02) hit 5 of 6 shots from three coming off the bench for the Lakers and scored a season high 17 points in 21 minutes. As much of a liability as Derek Fisher is at this point in his career, the Lakers don’t seem to think Blake is the answer at PG.

Biggest Loser: The much anticipated return of Carmelo Anthony (-1.10) to the Knicks lineup ended in a thud. While Lin continued to do his thing with Melo back in the lineup, Anthony showed the rust of a guy who just sat out 7 straight games. He did have 11 points and 6 assists in the game, but complemented that with 6 turnovers (including one where he dribbled the ball off his foot) and shot 4-11 from the field and 3-6 from the line. So, until Melo gets his game legs under him, it’s still to be determined how he and Lin are going to fit together.

A 3-13 shooting night for Nick Young (-1.24), who finished with 6 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist against the Suns. Young has now shot 12-43 over the Wizards’ last three games

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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