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2012 Fantasy Basketball: LeBron James, Monta Ellis, Tim Duncan and More

Line of the Night:LeBron James (2.62 WARP). With Wade sitting this game out with a sore left foot, James dominated the Pacers to finish with 33 points, 8 rebounds, 13 assists in a 118-83 beat down. James tweaked his ankle in the third quarter after stepping on the foot of Indiana’s Paul George and is day-to-day, but he’s a beast, so you know he’s going to play tonight.

Honorable Mentions: It’s one of the more tragic fantasy stories of the season so far – our beloved Golden State Warriors STILL have not scored over 100 points in a game this season. Damn you Mark Jackson. Guys like Monta Ellis (2.51) can still go off occasionally like Ellis did against Spurs with 38 points, 4 threes, and 7 assists, but we can no longer count on the Warriors to deliver night after night like in the past

And in their first game post Manu injury, Tim Duncan (2.25) played a season high 31 minutes for the Spurs and came through big time with 15 points in the game, adding 11 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocks. He might not be able to put up these types of numbers every game, but it looks like the Ginobili injury is going to force the Spurs to lean on Duncan a lot more than they probably want to.

Andrea Bargnani (2.42) dropped 31 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in a blowout 92-77 win over the Cavs. Bargs has started the season on fire and is now averaging 24 points a game on 57% shooting from the floor. How brutal were the Cavs in this one? Anderson Varejao (0.87) had their best fantasy line (at #52 on the night) and he scored 3 points! Ok, he did have 13 boards and 3 steals. Kyrie Irving (-0.15) was 3-13 from the floor in this game.


Nice to see Jrue Holiday (2.36) not only scoring (he had 23 points) but also dishing out 8 assists in a win over the Hornets. With Andre Iguodala (-0.40) having a bad shooting night and only 2-10 from the field, Evan Turner (1.17) picked up the scoring slack with 21 points on 8-12 shooting, adding 6 rebounds and 4 assists. For the Hornets, Eric Gordon (1.23) returned last missing 4 games with a knee injury to score 22, while Jarrett Jack (1.06) finished with 19 points and 11 assists.

Well, the DeMarcus Cousins (2.35) crisis blew over quickly. Cousins came off the Kings’ bench for the second straight game and fouled out in 25 minutes in a blowout loss to the Nuggets. But he was beastly in that limited time, scoring 26 points on 9-12 shooting, adding 3 steals and 3 blocks. Al Harrington (1.22) of all people led the charge for Denver with 15 points and 5 boards in only 20 minutes of run. +1 for Erik on the Harrington call in our podcast.

Call them Shock and Awe. Dwight Howard (1.36) had a crazy 28 points, 20 rebounds and 3 blocks as the Magic blew out the Wizards 103-85. His WARP score would have been much higher if not for the equally destructive 6-14 shooting from the free throw line. And Howard’s new wingman, Ryan Anderson (2.09) scored 23 points and added 15 rebounds in the game. In case your wondering where all these rebounds came from, the Wizards shot 37% from the floor as a team, although RAD (Ryan and Dwight) did combine for 12 offensive rebounds as well. Where the boxouts, Washington?

Amare Stoudemire (1.68) was back in the lineup for the Knicks and finished with a strong 25 and 12 (in 41 minutes!). 41 minutes for Amare? You’re crazy Mike D’Antoni. Carmelo Anthony (2.20) scored 32 points adding 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. But despite those good games the Knicks lost anyway to the Bobcats 118-110 and allowed Gerald Henderson (1.76) – 24 points and 4 steals – and Boris Diaw (1.75) – 27 points, 6 assists – to run all over them.

And Chris Paul (2.12) had 20 points and 10 assists in less than 30 minutes on the court as the Clippers blew out the Rockets 117-89. We’ve got to be having way more blow out games this season than normal, right?

Injury of the Night: As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Zach Randolph has a tear in his MCL and is expected to miss the next 6-8 weeks as he recovers from the injury. In response, the Grizzlies quickly traded away second-year player Xavier Henry for the career underachieving Marreese Speights, who looks like he’ll compete with Dante Cunningham for time at the PF while Randolph is out. This is certainly bad news for Randolph owners (a group to which I belong). Stash him for now provided you’ve got the extra bench spot to spare.

In their second game without Randolph, new starter Cunningham (-0.76) had a pathetic 2 points and 3 rebounds. At least he’s quickly showing us he’s not worth owning in any normal sized league. My boy Tony Allen (1.98) led all scorers with 20 points in the game and played a season high 32 minutes.

Since we’ve seen what little Cunningham can do over two games, I’d recommend Speights as a speculative add provided you don’t have to drop someone good to get him. His per-30 minute numbers are solid – over 14 points, 7 boards and a block a game – but his career foul rate is equally impressive at 4.4 per 30 minutes, so it could be a challenge for him to stay on the court.

Waiver Wire Line of the Night: Rookie Iman Shumpert (2.18) made a quick recovery for the Knicks after missing 4 games with a knee injury, scoring 18 points, and adding 4 threes, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals. Meanwhile, starter Landry Fields (-0.75) had 5 points and 5 rebounds in only 25 minutes on the court. Shumpert is worth an add simply because the Knicks are the new Golden Ticket as far as fantasy goes, but he’s a rookie and that usually means inconsistency. His biggest fantasy contribution this season will probably be to ruin whatever confidence remains on the fragile Fields.

Pick Up Lines: Chris Andersen (1.67). We have our first Birdman sighting of the season. With Nene sitting out the Nuggets game with a heel strain (sounds painful), Anderson got 18 minutes of run off the bench and did his usual super intense thing with 8 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals, and 3 blocks. Timofey Mozgov (-0.11) started at center in the game and finished with 11 points, 3 boards and a block. These guys only have value as long as Nene is out (he’s currently day-to-day).

Looks like there is still a little bit of time to get on the Richard Jefferson (1.50) train if you haven’t already. With Manu out, Jefferson scored 17 points and hit 5 threes in 38 minutes. He’s available in about 60% of Yahoo leagues at the moment and should be picked up in all leagues while Manu is out.

Mario Chalmers (1.23) continues to fight for his right to point guard over Norris Cole. Playing 30 minutes (to Cole’s 21), Chalmers scored 14 points and added 6 rebounds. More than 3 assists would be nice from a PG, but I guess if you’re in a deep league and punting that category, Chalmers makes a decent pickup.

As mentioned above, Evan Turner (1.17) scored a season high 21 points off the bench for the Sixers. Jodie Meeks has all but become invisible this season, which is good news for Turner, but he’s still battling with Louis Williams and the rest of the Sixers’ starters for shots. It’s going to be tough for him to contribute consistently.

James Jones (1.15) scored 14 points on 4-8 threes for the Heat in a spot start for Dwyane Wade. He only has value if Wade and LeBron were to get sucked through a worm hole never to be seen from again, and even then, he’d have limited value as a three point specialist.

Nice game from Taj Gibson (0.93) off the bench for the Bulls. He finished with 12 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks in 20 minutes against Detroit. The problem is that 20 minutes seems to be about his ceiling on a game-to-game basis and it’s really tough to have consistent fantasy value playing so little. Leave him for deep leagues unless the Booz were to get hurt.

Quick Hits: Byron Mullens (0.90) had 16 points and 5 boards in 20 minutes for the Bobcats. It came against the Knicks, so don’t read too much into it. D.J. White (0.73) had another nice performance with 10 points and 9 boards and is available in 90% of leagues if you need a big. Shelden Williams (0.71) went for 8 and 9 filling in for the injured Kris Humphries and has the potential to posterize himself at any moment. Bonus.

Biggest Loser:Dorell Wright (0.05). Wow, just wow. Wright scored 0 points for the second game in a row, playing 27 minutes and not doing too much of anything on the court against the Spurs. Amazingly, his WARP score isn’t all that bad, possibly due to the 2 steals, 3 assists and 0 TOs. But, he’s now shooting 29% from the floor this season and is 3-21 from three.

Despite all of this, I still wouldn’t drop him just yet. We all saw how good Wright could be last season – and while the Warriors are a much different team this year – it’s impossible for someone to shoot this badly all year. It’s a painful one Wright owners, but sit tight a little longer. And non-owners, this is the time to buy Wright for 10 cents on the dollar.

In terms of other straight-up horrible games, Ben Gordon (-0.90) scored 7 points on 2-10 shooting; while Michael Beasley (-0.99) did double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, he also turned the ball over 5 times and shot 5-16 from the field.


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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