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2012 Fantasy Basketball: Stephen Curry, Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, Kevin Durant

Line of the Night: Anyone who listens to the podcast knows that I went all in on Stephen Curry (3.58 WARP) this year in my personal leagues. Well, I couldn’t be happier this morning thanks to a season-high 32 points from Curry, who shot 12-19 from the field and added 6 threes, 6 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals in a 101-93 win over the Blazers. Does it make the two weeks he was stashed on my bench all forgotten? No. But it is nice to see him playing like the Curry of old in his third back from that ankle sprain.

And now I can almost guarantee he sprains his ankle in the Warriors’ next game.

Honorable Mentions: Kevin Love (3.17), the number one fantasy PF over the first month of the season, continues to shine with his own specific brand of basketball – 31 points, 4 threes, 10 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks in a win over the Mavs. Ricky Rubio (1.07) added 17 points, 12 assists, 4 steals (and 7 turnovers…) in the win. He’s given the team a 1-2 punch that Wolves’ fans will be able to enjoy for at least the next three years after the team signed Love to an unusual contract extension.

The Thunder beat the Hornets in spite of Russell Westbrook’s worst efforts (more on that below) thanks to Kevin Durant (2.36) who scored a very efficient 25 points, adding 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks. James Harden (1.18) managed to score 18 points by only taking 5 shots, mostly by going 9-10 from the line.

Still Wade-less (but getting close), the Miami Heat are getting mad contributions from Chris Bosh (2.21) – 27 points (on 12-15 from the field) – and LeBron James (1.86) – 32 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists. Even Mario Chalmers (1.34) had another good game with 16 points, going 3-5 from three. The Pistons’ big contribution came from… well, we’ll get to that.

Danilo Gallinari (2.21) is currently ranked number 7 on our player rater for the year thanks to games like this – 23 points on 8-12 shooting from the field, with 5 assists and 3 blocks against the Kings. Andre Miller (1.48) continues to be a nice surprise off the Nuggets bench. He had 15 points and 10 assists last night. DeMarcus Cousins (0.71) led Sacramento with 17 and 15. He is now averaging 11 rebounds a game this year (and 4.6 on the offensive glass) no doubt “helped” by the fact that the Kings are shooting less than 40% from the field as a team.

On a night where Kyle Lowry (0.13) almost had a triple double with 8-8-10 and yet shot 2-16 from the floor, Kevin Martin (1.80) was a much more palatable 5-12 from three on his way to 29 points for the Rockets, while Samuel Dalembert (0,74) added 18 boards.

And Deron Williams’ (1.48) owners have to be happy not only that he had 34 points and 11 assists in a win over the Sixers, but that he actually shot 50% from the field doing it. Kris Humphries (0.76) added 13 points and 19 boards in the game, while MarShon Brooks sat out again for the team with a sore Achilles tendon.

Finally, I don’t think there was a baby hook without Roy Hibbert’s (1.75) name on it last night against the Bulls on his way to 20 points (on 9-14 shooting), adding 8 rebounds and 4 blocks in a win over the Bulls. If you missed the game, Brian Scalabrine was trusted with the biggest shot of the game for the Bulls, which doesn’t even happen in Brian Scalabrine’s own dreams.

Waiver Wire Line of the Night: Oh, Tyrus Thomas (2.77)! The Greek Siren of fantasy basketball. He lures you in with his enchanting potential and then destroys you once you actually pick him up. Well, Thomas is calling for you again – against the Wizards he blocked what I can only assume is a career high 9 shots, adding 13 points, 9 rebounds and 4 steals in 33 minutes on the court. If you were starting Thomas last night despite all the horrible games leading up to this one, congratulations! If he is currently available in your league, Thomas is starting for a Bobcats team without much else, is going to get plenty of run the rest of the season, does have tons of upside, and is blocking a lot of shots right now… just don’t ask me to come save you when he shipwrecks your boat next week.

Pick Up Lines: What the hell was going on last night? With Tayshaun Prince missing last night’s Pistons’ game with a personal matter, Austin Daye (2.08) got 30 minutes of run and scored a career high 28 points, hitting 4 threes and grabbing 6 rebounds (Daye had hit only 1 three all year prior to this game). Not to rain on the parade today, but with Prince likely back for the Pistons next game on Friday, leave Daye on waivers for now unless you happen to play in a really deep league. Check out his game log from last season, Daye has had games like this in the past, only to come right back down to earth in his next game.

Linas Kleiza (1.74) saw a season high 33 minutes for the Raptors thanks to a double-OT game and scored a season-high 25 points, hitting 4 threes and grabbing 5 boards. Double-OT games aside, Kleiza isn’t seeing consistent enough minutes to warrant a pick-up, but I would watch him to see how his minutes shake out in that ever changing Toronto rotation.

Ronnie Brewer (1.53) was supposed to be a sleeper LAST season after the Bulls signed him to be their starting SG. However, with the Luol Deng injury, Brewer got the starting nod and scored 20 points, adding 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals against Danny Granger and the Pacers. Brewer makes a nice pickup while Deng is out as long as you’re not expecting anymore 20/10 double-doubles. But according to Adrian Wojnarowski, Deng is apparently going to play through his injury (torn ligaments in his left wrist… ouch) and could be back on the court by next week, making Brewer a potential short-term play only.

Chandler Parsons (1.61), who was in a bit of a funk recently, bounced back with a nice 16 point, 7 rebound, 5 assist, 2 steal, 2 block game against the Bucks. He has sneaky high fantasy value as long as he’s filling the box score like that.

Not to be outdone by Tyrus Thomas, Darko Milicic (1.48) blocked 7 shots of his own against the Mavs, adding 8 points and 7 rebounds. Do you know what I love about Darko? Absolutely nothing.

With Marcus Thornton day-to-day with a thigh bruise that just won’t quit, Jimmer Fredette (1.42) got the start and hit 5 threes on his way to 19 points in 36 minutes. Jimmer is already owned in 37% of Yahoo leagues, which is crazy high considering the little he’s been doing this year, but if he’s available he makes a good spot start as long as Thornton is out. Backup PG Isaiah Thomas (0.85) – 16 points and 6 assists – also makes a decent play in deeper leagues.

With Luke Ridnour out with a sore left knee, Wayne Ellington (1.07) got the start at SG, played 38 minutes and scored 16 points while blocking a couple shots. Ellington is a very low end fantasy option even getting big minutes and could only be worth a pickup in deep leagues if Ridnour were to miss time.

Tiago Splitter (0.93) – with 16 and 8 – continues to put up solid lines off the Spurs’ bench in limited minutes. The Spurs’ second unit seems to be working well together lately, but I’m still hesitant to believe that Splitter can continue to put up double-double type lines getting only 20 minutes a game.

Al Jefferson was a late scratch from the Jazz game with a swollen right ankle, so Derrick Favors (0.69) got the starting nod and exploded for 16 and 12 in 42 minutes. Favors has shown he can be a fantasy beast when getting the minutes, but ironically, he’s stuck in the same position Paul Millsap was a few years ago behind two very good starters. Jefferson is day-to-day with the injury, but it doesn’t sound serious, so I wouldn’t go all in on Favors.

On last week’s podcast, Erik and I threw out that the Augustin injury might set a series of events in motion that would catapult Boris Diaw back into the starting lineup. Much more anti-climatically, journeyman Matt Carroll (0.37) got the start for the Bobcats and scored 17 points on 7-10 shooting. He makes a very, very low end spot starter while Augustin is out. And hey, I actually drafted him in my 30-team league.

With Andrew Bogut leaving last night’s game with a sprained ankle, Drew Gooden (0.89) took over and played 28 minutes, scoring 11 points with 3 steals (and grabbed an incredibly weak 2 boards). Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times (no more credible source than the Racine Times in my book) tweeted that Bogut is expected to miss at least the next few games with the injury, likely giving Gooden the starting nod over that span. Ride the double-doubles for now.

Non-Pick Up Lines: I’d avoid picking up anyone else on the Bucks other than Gooden, including Mike Dunleavy (1.20) who hit 3 threes on his way to 18 points in 28 minutes off the bench and Ersan Ilyasova (0,21) who grabbed an insane 19 boards in 28 minutes off the bench for the Bucks. Scott Skiles went 13 deep in his rotation last night – giving all his starters other than Brandon Jennings less than 20 minutes of run. To quote my father-in-law, the Bucks don’t know whether they’re coming or going right now.

Danny Green (1.10) continues to do just enough off the Spurs bench to ruin any value that Kawhi Leonard might have in the starting role with Manu is out. He did have 10-5-5 last night, but it was his first fantasy worth game in over a week.

GUSTAVO! We have another Gustavo Ayon (1.15) sighting. Ayon put up 16 points in 17 minutes off the Hornets bench, shooting 8-10 from the field and adding 3 steals. While I’d love to see Ayon get more time, he’s third on the team’s depth chart right now and is not going to be fantasy viable averaging less than 10 minutes a game.

Biggest Loser (aka, opportunity does not equal success): Two players with the opportunity to get more run this week thanks to injuries completely fell on their faces last night. Lamar Odom (-1.56), who is starting in place of the injured Dirk Nowitzki, shot 2-14 from the floor (in only 17 minutes!) and finished with 5 points against the Wolves. Get well soon Dirk!

Meanwhile, Kemba Walker (-0.75) was able to take the reigns of the Charlotte offense thanks to the D.J. Augustin injury, but made the least of the opportunity by shooting 4-19 from the field in a 92-75 loss to the Wizards. The Wizards! He did have some decent peripheral stats though, finishing with 8 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.

As efficient as Durant and Harden were for the Thunder, Russell Westbrook (-0.94) nearly pissed it all away with a 5-to-7 assist to turnover ratio and 4-14 shooting performance against the Hornets. Got to hand it to Westbrook, he doesn’t half-ass anything; when he flames out, he flames out hard.

Word on the street is that teams have figured out that Byron Mullens (-0.77) is a one-dimensional mid-range jump shooter who Paul Silas described as soft as the hair on a baby’s ass (that last part may not be true). What is true is that teams are starting to shut him down and he’s losing out on minutes to shot blocking savant Bismack Biyombo (not soft!). Mullens played only 18 minutes last night, scoring 5 points on 1-6 shooting. It was a brief, but fun ride for Mullens. Now go ahead and drop him until he learns how to do something other than take jump shots.


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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