Fantasy Forecast: Monday, Feb. 18, 2013
The NBA is officially into the second half of the season now following the All Star festivities. Just to recap the results in case you missed it: Damian Lillard beat out Jrue Holiday to take home the 2013 skills challenge trophy; Kyrie Irving knocked out Matt Boner to win the three-point contest; Terrence Ross finished the night with a through the legs dunk over a ballboy, and out leaped Jeremy Evans to win the slam dunk crown; to finish off the weekend in glorious fashion, the West beat the East in the All Star game 143-138.
With the NBA trade deadline looming (Feb. 21), the talks around the league is going to be who stays and who goes. The reality is that the media makes it out to be more than it truly is, and the number of trades that actually happen are going to be a fraction of what is talked about. Much has been made about the Clippers and Kevin Garnett, but KG specifically said he wouldn’t waive his no trade clause for anyone. In fact, the only person I see with a realistic chance of moving is Raptors PF/C Andrea Bargnani. The team has wanted him gone for some time now and I would be shocked if he is still in Toronto after Thursday. It really depends on where he lands for future fantasy value, so make sure you keep your ear close to the ground on this one.
Nate Robinson – PG Bulls: There are some questions now as to if Derrick Rose will even play this season as he was quoted as saying his leg “still isn’t feeling right” this past week. Kirk Hinrich is expected back following the All Star break, meaning Robinson will now split minutes at the PG position. But, that might not be a bad thing as Robinson is better coming off the bench than he is starting in my opinion, and I think he should be owned in all leagues going forward. The Bulls play a 4-game schedule this week, and Robinson is owned in just 55 percent of Yahoo leagues as of right now.
Danny Green – SG Spurs: The good news for Green is that most fantasy owners only see Manu Ginobili’s name when they look at the SG depth chart. But, Green has averaged 15.8 points and 2.2 steals a night over the last 14 days while playing just over 31 MPG. Green’s minutes will be safe because coach Gregg Popovich is sure to limit Ginobili’s minutes until the playoffs. Right now Green is owned in 56 percent of Yahoo leagues, so make sure he isn’t available in yours.
Danny Granger – SF Pacers: Granger was expected to make his season debut last Wednesday before the All Star break, but that didn’t happen as he had the flu and Coach Frank Vogul said he “wasn’t quite ready.” But, all indications are that we will see him make his season debut when the Pacers take on the Knicks this week. The Pacers also love the idea of being able to move Paul George to SG, and Lance Stephenson to a reserve role to strengthen their depth coming off the bench.
Amir Johnson – PF Raptors: Johnson went back to a bench role right before the All Star break, and that may be enough for you to snag him via a trade if you are quick enough. The reality is that Johnson is one of the most undervalued players in fantasy basketball this season, and is currently giving his owners (57 percent owned) 4th round value. I would bet that he moves back to a starting role sooner or later, and his value is pretty much solidified this season.
Samuel Dalembert – C Bucks: Dalembert has managed to average 16.4 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.6 blocks a night over the last 14 days thanks to an injury to Larry Sanders. Dalembert is a tricky one because the second Sanders is back on the floor, he needs to be cut. But, until that day comes, he is a must-own player in all formats.
Eric Bledsoe – PG Clippers: Chris Paul is back at the point for the Clippers, and both Chauncey Billups and Jamal Crawford are ahead of Bledsoe on the SG depth chart. So, it looks like Bledsoe’s run is officially over and should be cut if there is a better option on the waiver wire.
Marcus Thornton – SG Kings: It seems like there is a Kings player on this list every single week, regardless how many games they play. Thornton makes the list this week because he just isn’t putting up the consistent stats we want to see from a guy who is owned in 77 percent of Yahoo leagues right now. Over the last month he has only been able to average 9.4 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.8 assists, while shooting an ugly 37.4 percent from the field. The consistency just isn’t there for me to recommend you keep Thornton in standard leagues. However, make sure there is a player worth picking up before you cut him loose.
Wesley Matthews – SG/SF Trail Blazers: Matthews was diagnosed with a high ankle sprain right before the All Star break, and it was the second time he had to be helped off the court already this month. There still has been no timetable for his return, which means the team simply doesn’t know. X-Rays were negative for a break, but high ankle sprains can be a lingering and nagging injury that sucks the life out of a player. Matthews is in more of a holding pattern in fantasy leagues right now than a freefall, but you need to be ready to pull the trigger on dropping him too.
Blake Griffin – PF Clippers: With the Clippers playing just two games this week, it is hard to recommend Griffin to those in cap or weekly transaction leagues. His value has been on part with his pre-season projection (pre-season ranked No. 43, currently ranked No. 42 in Yahoo), but there just isn’t much he can do with just two games on the NBA docket in Week 17.
Larry Sanders – C Bucks: Sanders has been an absolute steal this season, going undrafted and giving owners smart enough to snag him off the waiver wire 2nd/3rd round value. But, Sanders hurt his back and missed the Bucks last four games because of it. Beat writer Gery Woelfel suggested Sanders may not be ready to play immediately following the All-Star break on Twitter, which means until we see him on the court, consider him a benched player in fantasy leagues. Pay attention to my Twitter feed though, because when Sanders is on the floor, he is a rebound and block machine.
James Morris hails from Rio Rancho, NM and has been playing fantasy sports for just over 15 years. Not only does he write the Timberwolves fantasy basketball section, but he crosses over the sports boundary and writes the Miami Dolphins and Cincinnati Bengals fantasy football sections. Just send him an email and he will reply back the same day with your answer. Or, find him on Twitter (Fantasyguy23) and Facebook to get all your NFL news before it hits the national media. For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com.