Monday, January 09, 2006

Head-to-Head's Up

(Editor's note: Here at fantasy basketblog headquarters, when you talk, we listen. Apparently a lot of you are in head-to-head leagues, something that DM and I are fairly unfamiliar with. So, we've enlisted the help of a new fantasy basketblogger, one who's experienced in head-to-head leagues, to check in every Monday with tips so that you can set your lineups for the coming week. Let's all give a warm round of applause to new FBB contributor PR! Don't worry - DM's weekly point guard novella will be moved to later in the week. Without any further ado, here's the first edition of "Head-to-Head's Up." Enjoy! - BV)

First of all, I’d like to thank DM and BV for the invitation to contribute a weekly H2H column to their exceptional FantasyBasketBlog. A long time reader, I am now honored to be a contributor at FBB. I apologize to those of you who were looking forward to reading DM’s “As the Point Guard Turns” today, but I’ll do my best to entertain/educate/inspire you in my own way. Also, feel free to visit my Sports Troopers blog whenever you get a chance. This column should help those of you in H2H leagues plan ahead and set your weekly lineups based on recent trends and upcoming games. We all know the importance of consistent minutes when assessing a player’s fantasy value, so in H2H leagues the most important factor to consider is games played on a week-to-week basis. So let’s take a look at how often each NBA team will hit the hardwood this week (1/9-1/15):

Four Games: Seattle, Indiana, Washington, LAL, Atlanta, New York, Sacramento, Orlando, Cleveland, Charlotte, Milwaukee.

Three Games: Utah, Dallas, Toronto, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Minnesota, Detroit, New Jersey, Phoenix, Memphis, New Orleans, San Antonio, Denver, Miami, Portland, Golden State.

Two Games: LAC
I’m not suggesting you should bench Elton Brand, but you may have better options than Sam Cassell and Cuttino Mobley this week.

Plug ‘em in, Plug ‘em in:

Jameer Nelson, PG - The second-year guard from St. Joe’s has been showing why he deserves more playing time for the Magic lately. He’s averaging 31mpg over his last 5 games: 22 pts/3.4 rb/5.6 ast, 1.6 threes, 1.6 steals, and 59% shooting from the field. With Grant Hill sidelined Saturday, Stevie Franchise was moved to SG and Nelson got his fourth start of the season. Don’t be surprised if Coach Brian Hill keeps him in the starting lineup even when Hill returns, with SG Deshawn Stevenson possibly coming off the bench instead. He’s a great fantasy play right now while he’s hot and getting consistent playing time. He also has good matchups, facing some soft defenses this week: @LAC (97.0ppg), @SEA (104.7), @POR(95.0), @SAC (100.7).

Kenny Thomas, PF – Thomas was an excellent pickup last week with starting PF Shareef Abdur-Rahim out 6-8 weeks (broken jaw). Kenny may be undersized at 6’7, but he has displayed great rebounding prowess over his career. He should give you nearly 15 pts and 10 boards a night while Shareef is out and is a must-start with four games this week.

Vladimir Radmanovic, PF – Radmanovic was inserted into the Sonics starting lineup when Coach Bob Hill took over last week, was unspectacular in his first two starts, but delivered the goods on Sunday. RadMan shot 10 for 12 from the field including a whopping 8 three-pointers on his way to dropping 30 pts on the Knicks yesterday. As DM mentioned, Radmanovic is a talented/streaky shooter, but he definitely has value now with starter's minutes. The 6’10 Bosnian sharpshooter has the potential to become a Dirk Nowitzki-type PF down the road as he develops physically and mentally, but for now you’ll just have to be satisfied with his scoring and three-point contributions. Vlad makes a solid start this week as he has four games to get comfortable in his new starting role.

Donyell Marshall, F – The versatile Cavs’ forward is another one of those players with the potential to be a fantasy stud when given enough playing time. Marshall has yet to start a game for Cleveland this year, but has put up respectable fantasy numbers coming off the bench with 10.4/7.4/0.9 and 2 threes, a block and a steal per game. Starter Larry Hughes is out now for 6-8 weeks with a broken finger and Donyell should benefit from a bump in minutes. The Ludacris look-alike is a smart start in your H2H league this week.

Speedy Claxton, PG – Did you know his first name is really Craig? Rookie sensation Chris Paul is expected to miss a week or two with a thumb injury, and Speedy dropped 29 points on Saturday in his first game out. So Claxton should be that much more valuable to your fantasy squad in Paul’s absence. Get him in your lineups this week for three games.

Emeka Okafor, F/C – Last year’s ROY has missed the last 8 games with a badly sprained ankle but is expected to return to Charlotte’s depleted frontcourt on Tuesday. Don’t hesitate to plug him back into your SLU.

Rafer Alston, PG - After a slow start to the season and over a month lost to injury, Alston is back and playing his best ball of the season. Since returning New Year's Eve, Rafer has posted averages of 15/4/8.5 along with over 2 treys and 2 steals per game in 2006. Alston doesn't like hearing all the talk about Toronto faring better after dealing him for Mike James, so he is out to prove his critics wrong the rest of the season. He should be a regular fixture in your fantasy lineup.

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you all next week. -PR


Anonymous Greg said...

Is there anyway you can move this column to friday or the weekend? Yahoo requires the lineups to be set before monday in weekly leagues. If not, I still appreciate a H2H column

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I second that motion, Greg. My league has to be set for the week on Sunday night. -- Chase

11:36 AM  
Blogger PR said...

Your wish is our command; cuz it just makes sense. "Head-to-Head's Up" will be moved to Fridays. I'll be pitching on only 3 days rest this Friday the 13th... so let's hope all goes well.

11:52 AM  
Blogger Da Schmuzer said...

Boozer is out there on waivers. Is it smart to drop Mutombo or David Lee for him now? Bench spots are a premium in our H2H league (with only 3). I already have Amare Stoudemire stashed on the bench...


(P.S. - Sports Troopers is a great blog.)

12:09 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

In addition to Alston's motivation, he's playing on a team full of injuries (Yao and now McGrady again) which means he now is a top scoring option on the team. So expect nice numbers from that as well.

As for Boozer...who knows when he'll come back. According to his orginal injury report, he should be coming back soon, and will be infinately more valuable than Mutombo or David Lee in the long run. If you set weekly lineups, I would definately take that chance and drop one of the two. Heck, even if it's a day-to-day league, as losing for one week is worth having an 18/8 type player on your team.

12:58 PM  
Blogger PR said...

I'd have to agree and say that Boozer is definitely worth a roster spot at this point. I know he has been "expected back soon" for two months now, but he puts up double-doubles regularly when he actually plays. Mutombo still has some value with his rebounding and blocks, so feel free to kick David Lee to the curb. He had one good game when he logged 52 minutes in a triple OT win over Phoenix last week, but he'll be lucky to average half as many minutes the rest of the season.
And yes, Alston's value shoots up substantially with half the team injured.

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Andy said...

Not sure if the system ate my last post... basically wondering if it's worth dropping Mo Williams to pick up Alston at this point.

12:18 AM  
Blogger DM said...

Unless you are in a really shallow league or have no bench spots, I wouldn't advise dropping Mo Williams because he's a great guy to have in that utility/bench slot. But if it's between him and Alston, you gotta go with Alston now that T.J. Ford is back. He's going to be at worst their #2 option for another few weeks and he's shown enough over the past few games to make me think he's at least mostly back to last year's form.

12:51 AM  
Anonymous bublitchki said...

Hey dudes:

When's yer next center report comin' out? This starting-two-center thing is really beginning to take its toll on my mental health.

Since I've got no real studs to play there, I've been rotating different guys in and out every week. Right now, I've got Magloire, Pachulia, Curry and Frye on my roster (yes, I dropped Eddie G again. But he'll be back again. Sometime next week, probably. Twice.)

Right now, I'm wondering about the wisdom of carrying the two Knicks on my roster. Yes, I know that even Larry Brown doesn't seem to know what he's going to do from one game to the next but I'm curious to hear how others think this whole NY frontcourt situation is going to play out. At the moment, they appear committed to Curry as the starting C and, barring injury, that will probably continue to be the case going forward. Frye's minutes seem to be diminishing, despite the fact that he's been amazingly productive whenever he's on the floor. But if he continues to only get 20-25 mpg, he's really not worth hanging on to. Or is he?

Yer thoughts?

1:21 AM  
Anonymous Luke said...

Have to agree re: Jameer Nelson... I've inserted him into my starting lineup for this week, and I actually regret not doing it last week as he put up great figures.

1:21 AM  
Anonymous Andy said...

It's a 10-team 14-player daily H2H league, so it's fairly shallow to begin with, plus a lot of the guys I'm playing with have made some boneheaded moves and my bench has really benefitted from it. The other players at the "end" of my bench are Donyell Marshall, Jason Williams (because of his knees), and Delonte West. All of those guys seem to have more value than Mo Williams (who has been solid but hurts in FG% & TOs and will likely see his peripherals drop with the return of Ford), so he would be the best option for replacement.

Only problem for me is that I drafted Alston, so the memory of the first few horrible weeks of the season which forced me to drop him still linger. However, I watched a Rockets game the other night and he looks like a different player since returning from the injury. Thanks for the take.

1:31 AM  
Anonymous Andy said...

bublitchki: I've got Frye as my 3rd center and I can't help but hold onto him. There just aren't any C-eligible guys out there who even have the potential to help in multiple categories (even FT%!) like Frye does. It's extremely frustrating to see him getting so few minutes every night, but even as it is, I think he's producing enough to remain a viable guy to keep on your bench. In fact, I dropped Pachulia a while ago and kept Frye because they've been equally inconsistent but Frye has way more upside (plus Zaza is a turnover machine if that is a category in your league).

Larry claimed he's committed to the younger players, so he's got to wake up and start giving Frye more minutes one of these days, right? Right?!?

1:41 AM  
Anonymous Andy said...

any C-eligible should read many C-eligible in my last post.

1:46 AM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

I have a question. At the end of my bench I have Andres Nocioni, who I unfortunately used a waiver on. Since then he's been relegaed to the bench. While he's played well in thelast few games (when he's gotten minutes), I'm wondering if I should propose a trade for him and Delonte West straight up. From the pure numbers (stats) Delonte doesn't look all that much better, and the person who has him is stacked at the PG position so he may be willing to budge. My only concern is it seems like he's losing some time to Banks who is coming back from injury. I know he was in foul trouble the last game, but what is your opinion...if I can pull it off, should I?


H2H, 12 Cats, 12 Teams, 14-player roster.

I need to upgrade from Krstic too, but that's another problem.

10:12 AM  
Blogger DM said...

Jeremy, if you can get Delonte for Nocioni, do it right away. No brainer, I think, although Doc doesn't play Delonte as much as he should.

As for Curry, it certainly looks like Brown is going to let him stay in the starting lineup and try to make Isiah's trade not look terrible. There's a lot to like about Curry this year, as he's scoring at his usual high rate, and also rebounding and blocking shots better than ever while maintaining his dominant FG%. That said, he's a constant injury risk. He's had two stretches he's missed so far. So I'd feel more comfortable w/him as my #2 guy. As for Frye, you can't drop him. The David Lee infatuation has got to stop sometime soon, right?

11:24 AM  
Blogger Da Schmuzer said...

In a H2H, I have been offered Elton Brand and either GP or Antoine Walker for Jason Richardson and Amare Stoudemire. Would this be a good trade. Currently I need some rebounds and blocks, but I can't help but think Amare might help somewhere down the line. Any advice would be great.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Andy said...

Schmuzer, I would not do that deal. You've been holding onto Amare for so long that it's not worth it to deal him now. It's better to wait it out and see how he does once he's back. Brand is a stud and if you need boards he's got even more value, but Richardson has been playing great all year and is on fire lately. I'd probably rather have Brand, but the other players he's throwing in have minimal value (IMO) due to inconsistency. It's certainly not a package that would get me to give up a guy like Richardson plus a potential elite guy lke Amare.

4:34 PM  
Anonymous bublitchki said...

I would make the deal.

Elton Brand is arguably, a top three fantasy player this year. Jason Richardson clearly is not. Amare is - but only when healthy. I'm not sure how good he is going to be when he returns. His game is based on quickness and explosiveness, qualities that players coming back from microfracture surgery have notably lacked until a few months following their return. In all likelihood Amare will not be Amare until sometime next season.

5:35 PM  

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