Monday, March 06, 2006

Calling Matt Foley

As we head into the home stretch for the season, you’ve got just a few days to take advantage of the trading deadline. If you’re looking for an overall strategy for the last months of the year, here’s one: Take the stud with something to prove. The motivated one. In any season, there are going to be teams that can relax a bit before the playoffs, teams that are so far out of it they go into shut-down, and then teams that are playing for their playoff lives. You want to have as many guys on teams in that last category as possible – particularly the stars on those teams. There’s no better fantasy player than the superstar that puts his team on his shoulders and carries them into the postseason. Let’s take a look at a few top picks and decide whether they’ve got motivation to pick it up down the stretch, or end up living in a van down by the river:

LeBron James – Perhaps no player will be scrutinized more over the last few months of the season than LeBron. With the Cavs already slipping in the standings, there is talk or last year’s meteoric fall out of the playoffs. With one addition done for the year (Larry Hughes), and two other drastically underperforming (Donyell Marshall and Damon Jones), it’s up to James to dominate. While it’s easy to say that James will be a top-3 player over the rest of the year, I’d go so far as to say that he’ll be the top player, overtaking Shawn Marion.

Kevin Garnett – Only the Big Ticket can be totally miserable and still be a fantasy stud. The one thing that you can say about KG is he won’t sit out any games – he’ll be in it until the end. Even though all signs point to him losing interest, my guess is he’ll be solid as usual through the rest of the season. What you see now is likely what you’ll see in the near future.

Kobe Bryant – Just behind LeBron in the “most motivated” category is Kobe. He’s shown that when he wants to, he can take over a game. At some point, he’s going to give up the “make it look like I’m a team player” attitude and instead score like a maniac. When that happens, you’re going to want him on your team. If you’re looking to make a move in points, you should do everything you can to pick up Kobe – he could very well average 40+ ppg in yet another month this season.

Tim Duncan – I’ve been talking for a little while about selling on Duncan, and I even sold him myself a few weeks ago. After a spectacular start to the season, it’s been all downhill for Timmy and his battle against Plantar Fas…um…facs…uh…his foot. His scoring was under 15 ppg last month, and he shot just 38.6% from the field and 55.6% from the line. That’s not the kind of production that’s going to propel the Spurs to a championship this summer, and so they may shut him down for a little bit. Either way, this is not a guy you want on your team. If you can sell high based on reputation alone, do it.

Allen Iverson – If anyone is going to challenge Kobe for the scoring title, it’s going to be AI. He’s been on an incredible tear lately, is posting a career-high in ppg, and is shooting at the second-highest percentage of his career. Unfortunately, his numbers are down – albeit slightly – in every other category this year. Here’s my guess – 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks is playing offensive-minded Stephen Hunter more than Sammy Dalembert early in games right now to take some of the scoring load off of AI. That may be bad for his ppg, but he’ll pick it up everywhere else and continue to be flat out awesome over the rest of the year.


Anonymous Charlie said...


Big decision to make, only a few hours to make it. Should I start Felton this week over Joe Smith, Anthony Johnson, Pachulia, or Flip Murray? His production has gone way down recently, probably coinciding with the return of G. Wallace. Strange thing is he's still seeing heavy minutes, just not showing the stat lines of recent weeks. I hate Pachulia, but am intrigued with A. Johnson and Flip. Basically, it's Johnson or Felton, so who should I start?

Also, I should be looking to deal Kirilenko, right? Check out his slow spiral downward in production...not sure of he's gonna recover this year.

11:27 AM  
Blogger DM said...

Anthony Johnson is sneaky valuable (because he's a big plus in FG%, rare for a PG) and is usually pretty solid when he's starting. Felton's always going to have the greater upside, but Johnson should be the steadier play as long as Tinsley remains out, which, let's face it, is probably going to be the case for a bit longer. Felton can really murder your FG%. If you think you need a huge week, you might want to take the risk w/Felton, but if you're just looking for some solid play it's probably Johnson, even though he's the definition of a player it's hard to be excited about.

12:45 PM  
Blogger PR said...

I don't mean to send "mixed messages" but I have to say that I think Felton is a better play than A. Johnson. Felton's poor shooting percentage (38%)is mostly due to his inconsistent minutes earlier in the season. Now that he's comfortable in Charlotte's starting lineup, he's hitting 45% from the floor since Feb 1st along with averages of: 15/4/6, 84%FT, 1.6 treys, and 1.3 steals.
I don't think his recent "mini-slump" is anything to be worried about.
Start Ray over Ant... unless you have someone else you can bench so that you can start both PGs (keep in mind the # of games played this week).

Kirilenko is a tough call, he's the kind of guy that I'd actually target in a trade because he can help a team in so many categories. But, if you can leapfrog a few teams in your league in a couple categories like PTS and 3's then maybe a Ray Allen or Jason Richardson would be more valuable than AK-47 down the stretch. So it really just depends on your situation.

1:42 PM  
Blogger DM said...

Looks like we need BV to break the tie...

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Charlie said...

First of all, this site rules. Thank you guys for responding insitefully and expediantly (is that the right word?) to my question. It really helps to have a forum for those random, "I'll never get any advice on this" type of questions.

Anyway, I feel a lot safer starting Felton over Johnson. His previous few weeks couldn't have been a fluke, and Wallace coming back to the Bobcats hasn't taken away his minutes, so I'll think of the last few games as a fluke. Trouble is that I start Brevin Knight also, but I don't think that should be a problem. These guys are the 2 playmakers for the Cats right now, so I'm stickin with Ray Ray.

Thanks again gentlemen.

3:22 PM  
Blogger bv said...

well, even though you've made your decision, i'm going to weigh in anyways. i'd agree with you, and stick with felton. he's shooting more from long range now than earlier in the season, and those are going to start falling sooner or later. And thanks for the compliments, of course.

3:51 PM  
Blogger TKI said...

Just to add a thought about this topic. Do you guys have anyone in mind who will breakout so to speak from now. It's good to know which superstars will do well in the league going to the playoff run, but what im talking about are the players who dont get drafted.

Like every season, there's always a few players that just explode at the end of the season. Like last season, childress and josh smith, and joel pryzi(sp?). The season before that Mark Blount.

Here's just a list of players i think:

Ruben Patterson
Josh Smith (Although he was drafted in most leagues this year, he has had somewhat of a dissapointing season until as of late)
Chris Wilcox (hoping he gets starter min.)
Someone on the blazers
Al Jefferson

3:55 PM  
Anonymous bublitchki said...

Keep an eye on Wilcox...

Collison went down with a foot injury last night (severity unknown at this point) so Wilocx should be starting at the 4 for all or most of this week.

How he responds to the opportunity should tell you a lot about his value goig forward.

6:32 PM  
Anonymous bigmrpig said...

I'm in a 10 team Head-2-Head league, currently in 2nd place at 89-52-3. First place is 106-34-4 so catching him is not a possibility, and since we'll end up being in different sides of the bracket it doesn't really matter if I do or don't anyway. Top 4 go to the playoffs and 3rd and 4th place are at 87-56-1 and 84-59-1 respectively. The only other player that could realistically make the playoffs is at 83-58-3.

So to sum that up, I'm in second, but not by tons. The last 2 weeks of the regular season I'm playing two of the weaker teams.

So my question, is whether or not I should pick up Emeka Okafor. It seems like he should be coming back within the next couple of weeks, but who knows I guess.

My roster is:
Billups, C.
Butler, C.
Iverson, A.
James, M.
Jefferson, R.
Nelson, J.
Paul, C.
Boozer, C.
Odom, L.
Webber, C.
West, D.
Milicic, D.
Mohammed, N.
O'Neal, S.

Only Milicic, Mohammed, and O'Neal are at center, so I figure I might need another strong one in the playoffs if possible. What do you think of dropping Mohammed for Okafor?

7:22 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

Definately pickup Okafor for Nazr I'd think. I mean, H2H is all about production and yyou have a pretty solid team, so I wouldn't worry about making the playoffs.

Anyways, Okafor should be more valuable than Nazr and you'd hope that he'll be back and ready to contribute like his season averages by the time fantasy playoffs start.

But you do have a pretty sick team...good luck with it.

5:34 AM  

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