Friday, April 07, 2006

Head-to-Head's Up (4/10-4/16)

It’s Spring Break… Time to go WILD! No, no, no, put your shirt back on. This is the last full week of the NBA regular season, and you may want to use some unconventional tactics in your head-to-head matchup this week. Sure, you got your super-studs and regular starters, but there’s always a question as to those last couple guys you decide to plug in your lineup. Be sure to analyze your opponents’ strengths and weaknesses and prepare to take advantage. Blocks and threes are probably the best categories to target for the players at the end of your SLU to make a significant difference. Percentages and steals are unpredictable and fluctuate too much to bank on. Let’s take a look at 4/10-4/16.

Four Games: Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Golden State, Indiana, LAC, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Seattle, Utah, Washington.
Three Games: Boston, Charlotte, Denver, Detroit, Houston, LAL, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Sacramento, San Antonio, Toronto.

Plug ‘em in, Plug ‘em in:
Jamal Crawford, SG – "He’s the most improved player I’ve ever coached. He’s as good a kid as I’ve ever been around. He does things for the team to a fault." Larry Brown told the New York Post after Crawford’s 37-point effort in a win over the Cavs on Wednesday. Excuse me coach… um did I hear you correctly? You are praising a six-year vet as the best ‘kid’ and most improved player you’ve EVER coached? A team player? Crawford is posting his worst averages in three years and is known for chucking rainmakers at will. Granted, Crawford is starting to shine with Marbury sidelined, but he has still been a big disappointment in Larry Brown’s circus this season. It isn’t so much an improvement but rather a classic case of opportunity… whenever a proven scorer like Crawford is given big minutes he will be very productive. In April he’s posted 25/4/3, 2 threes, 2.7 steals, 50%FG/92%FT in three starts. Those are the gaudy numbers I was hoping for when I selected Crawford in the fifth round this year. It may be too little too late for me (let’s not talk about my other ill-advised draft picks: Kurt Thomas, Al Jefferson, Eddie Griffin), but if you’ve got him now’s the time to use Jamal.

Hedo Turkoglu, G/F – Wow. 2005-‘06 has been a breakout year of sorts for Hedo even if it took injuries to a number of teammates to get Turk a regular starting gig. We now know that all he needs to be an everyday fantasy baller is consistent minutes. He’s averaging 18/4/3, 2 treys, 1.3 thefts, 53%FG/84%FT since March 15th. Numbers like that could make Turkoglu a 4th or 5th round pick next year. With Grant Hill likely out of the picture, next season may actually be Hedo’s true coming out party. Who else is excited about the 2006-‘07 Orlando Magic? (Arroyo/Nelson/Turkoglu/Howard/Milicic)?

Samuel Dalembert, C – Another volatile season for the injury-prone center, Slammin’ Sam is back in Mo Cheeks’ starting lineup, but still falling short of expectations (9/7/1, 1.3 blocks in four starts). Owners have been frustrated all season with Dalembert, as he can’t seem to stay healthy and remain productive for more than a few weeks at a time. Despite his ups and downs, Dalembert should be a solid contributor with four matchups next week. He’s a better play at center than Jamaal Magloire who hasn’t scored or grabbed double digit rebounds in eight games.

Darko Milicic, F/C – Most of his value comes in the form of blocked shots but Darko has shown some consistency on offense as well lately, scoring double digits in 6 of his last 7 games. 10-12 blocks from Darko in four games this week could be just what you need to edge out your opponent in a close H2H matchup.

Other 3-point shooters: Charlie Bell, Chucky Atkins, Vlad Radmanovic.
Other shot blockers: Joel Pryzbilla/Theo Ratliff, Erick Dampier.
Inexpensive Hybrids: Raef Lafrentz, Matt Bonner.

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