Matt Stroup

Roundball Stew

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Late Season is Nate Season

Monday, April 16, 2012

If you’re reading this column, odds are overwhelming that you’re doing so because your league’s playoffs are still going on, and your squad is still breathing. So without any more preamble, let’s leap right in and discuss some notable options during the regular season’s last full week:

If recent stats hold true, this should be a glorious week for Nate Robinson: He’s still coming off the bench for Golden State, but that shouldn’t deter fantasy owners from confidently flinging Robinson into lineups for the Warriors’ five-game week. In his last five games, Robinson – who seems more comfortable coming off the bench as a no-conscience gunner – is averaging 17.4 ppg, 6.8 apg and 2.2 treys, including a 28-5-8 line against the Clippers on Saturday night.

If you’re feeling bold, start Anthony Randolph: There are no guarantees that Randolph continues producing for Minnesota’s entire four-game week, because even if Kevin Love (concussion) stays sidelined – which seems likely – there’s still the chance that Randolph finds a way to irritate Rick Adelman and lose minutes. However, I don’t see that concern as enough of a deterrent, and would absolutely endorse taking a chance on starting Randolph if you’re chasing upside and willing to accept some risk. In his last three games, the sometimes-electric 22-year-old has posted a monstrous 22.0 ppg, 8.7 rpg and 3.0 bpg.

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If you’re looking for points and 3s, say hello to Chase Budinger:
Over his last five games, Budinger has averaged 13.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.4 spg and 2.6 treys in an average of 29 minutes per game off the bench. With Houston playing five times, and still “nothing new” on Kevin Martin’s shoulder (per a tweet from beat writer Jonathan Feigen Monday morning), Budinger looks like a solid play during the upcoming week.

If you’re chasing blocks, consider Brandan Wright:
Before seeing his playing time abruptly held in check due to Andrew Bynum matchup purposes on Sunday (two points, one rebound in just nine minutes), Wright had averaged 11.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg and 2.0 bpg in his previous five games. And with four games on the docket – including an intriguing Friday matchup against his porous former team, the Warriors – Wright could make a significant difference in blocks this week.

Meanwhile, I’m sticking with Ryan Anderson.
Anderson has gone into a poorly-timed shooting slump, posting 7.3 ppg and 7.3 rpg on 21.2 percent shooting (2-of-19 on treys) in his last three games. However, he’s still getting plenty of looks, managed to post a productive line on Sunday (nine points, 13 rebounds, a steal and a block) and has made a habit of bouncing back nicely after short-term shooting slumps all season. Anderson is going to have to keep shooting plenty with the Orlando roster depleted, and I expect those 3s to start falling sooner rather than later.

Sadly, it’s time to bench Lester Hudson.
Hudson had a splendid run, and perhaps we haven’t seen the last of him, but personally I’ll be looking elsewhere for production this week after seeing him post just 7.7 ppg in an average of 18 minutes during his last three games.

Be careful about relying on Metta World Peace and Matt Barnes in weekly formats.
It has been an impressive run for World Peace (18.0 ppg in his last six games) and Barnes (14.3 ppg in his last four), but both of those hot streaks clearly coincide with Kobe Bryant (shin) missing the last five games. I could see starting World Peace or Barnes in daily leagues as long as Kobe is out, but I’d be hesitant to put either one into a weekly lineup given the chance that Kobe returns this week to stifle their value.

Other Random Thoughts:
Despite Kyle Lowry’s ugly line on Sunday (three points, four assists in just 14 minutes), I would still start him for the Rockets’ five-game week after seeing him post 13.0 ppg, 5.0 apg, 1.0 spg and 1.0 3s in his previous three games … Markieff Morris is constantly at risk of seeing his value fluctuate wildly, but fantasy owners in deeper formats should note that Morris has posted 13.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.4 bpg and 0.6 3s in his last five games … James Singleton only has three games this week, but is an intriguing spot-start option after averaging 11.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 0.8 spg and 1.0 bpg in his last five … And speaking of bold spot starts, I can’t argue with using Daniel Orton against Philadelphia Monday evening. In his 10th career game Sunday night – and his first time ever getting more than 15 minutes (29 to be exact) – the 21-year-old posted an eye-catching 11 points, four rebounds, five steals and three blocks.

Matt Stroup covers basketball, baseball and football for You can find him on Twitter here .
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