Matt Stroup

Roundball Stew

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Return of the Bismack

Monday, April 23, 2012

If your commissioner was cruel enough to make your league’s championship encompass these last bizarre days of the 2011-12 season, then you’ve likely come here in pursuit of some last-minute lineup considerations.

You’ll find that below, plus a very early look at my top-10 for next season. But first, to the more pressing issue – the obscure names who could help you win a title this week:

Bismack Biyombo, PF/C, CHA

No. of games this week: 3

Can help you in: rebounds, blocks

Bottom line: The youngest player in the NBA has been predictably inconsistent this year, but Biyombo is finishing strong with averages of 7.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg and 2.0 bpg in his last six games (blocking exactly two shots in each of those six). He’s a risk due to rotten percentages (38.1 percent from the field, 56.0 from the line in his last six), but a valid consideration if you’re looking to make a run in rebounds and blocks this week.

Note: You might also consider Byron Mullens, who’s trending in a somewhat positive direction once again (9.3 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.3 bpg in his last four), but he has shot just 35.7 percent from the field during that stretch and remains very prone to vomiting up hideous duds.

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Manny Harris, SG/SF, CLE

No. of games this week: 3

Can help you in: points, 3s, rebounds (maybe)

Bottom line: In his last four games, Harris has posted 14.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg and 1.8 3s on 51.3 percent shooting, but those numbers are offset somewhat by shaky numbers elsewhere (0.3 spg, 57.9 percent FT shooting during this run). Furthermore, his recent rebounding numbers were boosted by a fluke 12-board game last week. There’s nothing wrong with giving Harris a look for points and treys during a three-game week, but I wouldn’t expect a lot else in other categories.

Derrick Brown, SF/PF, CHA

No. of games this week: 3

Can help you in: points, rebounds, steals

Bottom line: The Bobcats continue to be embarrassingly dreadful, but that hasn’t stopped Brown from averaging 13.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg and 1.5 spg on 47.9 percent shooting in his last six games. It is worth noting that he played just 25 minutes on Sunday (his first time under 30 minutes since April 10), which is a mild concern given that he injured his ankle last week. However, Brown has been playing through the injury of late, so I wouldn’t hesitate to start him assuming that no injury news surfaces prior to Monday’s game.

Avery Bradley, PG/SG, BOS

No. of games this week: 2

Can help you in: Points, 3s, steals, FG percentage

Bottom line: He may already be gone from your waiver wire, but give Bradley a look if you need a late boost in points and 3s. In his last six games, he’s averaging 20.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.2 spg and 2.0 3s on 58.6 percent from the field.

Sundiata Gaines, PG, NJ

No. of games this week: 2

Can help you in: points, 3s, assists, steals

Bottom line: Starting the last three games in the absence of Deron Williams (calf), Gaines has posted 13.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 5.3 apg, 1.7 spg and 2.0 3s. With Williams seemingly unlikely to return, Gaines has the look of a solid play despite only an average slate of two games this week.

Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, NO

No. of games this week: 2

Can help you in: rebounds, steals, blocks

Bottom line: In his last nine games, the Hornets’ starting SF has posted 9.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.9 spg and 1.0 bpg. He’s not hitting any 3s (0.3 per game during this run), and his scoring has been inconsistent, so the primary reason to play him is if you need a boost in defensive stats with some modest potential to help elsewhere.

Luke Babbitt, SF, POR

No. of games this week: 2

Can help you in: points, rebounds, 3s, steals

Bottom line: Playing a lofty 39 minutes per game in his last three, Babbitt has averaged 14.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.3 spg and 2.7 3s during that run. Granted, he has shot just 36.4 percent from the field during that stretch, but that’s not a huge shock considering that 22 of his 44 last attempts have been treys. Nicolas Batum (quad) could theoretically return and ruin Babbitt’s productivity this week, but that seems unlikely.

Carl Landry, SF/PF, NO

No. of games this week: 2

Can help you in: percentages, points, rebounds

Bottom line: Landry was very quiet Sunday night (eight points, one rebound in just 18 minutes), but has still posted 14.8 ppg and 7.0 rpg on 57.8 percent from the field and 95.7 percent from the line in his last five games. He’s definitely a risk, but a couple things are worth noting: 1) Jason Smith injured his ankle late on Sunday night, and it would obviously benefit Landry if Smith misses any time; 2) Landry’s two opponents this week are the embarrassingly porous Warriors and his former team, the Rockets. He’s not a must-start, but there’s a chance he could finish up with a productive two games.

Marvin Williams, SF, ATL

No. of games this week: 2

Can help you in: points, rebounds, 3s

Bottom line: Marvin got a start on Sunday – his first since March 9 – and busted out a monstrous 29 points, 11 rebounds, four 3s and three blocks against the Knicks. However, it must be noted that the Hawks went small against a Knicks team that was without Tyson Chandler, and Williams – who had just four points in his previous game – is capable of disappearing just as quickly as he re-emerged. He could carry some momentum from Sunday into a respectable two-game week, but be careful about chasing Sunday’s stats.

Also worth considering in deeper leagues: James Singleton and Cartier Martin both have three games this week for the Wizards, but both come with serious caveats. Singleton has posted a quiet 6.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.3 spg and 1.0 bpg in his last three games, and would really only be a valid option if you’re looking to maximize games in a weekly format. Martin, meanwhile, broke out for 22 points in Washington’s last game, but could go back to being irrelevant after averaging 5.8 ppg in his previous four. On a positive note for both, the Wizards do play Charlotte on Monday evening, which could result in quite a bit of garbage time.

And since “garbage time” seems like a fitting way to conclude a discussion of obscure late-season fantasy options, let’s briefly segue to a very early look at next season with:

A FORECAST OF THE 2012-13 TOP-10 (with a bias toward 9-category leagues, and very much open to debate):

1. LeBron James
2. Kevin Durant
3. Chris Paul
4. Kevin Love
5. Dwyane Wade
6. Al Jefferson
7. LaMarcus Aldridge
8. Paul Millsap
9. Dirk Nowitzki
10. Andrew Bynum

Notes: You could potentially shuffle the order from 1-4, but there’s really no arguing that LeBron, Durant, CP3 and Love are the consensus top four picks in 8-category or 9-category leagues… Wade lost a lot of games to injury this season – and will turn 31 next year – but is still an elite fantasy player when healthy, and shouldn’t have as many injury issues next season when the schedule returns to normal… Jefferson and Millsap’s value could change this offseason depending on what Utah’s plans are for Derrick Favors, but as of now they belong in the top-10… I would probably let someone else draft Nowitzki next year because of his age and lack of defensive stats, but he still has a shot to return late first-round value again… Bynum was the No. 13 overall player on Basketball Monster’s 8- and 9-category leaderboard this year and is still only 24 years old (25 in October)… Honorable top-10 near-misses: Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry, Pau Gasol and Ryan Anderson (who somehow ranked in the top-10 of 9-category leagues all year long)… The sentence you are reading now is the second-to-last sentence of Roundball Stew this year. Thanks for reading, and if you're still playing, good luck.

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

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