What Goes Up
Alert everybody, James Harden (15 points, 5-of-15 FGs, six TOs, five steals) isn’t going to score 40 points every night. He’s in the midst of a small shooting slump and goes through a particularly tough group of wing defenders (Iggy last night, then Tony Allen, and after Detroit he gets the Heat). Assuming he doesn’t get back on track despite the obvious challenges there, this is a buy low window that could end up getting a bit bigger this week. The Rockets struggled as a team, too, with Jeremy Lin hitting just 2-of-9 shots for six points, though he did manage five boards, six assists, and six steals in the loss. Once again, serviceable outings on bad nights are the mark of a solid fantasy player.
Chandler Parsons has a better MPG (38.8) than he does FGP (32.4), and that has him on the outside of 12-team value looking in. He’ll get that straightened out, but shooting percentages have been his bugaboo dating back to last year. Patrick Patterson, on the other hand, is blossoming before our eyes as he posted 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting with two threes, five boards, and a block. The threes are going to stabilize his late round value as long as he can stay on Kevin McHale’s good side, and it appears that he’s doing a good job of that so far. Carlos Delfino is going to be a roller coaster all year unless folks get injured, and even then that still might be true, but he hit another four 3-pointers last night and as a result he’s posting mid-round value on the year. I almost cut him in a few places and I’m glad I didn’t, though I’m not banking on him staying above the cut line (more like hoping).
Kenneth Faried showed up on Sportscenter’s Top 10 twice last night for alley-oop dunks, and posted a 16 and 16 double-double that included a steal and block in 35 minutes. What more can you ask for, right? Ty Lawson starred with 21 points, eight assists, three steals, and three treys, while Iggy was Iggy with 13 points and a full line. Danilo Gallinari is still in his shooting slump after a 6-of-15 night, but his 13 and 10 double-double was also a good look. He’s still in buy low territory as we know he will turn that crooked shooting number around. JaVale McGee scored 12 points with six boards but did not have a block in his 20 minutes. Baby steps. Until I start hearing phrases like ‘that’s so JaVale,’ I’m not going to worry.
The Price is Right
A.J. Price will have a shelf life that extends only as long as John Wall (knee) is out, and in an 8-cat league he is providing late-round value right now. He posted 15 points, five rebounds, seven assists, and three treys last night in an overtime loss to the Celtics, so give him a look if you need a point guard. Bradley Beal showed up with 16 points on 6-of-15 shooting, three treys, and a fairly stocked line, but it’s worth noting that Jordan Crawford (ankle) only played 15 minutes. Kevin Seraphin was a guy I ranked in the 100-115 range in my Top 150, so needless to say I’ve had him as a must-own player before and after his emergence. He put up 16 points, nine boards, three assists, and a block, but did have six turnovers last night. I don’t see the Wizards taking him off the floor if/when Nene comes back. Trevor Ariza is “lost” in the offense and a 19-minute outing with a bottom barrel box score should be enough to send the low-upside player to the scrap heap.
The Celtics are not going to surprise fantasy owners much this year, and last night was not going to be one of those nights. Rajon Rondo had 18 points, 14 assists, and three steals, Kevin Garnett went for 20 and 13, and Paul Pierce hit just 2-of-12 shots but managed to go for 15 and 10 with four steals on the strength of 10-of-12 makes from the charity stripe. Jared Sullinger (four points, four boards, 24 minutes) got the start but Brandon Bass did the finishing, playing big in overtime and finishing with 11 points and seven boards in 33 minutes. I’m not excited about Bass at all this season, but this was a win for him in the position battle. Jason Terry slowly improved like I thought he might, scoring 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting with two threes. That’s where he’ll be this year if things go well. Jeff Green (six points, 22 minutes) is still on the side of a milk carton right next to Courtney Lee (two points, 19 minutes).
I pretty much laid the hammer down on Kris Humphries in yesterday’s Dose, so naturally he played pretty well with 11 points and 11 boards against the Heat last night. He did his damage in 24 minutes and the Nets got blown out, and I need to see way more before I change the optics on my outlook.
You can write off the entire Brooklyn side of the box score.
For the Heat, Dwyane Wade (22 points, full line, no threes) is probably one more big night from outperforming his falling ADP and the trick will be to stay healthy, obviously. Anybody doubting his ability or explosion got that part of the equation wrong. Mario Chalmers put up eight points, six rebounds, five assists, a steal and a three in 27 minutes, and while I don’t think we can rule out consistency issues I think he has shown enough to be worth an add in all 8- and 9-cat formats. He’s on the cusp of mid-round value right now. Otherwise, it’s hard to get too down on some of the pedestrian lines we saw on the Heat’s side given the blowout.
Failure to Launch
The Pacers are a mess, and so is Bruski wunderkind Gerald Green, whom I own everywhere and proudly touted first as a solid flier and then as a solid late-round pick in general. As I said on Twitter, he can’t buy a bucket and along with the Pacers’ struggles it’s creating a nasty situation where he doesn’t hold anything close to 12-team value. There is light at the end of this tunnel, and it includes both Green shooting well again and the Pacers finding a way to straighten out their rudderless offense. George Hill (20 points, three rebounds, five assists, four steals, and one block) has been getting his, as has David West (20 points, six boards) and Paul George (13 points, seven boards, four steals, block, two threes). But collectively they’re not making each other better. It’s not a selfish thing, either, they just don’t press the defense all that aggressively and Hill isn’t getting them into offensive sets with any efficiency. You can drop Green and I will definitely be open to it on my end, but it’s hard to give up on a player that stands a very good chance of stepping into the gaping hole left by Danny Granger’s multi-month knee injury.
The Hawks held on to beat the Pacers last night by the score of 89-86 and saw the return of Josh Smith (ankle), who was fairly productive with 11 points, five rebounds, seven assists, and a steal. He’s another guy to consider floating a buy low offer for as he has had just about as bad a start as anybody taken in the first round. Zaza Pachulia (six points, 14 boards) is a guy to watch if you need a big man and in general, as he can hold this type of value if the Hawks go to him as their starting center. I don’t know that they will, and I’m not sure I understand why they don’t. For now this has the look of a one-game arrangement because Pachulia does a good job on Roy Hibbert. Lou Williams (nine points, 21 minutes) played through a migraine with predictable results, and Jeff Teague kept his foot on the gas with 15 points, six rebounds, six assists, and three steals.
I spent a lot of time on the Kings yesterday and not a whole lot changed except a team that is worse than them came into town on the second night of a back-to-back, and the Kings eked out a close win. Tyreke Evans (15 points, seven boards) was good in the box score and bad on the court, DeMarcus Cousins went for 21 and 11 and played a bit better, Jason Thompson (13 points, four boards) is still the owner of only play the Kings know how to run, Marcus Thornton (11 points) hit another huge shot and continues to be underutilized, while Isaiah Thomas is the king in that department with 15 points and three treys in 21 minutes.
Thomas was benched after carrying the team through the first and third quarters, while Keith Smart goes with a good-news, bad-news backcourt of Aaron Brooks and Jimmer Fredette for much of the night. The good news is that they scored 23 combined points, and the bad news is that they gave up nearly as much on the other end. The Kings walked up and down the floor and gave up bucket after bucket due to lack of effort, but according to Kings writers it’s always sunny in Sacramento.
Nothing is changing for owners of Kings that are struggling until the team goes a prolonged losing streak and the locals can’t find any more silver linings. I’m putting a ‘hold’ recommendation on Cousins after two games of efficient numbers, Evans will probably finish more or less where we thought he would in the middle rounds despite the inconsistency and ugly play, Thornton will come around to his max potential but it might be a bumpy ride and he might blow his cool, Thompson is probably going to stay on the waiver wire, and Thomas can be dropped for less frustrating players. Just be ready to move on IT2 if Smart ever leaves the keys to his brand new Porsche lying around Sleep Apnea Arena.
Messed around and got a triple double
One writer opined that Greg Monroe’s triple double was the quietest he had ever seen, and that’s because most of the plays he made were easy chances against the Kings’ lax defense. Monroe had 21 points, 12 rebounds, and a career-high 11 assists. It took a few big games but he’s closing in on his lofty ADP with top-60 value thus far. Brandon Knight had one of his good nights with 21 points, four assists, and five 3-pointers, and it goes without saying that you should fire your players up against the Kings no matter what erroneous reports you see come out of Sacramento telling you they have a good defense. (Writer's Note: I had erroneously followed our blurb for the stat information, and I apologize for the misinformation).
Kyle Singler got into the act with 12 points, four rebounds, one steal, and two blocks, and leading the second unit in minutes with 25 he could be worth a look in deeper formats. He was a busy body on the court tonight. Andre Drummond played six minutes. He’s not ready for fantasy leagues just yet, obviously. Rodney Stuckey was another guy Kings writers cavorted about the team stopping, ignoring his 6-of-40 mark coming into the game while bragging about holding him to five points on 2-of-6 shooting. I don’t know what’s wrong with Stuckey, but he’s broken right now. I’m still holding him but he has about a week or so before I’ll start to run out of patience in 12-team formats. I think he’ll get it together but somebody will invariably come along that I can’t pass up in the mold of Kevin Seraphin and the like.