Aaron Bruski

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Fightin' Words Wednesday

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Last Man Standing


A.J. Price left last night’s game with an ankle injury and did not return, putting Jordan Crawford (21 points, four rebounds, seven assists, three treys, and one steal) squarely on the pickup radar.  However, we were able to dig up that Price was actually available to return via Mike Prada at the Bullets Forever blog, and the only unresolved issue is why he didn’t actually step foot on the court.  Still, that’s enough smoke for me not to go crazy adding Crawford at the expense of anything but dead weight on my roster.  Bradley Beal had another bad game with eight points on 3-of-14 shooting.  He’ll get it together as the year goes on, but he’s not a must-own player in 12-team formats right now even with his general upside. 


The biggest fantasy story coming out of the Wizards’ side of the box last night was Kevin Seraphin, though, as the drop questions were coming in fast and furious.  Seraphin even did his part to get off to a slow start, but a dominant fourth quarter gave him 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting with five rebounds, five assists, one steal, and one block in 22 minutes.  Randy Wittman is doing something weird right now, and I’m not quite sure what it is, but I’ve seen enough of what Seraphin can do with his minutes to consider him a good stash at worst and an emerging producer at best.  With Nene (foot) a total question mark and Emeka Okafor a total injury risk, Seraphin will be the last man standing down the stretch. 


Shake Me Up


Chris Kaman moved into the starting lineup and promptly uncorked 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting with eight boards, a steal, and a block in 32 minutes, and will probably remain a must-start player as long as he is healthy.  We saw more of dominant O.J. Mayo (25 points, 9-of-15 FGs), while Darren Collison hit a speed bump with just nine points on 2-of-10 shooting to go with three rebounds, five assists, and a steal.  Elton Brand benefited from Kaman’s presence as Rick Carlisle had hoped, scoring 11 points with 12 boards and two blocks in 30 minutes.  I can think of a few reasons to discount Brand’s fantasy value, but for the next few weeks while Dirk is out I’d be hard pressed not to add him after this line and utilization.  Brandan Wright, for all of the talk about his improvement here and elsewhere, was a DNP-CD and can officially be dropped after a small productive run. 


Vince Carter (seven points, 2-of-8 FGs, five boards) is playing like a guy with a hip injury that needs Shawn Marion (knee) to come back so he can rest.  Rick Carlisle expects Marion to travel with the team this weekend, so don’t be surprised if the old guys pass the baton.  Jae Crowder had another decent, low-minute game with 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting (including a three) with two rebounds, three assists, and two steals in 21 minutes.  Barring a change in his deployment, there’s not much value in standard formats. 


Drew Down With Teague


Devin Harris (hamstring) and Al Horford (illness) did not play last night, leaving a thin Hawks squad to play a mostly disappointing Warriors squad last night.  Josh Smith continued his regimen of bad shots, hitting 6-of-16 shots from the field, but at least he put up big numbers with 16 points, 10 boards, four assists, three steals, two blocks, and a 4-of-4 mark from the foul line.  I’ve been calling him a buy low candidate for weeks, and yes this line comes against the Warriors with Horford out, but he’s simply going to improve and that’s that.  


Lou Williams got back on track with 18 points on 5-of-14 shooting (3-of-8 3PTs, 5-of-7 FTs), three rebounds, six assists, and a steal.  I have no idea why people were jumping off his bandwagon.  He’s about as consistent as they come in the form of a mid-to-late round play.  Jeff Teague (nine points, four rebounds, four assists, one three, 27 minutes) owners continue to be frustrated by Larry Drew’s random benchings, but he’s still putting up early round value and needs to be glued to lineups. 


What’s an extra $11 million between friends?


Andrew Bogut is heading to L.A. to visit his doctor about his ankle, and there’s nothing to see here except for a failed trade and Richard Jefferson’s extra $11 million on the Warriors’ salary cap.  So with no Al Horford for the Hawks last night and no Bogut around, rookie Harrison Barnes hauled off with 13 rebounds to go with 19 points and turned some heads in the process.  The rebounds are a fluke, and Carl Landry was in foul trouble, but this was a distinct step forward for the rookie.  Now he just has to hold it together, and because he doesn’t have a real friendly fantasy game, I’m willing to make him do it again before jumping on that bandwagon in 12-team leagues.  It doesn’t hurt that Mark Jackson is all over the board with his rotations. 


Likewise, I’m not panicking on Carl Landry (10 points, five boards).  The Warriors need his inside presence and he’s already a better player than David Lee, who is better in fantasy than he is in reality.  Lee scored 18 points with 10 boards and five assists, and will enjoy life without the threat of Bogut.  Jarrett Jack (nine points, 3-of-3 FGs, 17 minutes) is playing well but he’s not getting much run, and with Stephen Curry (12 points, seven assists) not showing glaring signs of injury risk I’m alright with dropping Jack for a hot free agent.  As for Klay Thompson, I’m not panicking on him in the slightest.  He’s going to look great during his inevitable bounce back. 


Dwyane Pain


Dwyane Wade has long been the Ben Roethlisberger of the NBA, with nagging injuries that get over-reported that he usually plays through.  This isn’t to say he doesn’t miss his share of time, and any way you slice it owning him can be a stressful affair.  Last night was no different as Wade required an X-ray right before game-time, only to decide to play, and then suck all night on his way to six points on 2-of-10 shooting with three rebounds, six assists, and one steal in 29 minutes.  His effort was lacking and he just looked out of place, and I’m not even considering the play in which he got rejected by Eric Bledsoe.  He said he aggravated his foot injury after the game and it wouldn’t surprise anybody if he missed tonight’s game, or even a few games.  At this point, owners should welcome whatever is going to make him healthy.  Mario Chalmers (five points, three assists) went quiet after being named the best looking man in Alaska, which is sort of like being named valedictorian at traffic school.   He’s clinging onto 12-team value and needs to get the arrow pointing back in the right direction. 


The Human Joystick


After a few big games DeAndre Jordan (eight points, six rebounds, zero blocks, 26 minutes) has returned to being an enigma, so owners can put the champagne back for now.  Blake Griffin had a big night with 20 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, and two blocks, but as usual the story will remain the same until he clears up the obvious issues of free throw shooting and defense.  Jamal Crawford looks like old Kansas City Chiefs punt returner Dante Hall out there, and put up another 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting with three steals and two 3-pointers.  He played just 24 minutes tonight, and I’m going to stop hedging and say I’m officially concerned about Chauncey Billups’ return.  Eric Bledsoe is earning minutes on a go-forward basis every night and everybody that sees Billups play has said he looks great.  If the latter remains true, I don’t see how Crawford’s value doesn’t take a slight to decent hit.  I’m not having a fire sale by any means, but it’s just food for thought. 


News and Notes


Aaron Brooks (ankle) sounds like he’s good to go for Friday, which will break the Sacramento media’s hearts.  It's going to be exponentially harder to slobber over Jimmer with Brooks and Isaiah Thomas (personal) around.  Tyler Zeller (face) could return as soon as Saturday.  I think minutes will be an issue but he has a relatively friendly fantasy game and I like him in 14-16 team leagues.  12-teamer guys need to be ready to move if he plays well.  Hedo Turkoglu knocked a screw loose in his broken hand, extending his timetable by an estimated month.  It sure looks like a lost season for Turkoglu, and this opens the window a bit more for rookie Moe Harkless and eventual backup swing guard E’Twaun Moore.  As for Jameer Nelson and his list of seemingly minor ailments, you gotta love Jacque Vaughn holding the player out for his own good.  It’s something the Warriors blow on an every-year basis. 


Thursday Night Lights


Gerald Wallace (ankle) and MarShon Brooks (ankle) sound like they’re coin flips to play tonight, but Wallace is the only one worth consideration in most formats if they go.  Andray Blatche left practice yesterday with a migraine, and if he cannot play then you can upgrade the outlook for Kris Humphries by a smidge.  Rajon Rondo’s ankle, as mentioned is the big story on Boston’s side of the line. 


The Knicks believe that Ronnie Brewer will play tonight, but he’s hands off after knee issues blew the lid off any fantasy value he had the other night.  Their opponent, the Spurs, will have everybody available but Manu Ginobili’s back is a question mark. 


Danilo Gallinari missed practice on Wednesday with a knee issue, which added to his ankle and hip issues make him a banged up guy.  It’s never comfortable to target a player with all of those ailments, but a gamble to acquire him could pay off knowing he’ll right the ship if he’s not hurt seriously.  Just don’t expect big things against a Heat team that’ll be angry after losing last night.  Dwyane Wade’s ailing body will dominate news coverage, and if he doesn’t go look for big nights out of the rest of the bunch. 

Aaron Bruski has covered hoops for Rotoworld since 2008 and has competed in national fantasy sports competitions for nearly two decades. You can also find his work over at ProBasketballTalk, where he received critical acclaim for his in-depth reporting of the Kings' relocation saga. Hit him on Twitter at Aaronbruski.
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