Line of the Night: In fantasy basketball, we often have to remember that a losing team in real life can be a fantasy basketball gold mine. It was true last year with the Cleveland Cavaliers because their lack of depth means that any slightly above average player is given Playing Time far above what they’d get on any other team, and those who are the best on the team are given the chance to pretty much do whatever they want. Last year, Kyrie Irving took over the Cavs (as he is again this year – see below), but this year, Anderson Varejao (3.07) is breaking out as well (in his 9th year in the league) with lines like last night’s 35 points (16-21 from the field), 18 rebounds, and 2 steals. Of course, he doesn’t give you much beyond big Points and Rebounds, but if your league counts Double-Doubles, he’s got 4 of those already (almost 5). Of course, he’s also just about as injury prone as they come, so now would be probably be a good time to start shopping him around. (I say that as someone who owns him, and I’ll admit it’s hard to bear the thought of letting those kinds of numbers go, especially if he continues on like this for the rest of the season, but I’m trying to be honest with myself and assess the true risk of injury versus the upside potential – almost like trying to figure out NFL Betting Lines.)
Honorable Mentions: Someone you should not be shopping around is Kyrie Irving (2.49). Last night Irving had 34 points (14-14 from the line), 8 assists, and 3 steals and has improved in nearly every category this season. Hang to him and ride like the little pony he is (relative to Anderson Varejao’s wild bucking bronco – it’s a metaphor that works not just because you want to ride the hot streak, but because they are the Cavaliers!). Unfortunately for Cleveland, on the other side of the ball was Joe Johnson (1.72) and his 25 points (3 threes), 5 rebounds, and 6 assists (thank you Joe for finally playing like you’re supposed to), Brook Lopez (1.54) with 23 points (10-14 from the field), 7 rebounds, and 4 blocks, and Deron Williams (1.45) with 26 points (5-5 from the line), and 10 assists. Perhaps this post should have been called Brooklyn’s Elite Fantasy Basketball Players…
“I had a pony!”
The Lakers finally lost one (after 2 wins) in the Post-Mike Brown era, but it was against the Spurs (second best record in the league) and it was only by two points, and Kobe Bryant (1.95) did have 28 points (12-19 from the field), and 8 assists. Even though they lost, I will just consider this further proof that Mike Brown is the worst coach in the history of the world. Nothing personal, but if you can’t come up with anything better than “Give it to LeBron” when you have LeBron James on your team, and you can’t figure out how to get Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Steve Nash (pre-injury) to win, you’re doing something wrong. Doing something right? Tim Duncan (1.26). He is #5 on the year so far, adding 18 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 blocks to his season totals.
A team that’s not doing something wrong? The Blazers. Last night Damian Lillard (1.46) led the Blazers in a solid victory over the Kings (to be expected) with 22 points (5 threes, 7-10 from the field), and 9 assists. Teammate and #7 on the Player Rater: Nicolas Batum (1.39) had 15 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals, while Wesley Matthews (1.36) went for 18 points thanks to 6-9 from the field (2 threes) and 4-4 from the line.
Finally, J.R. Smith (1.32) had the best fantasy performance for the Knicks, who remain the league’s only undefeated team (though they’ve only played 5 games and they still have that make-up game against what appears to now be a pretty fierce Brooklyn team), with 21 points (9-14 from the field), and 2 steals.
Injury News of the Night: Andrew Bogut is now officially out indefinitely. His timetable seems like it’s been pushed back to January as the Warriors are resolved to let him get back to 100% before putting him back out on the court. 100% could be as late as next season, though… Shallow league owners should probably just drop him until we have a more definite return date… I can understand that deeper league owners might have a harder time letting go. But maybe it would be the best thing for both of you. He’s just holding you back.
Waiver Wire Line of the Night: MKG was pretty solid for the Bobcats, but it was Brendan Haywood (1.00) coming out of the woodwork (see what I did there?) with 8 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 steals (7% owned) who takes the WWLotN for Day 15. Haywood does have a positive WARP score for the year so far, but that only puts him at #145… someone to consider if you drafted Andrew Bogut, Andrew Bynum, and Amare Stoudemire as your Centers…
Pick Up Lines: Jameer Nelson could be back as soon as Thursday, which means that it may be the end for E’Twaun Moore‘s (0.91) lines like 12 points, and 8 assists and his 32% ownership rate will come falling down to Earth, if not like an meteor, then like someone coming down in a space elevator.
The man waiting to ride back up once Moore gets out of the space elevator is Byron Mullens (0.81). Despite only 9 points, Mullens added 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks and at 49% owned. it’s probably the last time we see him down here in the Waiver Wire section of these posts (of course that means that he’ll have to work a lot harder if he wants to break into the Honorable Mentions section above the fold).
That’s about it for the small and standard league pick-ups… These next guys are reserved for deep league players, or if you really did managed to draft Andrew Bogut, Andrew Bynum, and Amare Stoudemire. (Maybe a general rule should be don’t draft guys whose initials are A.B. I know that doesn’t include Stoudemire, but it’s a start)
Tiago Splitter (0.70) had 9 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 steals (4% owned).
Ronnie Price (0.70) put up 8 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals (0% owned).
Trevor Booker (0.69) went for 8 points, 8 rebounds, with 2 blocks (3% owned)
Andray Blatche (0.63) was the only double-digit scorer of the group with 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 blocks (4% owned).
If there’s one thing we can say about Day 15, it’s that Anderson Varejao set the bar pretty low for fantasy basketball defensive stats. All of the guys in that group make the Waiver Wire Picks pretty much because of their 2-3 steals or blocks. But if there’s one thing we can say about those guys above regardless of what Day it is, it’s that they’re all going to be consistently mediocre. But in a deep league, maybe you need some of that consistency…
Biggest Loser: Manu Ginobili (-1.17) didn’t help the Spurs cause against the Lakers with only 3 points on 1-8 shooting with 1 rebound and 3 assists. No wonder Danny Green was taking the last shot.
Daily rankings and stats come from the GMTR H2H Player Rater (beta version). They are based on the stat Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP) an estimate of the number of wins a player produces per week in H2H leagues over a replacement (waiver wire) player.
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