Midseason Grades For The Preseason Top Five Fantasy Basketball Rookies

by Ray Lin

Before the start of the season, I looked at five rookies with high expectations coming into this year. As it goes sometimes, we get surprised, and the best fantasy rookie wasn’t even on that list.

Michael Carter-Williams has without a doubt been the breakout player so far this year among rookies. The 11th overall pick out of Syracuse has averaged a stellar line of 17.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 6.3 apg and 2.0 spg. Suddenly, those Penny Hardaway and Russell Westbrook comparisons don’t look so crazy.

For those in roto scoring leagues who want to nitpick MCW, his only true fantasy flaws are that his field goal (40.1%) and free throw (70.3%) are far from great. However, when he’s a four-category monster from the PG position like he is, it’s hard to really complain especially given his 10th round ADP (according to Yahoo). With Jrue Holiday in the Big Easy and Evan Turner in Indy, Carter-Williams has suddenly become the franchise cornerstone in Philly.

If you were lucky enough to snag him on your fantasy squad this year, sit back and enjoy the rest of the ride. Meanwhile, let’s take a look back at how I graded those other five rookies and compare them to their mid-season grades. Read more

Waiver Worthy: Sharpshooters To Help You Boost Your Three-Pointers

by Will Overton

We only have a couple months left in this season. If fantasy owners are going to make their move and reach the top the time is now. You can’t keep waiting for things to change, you have to take matters into your own hands.

One of the ways to do this is to identify where your move can be made. You have to strategize and study to win in fantasy basketball. You need to know your teams strengths and weaknesses. You also need to know if it’s realistic for you to gain ground in one category or another. Sometimes you’re too far behind or too far ahead to gain points in a category. In other categories you may be able to gain 4 – 5 points in a couple weeks because things are so tight.

This week I am gearing the waiver worthy article towards those fantasy owners out there trying to make up ground and maintain ground in three pointers made. Some of these guys are three point only specialists,  but sometimes that’s alright, especially at this point of the season.

Here are your three point specialists off the waiver wire: Read more

Trade Deadline Winners and Losers for Fantasy Basketball: Evan Turner, Aaron Brooks and More

by Will Overton

This was one of the quietest and most underwhelming trade deadlines I can remember. The best player to get moved was arguably Evan Turner. There were a lot of factors that went into this quiet trade deadline, but a big part was no one wants to let go of their draft picks right now.

Still, even with the quieter deadline there was still fantasy impact made. Most moves make some kind of an impact. The thing is that it’s not always the guys who get traded that gain or lose value, a lot of times it’s the guys who were left behind on their former teams. 

When someone leaves, someone else has to fill the gap and that guy gets an automatic fantasy bump, at least until we see whether he can hold his own or not.

Here are three guys I think gained value and three guys I think lost value this week with the trade deadline.

Value Up

Aaron Brooks – PG, Denver Nuggets:  While Aaron Brooks had his moments in Houston he never really got a consistent chance to shine on the court. He was always behind Jeremy Lin and Patrick Beverley and so he only got his chance when one of those guys were hurt. Brooks is really the only true backup point guard on the Nuggets now and with Ty Lawson banged up he has a chance to make an immediate impact. Read more

A Look Ahead: Who Will Bring The Second Half Heat?

by Ray Lin

The All-Star break has come and gone, so let’s look forward to the second part of the season. I like to think that where there’s smoke….there’s some players possibly catching fire. Here are some non-obvious players who have been hot in the month leading up to the All-Star break and how they might fare down the stretch in fantasy land.

Jamal Crawford, LAC (past month: 14 games, 23.3 ppg, 2.5 3PM, 4.3 apg, 1.2 spg, 90.5 FT% // last season post-All Star break: 15.7 ppg, 2.1 3PM, 2.6 apg, 1.1 spg, 94 FT%)

Even though Darren Collison has been the primary beneficiary of Chris Paul’s absence at the PG position, Crawford has been catapulted into primary scorer status in Lob City the past couple of months. His scoring averages have gone up every month since November, and he’s now averaging nearly 10 points more a game than he was back around Thanksgiving.

And while Collison has been racking up his fair share of assists, Crawford’s dime production has doubled in the new calendar year. The fantasy conversation with Crawford always starts and ends with what he arms owners with from deep range. Interestingly enough though, he’s actually shooting at a lower clip (34.1%) on treys than he was at the beginning of the season (nearly 40%). The reason for the scoring jump has clearly been his improvement inside the 3-point line, which has resulted in beefing up his overall FG% by over 10 percentage points from December to February. Read more

Second Half Top 100 Rankings: 1 – 50

by Will Overton

It’s amazing how much change can take place in just half of a season. We have the same guys at the top of this list, but we also have a lot of guys moving up and down these rankings.

Keep in mind as you look at the top 50 that these rankings are for just the remainder of this season and not the future.

  1. Kevin Durant – SF, Oklahoma City Thunder
  2. LeBron James – SF, Miami Heat
  3. Stephen Curry – PG, Golden State Warriors
  4. Kevin Love – PF, Minnesota Timberwolves
  5. James Harden – SG, Houston Rockets
  6. Anthony Davis – PF/C, New Orleans Pelicans
  7. Paul George – SG/SF, Indiana Pacers
  8. Chris Paul – PG, Los Angeles Clippers
  9. John Wall – PG, Washignton Wizards
  10. Kyrie Irving – PG, Cleveland Cavaliers
  11. Carmelo Anthony – SF, New York Knicks
  12. LaMarcus Aldridge – PF, Portland Trail Blazers Read more

Second Half Top 100 Rankings: 51 – 100

by Will Overton

We’re a little over half way through the season now, but the all-star break is a nice place to re-evaluate things. These rankings aren’t about long term success, but rather how I think these players will perform for the next few months until the season ends.

Here is the second half of the rankings with the top 50 to come tomorrow:

51. Greg Monroe –PF, Detroit Pistons
52. Pau Gasol – PF, Los Angeles Lakers
53. Jeff Green – SF/PF, Boston Celtics
54. Evan Turner – SG, Philadelphia 76ers
55. Nikola Vucevic – C, Orlando Magic
56. Anderson Varejao – C, Cleveland Cavaliers
57. Jeff Teague – PG, Atlanta Hawks
58. Lance Stephenson – SG, Indiana Pacers
59. Roy Hibbert – C, Indiana Pacers
60. Jimmy Butler – SG/SF, Chicago Bulls
61. Zach Randolph – PF, Memphis Grizzlies
62. Trevor Ariza – SF, Washington Wizards Read more

Last Year’s Strong Finishers Revisited

by Ray Lin

Back in September, I presented a list of players who had finished particularly strong in the second half of last season in specific categories. As we approach the All-Star break this weekend, I thought it’d be a good idea to revisit that list and see how they’ve actually done in the first half of this season.

Points

SG Gerald Henderson, CHA — Post 2012-13 All-Star break: 18.9 ppg, (21st in NBA) / Pre 2013-14 All-Star break: 15.3 ppg (46th)

It was going to be a tall order for Henderson to crack the Top-20 in scoring to start this season, but he’s still held his own so far this season. Henderson was throwing up 14.7 attempts a game at 46.2 FG% in the second half last season that contributed to his 18.9 ppg. This year, he’s still attempting 13.3 shots from the field but shooting at a slightly lower clip (42.5%).

The addition of Al Jefferson and the breakout of Kemba Walker has taken some of the scoring emphasis off Henderson, but he should still be a steady source of scoring after the All-Star break. On the plus side, he’s scoring less but has averaged half a rebound more a game compared to last season. Treat him as a solid mid-tier swingman in fantasy the rest of the way. Read more

DeMarre Carroll Is Fantasy Basketball’s Most Underrated Player

by Will Overton

Really when you consider the fact that the Atlanta Hawks lost Josh Smith in the offseason and then lost Al Horford for the year due to injury it’s amazing that there even playing .500 ball this year. A big reason for that is some unexpected efforts, none bigger than DeMarre Carroll who I hereby dub the most underrated player in fantasy basketball.

I’ll go ahead and pat myself on the back and talk about how I liked Carroll as a sleeper in the preseason. He’s exceeding my expectations with the way he is playing right now. Over the first couple of months of the season Carroll was a nice player, mostly a deep league guy. The last month and a half with Al Horford out he has hit another level and he’s now a must own in all leagues.

Fantasy owners are starting to come around, but it’s happening pretty slowly. Carroll is owned in 71% of leagues by now, but he should really be owned in 100% and I’m going to tell you why right here. Let’s first look exactly at what numbers he’s posted since the beginning of 2014:

15 Games
33.8 Minutes Per Game
53.8% Field Goal Shooting
71.4% Free Throw Shooting Read more

Waiver Worthy: Five Guys Who Could Have Big Second Halves

by Will Overton

There are a couple of ways to approach the waiver wire. The most common thing you’ll see in add/drops is that owners drop a guy who isn’t performing for someone who is on a hot streak. Obviously this approach makes sense as you want as much production as possible.

The other thing you can do is try and be the pre-emptive owner who grabs a guy who is underperforming and hope for a turn around. Sometimes the best player isn’t the hot player, the best player is the guy who just got dropped, but you know is better than he’s shown so far.

We’re a little over halfway through the season and with the all-star break coming up owners have given up on a lot of guys who have had bad first halves. One man’s trash may just be another man’s treasure though. Last year we saw it with Ersan Ilyasova who was dropped in a bunch of leagues after a bad first half and he ended up being a top 50 player in the second half.

Inevitably that’s going to happen again this year too with a few guys. It’s just a matter of being able to pick them out. Here are some guys available in over 50% of leagues who I think could turn it around: Read more

Is Jared Sullinger’s Recent Success A Sign Of Things To Come?

by Ray Kuhn

Just a few short years ago, Jarred Sullinger seemed primed to be a top-5 draft choice. Instead back woes, concerns about his height, and his lack of athleticism caused his draft stock to suffer. Now he was still drafted in the first round by the Boston Celtics so all was not lost, but Sullinger did fall off of people’s radars to some degree.

Last season the Celtics were a veteran team built to win now. Sullinger was blocked by Kevin Garnett and only averaged 19.8 minutes of playing a game. And when he was in the game, Sullinger was left to fend for himself for the most part and only averaged six points a game. The problem was twofold; Sullinger didn’t have a concrete role and the now 21-year old still had some adjusting to do in the NBA. However, Sullinger did show a nose for the ball as he did average 5.9 rebounds per game.

This year, things are a little different. Garnett, along with Paul Pierce, now plays in Brooklyn and the Celtics are the land of opportunity for young players. With no real plan other than to rebuild and get younger, there is a lot more opportunity for Sullinger. And he has certainly begun to take advantage of the chance he is getting. Read more