- The Season's Over -

Fantasy Baseball Busts – Buy, Sell, or Hold?

June 28, 2011

Adam Dunn White Sox

Adam Dunn asleep at the bat photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

By Andrew Thell

We do our best in February and March. We spend countless hours crunching numbers, reading blogs, poring over spreadsheets and cheat sheets, picking our friends’ brains and buying draft guides. We do it all not just in the name of finding the big breakout candidates, but also to avoid the coming season’s big busts. It’s hard to win a league in the first ten rounds, but you sure can lose one. Despite these efforts, we end up those busts on rosters anyways. Every year, on nearly every roster, it happens to the best of us.

If you’re languishing in your league’s standings, odds are you have several big busts driving you batty, and as we approach the halfway point you’re wondering if it’s time to throw in the towel. In another month or so it might be time to wash your hands of the whole mess and turn to the poker table for your competitive fix … well, even more than you already have been. But it’s not too late to make a run in any league, even if it’s just a surge in the standings for the sake of pride. There are few things more satisfying than turning a disaster campaign around, and what is likely to define this effort is how you handle the busts, both yours and those of your league mates. In the words of Charles Bukowski, what matters most is how well you walk through the fire.

Let’s take a look at the most epic busts of the season thus far and talk about what’s to be done with them. We’ll define them as guys who came into the season as consensus top-100 picks that are currently ranked at least 75 spots below where they started in standard scoring leagues. I’ve looked extensively at the numbers, both traditional and Sabermetric, for all of the below (several of which because they’re on more than one of my rosters), but I’ll keep the comments on each brief and the stats few. It’s been a tough year, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover.

Today we’ll work on hitters, later this week we’ll get to the pitcher duds.

Which fantasy baseball big names to buy, sell and hold, after the jump …

Read the rest of this article »

No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Jun. 28, 2011 at 10:30pm in MLB, MLB Fantasy News

“Once the Games Start… it’s Going to be Easy”

June 14, 2011

By: Andrew Thell

I love the steely look in Pat Riley’s eyes as they cut to him after LeBron predicts the eight titles. I like it almost as much as the blank “Oh shit, I’m not comfortable with that” looks on Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh’s faces after he says, “Once the games start … it’s going to be easy.” But before that, LeBron says he’s not about blowing smoke, he’s about business. That’s actually a point I’ll agree with. He’s taken the King James brand name very seriously – though he probably should have dropped the “king” moniker when he signed on to be Wade’s squire last offseason. But speaking of business, here’s a quick economics lesson: you can’t make change for a dollar with no fourth quarter. Oh! Puns! Schadenfreude! What fun. Thanks, Mavs, and congratulations. Dirk and JET deserved this one.

3 CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Jun. 14, 2011 at 8:44pm in NBA

Major League Baseball’s Best 1-2 Punches

June 8, 2011

Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda

Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

By Andrew Thell

In the twilight of Major League Baseball’s Steroids Era we have entered into a period of pitching dominance. Home runs per game are at their lowest mark since 1992, scoring is down across the board, and pundits are tabbing 2011 the Year of the Pitcher. It’s not just that power is down on the offensive side, either. Franchises are doing a better job of handling their young talent these days. Developing arms are treated with more care than ever before, and despite what the willfully ignorant old guard might espouse nightly on local broadcasts across the country, pitch counts are having a positive effect on player health across baseball. With fewer and fewer Dusty Bakers and Joe Torres around, more young talent is staying healthy enough to not only blossom at the professional level but stick around.

When young pitchers do get injured, advances and refinements in the medical procedures are making full recovery an almost assumed outcome. Tommy John surgery is no longer seen as a death sentence for a young arm, but a mere bump in the road. And while the recovery rate isn’t 100% yet, many pitchers have come back from the procedure even stronger than before. The result is more quality young talent taking the mound in the MLB on a nightly basis than perhaps ever before.

And while pitching is thriving in the regular season this year, it’s the postseason where a couple of truly elite starters can dominate a series and put a team on their back for a World Series run. There are few things more frightening to an opponent than knowing they’ll be seeing a true ace on the mound for two games, and one of them is knowing they’ll be seeing two aces for potentially four games. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the best 1-2 punches in Major League Baseball this season.

The top pitching duos in baseball, after the jump …

Read the rest of this article »

No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Jun. 8, 2011 at 3:23pm in MLB

Blake Griffin Not Being Easy on Mike Beasley

May 12, 2011

By: Andrew Thell

The McDonald’s All-American festivities are always worth a watch. Every year they’re loaded with young kids who will be in the NBA and showcase a select few destined for superstardom in the Association. This clip alone sports cameos from OJ Mayo, Derrick Rose, Kevin Love, and Michael Beasley, but the star of the show is Mr. Blake Griffin. Blake starts out with a couple of tame dunks, still physically impressive but not high degree of difficulty maneuvers, before busting out his trademark combination of theatrics and brute force. That between-the-legs pass to himself off the backboard would play in a dunk contest at any level. But it’s the next one where he catches in mid-air, turns, and throws down that shows the kind of rare athleticism that’ll make you cringe in your computer chair.

Hat tip to Chitwood and Hobbs on the video find.

2 CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on May. 12, 2011 at 4:14pm in NBA

A Word on BABIP, FIP and Bad Luck and Six Fantasy Baseball Players to Buy Low On

May 11, 2011

Chewbacca on the mound

Chewbacca’s BABIP is driving him nuts

By Andrew Thell

As the statistical arsenal of the fantasy baseball player grows more complex by the year more and more owners are turning to metrics like BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play) and FIP or xFIP (Fielding Independent Pitching, or expected ERA given only the profile of the pitcher’s interaction with the batter and not the actual result). These statistics can help us determine the true performance and expected value of pitchers and batters by assessing the level of good or bad luck they have experienced to this point. Articles detailing who’s been lucky or unlucky based on these stats are commonplace, but we need to take them with a grain of salt. I’m going to make some recommendations based on these numbers, but I first want to address a few necessary caveats that far too many writers are ignoring in their analysis. These stats are extremely useful, but they only paint a part of the larger picture.

In employing these metrics we need to be careful in how we project regression to the mean. Because a given player has been extremely unlucky to this point does not mean that he is “due” for a stretch of good luck, it simply means that we should not expect the bad luck to continue. We should expect them merely to perform at their expected level going forward. Although it often happens incidentally, bad luck is not necessarily followed by good luck, or vice versa. If you flip a coin 10 times and it comes up heads 9 times, that doesn’t mean we can expect it to come up tails 9 of the next 10 flips – we go into each flip with a 50/50 expectation of either equally probably outcome.

The all-important issue of sample size must also be taken into account. With this level of complex statistical analysis we need extremely large sample sizes to draw any meaningful conclusions, and one month of data simply isn’t enough. Sometimes a year or more of data isn’t enough, as players have full seasons of bad luck (or, quite often, seasons with nagging injuries that show up on the purely linear spreadsheet as “bad luck”).

On top of that, we also need to keep in mind that there are players and playing styles that will consistently stray from “normal” expectations in BABIP or the relationship between FIP and ERA. We know that in general, when a Major League Baseball player puts a ball into play it will drop for a hit about 30% of the time, or the league average BABIP will be approximately .300 (Thanks, Voros McCracken). Players with exceptional speed, line-drive rates or (in very rare cases) bat control can consistently post higher than average BABIP while slower players or players with unusually high infield fly ball (pop up) rates will consistently underperform league averages in BABIP. Likewise, pitchers who struggle from out of the stretch, are given to mental breakdown or suffer from unusual proneness to home runs can consistently post ERAs well above the ERA we would expect given their FIP. These are just a few examples of what can spoil a simplistic BABIP or FIP analysis that seems to indicate good or bad luck on the surface.

The point is, these metrics can only tell us some of what has happened and give us a basis for making an educated guess about the future. And even in that endeavor, they’re only a part of the complete picture. No player is owed anything going forward based on previous luck, and some players consistently make their own luck. With all of that in mind, here are a few of my favorite sell high and buy low trade targets right now based on BABIP and FIP:

Six players you should be targeting in your fantasy baseball league, after the jump …

Read the rest of this article »

1 CommentPosted by Andrew Thell on May. 11, 2011 at 4:50pm in MLB, MLB Fantasy News

Grading the 2008 NFL Draft: NFC East

May 5, 2011

DeSean Jackson

DeSean Jackson Photo Credit: Icon SMI

By Brian Spencer

In lieu of meaningless grades for this year’s draft, our look back on and team-by-team grades for the 2008 NFL Draft rolls on with the NFC East.

See Also:
- NFC North Grades

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys: Both of the ‘Boys’ first-round picks have panned out, to varying degrees: RB Felix Jones missed the bulk of his rookie season due to injury, and may never turn out to be the elite home-run hitter many think he has the talent for, but he emerged as the team’s starting back in ’10 and racked up 1,250 all-purpose yards; on the downside, he found the endzone just twice and has scored only 8 TDs in three seasons. He outlasted (and outplayed) Marion Barber, but will be pushed for carries by third-round pick DeMarco Murray… and Tashard Choice, the Cowboys’ fourth-round pick in this draft. He has his critics, but CB Mike Jenkins is a better-than-average cover corner and was named as an alternate to the 2010 Pro Bowl. Some think that if not for Jason Witten, TE Martellus Bennett (61st overall) would be putting up big numbers (I’m not so sure, but he’s a solid backup). CB Orlando Scandrick (143rd) has played in all 48 games of his first three seasons (133 tackles, 5 sacks, 2 INTs, 1 TD). Grade: A

New York Giants: Three starters on last year’s defense were taken here: S Kenny Phillips (31st), CB Terrell Thomas (63rd), and LB Jonathan Goff (165th). Of that bunch, Thomas is the one who’s distinguished himself from his classmates, and has developed into the team’s best corner. As a starter for all 32 games the past two seasons, he’s totaled 186 tackles, 2 sacks, 10 picks, and 1 TD, and arguably should have made the Pro Bowl last year. Though still not the sure-handed receiver the Giants wish he was, WR Mario Manningham (95th) pairs nicely with Hakeem Nicks as a strong 1-2 combo for Eli Manning. Last season was his best one, with 60 catches for 944 yards and 9 TDs; his 15.7 YPC was good for a top-15 rank in the league. Grade: A

Philadelphia Eagles: In a rare draft that saw no wide receivers taken in the first round, WR DeSean Jackson was the seventh player off the board at his position and has easily established himself as the best of the bunch. With a combined 2,223 yards receiving and 15 TDs over his past two seasons–along with 3 more scores as a punt returner–Jackson has earned consecutive Pro Bowl honors and is a perfect fit for Mike Vick. His 22.5 YPC led the NFL last season. Fourth-round pick Mike McGlynn (109th) was drafted as a tackle but last year became the team’s starting center. Of the Iggles’ remaining eight picks, only DT Trevor Laws (47th) and OT King Dunlap (230th) are still on the roster; both are backups and will fight to keep their jobs this fall. Grade: B+

Washington Redskins: The ‘Skins adopted the ‘ol “throw shit up against the wall and see what sticks” strategy in amassing 11 picks (though none in the first round). Not much of it stuck: WRs Devin Thomas (34th) and Malcolm Kelly (51st) have either contributed little (Kelly) or nothing (Thomas), while DBs Kareem Moore (180th) and Chris Horton (249th) will both be on the roster bubble come training camp–along with Kelly. TE Fred Davis (48th) has had some big games, proven to be a fine backup to Chris Cooley, and is the only reason his draft class doesn’t get a F. Grade: D-

Put your money where your mouth is this NFL season on Luxbet Mobile.

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on May. 5, 2011 at 3:02am in NFL

Grading the 2008 NFL Draft: NFC North

May 3, 2011

Matt Forte Chicago Bears

Matt Forte Photo Credit: Icon SMI

By Brian Spencer

With the 2011 NFL Draft in the mirror and team-by-team grades cat-littering the internets, now’s a good time for this friendly reminder: those draft grades are meaningless. Nobody knows for sure how well any of these drafts turned out because all we have is speculation and projection of prospects. History tells us that most of these gentlemen won’t amount to much, whether they were taken in the 1st or 7th round, so while as fans it’s fun to evaluate the picks on paper, the reality is that we need a few years before making any real judgements.

In that spirit, we’re revisiting the 2008 NFL Draft and handing out grades based on what’s transpired on the field these past three seasons. First up, the NFC North.

NFC North

Chicago Bears: It’s all about the offensive players for the Bears. First-round pick Chris Williams (14th overall) hasn’t yet found a permanent home on the team’s offensive line after less-than-stellar results as a tackle on either side and as left guard; he’s running out of chances. RB Matt Forte (44th) has combined for nearly 5,000 yards rushing and receiving and scored 25 touchdowns during his first three seasons. We’re all still waiting for WR Earl Bennett (70th) to be more than mediocre, and are starting to wonder if it’ll ever happen: in what many predicted would be a breakout season last year, Bennett caught just 46 passes for 561 yards and 3 TDs. DT Marcus Harrison and CB Zackary Bowman both provide solid depth on defense. Grade: B

Detroit Lions: OT Gosder Cherilus, taken 17th overall, has been inconsistent as the team’s starting right tackle. He’s coming off his best season, but he’s also coming off microfracture surgery, which is not a good thing for 325-pound men. LB Jordon Dizon (45th) has been a major bust: if the team wasn’t so short on quality linebackers, he may not have made the roster out of last year’s training camp. RB Kevin Smith (64th) was drafted to be “the guy”, but after a promising rookie season he fizzled in 2009-10 and only played in six games last year due to injury; he won’t be back and is looking for a job. DE Cliff Avril (92nd) is developing into an elite sackmaster–he finished with 9 last year and has 19.5 in his first three seasons. FB Jerome Felton (146th) is a bulldozer with a mean streak who claimed the starting job last season. Grade: B

Green Bay Packers: Armed with no first-round picks but three in the second, the Pack swung and missed on two of ‘em: QB Brian Brohm (56th) is no longer with the team and basically on his way out of the league, while CB Patrick Lee (60th) looks like a career dime back at best. This draft did produce three starters for their Super Bowl-winning team, though TE JerMichael Finley (91st) watched from the sidelines on IR after playing in just 5 games. This kid has Pro Bowl potential, however, if he can stay healthy next year. WR Jordy Nelson is a tough kid and could be poised for big things in 2011-12 with Donald Driver just about done (and possibly retiring), and following a strong postseason that was capped with with 9 catches for 140 yards and 1 TD in the Super Bowl. G Josh Sitton (135th) is starting at right guard; QB Matt Flynn (209th) is backing up for Aaron Rodgers. Grade: A-

Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings had just five picks: a 2nd, two in the 5th, and two in the 6th. While their top three picks haven’t panned out–S Tyrell Johnson (43rd) is a special teamer, QB John David Booty is on his way to the UFL or CFL, and DT Letroy Guion is roster-bubble depth–they landed a quality starting center in John Sullivan (187th). That counts for something. Grade: C

1 CommentPosted by Brian Spencer on May. 3, 2011 at 6:31am in NFL

Scandal! Pau Gasol Plays Starring Role in Salicious Avant-Garde Sex Tape

March 21, 2011

Breaking news from our friends at the Onion SportsDome on Los Angeles Lakers All-Star forward Pau Gasol, who recently addressed his role in a racy sex tape making waves in hipster art circles around the world.

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Mar. 21, 2011 at 9:46pm in NBA

Slim Pickings: The Top Seven NBA Unrestricted Free Agents in Summer of 2011

March 7, 2011

J.R. Smith

By Brian Spencer

For fans of those teams with ample cap space to throw at big-name free agents this summer, I’ve got three words for you: ugh, blech, and meh.

Like the free agency class 2 years ago, when Detroit Pistons GM Joe Dumars was thought to have landed two of the most-coveted guys available–Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, both busts–this year’s class is short on headliners. There are no true franchise changers: the top-tier players on the market will rather serve as quality, complimentary pieces of a bigger puzzle. In other words, teams looking to make a real splash this summer are better off doing so via trade.

That’s all good for these seven veterans, however, who right now stand to benefit the most from what’s an otherwise weak class: you can bet they’re going to collect rather handsome contracts. Note: this list does not include restricted free agents.

In alphabetical order:

Tyson Chandler, C, Dallas Mavericks: Seems like a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away when Chandler (2nd overall) and Eddy Curry (4th) were both drafted straight out of college to be the twin faces of the Chicago Bulls franchise. Those best-laid plans never quite panned out, obviously, but while Curry has eaten his way out of the league, Chandler has developed into a solid, reliable center who can counted on for 10 and 10, along with a blocked shot or two.

The keyword there is “solid”: what you see is what you’re going to get at this point, which is pretty much the case with all seven of these players, save for (maybe) J.R. Smith. With Caron Butler’s bloated $10.5 million dollar contract coming off the books, as well as DeShawn Stevenson’s $4.1 million, the Mavericks should have the funds to resign him if they so choose, but they already have a whopping $34.6 million over the next 4 years tied up in Brendan Haywood. I’d be surprised if he returns to Dallas. Through 57 games, Chandler is averaging 10.4 points, 9.4 boards, and 1.1 blocks.

Tim Duncan, C, San Antonio Spurs: You never know, but I can’t see Duncan actually leaving San Antonio. Can you imagine him wearing any other team’s jersey? I can’t. The more likely scenario is that Duncan exercises his ETO (Early-Termination Option) and resigns for another 2 or 3 seasons. He turns 35 in April, and though his minutes have been reduced to under 30 per for the first time ever to keep him fresh for the playoffs, this has statistically been the worst season of his career. I can’t see him walking away from the game just yet, but if the Spurs were to win it all this year, I think it’d be a perfect time to do so.

Nene Hilario, C, Denver Nuggets: He’s now stayed mostly healthy for three straight seasons, a span in which he’s averaged about 14.5 points (60% FG), 7.5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1 block per. Not too shabby, and at 6-11 and 250 Nene can bang in the post with just about anybody. He also has an ETO and is expected to exercise it as the Nuggets re-evaluate and begin the post-Carmelo era in earnest. No telling where he’ll end up, but like Zach Randolph, below, the Detroit Pistons are one team with the available funds who will likely show interest.

Andrei Kirilenko, F, Utah Jazz: It’s going to be real interesting to see what happens with AK-47. With Jerry Sloan out of the picture, he might be amendable to staying in Utah–and the team might be more open to keeping him–but he’ll at least test the market and see what kind of offers are out there. He brings a little bit of everything to the table–scoring, rebounding, passing, shot-blocking, defense–but he’s always been a bit fragile and an off-and-on head case. A change of scenery could be as much of a good thing as much as a bad thing for Kirilenko; if he ends up leaving Utah it’s imperative he lands in a system that compliments his talents and is led by a strong coaching staff. There are definitely risks here.

Zach Randolph

Zach Randolph, FC, Memphis Grizzlies: If I were a NBA betting man, my money would be on Randolph heading back to Michigan, where he played his college ball at Michigan State, to join the frontcourt-depleted Pistons. On paper, it’s a good match–the team desperately needs a legit big to pair with possible franchise cornerstone Greg Monroe–just like on paper Randolph is an All-Star caliber power forward.

He’s been money in the bank for the past three seasons to average around 21 points on 48% FG, 12 boards, 2 assists, and 1 steal. The problem, however, is that Randolph is a liability on defense–he’s never averaged more than 0.5 blocks per in his 10-year career–and he’s been labeled a cancer more than a few times while playing for, well, all four teams he’s played for so far. This team has money to spend, a hole in the frontcourt starting lineup, and Dumars has long been rumored to have interest in Randolph.

It makes too much sense, but I’d be wary: he’ll be heading into his age 30 season, and given his history and the fact that this is probably his last big contract, you wonder how much he’s really going to add to a rebuilding franchise like Detroit’s during the life of what’ll probably be a 4- or 5-year deal.

J.R. Smith, G, Denver Nuggets: It’s time for both parties to shake hands and go their separate ways. Smith has had an… interesting run with the Nuggets over the past five seasons, finding his way into and out of and back into George Karl’s doghouse due to myriad problems, most of them tied to inconsistent effort and attitude. When he’s tuned in, Smith has the ability to put points up in bunches and elevate his game to a near-elite level; when he’s zoned out or otherwise uninterested, he’s a serious detriment to his team on both ends of the floor.

Still, he’s only going to be 25 years old when next season begins, and you wonder if maybe, just maybe, he’ll soon grow up, learn to reign himself in, and show more regular signs of maturity. The talent is there, though he’s always been a free-wheeling chucker (42% career FG). Can he ever be relied on to be a 30+ minute starter? No idea, and like Kirilenko it’s going to be real interesting to see where he ends up.

David West, F, New Orleans Hornets: Perenially underrated throughout his 8-year career, all of which has been spent with the Hornets franchise, West has an ETO and there’s no reason to believe he won’t exercise it and look for greener pastures. Chris Paul already has one foot out the door, and after that, it’s full-on rebuilding time: at age 31, that’s not an endeavor West wants any part of. Look for West to latch on with a veteran team looking to push themselves over the top or stay amongst the league’s elite. With the departure of Jeff Green, Oklahoma City seems like a great fit.

To bet on NBA, Luxbet Online Betting has many odds so head there now.

J.R. Smith and Zach Randolph Photos Credit: Icon SMI

5 CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Mar. 7, 2011 at 8:22am in ETB Articles, NBA

The March Madness of NBA Fantasy Hoops

March 5, 2011

Gerald Henderson BobcatsBy Brian Spencer

You’d probably have better luck, say, placing a bet on college basketball back in November than predicting which NBA players would come out of nowhere in the season’s final month or two to become fantasy relevant. It happens every year: teams fall out of contention, look towards the future, and give as much burn to youngsters who’d previously been wallowing at the end of the bench in obscurity as they can handle. Throw in injuries to key regulars on said teams, and even more minutes open up for even more obscure players.

It doesn’t always pan out like this, but there’s a pretty simple formula that applies to these situations: minutes = stats. Some players, no matter how many minutes they’re getting, simply do not produce, but every year a number of these “nobodies” successfully translate their extended garbage time into a level of production that warrants fantasy attention. There’s a reason they weren’t playing earlier this year–they can often kill your percentages and turnovers–but they can provide a nice boost to the raw number cats (points, rebounds, steals, blocks).

As we go further down the rabbit hole these next few weeks, more players who fall into this distinguished category will surely emerge. Here’s just seven of them who are already there and are likely to be snatched up on waivers as speculative adds at some point, if they haven’t been already.

Samardo Samuels, F, Cleveland Cavaliers: With Antawn Jamison out for the season and the Cavs just trying to get through the remaining schedule while saving as much face as possible, this undrafted rookie from Louisville has recently found himself in the starting lineup after logging a total of 18 minutes through January 6. He made quite a splash, too, in that first start: 23 points (10-18 FG), 10 boards, and 3 assists. The 6-9 Samuels is likely in line for 25 – 32 minutes a night from here on out.

James Johnson, F, Toronto Raptors: The 16th overall pick of the draft just 2 years ago by the Chicago Bulls, Johnson was never able to make much of an impression in the Windy City and was sent to the Raptors in a trade deadline deal for a future second-round pick. The 17-45 Raptors have wasted no time seeing what they have in the 6-9 forward: he’s in the starting lineup, and in 5 games has averaged just under 27 minutes per. Fantasy wise, he’s chipping in modest (but useful) multi-category numbers: 9 points, 5 boards, 3 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.8 blocks on 46% shooting.

Gerald Henderson, G, Charlotte Bobcats: A 2009 lottery pick out of Duke, the 6-5 Henderson struggled through spotty minutes in his rookie season, and looked to continue down that path this season, too, until trades and injuries forced him into a bigger role. His per-game minutes have been upped from about 13 the first few months to over 31 per in 8 games as the Cat’s starting shooting guard. He still hasn’t found his shooting touch (39%), though, and is averaging 10 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. For now, Henderson has the look of a mediocre career backup.

Shawne Williams, F, New York Knicks: After being cast off by the Indiana Pacers and Dallas Mavericks, Williams’ uneventful 3-year NBA career has taken at least some root in New York. He started the season with 17 consecutive DNP – CDs, but has played in every game but 1 since, including 5 as a starter. Williams is still little more than streaming fodder, but that’s an upgrade in his case. Heading into the Knicks’ second-consecutive loss to the Cavs Friday night (ouch), Williams had logged nearly 30 minutes per in his last 2, averaging 12 points (58% FG), 5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.5 steals, and 1 block.

Anthony Randolph, F, Minnesota Timberwolves: Randolph looked like one of the prime breakout candidates coming into the season, a too-perfect fit for Mike D’Antoni’s “score, then score some more” offensive system. Turns out this match was anything but perfect, with Randolph having just slightly more impact than teammate Eddy Curry before being traded to Minnesota.

After lounging on waivers for most of the season, Randolph was a hot speculative add in this, his first full week with the T’Wolves: with Darko Milicic out, he’s posted two solid games in a row, averaging 15.5 points, 6 boards, 1 steal, and 1 block. A few more efforts like this, and he’s a near-lock for 20 – 25 minutes per for the rest of the season.

Austin Daye, F, Detroit Pistons: The slinky second-year forward is another guy who, like Randolph, was likely taken late in your fantasy draft, then dropped after he flopped in the season’s first few weeks and spent the next few months in and out of the lineup. With the Pistons’ season in the toilet and many of the veterans acting like children, Daye has emerged from the fray, playing nearly 35 minutes per and averaging 15.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 2 triples in the team’s last three games. His shooting (41%) remains a drag.

Damion James, GF, New Jersey Nets: After no floor time since December 9, the rookie from Texas is suddenly back in the starting lineup, putting up some useful stats, and given the arrival of Deron Williams just might be worth taking a flier on. In 4 games as a starter, James is pitching in some across-the-board production, averaging 9.2 points (67% FG), 5.5 boards, 1.7 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.7 blocks.

Gerald Henderson Photo Credit: Icon SMI

Beat the college basketball odds this March when you sign up for the NCAA basketball picks offered by these experts.

2 CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Mar. 5, 2011 at 2:32am in ETB Articles, NBA

« Previous

     Next Articles »

Back to top