By Rob Shaw, Lead Expert for FantasyFanatics.com
Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison are enjoying a jump in value with Gilbert Arenas out. Lebron James is taking his game to a whole new level, and Amare Stoudemire and Dwight Howard are two players dominating the paint these days. Here’s a look at a few of the topics being discussed over the past week on the fantasy basketball forum at FantasyFanatics.com.
Gilbert Arenas Out Three Months
This is not an injury that you want to deal with in fantasy basketball. Arenas is a top five talent who was likely drafted in the first round of fantasy drafts. Knee injuries and back injuries are the most common and most dangerous in the NBA, as these are commonly chronic conditions associated with tall athletes putting plenty of pressure on their body. In addition, they are usually chronic, which means they do not go away and can return at any time. This has been a common issue for Tracy McGrady in recent years, which likely kept him from being drafted in the first two rounds of your fantasy draft despite his 30-point potential.
While the Arenas injury hurts the chances of any fantasy manager who invested in Agent 0, the injury is good news for plenty of other Wizards. For starters, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison spike in fantasy value. They will each be called on to score more often. With a pass-first point guard now handling the ball, they will find that the offense will be centered on them.
This is also good news for those lucky enough to get their hands on Antonio Daniels. He’s a player who can rack up 12 points and 7 assists for the next few months while padding his stats with the occasional steal and three. Also keep an eye inside, as Andray Blatche has enjoyed some success recently. With center eligibility, the Wizards for the first time have a big man with some potential.
Dwight Howard Is Dominating Inside
Ironically, the last player to dominate the interior early in his career the way that Dwight Howard has recently also donned an Orlando Magic jersey over a decade ago. We’re comparing him to Shaquille O’Neal and the similarities don’t end with the points in the paint. Howard’s post-presence also leads to many hacks, accruing double-digit free throw attempts on a nightly basis. Just like the original big man donning the black and blue, Howard’s kryptonite is also found at the free throw line. This could be a serious hindrance to consider when assessing his fantasy value.
On the young season, Howard is averaging 23.4 points, a ridiculous 14.5 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game. He it knocking down 61.5% of his field goals, while only hitting 60% of his free throws. Howard single-handedly puts up the type of numbers that can rank your fantasy team at the top of the charts in field goal percentage, while also bringing you down to last in free throw percentage. This is a fact to consider and possibly lead you to trading for Amare Stoudemire, Al Jefferson, or another well-rounded option in the middle. Just like the Shaq Attack, Howard’s value can go both ways.
Blast From the Past: Kenyon Martin
Just like the shopping chain, this K-Mart has gone down in value over the years. The Blue-light special has lost his luster because of younger and better-conditioned players, not to mention more disciplined talents who can stay on the court. He has missed 106 games over the past two seasons due to knee surgeries. Nonetheless, for once early on, Martin was able to stay on the floor.
On Friday against the Timberwolves, Martin scored 18 points with 6 rebounds, even making a block and grabbing two steals. It was the type of performance that had fantasy managers scrambling to the waiver wire to grab the talent who once averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Nets. Then came a subtle reminder. After a decent half against the Rockets, on the second day of a back-to-back, Martin felt soreness in his knee. Sure enough, he has been diagnosed with a strained knee and will undergo an MRI. It’s once again time to send K-Mart packing.
The Other Rookie In Seattle: Jeff Green
Kevin Durant is the name you know. He’s the star from Texas who would have been the number one pick in the NBA draft if it wasn’t for the steady, 7-foot Greg Oden. While the big guy will sit out the year due to knee surgery, Durant began the season on fire, scoring at least 24 points in three of his first four games. Coming off the bench in those games was fellow rookie Jeff Green.
These days, it’s Green who has become a more consistent option. He is fresh off back-to-back double-doubles, racking up 14 rebounds in each of the past two contests. While Durant is creating a reputation as a scorer who will need to develop some discipline, Green has evolved into a hard-working forward who will out-hustle for the extra rebound and loose ball. He can also become the more steady fantasy option if his playing time continues to hover around the 30-minute mark. We would like to see him develop the ability to rack up steals and blocks, but for now, he’s a guy who will flirt with the double-digit mark in points and rebounds, which should be good enough to stack at the end of your bench.
Top 10 Fantasy Ballers as of Week 4:
RANK LAST WEEK
1. Lebron James 7
2. Kevin Garnett 4
3. Marcus Camby 10
4. Shawn Marion 2
5. Chris Paul 1
6. Manu Ginobili 3
7. Yao Ming UNRANKED
8. Dwight Howard UNRANKED
9. Kobe Bryant UNRANKED
10. Steve Nash 12
NO LONGER RANKED LAST WEEK
11) Rashard Lewis 6
15) Andrei Kirilenko 5
16) Carlos Boozer 9
17) Allen Iverson 8