It’s a week where the dead are stirring in the NBA. Guys who have been dead and buried so far this season are starting to show signs of fantasy life. Every week Pick n’ Roll will be hitting you up with a list of what’s new, puzzling, or downright exciting in the wide world of fantasy hoops. This week we’ll take a look at some big name players who are coming back off injury, plus some other assorted oddities.
As a caveat, this column isn’t covering past Sunday’s early games.
The Dead Rise… Or Not.
Well hallelujah. The Lord said let there be Elton Brand, and there was, and it was good. Brand has shown patient managers the skills they were hoping to see over his last three games, going for 19 and 11 with 3.5 Blk and 2.5 Stl. This is one of those cases where not jumping the gun and dropping a guy has paid dividends. I’d also have to say that Brand is now firmly off the buy low list. Let’s all have a round applause for the Speights injury.
The Wizards have achieved a state of Jamison. Back on the court for his first games of the season, Antawn Jamison has posted a very solid 22 and 9 average, with just under a pair of steals and threes a contest. Welcome back AJ, we’ve missed you. Congrats to those of you bought low while he was injured.
Is anyone really surprised that Allen Iverson came off waivers and no one rushed to sign him? I’m not, nor am I recommending that anyone rush off and add AI to their fantasy squad, as it could be a while before he’s gainfully employed. If you’re looking to add a guy who’s on the comeback trail then Mike Dunleavy’s probably your guy.
Speaking of the comeback trail, the relationship between the Houston Rockets and Tracy McGrady seems to have seriously deteriorated. I think I’m going to assume that he doesn’t get back on the court in a Houston jersey anytime soon. Rumours of a move to NY are exciting though. My fearless forecast? If he does get traded to NY it won’t be for Eddy Curry. I’m calling Hughes and Milicic for McGrady if it does go down. If anything more concrete comes out indicating that this trade might have traction then McGrady becomes a strong speculative add in most formats.
Troy Murphy is finally back on the court chucking threes for the Pacers. This seems to be a good week for big men who shoot the long ball to come back. Murphy got right back to business too, posting a 12 and 10 line in 24 minutes off the bench. Roy Hibbert had a very quiet game, but mostly because of foul trouble. Still, his minutes bear watching now that Murphy is back, and if the PT looks like it’s dropping it’s time to start thinking about an exit strategy there (in non-keeper formats anyway).
In Other News…
Brandon Jennings is officially the real deal. After his stunning 55 point outburst, he’s continued to play well, averaging 24, 4, and 6 over his last four games, and he continues to fill it up from outside with 2.8 threes a contest. Debate rages about where to slot his value over the rest of the season, with opinions ranging as high as top 15 (which I think is ludicrous). I’d peg him for top 30 or 40 type play at best – he’ll continue to be very good, but I expect his FG% to drop, along with his points and threes, once Mike Redd is back on the court. Regardless of exactly where we slot him I think it’s plain that he’s going to take a serious run at Rookie of the Year honors though.
Ersan Ilyasova has been a revelation for the Bucks. With Captain Jean Luc Richard out with a tachyon deficiency Ilyasova has erupted to post 48th ranked Yahoo numbers over the last week. He’s been good for a near double-double at 14 and 8 and has been filling it up from long range to the tune of 2.3 threes a game. We’ll have to see where his value ends up when Moute gets back, but I think he’s played too well for it to fall off the map. Ersan is only 13% Y! owned too, so he’s probably out there if you need a boost.
In the space of a single coaching change Peja Stojakovic has gone from pylon to paragon. He’s apparently found his shot, and has even managed to get active on the boards. It might not be long before he pulls an eyebrow and misses a few games after all this exertion, but I’d ride the hot hand and enjoy his little mini-outburst while it lasts. He’s the 13th ranked Y! player over the last week, and you can’t really argue with 19 and 7 and a massive 4.3 threes a game.
Sticking with the Hornets theme, let’s talk about Darren Collison for a minute. He’s averaging a nifty 16 points and 7+ dimes over the last week playing in relief of the injured Chris Paul. If you need short term PG help he’s a fine choice. He doesn’t give you much in the way of peripherals, but grabbing a 16-7 PG off the wire at this point in the season is reward enough.
JJ Hickson has continued to play well in a depleted Cavs frontcourt. It might not last, but you should enjoy his 14 and 6 and massive FG% while it lasts.
The Mike Miller magic rabbit has popped back into the hat. Mikey is now nursing his second injury of the season, and frustrating the hell out of fantasy managers everywhere. Boo-hiss. Colour me disappointed.
The injury bug has bitten Atlanta as well, who lost Mike Bibby to an ankle injury in their last game. Jamal Crawford could be very good if Bibby misses any kind of serious time. This is also a sign that it’s a bad week for guys named Mike, so if you have any other Mikes rostered, brace for impact.
Chris Duhon just played 46:42 in an OT loss to the Celts, and only managed to score 3 points. Yuck. That sort of nonsense really shouldn’t be allowed.
Team Games by Week – Week Five
Teams with 4 Games: DAL, DEN, LAC, MEM, MIL, MIN, NJ, NY, ORL, PHI, POR, SAC, SA, TOR
Teams with 3 Games: ATL, BOS, CHA, CLE, DET, GS, HOU, IND, LAL, MIA, OKC, PHO, UTA, WAS
Teams with a paltry 2 games: CHI, NO
Adam Laforet is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Adam in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of Fenris-77.
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