Another exciting week has gone by in the NBA. First, I’d like to welcome all the fantasy GMs who drafted D-Rose early and the whole city of Chicago back to planet Earth. It’s sad but it’s true; Rose is gone for the season. Fear not, because the light of my foresight shall redeem you and your fantasy team. Thanksgiving is just around the corner but don’t save your appetite. Instead, feast upon the glory that is Week 5 of The Hot Hand: Fantasy Basketball.
Marquis Teague, Chi PG – First things first, let’s square up on the future of the Bulls’ backcourt. Blathering idiots would have you believe that you ought to pick up Kirk Hinrich and/or Mike Dunleavy. That advice is impractical for myriad reasons, not the least of which is that Tom Thibodeau has expressed on numerous occasions his preference to bring Hinrich and Dunleavy off the bench as a dynamic duo. More importantly, Teague has the potential to be an explosive starter for the Bulls. At the University of Kentucky, he created shots for his teammates with ease, always finished nicely around the basket and drove the lane like a man on a mission. Tony Parker speed, a 6-7 wingspan and a winner’s attitude are all elements that are going to ensure Teague’s success in the NBA. The rookie guard wasn’t drafted not to play; remember that Rose’s ascent back to greatness was far from guaranteed at draft time. Any talk coming out of the Bulls’ camp about anyone besides Teague starting at the point is intentional disinformation. If you are a fantasy victim of Rose’s injury problems then pick up Marquis Teague right this very second. He may be the waiver wire pickup of the 2013 season.
Rodney Stuckey, Det SG - I want to make it clear that if you want to win big then you have to make the big decisions and take big chances. I’m sure Stuckey’s name is far from the minds of casual fantasy basketball GMs. Well, that’s good news because you and I aren’t here to play casually. We are here to win, and right now Stuckey is a winner. For the entire season thus far, Stuckey has flown under almost everyone’s radar. However, time is not on your side; if you wait another nanosecond on picking up this baller then you’re an utter fool and I can’t help you. The moment is coming when even the least knowledgeable GMs will be after Stuckey, and that moment is flying at us at a mile a minute. Take a minute to meditate on the situation in Detroit. Chauncey Billups, the Pistons’ prodigal son, has reclaimed his position as the team’s starting shooting guard. However, the veteran tore his Achilles tendon last year and has noticeably slowed down in his production. Stuckey comes off the bench when Billups or Jennings rest and proceeds to melt faces with his astounding play. He’s averaging 20 ppg in the last seven days and 16 ppg on the season. At the same time, he relentlessly stuffs the stat sheet until it begins to burst at its seams. Without a shadow of a doubt, Rodney Stuckey is my pickup of the week.
Jared Sullinger, Bos PF – Conventional wisdom demands that you pick up Sullinger from the waiver wire simply because Kelly Olynyk’s weak, Canadian ankle has failed him. This means that Sullinger and his mighty American ankles are stepping into the starter’s shoes. He’s guaranteed that starting position at least until Olynyk heals; however, if he continues his current level of performance then there’s a very good chance he never hands the starting position back. Sullinger brings size, a very high basketball IQ and excellent outside shooting to the lackluster Boston Celtics. Despite having a rough night against Al Jefferson and a genuinely rugged Bobcats’ frontcourt, you should consider Sullinger a lock for this week and many to come. Rajon Rondo truly only has two players to dish dimes to this season: Sullinger and Jordan Crawford. He’s currently averaging a double-double and is available in a majority of leagues.
Caron Butler, Mil SF – On the 22nd of November, the veteran forward made the Philadelphia 76ers bite the dust that was left in the wake of his 38-point throw-down. This inspiring showing was a metaphorical declaration; read as, “I may be 33 but I can still school anyone you put in front of me.” The Belle of the Bucks is still a dominating force in the league, and he seems to have been rejuvenated by joining forces with his hometown squad. While Butler is clearly the Bucks’ new team leader, he’s taking a backseat at the moment. Don’t let that discourage you though because Butler coming off the bench actually translates into fantasy gold. Running with the second unit will give Butler even more opportunities to score, both inside and outside. Any fantasy team that needs some help in every category should snag Butler off of the wire and reap the benefits of experience.
Channing Frye, Pho PF, C – I’ve never been a big fan of Frye; however, I may become one if he persists in snuffing out his competition. If you want to talk about the hot hand, then let’s talk Frye. With Eric Bledsoe injured, Frye has stepped into a much larger offensive role for the Suns. In his most recent games, he’s been consistently scoring in the teens. In large part, this outburst in scoring is thanks to the fact that he has a golden stroke from beyond the arc. His ability to drop in three-balls gives him extra fantasy value that you just can’t find in most power forwards. Frye has four games on his plate in Week 5, and during Thanksgiving week you can expect the big man to eat.
Andray Blatche, Bkn C, PF – Strong centers aren’t exactly a dime per dozen in fantasy basketball. The Brooklyn Nets’ star center, Brook Lopez, is ailing from an ankle injury. As such, Blatche has been plugged in to the starting center position by Jason Kidd. Lopez’s replacement has been very successful to-date because of his unreal ability to crash the offensive and defensive glass. Essentially, what you get when you pick up Blatche is 10 boards per game with a real chance to add 10 points and two blocks to that tally. With Lopez out and Kevin Garnett on his deathbed (just kidding, but seriously), you can bet on Blatche finding more opportunities to eat glass and get buckets. He’s worth your consideration if you’re underperforming in the rebounding department or if you’re lacking centers. I predict that he will do this week what Jordan Hill did in Week 4.
J.J. Hickson, Den C, PF – Much like Andray Blatche, Hickson is the benefactor of another player’s injury. In this case, the Nuggets’ center, Javale McGee, is on the outs and Hickson is in. Unlike Blatche, Hickson is the consummate scorer. The 25-year-old big man out of NC State knows how to get to the basket. Thanks to the fact that his wingspan is roughly equal to that of an adolescent pterodactyl, Hickson can dunk over opposing defenses. He also has an ability to play face-up and make jumpers. Rebounding comes naturally to him; he’s pulling down an average of nine boards per game so far this season. With a grim outlook on McGee’s recovery, Hickson has the opportunity to amplify his scoring and rebounding in the weeks ahead. His chemistry with guard Ty Lawson is first-rate as well; Lawson has an easy time finding Hickson in the paint or in the low-post. Plan on his role on the Denver Nuggets expanding quickly. Find a place for him on your team and you will be rewarded with exceptional numbers in points and rebounds.
Eric Schuette is an enterprising sports journalist and contributing writer to fantasycafe.com. Follow him on twitter @EricOnSports.
Want to write for the Cafe? Check out the Cafe's Pencil & Paper section!