2014-15 Fantasy NBA Awards: The Fixies, Part I

Welcome fantasy basketball enthusiasts, to the second (yes they let us do another) annual Fixies fantasy basketball awards.

The Fantasy Fix team has done some scouting as the season winds down, signing two of the ‘higher-upside’ fantasy minds out there – to 10 day contracts of course.

Seth Klein of Razzball and FantasyPros acclaim, and Matt Smith of RotoWire, Fantasy Hoops Insider, and FantasyPros will join The Fantasy Fix NBA writers (Zack Rewis, Max Haldeman and myself) to round out a pretty decent starting five.

What we lack in height, athleticism, wing-span and coordination, we make up for with sound fundamentals, above average grammar, and an ability to rattle off a random NBA stat from out of nowhere (did you know Jalen Rose is the only member of the 15 assist/6 block club? Now you do).

It’s easy to stick to the script and ask for generic type awards, so we’ve gone a little sideways with our approach and we’ve added some tacky graphics in the hope it masks any flaws you may see in the writing. Enjoy!

Without further ado, here are the 2014-15 Fixies. [Read more…]

2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Fantasy Championship Preview

leonard

Photo: Mark Runyon | BasketballSchedule.net

 

6 Games: ATL, BOS, CHA, LAL, MIN, NO, POR
5 Games: BKN, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, GS, HOU, IND, MEM, MIA, MIL, NY, OKC, ORL, PHX, SAC, SA, TOR, UTA, WSH
4 Games: LAC, PHI

On Fire

Kawhi Leonard has been playing like he did in the 2014 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat. He was held back by multiple injuries at the beginning of the season, including an eye injury to start the year. He’s showing in his short career that he has the ability to turn it on when the games matter the most, which is good for the Spurs down the stretch. The Spurs have won seven straight games and are 9-1 in their last 10 (via NBA.com), and a large part of it seems to be due to the play of Leonard. He doesn’t always do it for you by scoring, which sometimes flies under the radar. He will contribute in every single category for you, which makes him one of the most elite players in fantasy basketball when he turns it on like he has of late. [Read more…]

2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Week 3 Playoff Preview

lopez

Credit: Rodrigo Díez Vignola

We’re getting down to the end of the regular season in the NBA, which is very hard to believe. Players will continue to sit to rest until the end of the season, which makes the playoffs in standard leagues, and DFS leagues, very interesting.

4 Games: BOS, BKN, CHA, DET, GS, HOU, IND, LAC, LAL, MIA, MIL, PHI, POR, SAC, TOR, UTA
3 Games: ATL, CHI, DAL, DEN, MEM, MIN, NO, NY, OKC, ORL, PHX, WSH
2 Games: CLE

On-Fire

DeMarre Carroll is one of those players on the Hawks that seems to be in the lineup because of defense and the hustle he brings to the starting lineup. The former Mizzou and Vanderbilt basketball player has been playing great basketball over the last two weeks, making him an interesting option down the stretch. The guys that are the most intriguing in fantasy basketball are the guys that do it all. Russell Westbrook scores, assists, rebounds and steals the ball. He does it all. DeMarre Carol has been one of those guys, to some extent, over this time frame. He will chip in on the stat sheet in just about every category, and especially in DFS leagues where free throw shooting won’t hurt you, he’s going to be even more of an intriguing choice.

Brook Lopez has been doing it all for the Nets as of late. Which isn’t saying TOO much considering the Nets options, but it’s good news for Lopez owners going in to their fantasy championship rounds. Lopez will cost you $7,800 in DraftKings daily leagues, but he has been putting up numbers consistent with the guys ahead of him. What you won’t get with Lopez is that explosion of 60 points or more in a DFS league, which is the reason his cost isn’t higher. Depending on the approach you take in your DFS leagues, Lopez is a nice, consistent option at center.

Ice Cold

Since moving to the Miami Heat, Goran Dragic has underperformed as the team’s starting guard. Especially with Chris Bosh being out for the rest of the season, Dwayne Wade seems to be questionable for every game going forward for the rest of his career, and then the rest of the team going through some kind of injury. Chris Anderson, Hassan Whiteside, Mario Chalmers, etc. have all missed time recently with injuries, and Dragic hasn’t appeared to have picked up much of the slack. To be fair, Dragic has gone through some injuries of his own, but in his last outing against the Pistons on March 30th he had 21 fantasy points – 10 points, two rebounds, five assists (according to DraftKings statistics) while playing 35 minutes. Especially with the way that Heat players having been dropping lately, I wouldn’t advise inserting Dragic into your DFS lineup anytime soon.

Stream Options

Marcus Morris has been playing like his twin brother, Markeiff, as of late and is worth a look.

Ersan Ilyasova

Jordan Clarkson

Evan Turner

Zaza Pachulia

Zach LaVine has been filling in nicely while Ricky Rubio has been nursing his injury.

Dennis Schroder will likely see more action for the Hawks down the stretch while they allow Jeff Teague to get some more time off to nurse his injury before the playoffs.

Injury Report:

Jeff Teague has missed some time recently and doesn’t appear to be 100% because of an ankle injury. Keep an eye on him daily in both standard and DFS leagues to see if he’s in the lineup. Even if he is, you might want to stay away.

Draymond Green has been dealing with a lower leg injury. Keep an eye on his status as he will likely get back in the lineup once he is feeling better, as Steve Kerr has said that he doesn’t seem to be jumping on the bandwagon of sitting players out of games to rest them for the playoffs.

Serge Ibaka will likely miss the remainger of the season with knee surgery. They said initially 3-4 weeks, however, there doesn’t appear to be a sign of his return.

Kyle Lowry continues to sit with a back injury. The Raptors have listed him as out “indefinitely” with this injury as they likely will try to get their star point guard some rest going into the playoffs.

Derrick Favors seems to be day-to-day with a back injury. He has now missed the past two games and should be considered questionable going forward until he gets back in the lineup consistently.

Blake Griffin said that he had some swelling appear in that elbow that he sat out with, but it doesn’t appear that it is anything serious at the moment. With the trade deadline over in standard leagues, Griffin owners (like myself) must be holding their breath as they will likely need their star PF to be healthy and ready to go for the stretch run.

Greg Monroe has not played since March 14th with his knee injury and will likely continue to sit. No word on his status as it seems to be a question mark.

2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Box Score Browsing – Redickulous!

JJ Redick

I know I’ve used this before as have countless others, but JJ has been redickulous lately.

Sure, Blake Griffin has returned which has helped open the perimeter up for Redick, while Chris Paul has been playing insanely good lately, but Redick has been the unsung hero in the absence of the injured Jamal Crawford.

On the season it looks like another ‘ho hum’ Redick year – a few threes a night, elite free throw percentage and below average rebound, assist and steal numbers for a shooting guard.

Delve deeper into his stat-line and you’ll see the elite turnover rate of just 1.2 per night in 31 minutes per – good for a top four mark across the entire NBA for those that qualify. His career high field goal percentage of 46.8% also can’t be overlooked, as it marks the third consecutive increase in that category for him – not bad for a player who’s sole purpose is to shoot the ball from the outside.

Just look at his last dozen games, they’re actually kind of a big deal. He’s scored at least 15 points in every game and hasn’t missed a free throw. The elite 50% shooting from the floor and 100% from the line is accompanied by 3.1 threes and an absurd 21.5 points a night. Be honest, did you know Redick had been averaging over 20 points a night in March?

He’s been even better as of late, which is what prompted him to lead this week’s scribble – even factoring in his last ‘quiet’ game after the Clips flogged the Knicks.

Over his last four games he’s averaged 22.6 points, 2.6 assists, 3.2 threes and just 0.4 turnovers a night while going Duke Nukem on the league to the tune of 56% (on 15.0 attempts) from the field, 49% from deep, and predictably, 100% from the line.

Redick’s missed just one free throw since January 5th, going 68 from 69 in that span. That’s ridiculous. In that same time-frame Hassan Whiteside has registered three total assists (an equally ridiculous stat!). [Read more…]

2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Week 2 Playoffs, March 23-29

jackson

Source: Driller Photography

 

On Fire

Reggie Jackson seems to be finding his role for the Pistons lately, recording double-digit assists in his previous four games and five of the last six. Jackson had 23 points and 20 assists on St. Patrick’s Day against the Grizzlies, and then followed it up the next night with a triple-double. Jackson is no Russell Westbrook when it comes to fantasy numbers in the last few weeks, but he’s sure worth the value in DFS leagues at his current price. I’m sure that price will go up, but I would take advantage of this hot streak while it lasts.

The last three games, Chris Paul has been playing at the level of an NBA MVP. He’s had double-digit assists the past three games while scoring in bunches as well. He’s been carrying the Clippers, who recently got Blake Griffin back in the lineup, which makes it look like this success is here to stay, at least in the assists category. He’s one of the higher priced point guards in DFS leagues, and with play like this, that price will continue to go up. [Read more…]

2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Box Score Browsing – Kyrie, Kanter, Khris and Kenneth

Kyrie Irving

In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock or you’re hibernating til the Rugby World Cup (just me?) starts in September, you may have missed Irving’s otherworldly shooting performances.

If you haven’t seen the Cavs-Spurs thriller in San Antonio, do yourself a favor and watch it, or as much of it as you can. The duel between Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James was enough in itself, but Irving’s ridiculous shooting would have merited a slow clap from even the most skeptical Irving critic – he was that hot.

We know he makes his free throws (10-10 against the Spurs), but his three point prowess always seemed to play second fiddle to his impressive ball-handling and driving ability, as he finishes at the rim with either hand, with equal success. Making seven threes in a game is a rare thing, but hitting that mark and missing none is even rarer (seriously, Ben Gordon went 9-9 from deep…TWICE), let alone on a nationally televised game against an equally hot Spurs team, at home. [Read more…]

2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: March 16-22 Playoff Preview

boogie

Credit: Sacramento Press Media

 

For many of you, the playoffs begin now. This week, as usual, I’ll fill you in with players to watch out for, players to add, an injury report, and I’ll fill you in on some superstars around the league to keep an eye on that might possibly start sitting games down the stretch to rest. [Read more…]

2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Box Score Browsing — A Walk Among the Batumstones

Nicolas Batum

There are very few players in basketball capable of putting up the variety of stats this fantasy friendly Frenchman frequently produces.

When healthy and involved with the offense, he is truly a unique fantasy contributor because of his combination of rebounds, assists, steals, threes and free throw percentage – along with his generally low turnovers (just 1.6 per game for his career, in over 460 games at 30 minutes a night).

With Wes Matthews’ horrendous Achilles’ injury potentially derailing the Blazers’ season, Arron Afflalo steps right in at starting shooting guard, but it’s been Batum who has seen his production increase over the last week or so.

Earlier in his career he was known more for his explosive athleticism and defensive prowess, but a ‘growth spurt’ of sorts (i.e. expanded play-making role) saw him begin to handle the ball a lot more from the small forward spot for Portland. It wasn’t a new role for him as he plays a large chunk of minutes for the French national team at point guard and his fantasy game has subsequently rounded into one that had never been seen before in the NBA. [Read more…]

2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Week 19 Update

schroder

Source: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America

On Fire

It’s hard to write a segment about players who are currently on fire without the main point of focus being Russell Westbrook. There hasn’t been a guy who has played as well as Westbrook over the last 15 days. In that span, Westbrook is averaging 34.6 points, 11.9 assists and 11.4 rebounds per game. He is only shooting 43% during that span, but James Harden is shooting 44% on the season and is in talks for league MVP. Russell is the MVP of the NBA in my opinion as he is having a better season this year than Kevin Durant was last year when he had his MVP season because of the slack he had to pick up for Westbrook missing time due to his injury. He likely won’t win MVP because of the time he’s missed with multiple injuries, however, he is clearly the best fantasy player in the league right now. [Read more…]

Fantasy Basketball 2014-15 – Box Score Browsing: It’s fun to stay at KawhiMCA

Kawhi Leonard

Was there a more hyped young player coming into fantasy basketball this season?

Anthony Davis, maybe? But Leonard, fresh off a Finals MVP performance to end 2013-14, was being talked about as taking ‘the leap’ in fantasy circles, whereas you could argue Davis had already made that ascension to the fantasy elite last year (2nd in per game value last season).

Leonard’s coming out party hasn’t quite hit the lofty expectations many were hoping for, but his gradual climb in production this year sees him as a fantasy asset in nearly every category for any format of the game.

Yes, his field goal percentage this year has taken a hit (44%, down from 51% through his first three seasons), mainly due to playing a career high 31.6 minutes per game and taking a career high 12.3 shots per night. The extra double teams and national exposure provided by his showing on the big Finals stage in 2014 has meant more scouting to counter his activity on the offensive end.

Leonard’s hitting career highs in nearly every category; he’s upped his points, rebounds, assists and steals per game for the third consecutive season – quite an accomplishment for a the guy being touted as the next franchise guy for the hugely successful Spurs.

Over his last four games he’s averaged 18.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, a whopping 2.8 steals, 1.5 blocks, 1.0 three pointer per, along with 54% from the field and 77% from the line.

Leonard is in line for big minutes as the Spurs march towards the playoffs, hoping to attain the one elusive NBA accomplishment they’ve yet to achieve – back-to-back titles. He’s was the number seven ranked player over the past week according to Yahoo, so his trajectory continues to point up as the Spurs sputter with a banged up Tony Parker and 52 year old Tim Duncan.

Hassan Whiteside

This is one of those ‘what do we have here?’ fantasy explosions that seem to happen every year, and just in time for the banged up Heat.

The NBA is littered with these ‘WTFantasy’ storylines, like Larry Sanders in 2012-13, Linsanity in 2011-12, Dorrell Wright in 2010-11, Andray Blatche in 2009-10 and one of my favorites for you old-time fantasy players from way back when (he won me multiple leagues), Marc Jackson in 2000-01. Players like Whiteside can go either way – do they continue to develop after their breakout year – like Nikola Vucevic for example, or do teams adjust to the now ‘in the limelight’ player, like the aforementioned Lin?

The Heat lost Chris Bosh to a terrible blood clot on the lungs issue but Whiteside has done everything he can to replace what the team is missing – rim protection, inside scoring and double figure rebounds.

The blocked shots and rebound numbers have been real eye openers. One player has had three 24 rebound games this season – not DeAndre Jordan, not Kevin Love, nor Andre Drummond. Whiteside has three such games in his last 14 games – as he rampages his way into the discussion for most improved player this season.

There may not be a better waiver wire grab this year, Robert Covington was the darling for a while and Rudy Gobert has potentially more upside than Whiteside – but his 2014-15 stretch of domination will be remembered for a long time in fantasy circles.

Over his last seven games he’s averaged 14.7 points, 15.6 rebounds, 2.9 blocks, just 1.3 turnovers and an awesome 61% from the field. There’s some bad news, however, as he has registered just FOUR total assists in 728 minutes this season, while his free throw shooting needs some work at 54% on the year.

Terrence Jones

Tip of the cap to those managers who kept Jones amidst his serious nerve injury, as you’re now seeing the fruits of your fantasy labors coming into season.

Jones was a big surprise to fantasy last season, proving to be a real asset whilst being eligible at both forward spots, adding 54% shooting from the floor and 1.3 blocks to the solid scoring (12.1 points) and rebounding (6.9) numbers.

This season, that damn injury side-lined him for what seemed like – actually it was – months, but it didn’t slow him down when it comes to producing in the business end of the season. Dwight Howard has been out for weeks, with seemingly no end in sight, but as Jones has combined up front with Donatas Motiejunas, the Rockets haven’t skipped a beat.

It doesn’t hurt that James Harden has also been destroying players and opposing teams alike, well on his way to garnering a large chunk of MVP votes.

Since re-entering the starting line-up, Jones has dominated to the tune of 18.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks a night over six games. The 64% shooting from the floor is fantasy gold as is the 1.0 turnover a night, and the 36 minutes a night average is very encouraging as the season goes into the business end.

Layups

Jeremy Lin

Byron Scott is as confused as a baby in a topless bar.

Completely clueless where to go with his rotation and buggered if he knows what to do when he does hit the right combo. Wes Johnson performing? Keep him on the bench! Carlos Boozer crapping the fantasy bed? Start him! Jeremy Lin thriving while the team goes 3-1? Keep him on the bench.

There’s being a tank commander then there’s getting out and spit shining the tracks along the way.

Lin’s not the Linsanity fantasy beast mentioned earlier in this piece, but he doesn’t deserve to be playing behind the likes of Wayne Ellington or Ronnie Price, as he did earlier this season. Jordan Clarkson is the future – until a bigger name (Rajon Rondo? Reggie Jackson?) comes along, but Lin is big enough to play some shooting guard alongside him.

He dropped back-to-back 20+ point games last week, while he’s averaging 17.1 points, 6.0 assists and 1.7 steals in just 28 minutes a night over his last seven games, along with just 1.0 turnover a game during that stretch.

Alexey Shved

The Shved has officially hit the fan in New York.

Ron Harper, Brian Shaw and Sasha Vujacic. Three combo guards with limited athleticism, spotty shooting range and problems with consistency. Also for some reason the prototype lead guard to put in the triangle offense, alongside a star scorer.

Ok so Tim Hardaway Jr. isn’t MJ or Kobe, but Shved has nearly supplanted the masses of mediocrity off the Knicks’ bench (Lance Thomas, Shane Larkin etc) in the depth chart due to his play-making and ball-handling.

Admittedly, I haven’t seen much of the Knicks over the last week (I have other things to do than watch Knicks games this year, i.e say anything short of watching a vasectomy), but Langston Galloway is apparently starting at point guard and he has exactly TWO assists in 80 minutes played over his last three games. Louis Amundson has four assists and Andrea Bargnani (more on him next) has eight over that same three game stretch.

In his last five games he’s produced 12.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.0 three and his real strength (this year at least) – 5.2 attempts at the line at an 89% clip. The 1.2 turnovers are gold in nine category leagues, though the 36% shooting from the field would make Antoine Walker blush.

Andrea Bargnani

Il Mago has been really nice over his last five games. Multiple scoring outbursts of 25 points, great free throw shooting from the center position, 2.6 assists and even 1.0 block per game.

Amazing what a contract year can do for a player isn’t it?

Someone needs to do a study on free agents over the past 10 years and see what their PER is for their walk year compared to the year(s) leading into their free agency. I’m looking at you Erick Dampier in 2003-04. And you too Zack – off-season article?

Ride the hot hand until it flames out like it invariably will – either through injury or through shooting his way towards some Knicks wins. Yes, wins. This is a glaringly obvious tank situation as well.

Tony Snell

I was quite high on Snell’s chances at landing the starting small forward spot going into the season, so much so I projected his stats as 10.1 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 threes per game in the Fantasy Hoops Insider draft kit.

It took over three months and 58 Bulls’ injuries, but he’s finally delivering on that promise he showed in summer league. Mike Dunleavy is old as dirt and Doug McDermott isn’t ready to contribute on a playoff team with deep aspirations, while Nikola Mirotic is best suited as a stretch four/big small forward.

If you need threes en masse (2.8 over his last five games), solid shooting percentages (44% from the floor and 89% at the line) and the potential for steals upside, Snell is a guy to plug into your line-up until Jimmy Butler is back healthy.

 

As always we welcome your feedback, so feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@macetasticand I’ll do my best to reply to any comments.

Big ups to the amazing Basketball-Reference, for all the links and for de-railing me so often, all in the name of research.