2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Week 6 Trend or Mirage?
Michael Carter-Williams – TREND
MCW lit the fantasy world on fire with his explosion onto the scene in his rookie campaign, basically peaking in his first career game with that magical 22 point-7 rebound-12 assist-9 steal-4 threes performance in a victory against the then champion Miami Heat. I can’t help but think of George Costanza where he tells his joke, gets his laughs, and realizing there’s no need to stay round and potentially ruin it, promptly leaves the room.
So much has changed since that fateful night. Teams have figured him out. His career field goal percentage now sits at 40.2%, while his free throw percentage sits at 69.5%. Let’s not even mention the turnover rate which is an absurd 3.7 per game (fourth overall since the start of his rookie year, behind some pretty handy fantasy options). Basically we’re saying he has flaws, but he has value too.
It is worrying that despite awful 40/70 shooting splits last year, they’re actually even worse this season at just 39% from the field and 65% from the line – along with a Josh Smith-esque 23% from deep.
The trend to take note of here is the inconsistent form. MCW isn’t a star in this league and he isn’t the second coming of Penny Hardaway, but there are very few guard eligible players who have a bad night and still net you 10 rebounds and 9 assists, so for that reason if you can stomach the percentages, enjoy the ride.
David West – MIRAGE
David West is one of those classic blue-chip players who just goes and does his work. This year, however, he has less help with two of his amigos George Hill and Paul George both on the side-lines. He returned from an ankle injury and has yet to really produce what he’s known for – rock solid percentages, along with a useful amount of rebounds and assists.
West hasn’t started well at all, as he’s having his least productive season since his second year, in 2004-05. The minutes are down to just under 27 per night, so his counting stats are all well down from last year’s numbers – as he’s sitting at just 5.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and a combined 0.7 steals/blocks.
Don’t be surprised if West is shifted to a contending team around the deadline – that’s if the Pacers aren’t in the playoff hunt – but anything’s possible in the East this season. The slow start is more to do with motivation, getting his health back and incorporating new teammates.
Matt Barnes – TREND
Barnes had to have paid attention to the criticism being thrown his way, the dude was having such a poor season, Hedo Turkoglu had to be rubbing his fingers together. Or licking them.
He’s hitting his field goals and free throws at his highest clip since playing off the bench for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010-11, while over his last four games he’s averaged 12.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.5 threes and 54/86 splits.
Barnes has finally found his role and the Clippers are annihilating teams, having won nine straight games and 11 of 12, including losing just once on a seven game road-trip – to their nemesis the Memphis Grizzlies. This is a trend, he’s not reverting back to pre-season Barnes which was a legit fantasy nightmare.
Jared Sullinger – MIRAGE
My man Sully is struggling, big time.
Is it his coach Brad Stevens’ rotations (likely), or Sully settling for those annoying long jump-shots (very likely), or the 3.3 fouls in just 25.4 minutes per (doesn’t help), or all of the above (bingo)? This slump has him averaging just 6.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 30/67 splits over his last four games.
Sullinger has only had six double-doubles through his 20 games, but last year he had certain stretches where he showed the potential of being a top 50 force in fantasy. You only need to look for the three games preceding his latest slump to see it won’t take much for him to flick the switch – as he averaged 17.7 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.3 steals, a whopping 2.7 threes and just 1.0 turnover.
The time to buy low on Sullinger is now, he’s as likely to drop 25 and 15 next game as he is have a 8 and 6 stinker, but you don’t want to risk having to overspend on a seemingly inconsistent player.
Tim Hardaway Jr – TREND
The New York Knicks need a scorer everything, plain and simple.
Tim Hardaway Jr doesn’t do a lot other than score and knock down threes, along with minimizing his mistakes in terms of turnovers (just 1.0 per-36 minutes) – but it’s his potential for 18-20 points with a load of threes every night that should see him picked up in all but the shallowest of leagues.
He should get 28-30 minutes at minimum and when he played at least 28 minutes last year, he was essentially your Nick Young level scorer and threes specialist. In those 21 games he scored at only an ‘ok’ clip, 15.5 points per night, but very solid percentages of 45/86, along with 2.7 threes per game.
This year he’s been even better when given minutes, averaging 21.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, a massive 3.3 threes and 52/70 splits. Play Hardaway Jr, this is a trend going forward as long as Melo is hurt and J.R. Smith is still himself.
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