Fantasy Basketball

2015-16 Fantasy Basketball: Box Score Browsing – Furious George

Paul George

This could just as easily be a reference to the seemingly always furious George Costanza, but no, this is a fantasy basketball article so I’ll keep the Seinfeld references to a minimum.

Paul George is officially back.

In fact he may be back and better than before, at least from a fantasy and statistical perspective. While his athleticism isn’t quite where it was, he’s adjusting to playing more minutes at a new position whilst still likely harboring some ill-will towards stanchions.

I’m not going to go back over old injuries, instead let’s look at the level of work George has contributed so far in the young NBA season. He’s had some ups and downs along the way but he’s definitely producing at the levels so many of us hoped he would, in fact he’s actually far and away exceeded what I expected from him coming back from such a horrible injury.

My colleague Zack Rewis had mentioned numerous times on the Twitterverse before the season that he had no concerns about George’s health. I’m no doctor, but 24.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 2.3 threes, 1.5 steals and 87% from the line (on more than seven attempts per) proves I don’t know jack!

Much like current alpha dog Steph Curry did with his ankle injuries, the 26-year old George will be looking to put his injury concerns squarely behind him. The range of stats he’s currently putting up so far are truly elite, in fact you can count on two fingers the ONLY players in NBA history to put up at least 23.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.0 threes a game. There’s Paul George and the incomparable Antoine Walker.

After failing to reach 20 points even once in the Pacers’ first four games (just 1-3 in that stretch), PG-13 simply took off, taking the Pacers with him. During his recent seven game fantasy purge, George has averaged 28.9 points, 9.0 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.1 steals, 3.3 threes and ridonk 47/83 splits! The Pacers have gone 5-2 during that stretch and he’s been the 6th best player in fantasy during that span, per Basketball-Monster.

The time to buy-low came and went in the blink of an eye, so it’s going to cost a lot to pry George from his owners as he’s now eligible at SG, SF and PF in most formats and he’s playing at a career-best level.

Point of reference – I managed to trade my LaMarcus Aldridge and Bradley Beal for George in a 12-team, 9-category Head-to-Head keeper league. I think that was a steal and I’ll now be looking at potentially trading LeBron for a young big (Gobert, Towns being my two targets), as I’m a tad thin at PF with only Paul Millsap and Nikola Mirotic at the position (along with LeBron).

Derrick Favors

One thing about the Utah Jazz is you know exactly what you’re getting from Favors.

A brute at PF with a developing touch and an improving overall game that’s seen his stats increase across the board in his age-25 season. Pairing with Rudy Gobert, Favors forms a formidable defensive presence inside, a highlight being his career-high 7 blocked shots at Miami in Gobert’s absence.

Favors is a mobile big with fast hands, which has seen his fantasy game expand in the last couple of seasons, particularly in the steals department. This year he’s hitting a career mark in thefts, placing fourth in the league at 2.4 steals per night – tops among all PF and C eligible players.

Finding a PF/C eligible player that can net you a steal AND a block per game is a rare thing – you may know the guys who did it last year, as they’re a who’s who of defensive-heavy fantasy players (strictly defensive in your case Mr Smith).

He’s been a beast over his last five games, averaging 16.0 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.2 steals, 2.2 blocks and 54% shooting from the field, and that includes a 19-minute dud at Orlando.

Bottom line is, he’s already a top 20 fantasy player and he’s still just 24 years old, so you can expect even more growth, especially if the Jazz would get themselves a legit pick and roll point guard who can set him up for easy buckets.

Rajon Rondo

I’m happy to admit when I’m wrong – most of the time.

But when one Rajon Pierre Rondo starts throwing out old school Rondo stats, I’ll admit that they’re good but I’ll tell you that he’s done this before. And if you’re going to take the ‘in the moment’ good, you have to be prepared for the bad – and it will come, and it will be bad.

George Karl is running Rondo into the ground but he’s not the spry athletic wunderkind he was back in his Celtics days; there’s been 25 games of a player playing at least 43 minutes and Rondo has FIVE of those. Rondo was a rock his first four seasons, playing in 96% of a possible 328 regular season games, but since then he’s missed 137 games – an average of 27 games missed a year.

Going back to the aforementioned positives now, Rondo’s working on a spectacular 6-rebound + 12-assists + 2-steal streak (5 games), which is somehow the longest such streak since the league started counting steals! The career-high 7.1 rebounds is fantastic, as are the 2.1 steals, which is the highest mark since 2010-11, his second consecutive All Star campaign.

And now the bad.

He’s shot above 50% just three times in 11 games, two of those games being in his first three games. The free throw percentage woes continue, as he’s hitting a career low 35% and he avoids contact like a fat guy does a staircase. He’s also taking the second-most threes per game at 2.4 a night while shooting 27% and turning the ball over at a career-high 3.9 times per night.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is, SELL SELL SELL! But make sure you sell high, then you can be as smug as George is in The Stock Tip.

Layups:

Eric Gordon

Another injury-prone guard having a nice little bounce-back and return to fantasy prominence this young season. Gordon’s ADP was 101 entering the season (per Fantasy Pros) and he’s outperforming that by a longshot, coming in as the 50th overall player in Yahoo.

His first three seasons for the Clippers hinted at a seriously good NBA career, but then injuries hit, the Chris Paul trade happened and a once promising career was derailed before it even got a chance.

Gordon’s emerged as a legit number two scoring option behind man-child Anthony Davis, as he’s scored in bunches and is absolutely locked in from deep, averaging 3.6 threes a game over his last seven games. During that same stretch he’s averaged a surprising 21.1 points on 45% from the field and 83% from the line, but the counting stats (2.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 0.9 steals) are indicators that he’s someone to sell high on, now.

Jared Sullinger

Finally the ‘hefty’ Celtics’ big man has taken the starting gig and held onto it…for now!

Brad Stevens’ rotations are essentially like rolling the dice from game to game, but Sullinger’s managed to secure consistent minutes after cleaning the glass like he cleans a plate covered in gravy.

The real fantasy goodies he’s providing are the potatoes to a good rotisserie meal; 1.4 steals, 1.0 block, 0.9 threes and 48% shooting from the field, all in just 24 minutes per game. His per-36 minute stats are absolutely bonkers, as he’s putting up 16.3 points, 13.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.2 steals, 1.5 blocks and 1.3 threes! If only he didn’t sweat bullets from taking his shooting shirt off!

Cory Joseph

Any Kyle Lowry owners need to take a long, hard look at that last spot they’re using on Tony Allen (an inexplicable 43% owned in Yahoo), Wilson Chandler (39% – I have more chance contributing this year than he does!), Ben McLemore (34%) and Nick Friggin Young (19%).

Joseph is owned in just 14% of Yahoo leagues and 5.5% of ESPN leagues and with Lowry’s known propensity for picking up nagging injuries (14, 7, 19, 14, 3, 12 games missed over the past six seasons), he’s worth adding to the end of your bench.

Over the past 6 games he’s been ridiculously effective as the first guard off the Raptors’ bench; 12.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, just 1.0 turnover in 27.4 minutes and insane 64/92 splits.

—–

Next week I’m updating the massive top 200 dynasty rankings, where there’s been some HUGE player movement. Some players are out, others are up, others are down to the murky depths of the 190s!

Feel free to hit me (@macetastic) and the rest of the hard-working Fix hoops team up on Twitter for any fantasy NBA related discussion.

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