Fantasy Basketball

Fantasy Basketball 2014: Hump Day


Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

If you haven’t checked out Zack’s piece, stop reading this “article” and indulge your eyes with some more of his fantasy basketball morsels.

Kris Humphries

Don’t look now but Kris Humphries may just be returning to fantasy basketball relevance again.

[I have to get it out of the way right now how much I seriously dislike the spelling of his first name, like big time hate it and yeah I know it’s not his fault…’Kris’…that’s like saying ‘Merry Kristmas’…argh…didn’t take long for my first vent of the article.]

The Celtics are tanking losing games with high regularity now and Humphries is a veteran PF/C with a knack for defending the paint and rebounding – and he’s on an expiring contract – so the math is easy. You can bet Brad Stevens has been told ‘play this guy’ to showcase Hump to teams needing frontcourt help, so GM Danny Ainge can pilfer another team’s pockets like he did with Memphis in the Courtney Lee-Jerryd Bayless swap.

In his four starts for the Celtics, Humphries has been very useful across the board, producing 9 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2.3 blocks and 47/100 splits. Sure, in all likelihood he’s not going to stay at that level, but he has a history of putting up double-doubles with regularity when thrust into a starting role and at the very least he’s a good daily alternative to scrap-heap Cs to round out your line-up like Robert Sacre or Jeff Pendergraph Ayres.

He’s a solid addition in all formats of fantasy basketball, however, it needs to be mentioned that his new found starting role is directly related to Jared Sullinger’s struggles as the starting C, which ironically seem to be disappearing since he’s been moved to a bench role! Such a frustrating game this fantasy basketball isn’t it?

Humphries has been in the news and under the microscope more than most players of his ‘talent’ level over his 10 year NBA career (seriously, 10 years…time flies when you’re less than mediocre for your first six seasons), but that shouldn’t sway you from picking him up as a stop-gap PF/C, especially if you’re short on rebounds and poorly spelled forenames.

DJ Augustin

I never thought I’d suggest you take a look at a player who couldn’t even beat out the incomparable Dwight Buycks for the back-up point guard role on the Toronto Raptors. It’s true, Augustin failed as the reserve lead guard for Dwayne Casey, as he was waived back in December to help make space for the Rudy Gay seven player trade with the Sacramento Kings.

Augustin is no stranger to playing big minutes. He started a full season back in 2011-12 for the Charlotte Bobcats, and he actually put up some useful stats in assists and free throw percentage.

He has a career rate of 87% from the free throw line which is always handy in roto, not to mention when he does start (150 games for his career) he has averaged 13.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.5 threes per night.

But then there’s the bad stuff.

Just 0.76 steals per game and 40.9% shooting from the floor. You could stomach those stats if he scored or rebounded a little more, but he doesn’t. I’ve listed him predominantly with an eye to the future, as the Bulls are ‘re-tooling’ rather than ‘rebuilding’.

That’s like saying you’re going to the ‘bathroom’ rather than the ‘toilet’. Call it what you want but don’t make excuses, we know what you’re doing behind the locked door Chicago.

Metaphors and critique aside, Kirk Hinrich is being shopped around actively for teams needing a decent back-up point guard, so you can expect a deal sooner rather than later – which means Augustin will be battling Marquis “Out of his league” Teague and his PER of 0.2 for the starting gig .

Evan Fournier

Many deep sleeper charts going into the season had Fournier pegged as a potential break-out player this season for the Denver Nuggets.

He’s long, athletic, can make the three ball and with Danilo Gallinari benched with another injury, the door seemed open for Fournier to waltz into the starting five.

Brian Shaw, however, didn’t agree with these assumptions and after a disappointing off-season which saw him miss out on the French national team for Euro 2013, Fournier found himself riding the pine early in the NBA season.

It’s no secret the Nuggets have had their share of struggles – both on the court and behind the scenes, but winning goes a long way to silencing critics and quashing disharmony.

Ironically it’s the consummate professional Andre Miller who has been squeezed from the rotation, as Shaw has opted to go with the bigger Fournier as his first shooting guard off the bench to play alongside the diminutive Nate Robinson. Miller’s displeasure has been widely noted as he received the first DNP-CD of his career, having played in a total of 98.9% of possible games since being drafted between Methuselah and Joseph of Aramathea.

None of that NBA politics matters for the youngster Fournier, as he’s quietly started contributing and producing the stats many fantasy basketball fans hoped he’d be doing from the start of the year. Over the last six games for the Nuggets – five wins and one loss over the span – he’s put up 13.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, a whopping 2.5 threes and 53/60 shooting splits. Those are valuable stats especially in deep leagues, but there’s enough data to illustrate that he might be the main benefactor of an injury or trade prompted rotation shuffle.

Last season he played 21 games of at least 15 minutes, averaging 11.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.4 threes and very respectable 50/79 shooting splits – those really aren’t far off being rosterable in most formats and they will only improve as his confidence grows.

Monitor the minutes, because if he continues to get 25-30 a night, he’s going to produce stats at the Jodie Meeks, Marco Belinelli and Mike Dunleavy-type level, but he’s got much more upside as he’s still just 21 years old.

Follow Sam on Twitter @macetastic and feel free to ask any NBA related questions, whether fantasy or reality.

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