Thursday, January 24, 2008

Market Watch - Fantasy Basketball 1/25/08

FSE is proud to introduce our newest weekly column offering, Market Watch, which will take a look at the past week in each of our fantasy sports - baseball, football and basketball. The column will focus on players whose values we have upgraded and downgraded.


Quite a few upgrades this week due to the numerous injuries to key players around the league. Now, without further ado let's take a look at the fantasy basketball market for the period of 1/17/08 - 1/24/08. 

UPGRADES

1. Kareem Rush - As Pacers head coach Jim O'Brien has fallen deeper and deeper in love with smaller lineups, the better Rush's number have become. After a slow start to the season where he saw limited game action, Rush has worked his way into the Pacers regular starting backcourt. In the month of January, Rush is averaging nearly 14 points a game with over 2 three pointers and 1 steal. With Jermaine O'Neal out and Jamal Tinsley missing time on almost a regular basis with an assortment of injuries, Rush should get at least 30 minutes a night for the foreseeable and could actually build upon his current output.

2. Sebastian Telfair - Quietly, Sebastian Telfair has been having a very productive January for fantasy owners. Telfair has been the starting point guard in Minnesota for over a month now and has been receiving legitimate playing time, averaging around 35 minutes a night. In that time Bassy is averaging around 7 assists a night and of late his scoring has picked up, reaching a clip of about 12 points a night. For those owners looking for help in point guard categories such as assists and assist/turnover ratio, Telfair is your man. Just watch out for the impending return of Randy Foye who has begun practicing again and may starting playing again soon.

3. Mark Blount - With Shaq out for at least two weeks and Alonzo Mourning out for the season, that leaves Blount as the only serviceable option at center on the Heat roster. In prior seasons when receiving around 30 minutes a night, Blount has been able to register numbers around 12 points and 6 rebounds. Expect Blount to log around 35 minutes a night for the depleted Heat with the potential to average around 15 points and 7 rebounds a night. If that's not an indication of how bad the Heat are right now then I don't know what to tell you.

4. Joakim Noah - We fully documented Noah's rising value earlier today in a post regarding the impact of Luol Deng's injury. Give it a look.

5. Linas Kleiza - Kleiza had begun putting up big scoring numbers even before Carmelo Anthony went down with what appears a somewhat severe ankle sprain. Over his last 4 games, all of which he played 34 or more minutes, he is averaging 23.5 points a game including a 41 point outburst against Utah. With regular playing time Kleiza can help fantasy owners in scoring, rebounding (averaging 5 a game in January) and three pointers. Kleiza has become a favorite of George Karl so he should get minutes whether Anthony starts or not. However, if Melo were to miss extended time it will certainly help Kleiza's cause.

DOWNGRADES

1. Darko Milicic - As a very patient Darko owner (I've consistently owned him since the draft) I am here to tell you that it might be time to cut ties with the Yugoslavian prince rather than wait for him to come around. Darko had a good start to the season, showing promise with solid efforts in his first eight games. However, various injuries have forced Milicic to miss eight games since then while leaving several other contests early. In January, Darko has put up one double-double, marking the only time he has reach double digits in either points or rebounds. In addition, the fantasy stat category which has been Darko's strength, blocks, has slipped terribly of late. Until Darko once again establishes a consistent role in Memphis, I would look to the waiver wire for an alternative.

2. Beno Udrih - Beno has been a pleasant surprise this season, putting up solid point guard numbers for Sacramento averaging 13.4 points and 4.5 assists. Unfortunately, the return of Mike Bibby to the starting lineup has relegated Udrih to the bench and cut his playing time in half. To his credit, Udrih has put up some admirable scoring numbers in limited time. However, Udrih's assist totals are down and in the King's last game he failed to score in 17 minutes of play. While Beno's value is down right now, if the Kings were to trade Mike Bibby as has been wildly rumored Udrih would once again be a solid fantasy option. 

3. Yi Jianlian - Yi had a solid December averaging over 12 points and 6 rebounds a game; however, January has been unkind to the Chairman. His scoring and rebounding averages have dipped to 8 points and 5 rebounds while his minutes have become more inconsistent. Yi still has a lot of potential going forward, but if you can find a better option until the Bucks stop playing musical chairs with their frontcourt's playing time, go for it. 

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