Splitting time not all bad
Those sharing minutes still finding plenty of success on court
By: Corby Yarbrough | 12/13/10, 3:13 PM EST
There are many ways to play fantasy basketball — rotisserie, head to head, lineups that can be changed any time and lineups that lock just prior to Monday night’s tip. With that in mind, Athlon Sports will give you the Fantasy Dime each week. These are 10 things to assist you before you have to lock in that lineup for the week.
Last week I wrote of Nicolas Batum being the sleeper pick for the Blazers this season. He was until Wesley Matthews unseated him as the starter in Portland. Now it is Matthews who has clearly placed Batum on the backburner. Batum had four straight games in double digits before sputtering the last two. Meanwhile, Matthews has been the seventh-ranked player in nine-category leagues over the last week and 12th-ranked over the last two weeks. Matthews, over the last week (four games) averaged 35:45 a game, scoring 19.3 points on 2.3 3-pointers a game to go with 2.5, rebounds, assists and steals per game. Portland plays four games this week, and Matthews is available in 39 percent of Yahoo leagues.
RUSH AND DUNLEAVY
Again, back to last week, I wrote of Brandon Rush's surge for the Indiana Pacers in the place of Mike Dunleavy as a starter. Well, starter or not, Dunleavy is still a must play. The Pacers' shooting guard/small forward is Yahoo's 14th-ranked player over the last seven days in a nine-cat and 35th over the last two weeks. Dunleavy averaged 32:15 over a four-game stretch last week, scoring 12.8 points a game with 2.3 3s per contest to go along with 6.5 boards, 2.8 assists, 1.3 blocks and a steal. He does this while shooting .543 from the field and .800 from the stripe. The Pacers play four games this week, albeit against some tough defenses like Chicago, the Lakers and Boston, but Dunleavy should still be in play. Rush is still a solid play, too.
Serge Ibaka, one of the potential breakouts in the paint this season, is starting to play like it consistently. He was the 18th-ranked nine-cat Yahoo player over the last week and 17th over the last two. Ibaka averaged 26:45 over a four-game span last week, scoring 8.5 points on .640 shooting from the field and being perfect from the line. The forward-center also added five boards and 3.5 blocks last week. The Thunder only have three games this week, but they are against defensively challenged teams like Houston, Sacramento and Phoenix.
LAST MAN STANDING
Nene is playing up to his average draft position of 37 so far. He was the 16th-best player over the last week and seventh over the last two in Yahoo nine-category leagues. In four games last week, the center averaged 35:15 a game with 19 points and 6.8 boards and two assists. He should continue to flourish in the absence of Kenyon Martin and with Chris Andersen nursing another injury. Shooting percentages of .676 from the field and .813 from the free throw line aren't too shabby, either.
Luke Ridnour has certainly benefited from Jonny Flynn's inability to get back in the Minnesota lineup (hip). Ridnour entered the draft season with an ADP of 138 and has been the 23rd-best player over the last week and 32nd over the last two in Yahoo nine-cats. In four games last week, the point guard scored 12.5 points a game, dished out 7.8 assists with 1.3 steals and rebounds in 32:45 of action a game. He also shot .559 from the field and .833 from the stripe. He recorded the Timberwolves' first 10-assist game of the season on Friday night. The Wolves play four games this week against four defensively challenged teams — Golden State, Phoenix, Portland and Denver — and he should be a good play this week.
GIVE TY A TRY
Ty Lawson has been a good multi-category player while starter Chauncey Billups struggles for the Nuggets. Since the start of the month, Lawson has averaged almost 22 minutes over seven games. He is scoring 9.4 points on .571 shooting from the field with 3.7 assists, 2.3 boards and 1.0 steals during those seven games. Billups is averaging 33:06 per game during the seven December games, but the fast-paced Nuggets are certainly finding time for Lawson to be productive.
POOH TO THE RESCUE
Tyreke Evans is expected to miss the next three games for the Sacramento Kings due to plantar fasciitis. The guard has been trying to battle through injuries this season, but will wisely get some rest as there are still 50-plus games to go in the regular season. Point guard Pooh Jeter, a rookie, has started to see more time. He's played double-digit minutes the last five games, scoring in double digits three times while averaging four assists, 2.6 rebounds and 0.8 steals during that time. The Kings play Houston twice along with New Orleans and Oklahoma City this week. Point guards are scarce in most leagues, so give Jeter a shot.
WATCH GRANGER'S ANKLE
Indiana's Danny Granger (sprained ankle) is a game-time decision for Monday's game against Chicago. The Pacers also play the Lakers, Cavaliers and Celtics this week. Brandon Rush will certainly be a good play if Granger's out on Monday and for any other games he may miss. Of course, over the last seven days it isn't like Granger has been playing up to his pre-draft ranking of eighth overall. He is shooting .388 from the field the last seven days, scoring 19.8 points a game with 1.5 3s, 4.5 boards and 32.8 assists and a steal a game. But that is just a week. Granger is the 25th-best player in Yahoo's nine-cat leagues for the entire season.
FLY WITH JAMAL
If there is a player performing right at where he was projected too it is Atlanta's Jamal Crawford. His pre-draft rank was 79th and that is exactly where he is at for the season. However, with Joe Johnson (elbow) sidelined for the next month or so, the Hawk guard turned into the 15th-best Yahoo player over the last week. The reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year averaged 33:15 over four games last week, scored 22.3 points a game with 1.8 3s, 3.5 assists, 2.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 0.8 blocks per game. is .471 from the field and .857 from the stripe certainly don't hurt.
SIXER OF THE WEEK
It seems like there is always a Sixer du jour this season. This time it is shooting guard Jodie Meeks. The second-year player has played in 15 games this season, the last five as a starter. As a starter, Meeks is averaging 31:11 per game, scoring 15.6 points with 3.4 3s made. He is shooting 50 percent from the field, .586 from beyond the arc and .786 from the stripe. He gives you points, 3s made and high percentages. Anything else is a bonus with just 1.4 boards, 0.4 assists and steals. But play him while he's the starter and reap the good categories he gives you.
— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter
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