Which Sun will rise?
Pietrus, Dudley and Carter a fantasy snafu
By: Corby Yarbrough | 12/27/10, 6:45 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.
Trades, injuries and a brief emergence have made the wing spot for the Phoenix Suns a confusing one for fantasy players.
Mickael Pietrus and Vince Carter came over in the trade from Orlando two weeks ago. Carter has not played yet due to a knee injury and should be on the shelf for a couple more weeks. Pietrus has started to emerge in the last couple of games. Meanwhile, Jared Dudley, who has shooting guard and both forwards eligibility in Yahoo leagues, was a stud for three games before falling off the map Sunday.
Pietrus played 27 minutes in Sunday's loss to the Clippers, hitting five 3-pointers, shot 64 percent from the field, 100 percent from the stripe and added three boards. Dudley had two of those games before falling off Sunday — hitting seven 3s on Dec. 23 and three on Dec. 20 to go with 12 and five on the rebounding end.
It's a hard call to make which one will emerge and how long will the production be there before Carter comes back. Pietrus might be settling in and Dudley might go back to the reserve role where he was averaging 20 minutes in 25 games.
The Suns have three games this week against Philadelphia, Detroit and Sacramento. If you can take a run at both, give it a shot; if you can't, I would lean toward Dudley and his triple eligibility.
BG, ARE YOU WITH ME?
Detroit's Ben Gordon has taken over the starting 2-guard role for the Pistons, and nothing is really different than how he played as a sub. The 2004 first-round pick has played the last three games as a starter, averaging 12 points (a 25-point game along with a seven- and four-point efforts), shooting 14-of-34 (.411) from the field and 5-of-13(.385) from beyond the arc.
For the season, Gordon is averaging 11.7 points, 1.2 3s a game on 45 percent from the field and 39 percent from beyond the arc.
The Pistons play three games this week — Charlotte, Boston and Phoenix — but Gordon has done nothing as a starter or reserve on a consistent basis to be considered a reliable fantasy option this season.
NEED SOME WIZARDRY?
So John Wall returned from injury Sunday night after missing five games (knee). The rookie came off the bench to play 19 minutes, score four points, dish out four assists and four turnovers to go along with six rebounds. The 22-percent shooting effort didn't help, either. He has played in 16 of 28 games so far this season, leaving fantasy owners wondering if they can count on him. Well, if he's in the lineup, his talent dictates he has to be in your lineup.
Kirk Hinrich has certainly held down the fort rather well in his absence. Hinrich has scored in double figures in the last five games, averaged nine assists and 4.4 rebounds in that time. His shooting percentages are above 40 percent on most nights. He's healthy, consistent and still worth being in lineups regardless of Wall's availability.
The Wizards have four games this week — Houston, back-to-back against Indiana and New Orleans.
Chauncey Billups also returned from injury (wrist) last week and showed no signs of being hampered. He scored 24, 30 and 24 points in his last three games on a combined shooting percentage of .541 (20-of-37) and was perfect from the stripe (27-of-27).
Meanwhile, Ty Lawson, his backup, continued to produce as well. In the three games since Billups' return, Lawson scored 14, 19 and 22 points in over 31 minutes of action on average. He continues to shoot high percentages for the most part and contribute the minimal rebounds and assists to remain in real and fantasy lineups.
The Nuggets play three games this week — Portland, Minnesota and Sacramento — and both point guards should remain in your lineup or any lineup.
So Wall and and Billups are back. When is Boston's Rajon Rondo returning from his ankle injury? The Celtics play four games this week, and he might be back Tuesday night against Indiana.
Nate Robinson has continued the trend of backups holding down the fort, albeit not spectacularly enough to warrant lineup consideration once Rondo returns. He has averaged 12 points on a miserable .352 from the field with 3.8 assists and three rebounds on average.
With four games this week, the Celtics might ease Rondo back into the lineup. Plus, with games against the Pacers, Pistons, Hornets and Raptors it is not world beaters Boston is playing. So Robinson should still get his for one more week. Throw both in there, see how Rondo plays this week and then probably move on from Robinson once Rondo is good to go.
USE THE MINUTES, LUKE
Jonny Flynn is still being eased into the Minnesota rotation as the team's point guard. Since returning Dec. 14 from his hip injury, Flynn has not registered a start and has played no more than 23:52 in a game. He has been in the teens minute-wise five of the seven games. In those seven games, he is averaging 6.1 points, 3.7 assists and 1.7 rebounds on 42 percent shooting from the field.
It is felt that he will eventually get that starting gig back, but eventually is not this week. Luke Ridnour has done a solid job, including a season-high 23 points in the Dec. 26 outing against Cleveland on 58 percent shooting from the field (7-of-12, inlcuding 5-of-5 from 3), 100 percent from the stripe(4-of-4) to go along with six assists and five rebounds.
The Timberwolves play three games this week — New Orleans, Denver and New Jersey — and Ridnour should either stay or get in your lineup until the Flynn minutes are situated.
This one is as easy as it gets. The Dallas Mavericks are one of the league's best teams this week and they get to play five games. So five games in a week should mean everyone gets some fantasy love.
If you are on the fence for some reason about Jason Terry, Caron Butler or any other contributor to the Mavs, even the fringe guys, everyone might be worth a look.
They take on Oklahoma City, Toronto in a back-to-back, San Antonio on Thursday and then close with a back-to-back against Milwaukee and Cleveland.
CRASH STILL BANGED UP
Charlotte's category stuffer, Gerald Wallace, will miss his fifth straight game with an ankle injury when the Bobcats take to the floor Monday against Detroit. Charlotte has just three games this week, and Wallace is reportedly eyeing a Friday return against Golden State — the team's last game of the week. Needless to say, keep "Crash" out of the lineup this week.
Andrea Bargnani (strained calf) is expected to miss Toronto's three-game road trip this week (the Raptors return home against Boston Sunday).
Amir Johnson (back) is expected to be a game-time decision for Monday's game against Memphis. The team will also be without Sonny Weems (back) Monday.
So, working backwards, use Linas Kleiza at the guard-forward spot in place of Weems. Kleiza can be a multi-category contributor with his 11.3 points, 4.6 boards, 45 percent shooting from the field and one 3 a game.
Julian Wright should get the time for Johnson. He has averaged 12:18 of action this year with 3.7 points, 1.8 boards and 1.1 assists.
Rookie Ed Davis (19:06 mpg) or Joey Dorsey (11:18 mpg) are expected to start in Bargnani's sted. Neither would be plays any other week than perhaps this week with so many injuries to the Raptors' squad.
WAIT ON THE GUY FROM GOLDEN STATE?
Golden State center Andris Biedrins has missed four straight games with an ankle injury. Louis Amundson has started the games in his absence, averaging 4.3 points and four rebounds. Even if Biedrins returns for the team's game against Philly Monday night or the three-game road trip to Atlanta, Charlotte and Miami, he's really only good for rebounds on a consistent basis.
With injuries to other centers or power forwards that have center eligibility across the league, it's probably better to go find another option this week instead of Biedrins. As the 35th best center in nine-category leagues, it also might be time to cut bait with Biedrins altogether.
— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter
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