The NBA season is a marathon, but that race is rarely run in a straight line. Rather, there are ups and downs, highs and lows as players try to ride the roller coaster to stardom.
For fantasy basketball owners, this means that a player who starts out as the waiver wire pickup destined to lead you to a championship may not stay that way all year.
With that in mind, here are a few players who were lighting things up early, but have faded a bit now that the calendar has changed to 2017.
Stats accurate as of 1/14
Lou Williams- The Lakers started the season red-hot thank in part of the exploits of Lou Williams. The former Sixth Man of the Year has largely had a career year, scoring at will and finding magical ways to get to the free throw line. He is an expert at making bad shots, especially when going to his left, and has been creating shots for his teammates at a respectable level for a player who had a reputation for being a chucker. Unfortunately, in the month of January Williams has shot just 36 percent from the field and is only taking 3.3 trips to the line per game, way down from the 7.9 attempts he had in December. As head coach Luke Walton looks to get the struggling Lakers going, Williams has also seen his minutes dip to just 19.5 per game. He can get hot again in a hurry, but for now, Williams’ fantasy basketball stock is slowly dropping.
T.J. Warren- With starting small forward P.J. Tucker missing the beginning of the Phoenix Suns’ season, T.J. Warren stepped into the starting lineup and looked like the real deal. He slashed to the basket with the best of them while providing two steals per game, which made him one of the best waiver wire pickups in the league. At just 23 it appeared he was breaking out, but a head injury cost him nearly a month of the season and he hasn’t quite been able to find his groove since. Tucker has returned, cutting Warren’s minutes and neither his steals nor free throw percentage has recovered to pre-injury levels. It’s always possible the Suns free up more minutes for Warren by dealing the veteran Tucker at the trade deadline, but for the time being he can’t be depended upon as a fantasy basketball starter.
Tim Frazier- We knew this would happen. With New Orleans Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday missing the beginning of the season to be with his ailing wife and newborn child, Frazier got all the minutes he could handle and provided fantasy basketball owners with plenty of assists and steals. He wasn’t a star, but Frazier was a solid option as a third point guard for your roster. However, when Holiday came back Frazier was quickly phased out, and now that Tyreke Evans has also returned he is starting to rack of DNPs. He was nice to own to start the season, but can be safely dropped now.
Jeremy Lin- While it’s been some time since the days of Linsanity, it appeared that Jeremy Lin would have a real chance to put up some big numbers in Brooklyn. The Nets are seriously lacking in talent, and Lin would have the ball in his hands and an up-tempo offense built around him. In the first few games of the season it appeared that he would thrive, averaging 16.3 points and 6.8 assists. However, a hamstring injury in just the fifth game of the season lingered, and he injured it again after making a seven-game return over a month later. With so much of the season spent on the shelf, Lin is certainly trending downward.
Trevor Booker- Another Brooklyn Net, Trevor Booker has primarily been used as a backup for most of his career but assumed a starting spot when he agreed to join the Nets. Early on, what stood out was his impressive steals numbers from the power forward position, notching 2.2 per game in November. Since then, his steals have dropped off a cliff to a lowly 0.3 per game in January. Since he isn’t a big shot blocking threat and isn’t great from the line, as Booker’s steals disappeared so did his fantasy basketball value.