How to Win Your Fantasy NBA League

Nicolas Batum was pegged as a Rudy Gay type player who’s taller, longer, and French.  Thus, my cousin Calvin nicknamed him “French Gay.”  How great is that name?  Honestly guys, keep track of Batum’s status, because if he ever gets starter’s minutes and remains healthy, I expect him to put up some pretty great fantasy numbers.  He’s capable of contributing a handful of points, rebounds, blocks, and threes.

Kevin Love received great news recently that his knee isn’t seriously damaged.  As the best rebounds-per-minute player last season.  Love will finally get the chance to put up huge numbers this season now that Al Jefferson is gone.  Love can score, grab a ton of rebounds, and he’ll score the occasional three.  Michael Beasley also will have the chance to become relevant. Beasley has yet to really impress anyone with his play, but in Minnesota he’ll have a chance to show what he can do.  I expect him to continue to be able to score in bunches, grab a few rebounds, but probably not contribute anything else.

Kevin Love’s ability to throw outlet passes and hit full court shots will never cease to amaze me.

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdIpjM5bnlg

Demarcus Cousins is worth keeping an eye on.  As possibly the best big man talent in this year’s draft, Cousins has the potential to be a very solid power forward/center and be a good scorer/rebounder.  I don’t know if he’ll be a consistent shot-blocker, but if given the minutes I have a feeling he could average a double-double.  There’s a ton of competition at the big man positions on Sacramento, but there is no clear cut winner and Cousins could very well be the starter on opening night.  Keep an eye on this position battle and it could be worthwhile to buy Cousins now, while his price is low.

Hedo Turkoglu has the perfect skill-set to be a fantasy beast in Alvin Ghentry’s up-tempo offense.  Hedo can score, rebound, pass, and shoot the long ball.  On the Phoenix Suns he may be a hybrid of Boris Diaw and Joe Johnson.  Also keep your eye on the other new additions on the Suns Josh Childress and Hakim Warrick as well as their incumbent big men Channing Frye and Robin Lopez. As of now I’m not sure how their rotation will workout, but usually whoever plays big minutes in the Phoenix Suns offense is worth picking up in fantasy leagues.

Blake Griffin was recently described by teammate Craig Smith as being as strong as Karl Malone but with the explosiveness and athleticism as Lebron James. As ridiculous as it sounds, imagine for a second if it were true.  Don’t you think Blake Griffin would be worth taking a risk on?  I’d be willing to take him in later rounds, and I think a realistic ceiling for him is around 16-8 with 1.5 blocks or so.  Two other big man rookies to keep your eye on but probably don’t need to draft, Tiago Splitter and Patrick Patterson.   If Yao’s injured, Patterson will have a chance to put up Al Horford type numbers.  If Splitter gets the playing time, he’ll have the chance to put up Marc Gasol / Luis Scola type numbers. Check out the video below for Blake Griffin’s 2007 dunk contest contributions.

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIU4pzrv_IU

Wesley Johnson and Al-Farouq Aminu are two rookie small forwards who are poised to contribute but we just don’t know in what way yet.  Both of them are of the long, rangy class similar to Rudy Gay or Luol Deng that can pickup steals and blocks and score points along the way.  Neither of them are set as starters, but if they do get starters minutes they should be worth picking up.  Don’t draft these guys unless you’re using your last pick, but do keep an eye on them for the next few weeks.

February 24, 2010 Milwaukee, WI. Bradley Center..New Orleans Hornets Emeka Okafor shoots some free throws before the start of the game..Milwaukee Buck won over the New Orleans Hornets 115-95. Mike McGinnis/CSM.

Emaka Okafor and Andris Biedrins are rated 95 and 97 respectively in Yahoo! Fantasy NBA.  Injuries derailed Biedrins season while limited minutes on a new team playing without tablesetter Chris Paul resulted in a less than stellar output for Okafor.  I’m expecting both of these guys to put up close-to double-double numbers while shooting high FG%.  Their low FT% will hurt you, but luckily they don’t shoot too many free throws so I can live with picking them in the 7th or 8th rounds. These guys are basically a destitute man’s Dwight Howard.

Al Harrington, Rudy Fernandez, and Peja Stojakovic are all 3 point specialists who are veterans that have kind of been forgotten. They could give you a boost if you need help in the 3 department.  Depending on how many minutes they get, they’ll probably average 10-18 ppg with close to 2.0 3s per game.  Keep an eye on Marcus Thornton and Martell Webster as well, who are good young shooters.  Check in on James Harden as well, who is projected to be a better player than he has shown in his so far young career.

Brandon Roy isn’t entirely a sleeper, but don’t forget that two seasons ago he was worth taking at the beginning of the second round.  I’m looking for him to put up better numbers than last year and be worthy of being selected in the second round.

Stephen Curry stretches at a U.S. national basketball team practice in Las Vegas, Nevada July 21, 2010. REUTERS/Laura Rauch (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Stephen Curry is the new sexy fantasy pick, his top-10 ranking in yahoo is impressive, but what’s more impressive is that as a rookie he contributed all across the boards with points, rebounds, assists, steals, threes, and good percentages.  Stephen Curry is for real, and don’t underestimate his value.

5 Player to be Wary of:

David Lee is a good fantasy player, but there’s no way he’ll put up the 20-10 he did last year with good percentages all around.  Andris Biedrins will cut down on his rebound numbers while guards Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry will take away some of his shots.  Lee is still a good pickup, but he’s only worth taking in the 5th round or so.

Greg Oden, Andrew Bynum, and Yao Ming are 3 big men who have tremendous potential to be fantasy sleepers, but they will need to be healthy to be effective.  Injuries are what have prevented them from being elite NBA centers, and each of them have a legit chance at being the second best center in the league this season behind Dwight Howard.  However, be careful of all 3 of them, since they have all proven to be injury prone.

Shawn Marion and Caron Butler cut into each others minutes, and they have both passed their physical peaks.  Marion’s 32 and Butler’s 30, as long as they both stay on the same team their production will be limited.  Butler’s still good for the 6th round or so, and Marion should only be picked up near the end of the draft, but gone are the days where these guys go in the 1st and 2nd rounds.

Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, and Chauncey Billups are old. 36, 37, 34, that’s how old these guys are.  Although all 3 of them have proven to be durable and healthy at the start of the season, I can’t help but wonder if Father Time will finally catch up to them this season.  These guys are all potential 2nd or 3rd round picks, and they are definitely worth being picked so high.  The only problem is, can they stay healthy?

Marcus Camby is 36, and he plays a role which is dependent on his jumping ability.  For some reason I’m expecting a drop off in his production this year, as he’s getting pretty up there in age and his draft position is still pretty high.  I’d avoid him because he’s old and often injured.

And that is that.  Hopefully you’ll have found some true gems with my advice,  and you are on your way to winning your fantasy league.

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