We’re four weeks into the NBA season and already we’ve been able to seen some players rise and fall in the fantasy ranks. There have been some strong performances and a few busts, but it’s still too early to tell which players will have the strongest impact on your team.
As the season progresses it’s becoming more and more apparent which players are the strongest fantasy performers and which ones may be considered busts. Everyone knew this season would be different due to the lockout and the compressed schedule, and the fantasy world is no different. We are finally beginning to see which teams and players this is having an effect on.
Still, let’s take a look back at the last week and pick out some players to watch moving forward.
Fantasy Performance of the Week: Kobe Bryant vs. NBA
Kobe Bryant has spent the last two seasons being told he’s too old to be a prime performer in the NBA these days. But this week he went Brendan Frasier on the entire league, giving us a Blast from the Past that none of us were expecting. In four straight games Bryant dropped 40+ points. During this four game stretch the Black Mamba put in a total of 172 points, leading his team to four straight victories. Rumors of Bryant’s demise seem premature at this point, and those who scooped him up in the first or second round of their fantasy draft are sitting pretty four weeks into the season.
Fantasy Dud of the Week: Ray Allen vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
The reeling Boston Celtics lost their fifth straight game to the Oklahoma City Thunder last Monday, and Ray Allen was one of the reasons why. Boston has looked old and slow to start the season, and Allen’s poor shooting night didn’t help much. Allen shot 2-7 with just six points in the game, and turned the ball over three times in the process. While Boston’s other aging star Paul Pierce has played decently well this season, Allen seems to be aging rapidly.
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John Wall: Washington Wizards
After a disappointing start to the season Wall broke out in a big way on Monday night. In a game against the Houston Rockets Wall put up 38 points, eight assists, six rebounds, and four steals. Any fantasy player that had him starting on Tuesday despite his slow start certainly reaped the benefits. Whether this will be the performance that finally breaks him out of his slump and propels him to fantasy stardom this season is obviously yet to be seen, but it’s a good start.
Luke Ridnour: Minnesota Timberwolves
As an individual that went to the University of Oregon I always enjoy every opportunity to plug another former Duck. Ridnour has played well since taking over the shooting guard role from Wayne Ellington, and broke out against the Sacramento Kings. Ridnour scored 25 points along with nine assists and 4-4 from long range. With Kevin Love being the only real scoring threat on the floor, it’s not inconceivable to think that Ridnour could put up halfway decent numbers this season.
Andrew Bogut: Milwaukee Bucks
There’s no doubt that the center position is a bit light these days. Long gone are the days of Chamberlain and Russell, and even the center-heavy 90s seem like a distant memory. With Dwight Howard as the only real superstar threat at the center position, it’s all about patching the boat and making sure you don’t sink. With that being said, Bogut has played well this season. Even though his team is dismal at best, Bogut has had a strong fantasy impact. Bogut has averaged 14.4 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists this year, which are all higher than his projected totals at the beginning of the season.
Pau Gasol: Los Angeles Lakers
Gasol has played consistently so far this season for the Lakers, but his numbers have begun to decline since the return of Andrew Bynum. He is spending more time playing a midrange game on offense rather than using his size advantage in the paint, which has resulted in a drop in his points as well as his shooting percentage. He’s averaging just 15.9 points, which is three points less than his career average. While he is still a strong player for the Lakers, in terms of fantasy value he is rapidly decreasing.
Vince Carter: Dallas Mavericks
It’s been a long time since Carter was a strong fantasy option, but his time in Dallas certainly isn’t playing out like some people expected. Carter’s numbers are down across the board, and a recent ankle injury may slow him down even more. Carter is averaging just 9.5 points per game, which is miniscule compared to the 22.0 point average he has established over his career. At this point, Carter just isn’t a viable starting option for your fantasy team.
Tyreke Evans: Sacramento Kings
The Western Conference theme continues with Tyreke Evans. The Kings were expected to make a bit of a leap this season, but so far still find themselves hanging out in the basement. Evans has put up decent numbers, but his averages are well below what most people expected. The continuing drama with DeMarcus Cousins doesn’t help team morale, and it seems that Evans’ play has been impacted by this. In a game against the Dallas Mavericks last week Evans shot a measly 1 – 8 from the field, scoring just three points. During the game he dished out just two assists. In fact, on the season Evans is only averaging 3.7 assists per game.