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, and the fantasy stars are beginning to rise to the top.
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: LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Toronto Raptors
The Portland Trail Blazers forward has been establishing himself as a clear-cut All-Star this season, and had arguably the best performance of his career on Friday against the Toronto Raptors. Aldridge had 33 points and 23 rebounds in 38 minutes on the floor. He also dished out five assists and had two steals to go along with his other impressive numbers. It was the first 30/20 game of Aldridge’s career, and made fantasy owners all around the world very pleased.
Fantasy Dud of the Week: Jose Calderon vs. Los Angeles Clippers
The Raptors point guard had himself a performance to forget Sunday night when they took on the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center. After averaging 10.8 points and 8.7 assists on the season he put up just three points and four assists against the Clippers. To make matters worse for Calderon, the Clippers were without their starting point guard (Chris Paul). Calderon’s scoring issues are currently a problem, and don’t bode well for his fantasy value.
Dwight Howard: Orlando Magic
It’s hard to say Howard’s stock is rising because he’s already at the top, but after a tremendous week he’s our choice for the best fantasy performer of the week. In a game against Andrew Bynum, who is supposed to be Howard’s main competition at center, Howard dominated Bynum and the Lakers. He scored 21 points and pulled down 23 rebounds, and put Bynum in foul trouble early and often. Howard established himself as the best center in the league, and showed that it really isn’t that close.
Roy Hibbert: Indiana Pacers
There aren’t a lot of centers in the league that are having a strong impact on fantasy teams. One such center who may be looking to establish himself as a solid fantasy center is Indiana’s Roy Hibbert. After suffering a broken nose against the Lakers Hibbert went off for a season-high 18 points, as well as eight rebounds and four assists. If he is able to improve his consistency he’ll become a very strong fantasy center.
Jeff Teague: Atlanta Hawks
The surprising Atlanta Hawks have had a lot of help from Jeff Teague this season. He has slowly taken the reigns of the team after Al Horford went down with a big injury. He is already among the league’s leaders in steals, and his assist and point totals have been steadily increasing over the last week. By the end of the season Teague could very well end up averaging over 14 points and six assists per game, which isn’t bad for a player that was taken late it most drafts.
Devin Harris: Utah Jazz
After being traded for Deron Williams last season Harris has seen a major decline in his production. Now, amidst trade rumors, Harris is struggling even more. Last Thursday night he scored just one point on 0-7 shooting, and had just two assists and two rebounds. The disappointing numbers he’s been putting up are beginning to take their toll, as he is losing playing time to Earl Watson.
Ray Allen: Boston Celtics
Boston’s best outside shooter has been struggling this season, and now appears to have a nagging injury that isn’t going away. His ankle injury is keeping him from traveling with the Celtics on their current road trip, and could ultimately impact his fantasy value. He’s currently averaging just 14.9 points per game, which is nearly seven points fewer than his career average. Allen may still be a valuable fantasy contributor, but this week I would make sure you have a back-up plan.