Fantasy Basketball: Is Richard Jefferson Turning Back the Clock?

Ryan LesterSenior Writer IJanuary 7, 2012

SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 20:  Forward Richard Jefferson #24 of the San Antonio Spurs reacts after making a three-point shot against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 20, 2011 at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

I know, Richard Jefferson is only 31, but considering he hasn’t been a fantasy force since the 2008-2009 season prior to joining the San Antonio Spurs, it seems like ages since he’s played the way he has been after Manu Ginobili went down.

Starting in that fateful game against the Timberwolves, Jefferson is averaging 16.3 ppg. He struggled a little with his shot on Thursday (41.7 percent from the floor), but he remains above 50 percent on the year. During the three-game stretch, he’s hitting 53.3 percent of his shots.

He’s hit the boards harder as well, averaging 3.0 rebounds in his first four games and 4.7 in his past three. He hasn’t had enough assists, steals or blocks in any of his game to see a significant increase.

He has, however, been more prolific from downtown. In his first four games he was averaging 2.3 long balls per game, which is a very nice number. In his past three though, he’s drained 4.0 treys per game. At a 63.2 percent clip no less.

When Manu went down, it was thought that Gary Neal or James Anderson would step up. So far, Neal has had more of a bump of the two. Matt Bonner had a nice night on Thursday, pouring in 17 points of his own. It’s been Jefferson though, that has been the main beneficiary of Ginobili’s injury thus far.

Jefferson is owned in less than 60 percent of fantasy leagues. He’s not going to stuff the box score across the board like he did in his early days, but a continued boost in scoring is not unlikely. If you’re looking for scoring and three-pointers, Jefferson could be your guy.

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