MeThinks: Fantasy Basketball Player Value Changes, 2-2-09

Tommy LandryCorrespondent IFebruary 9, 2009

So now the NFL season has officially come to a close (and don't even mention the Pro Bowl as relevant for anything other than a nice trip to Hawaii where great players risk life and limb for...nothing), everyone can officially turn their attention to fixing what ails them on their Fantasy Basketball team while beginning to get ready for Fantasy Baseball drafting season. For Fantasy Baseball, save yourself the trouble and just buy Diamond Draft software from RotoExperts for only $34.95. It's the best real-time, in-draft software that adjusts auction values and player values based on the progression of the draft, all in one click. Become an instant expert on over 2,000 players. You can get it only from RotoExperts.

For Fantasy Basketball, I've got you covered here. The past couple of weeks, we focused on emerging young guys and how to deal with injury situations, and today we'll take a more streamlined approach. Let's revisit guys who haven't been performing as expected in the preseason to determine where there might be some nuggets of value worth pursuing, and to identify which players are simply not worth chasing.

So with that in mind, MeThinks...

We all knew it was only a matter of time before Manu Ginobili (SG, SAS) started producing like he should. He has been a bit inconsistent since returning to the lineup, but when you get any type of offseason surgery on your wheels (legs), you can't expect an immediate resurgence to full speed. Get Ginobili if you can - he was the No. 9 overall player over the past week with 18.5 PTS, 7.3 REB, 3.5 AST, 2.5 STL, and 0.8 3PT. His FG% was subpar at 40.9, but you can't complain about his 97.2 FT% over the past seven days. Manu is on pace to finish the season in the 45.5 FG% range, so he'll be fine, health permitting.

If you need a short-term solution at center, but one with the potential to develop longer-term value, don't sleep on Joakim Noah (PF/C, CHI). Our own Tom Lorenzo predicted big things for Noah in the preseason, and although it hasn't conspired just yet, we've got half a season left to watch. Did you realize he has averaged the following in the past week? 11.3 PTS, 8.0 REB, 3.8 BLK, 2.0 AST, and 67.7 FG%. His 3-for-8 performance from the line in that span is a downer, but it's not like eight FTA will ruin the category for you anyway. With limited options in the frontcourt, I can see Noah getting burn even with Drew Gooden (PF/C, CHI) in the lineup.

Did you see what a splash Mickael Pietrus (SG/SF, ORL) made in his first game back from his most recent downtime injured? 27-10 with four assists and three treys sure looked good on the free agent wire, didn't it? His ownership numbers took a sharp spike upward, and then he proceeded to offer an encore of 4-3 with four assists. He is now owned in only 44 percent of Yahoo! leagues, but that's still too low. Look for averages somewhere in the range of 11.0-12.0 PTS, 3.5-4.0 REB, 1.4-1.5 3PT, 1.0 AST, 1.0 STL, and maybe 0.6 BLK the rest of the way, assuming he continues to get between 25 and 30 MPG. His percentages will come down closer to career averages, and he'll worth an end-of-bench spot as a fill-in with dual position eligibility. Invest accordingly.

Everyone has been calling for the demise of Linas Kleiza (SG/SF, DEN), with Carmelo Anthony (SF, DEN) returning to the lineup last week from a broken hand. Linas would beg to differ, as evidenced by his 21 PTS, 3 3PT, and 3 REB in Melo's first game back. The guy to worry about is actually J.R. Smith (SG, DEN), who only offered 10 PTS, 4 AST, 2 REB, and 0 3PT in that same game. Why don't I see this as a one-game aberration? Simple. Smith is not the same player off the bench, giving back 3.3 PTS, 1.4 REB, 1.2 AST, 0.5 3PT, and 0.3 STL as compared to his averages in the starting lineup. Don't get me wrong; J.R. is still worth owning, but adjust your expectations accordingly.

And one who no one had on their radar in the preseason...

Have I mentioned that, among all the San Antonio bigs not named Tim Duncan (PF/C, SAS), Matt Bonner (PF/C, SAS) has easily been the best fantasy value this year? Seriously, stop that snickering. Sure, he doesn't score a lot, but look at his January numbers: 9.2 PTS, 5.1 REB, 1.9 3PT, 1.2 AST, 0.8 STL, and 0.5 BLK on 55.0 FG%. That's good for No. 54 overall in the past 30 days. His numbers have improved each month of the season, his minutes are almost guaranteed to continue since he stretches the floor to make room for TD to operate inside, and yet, he is available in 70 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Say what?


Quick Hits

In typical "kiss of death" style, as soon as I decided to remind you that Andrew Bynum (C, LAL) is finally coming to life, he had to go down with a knee injury. Just send me an email if you want me to pimp someone into submission.

Please make this my last reminder on Leandro Barbosa (PG/SG, PHO). He is up to 69 percent owned as of Sunday, but he should be owned in most leagues. Past week: 20.5 PTS, 3.0 REB, 2.3 3PT, 1.3 AST, 1.0 STL, 63.0 FG%, and 93.8 FT%. Those numbers are good for 11th best on the week.

I don't care about Nenad Krstic (PF/C, OKC). Nick Collison (PF/C, OKC) is still the starter and is averaging 10-8 over the past seven days with solid percentages (69.1 and 71.0). He should be owned in more than the 41 percent of leagues that have noticed.

What to do about Elton Brand (PF/C, PHI)? He is still limited to around 20 MPG nightly and hasn't been delivering first round value by a long mile, has he? At least he's been swatting shots at an impressive rate (13 blocks in last five games). Enjoy him as a shot-blocking specialist for now, and cross your fingers he can take on a bigger role after the All Star Break.

We're very close to seeing Al Horford (PF/C, ATL) back on the court, possibly mid-week. He isn't exactly what I thought he'd be this season, but what he lacks in scoring, he's made up for in improved shot-blocking. Rest assured that his 10.9 PTS, 8.7 REB, 2.3 AST, and 1.6 BLK will be back at your disposal sooner rather than later.

Hey, Marc Gasol (C, MEM), are you allergic to producing against the Nuggets? In two games against Denver, he has averaged 3.0 PTS, 5.0 REB, 22.2 FG%, and 50.0 FT%. Let's leave those as mulligans since he looks much better against nearly everyone else. And be sure to bench him on March 18 when they play each other again.

Don't buy into all the Greg Oden (C, POR) hype. Sure, he has produced better of late, but for a guy who fouls more than Tyrus Thomas (SF/PF, CHI), you simply can't trust him to produce on a nightly basis this year. In January, they looked eerily like the same player, except Tyrus is better in AST, STL, and BLK. His name is worth more than the stats he'll give you if you don't sell now.

In case you didn't notice, Al Harrington (PF/C, NYK) has taken over Wilson Chandler's (SG/SF/PF, NYK) spot in the starting lineup. If you rode out his shooting slump in January, stay the course now. I'm sure his 31 points on Saturday made you feel better, didn't it?

Don't freak out about Vince Carter's (SG/SF, NJN) ankle injury over the weekend. He could play by Tuesday, so move along, nothing to see here.

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