NBA Sleepers: Week Seven

Dan BentonCorrespondent IDecember 13, 2008

The big news in The Association this week is (finally) Your World Champion Boston Celtics and their 21-2 start. Although it did take a 21-2 start to get the folks at ESPN to finally shut up about the Lakers for five seconds; I'll take it. 

That's all well and good if you're a fan of the league; but even if you're not and you exclusively play Fantasy—we've still got some things to talk about.

There are players (other than the "duh"-start players) who may be streaking or struggling right now. Some of this might be due to matchups, and some of this might be due to simply poor play; but the key is identifying these players and giving the right ones the start each week. 

If you can do that successfully; you'll win (or come really close to winning) your league. That's just a fact, so in this week's Sleepers; I'll break down not only past performance but future matchups that should be advantageous to you.  

It seems like the season has just started, but in reality, it's already 25 percent over, so while you still have time left to improve your position; you have to start now if you want any hope of being competitive in March and April. 

So let's not wait anymore; these are your "Tommy Approved" Sleepers for Week Seven.

Point Guard

D.J. Augustin - PG - Charlotte Bobcats - The former Fighting Illini is making himself heard to this point in his rookie season. After a somewhat slow start and having to fight for playing time, he's up to averaging nearly 30 minutes a game (29.6) and over the last month; and especially over the last week, Augustin really seems to be coming into his own and displaying the skills that made him a top draft pick out of the University of Illinois.

Last week (against Cleveland, Miami, New Orleans, and Dallas) against teams that certainly have some ability at the Point Guard position, especially defensively, Augustin put up a big Fantasy Performance; not just by the averages, but because he played four games in the week; the totals shot him all the way up to the top-five overall in the NBA.

He's got four more games this upcoming week (Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago, Memphis) and while teams USED to be concerned about defense from the Point Guard position in Detroit, well, the reason for that concern currently resides in Denver.

It should be a fun game to watch against another rookie in Derrick Rose in Chicago; assuming Rose is good to go after stabbing himself in the arm by then. That's another article in itself.

I feel like not only has Augustin turned a corner to a degree at this point; but the sheer fact that he's got an extra game over most players this week can't be overlooked either. 

Here are the averages for Augustin over the last week: 16.2 pts, 1.8 reb, 5.8 asst, 1.6 turn, 1.0 stl, 40.7% FG (he normally shoots a bit better than this, but it's not one of his stronger suits) and 100% FT. He's also making 2.2 3-pt/game, which puts him near the top of the league in that category.

Shooting Guard

Manu Ginobili - SG - San Antonio Spurs - He's back from his yearly "miss November due to mysterious injury" injury, and he's back to being Manu Ginobili.  Potentially, he might even be in your league's Waiver Wire; although savvy players (like me) picked him up a week or two before he was due to come back.

If you've got him after "taking a flyer" on him; take the flyer on him and put him in your lineup. Do not pass "Go". Do not collect $200. Just put Manu Ginobili in your "SG" spot in your lineup, set it, and forget it.

It's not that Ginobili is a top-five player in the NBA, although he certainly goes through stretch where he does. No, the main fact for the upbeat optimism regarding Ginobili is that throughout his career, even when he was struggling, he's still somehow able to put up terrific Fantasy numbers. 

Truth be told, there might not be a better pure scorer in the league; because unlike other Shooting Guards who shall remain nameless *cough* KOBE *cough cough*; he doesn't disappear when the going gets tough and he knows what to the basket.

Toss in that the Spurs don't exactly have a multitude of scoring options anymore, and you've got yourself a real solid player to fill your Shooting Guard spot.

Assuming you're too late for tonight's game against Minnesota (and I hope you're not), Manu's got some great matchups coming up in four games this week. Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Orlando and Toronto all have good-to-great basketball teams; but none (save for potentially Toronto) has anyone who can hang with Ginobili on either end of the floor. 

Here's what Ginobili tossed up last week in three games: 18.0 pts, 4.7 reb, 6.0 asst, 2.0 turn, 1.3 stl, and is shooting 45% FG and 100% FT making 2.7 3-pt/game, which is good for sixth in the league. 

Read more: NBA Sleepers: Week Seven