The Fantasy Jump Off: Week 13
The NBA All-Stars have been voted in and announced! It’s a safe bet none of the below suggested players made it. However, they can help elevate your fantasy basketball team and your vote is the only one matters when it comes to your team. Don’t you feel important?
Randy Foye, PG/SG, Utah Jazz (36% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
Remember when Foye dominated the 2006 NBA Summer League, winning MVP honors and making the Minnesota Timberwolves look like geniuses? Ah, the good old days. In any case, in the past week (three games), Foye averaged 17.0 points and 4.0 treys (hitting on 75.0 percent of those Kerbys!) and 1.7 steals. January has been his best month of the season (eight games) thus far with the most minutes (29), points (11.9), three-pointers (2.4) and best field goal percentage (47.0) on average. Things are trending up and Foye’s performance is harkening back to 2006.
Andre Drummond, PF/C, Detroit Pistons (32%)
If you’re in a dynasty league, you must absolutely grab Drummond if he’s available for some crazy reason. Same goes for deep leagues. In standard leagues, if you want blocks and boards on the cheap, feel free. In the past week (three games), Drummond averaged 9.3 points on 68.4 percent shooting from the field (6.3 FGA), 8.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 2.3 blocks in only 20 minutes. And, if you must know, he shot 33.3 percent from the freebie line (2.0 FTA). But did you see the other numbers? Pause reading this post and just free your waiver wire of Drummond’s services.
Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, New Orleans Hornets (23%)
Aminu has been excellent in his past four games, contributing all over the place, except in threes. He averaged 10.3 points, 52.4 FG% (5.3 FGA), 88.2 FT% (4.3 FTA), 9.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 0.8 blocks in 27 minutes. In five out of nine January games, Aminu grabbed double-digit boards and in the other four he snagged 9, 8, 8 and 2 when he played only five minutes as he came back from injury. Not bad for a Fat Albert character. If you need boards, especially from the small forward spot, Aminu is that dude.
Tyler Zeller, PF/C, Cleveland Cavaliers (12%)
Zeller has been playing a lot and the Cavs seem committed to allowing Zeller to develop in a baptism by fire manner. It “helps” that Anderson Varejao is out due to injury and the team almost has no choice. However, the more he plays, the better Zeller seems to get. Well, other than shooting from the floor as he’s hitting a horrible 34.3 percent of his shots (7.4 FGA) in January. However, if you can overlook such a bad percentage for a 7-footer, Zeller is also averaging 8.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 34 minutes in nine games this month thus far. He only deserves consideration in standard-sized leagues if you’re desperate for blocks.
Earl Clark, SF/PF, Los Angeles Lakers (11%)
Clark has been a great revelation for Lakers Nation and picked up the power forward spot while Pau Gasol was out. In his last four games (all starts), Clark averaged 8.8 points, 45.5 FG% (8.3 FGA), 100.0 FT% (0.5 FTA), 0.8 threes, 3.3 dimes and 1.8 rejections in 30 minutes. Gasol is back and Clark’s minutes will surely dip, but he’s become a valuable option and could take up Antawn Jamison’s time on the court.
A.J. Price, PG, Washington Wizards (5%)
Yes, John Wall is back doing his thing, but if the Wizards are smart (uh oh), they’ll continue to slowly get Wall back up to speed in terms of minutes. Price should continue to benefit for a bit more. In the past week (three games), he averaged 13.7 points on 48.3 percent shooting from the floor (9.7 FGA) and 90.0 percent from the stripe (3.3 FTA), 1.3 triples, 4.3 dimes and 1.7 steals in 26 minutes. When he’s played, Price has proven worthy of court time and a spot on a deep league roster, even after Wall is re-inserted into the starting lineup.
And The Answer Is: Chris Morgan
Chris Morgan writes and talks about many things that are cool to the male species — sports, pop culture, and handicapping the Kate Upton of 2013. Okay, maybe that last part is me. Morgan writes about the NBA on Rotowire and talks it up on his Cheers podcast. Follow him on Twitter (@ChrisXMorgan).
TBJ: Who’s been performing well this season, but will likely fall off soon and should be sold high now?
Morgan: O.J. Mayo had to settle for a one-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks this offseason, but so far the numbers he’s put up have been quite impressive. If life were a cartoon, his agents would have dollar signs in their eyes. He’s having the best season of his career, and has been one of the best fantasy players thus far, making him heretofore a steal. However, from here on out, there is a good chance Mayo will end up putting up numbers more in line with what most folks expected.
His numbers are going to be better than they have been the past couple years in Memphis, simply because he’s getting a lot more minutes. He may also be able to continue his career-high pace in assists and steals, as they are only marginally higher than they have been in his career. The issue for Mayo will likely arise when it comes to his points, and particularly the points he is accruing from behind the arc.
Mayo is averaging 18.3 points per game, his best total since his rookie season when Memphis basically handed him the ball and told him to go nuts. He’s also having the best shooting season of his life, and his field goal percentage is much better than last year, perhaps unsustainably so. Additionally, Mayo is making more threes than ever. Yes, he’s been shooting more, but he also currently has a .433 shooting percentage from that range. This number is also notably better than any previous season, and is almost assuredly not going to continue. Sure, Mayo is only in his fifth season, and is also only 25, even if he’s perhaps the oldest seeming 25-year-old ever, but this seems like too much too quickly.
Plus, there’s the other factors not related to Mayo’s play. Early in the year, Dirk Nowitzki was out. Now he’s back, and he’s getting back in the swing of things. This is still Dirk’s team, and he’s still their best player. He’s going to cut into Mayo’s usage rate. Not only that, the Mavericks are struggling to even earn a playoff spot, and Mark Cuban has made it known he’s willing to shake things up. That leaves Mayo on sketchy ground.
If you hold onto Mayo, you likely won’t be disappointed. That being said, you could make the argument that he’s been one of the 10 best fantasy players so far this season. That’s not going to continue. If you can get somebody to pay that kind of price in a trade, or even close to it, in the end you’ll likely come out ahead.
Number of Team Games in Week 13 (1/21-1/27)
Five Games: LAC
Four Games: ATL, BKN, BOS, CHI, DET, GSW, HOU, LAL, MEM, MIN, NOR, NYK, OKC, PHO, POR, SAC, SAS, WAS
Three Games: CHA, CLE, IND, MIA, MIL, ORL, PHI, TOR, UTA
Two Games: DAL, DEN
Dennis Velasco is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and can be followed on Twitter (@dv140). Feel free tweet him with your fantasy hoops questions.