Win Your League The Jason Thompson Way, And Also Get Me Some Tacos
Another week. Fantasy basketball leagues across the country draw ever closer to cataclysm. The space shuttle Columbia glides safely to the surface of the Earth. Our planet continues its untiring tarantella through the void. Nothing is certain but that nothing is certain—and that my picks are going to win your league. Sorry to sound cocky here, but I am on fire. In the words of Ron Artest, “I’m playing like a frog. I’ve got web hands.”
As with last week, we’ll start with the schedule: the Jazz have five games this week, so they are succulent. The Bulls and Celtics have two; that is more like suck-ulent. The Kings’ four-game smorgasbord includes a game in Phoenix and a home-and-home with Golden State, and the Hornets have a delicious four-game buffet, with the Kings, Clippers, and Warriors on the menu before a home date with Utah. New York, Denver, Golden State, and Dallas are also probably delectable.
Scoring. I wanted to save Jason Thompson for rebounds, but he’s averaging a 15.9/10.0 over his last eight games, and the man is just 15.1% owned in the strange and awful world of ESPN fantasy leagues (48% in Yahoo! leagues). Shut up and get him now. Seriously, stop talking. Anthony Morrow (8.5%/17%) had 29 against Dallas and will probably get most of Stephen Jackson’s minutes. Also in Golden State, Kelenna Azubuike (32.6%/60%) is relatively unowned given his scoring, threes, steals, and winning smile.
Rebounds. Three words: Jason. Thompson. Tacos. (I had a word left over, and right now I could really go for some tacos.) Antonio McDyess (47.2%/71%), recommended last week, is still a great pickup, although Detroit plays some tough/slow teams this week, including Cleveland, home of Anderson Varejao (9.5%/39%). Announcers like to point out that the doughy Brazilian does things “that don’t show up on the stats sheet.” He also has a 13.0/9.0 over the past four games, plus 1.3 blocks. I mean, it’s not Dwight Howard production, but I’m pretty sure those are stats. Not positive, obviously. The jury’s still out.
Assists. Waiver assists are scarce right now, but Beno Udrih (38.4%/42%) may be available to give you a boost; he’s had at least five assists per game in seven games since returning from injury, and his scoring and steals are acceptable if not orgasmic. Detroit’s Will Bynum (2.3%/9%) is a tastier but riskier pick; he’s going to lose minutes to Allen Iverson, but he’s been a major contributor off the bench, averaging a 16.2/6.0 in his last six games. “Will” that continue? Har!! Sorry, that was stupid.
Threes. See: Azubuike, Kelenna, and Morrow, Anthony. Also, finally, a name from Utah: Kyle Korver (4.6%/24%), bombsman. Five games this week, five threes at Phoenix last Wednesday. He’s almost definitely the three-point specialist who will hurt you least in other categories. If you hate your own field-goal percentage, Daequan Cook (1.9%/11%) is completely awesome.
Steals. Alleluia! He is Ariza. That is my way of saying that Trevor Ariza (13.4%/47%) is still getting it done with the steals (2.2 per game, last ten games). Also: Azubuike, Udrih. And has anyone noticed that “Udrih” is “Hirdu” spelled backwards? Check out Beno Udrih’s secret blog. Poetry.
Blocks. I should note that one of last week’s scoring picks, Tyrus Thomas (37.8%/72%), went completely bonkers in the blocks department, notching 17 for the week. Um: that’s awesome. Unfortunately, his schedule has become atrocious, meaning it’s another week of Chris Andersen recommendations (8.8%/43%), with Anthony Randolph as an intriguing beta version (2.0%/12%), especially as another Stephen-Jackson-minutes beneficiary.
Percentages. USE(LESS) indicates that big FG% contributions will come from Varejao, Morrow, and Ariza; FT% help is scarcer and could come from Thabo Sefolosha (5.6%/23%) and Mike Conley, Jr. (23.1%/58%).
Finally, here’s the USE(LESS) Top 25 over the past ten games:
Good luck out there, kids. Use protection.