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Fantasy Basketball: Welcome Back!

Matt Buser
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After months of ups and downs and optimism and letdowns, we've finally got an NBA and fantasy basketball season for 2011-12, one that we'll chalk up as "better late than never". Links regarding the resolution include Adrian Wojnarowki's report on the handshake deal and some specifics of the proposed CBA. Camps and free agency are tentatively scheduled to begin on December 9. For more news and emerging details, head over to Yahoo!'s NBA front page.

Something to note right off the bat for fantasy purposes: a 66-game season running from Christmas Day through April 26 would mean fewer off days than usual and every team playing at least one back-to-back-to-back set. Aging vets, particularly those on playoff teams, will likely see their minutes affected most by these developments (think Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, and the like).

Another major point of negotiations with immediate fantasy implications is the amnesty clause, which would allow teams to cut one player currently under contract and completely remove their salary from the books. Obvious candidates include Gilbert Arenas, Richard Hamilton, and Travis Outlaw, but intrigue surrounds others such as Brandon Roy, Joe Johnson, Carlos Boozer, and Jose Calderon. Any fantasy analysis you see in the near future needs to be qualified with the uncertainty that surrounds the amnesty provision and its possible influence on depth charts.

Free agency is going to be a whirlwind thanks to the compressed time frame. The most notable names among unrestricted free agents include: Nene Hilario, David West, Jason Richardson, Tyson Chandler, Troy Murphy, Chuck Hayes, Kris Humphries, Andrei Kirilenko, Vince Carter, Samuel Dalembert, Shannon Brown, and Tayshaun Prince. The top restricted free agents (players whose current teams will have the opportunity to match any free agent offers) include: Marc Gasol, Marcus Thornton, Rodney Stuckey, Jeff Green, DeAndre Jordan, Arron Afflalo, and Nick Young. The vast majority of players that signed overseas have out clauses that allow them to return stateside - players that signed to play in China, such as Wilson Chandler, J.R. Smith, and Aaron Brooks, did so without an opt-out and may have to get creative if they are going to return to the NBA this season.

• A few months back, I took a look at players who qualified as a Boom, Bust, or Bonanza during the 2010-11 season. Taking an early look ahead and using current ADP data, who are some of the players that might qualify for one of those titles this coming season?

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carmelo anthony

Amar'e Stoudemire, NYK, FC (15.2 ADP)
Stoudemire's numbers after Carmelo Anthony arrived included 23.4 points on 48-percent shooting, 7.4 boards, 2.6 turnovers, and 1.4 blocks. That's good, but not good enough to draft early in Rd2. Check everyone's career assist rates before you compare this situation with LBJ/Wade in Miami.

Danny Granger, IND, F (24.5)
This long-time first round pick has fallen after a drop-off in offense and combined threes-steals-blocks in Frank Vogel's first season. Vogel remains, so what is in store for Granger?

Kevin Garnett, BOS, PF (41.9)
Nobody doubts that KG has some game left. What is questionable, particularly for h2h managers, is how the Celtics will handle his minutes during the season and down the stretch.

Greg Monroe, DET, C (49.5)
Monroe finished this past season on a roll (13.7 points, 58% FG, 9.7 boards, 1.6 steals, 0.8 blocks over the final 26 games) despite the Pistons' dysfunction and will be among the most coveted sophomores. What this draft position does not leave much room for is downside.

DeMar DeRozan, TOR, GF (83.1)
DeRozan showed steady and dramatic improvement as the 2010-11 season progressed [splits]. He'll move past Andrea Bargnani as the Raptors' premier player if the trends for both players continue in 2011-12.

Mo Williams, LAC, PG (87.4)
The draft price for this former roto stud has fallen thanks to an injury-plagued 2010-11 season, but all signs point to a return to form alongside Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon.

DeMarcus Cousins, SAC, FC (89.3)
Fantasy owners had to take the bad (43% FG, 69% FT, 3.3 turnovers) with the good (14.1 points, 8.6 boards, 1.1 steals, 0.8 blocks) during his rookie season. How much more good than bad is on its way in year two?

D.J. Augustin, CHA, PG (90.8)
How exactly does DJA figure to repeat his 34 minutes per game with Kemba Walker now in the mix? And how does his perpetually fragile psyche deal with the competition?

Austin Daye, DET, F (91.2)
Tayshaun Prince is gone, as is John Kuester, meaning that it's Daye's time to shine. His career per-36 minute averages include 1.5 threes, 1 steal, and 1 block.

Rudy Fernandez, DAL, SG (134.5)
All good things: Fernandez will likely start at shooting guard for the Mavs, his career per-36s include 2.6 threes and 1.5 steals, and his career assist-to-turnover ratio is 2.2:1.

Jeff Teague, ATL, G (145.6)
Preseason injuries derailed Teague's shot at a starting gig last season, but he figures to get every opportunity to relegate Kirk Hinrich to a backup role.

• Your to-do list in the early going: renew-create-join leagues, brush up on early ADP, mock draft to your heart's content, comment below, and stay tuned for more content in the days to come.

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