October 18, 2010
Each Sunday, the Dashboard centralizes all the crucial information fantasy managers need to dominate their weekly head-to-head matchups or climb the standings in their rotisserie leagues. The Dashboard covers schedule analysis, status updates, adds, drops, watch list candidates, depth chart analysis and deep league targets for managers of all skill levels. Quite simply, it is a comprehensive weekly cheat sheet that is packed with so much information that we’ve devoted two writers to producing it. Justin Phan will cover the adds, watch list candidates, depth chart analysis and deep league targets, while Phil Londen will take care of the schedule analysis, status updates and cuts.
Add List - players currently owned in less than 40% of Yahoo! leagues
• Ramon Sessions(notes) (35% owned) – the move to Minnesota was disastrous for Sessions as he was totally miscast in Rambis’ triangle offense. He is at his best off the pick-and-roll, a set he ran less than a third of the time last season. Sessions will have the opportunity to start alongside Mo Williams(notes) and P&R all he wants with Hickson/Varejao while Mo parks on the perimeter as a deadly spot-up shooter. He’ll be a serviceable PG3 and is a nice target in the late rounds, especially if you’re in need of some assists. If he’s ever going to have a coming out party, now is the time.
• Kirk Hinrich(notes) (35%) – Flip Saunders has started calling him ‘Elmer’s’, the glue that keeps this team together with his ability to keep the ball moving on what can turn into a very iso-heavy offense. Whether or not he remains the starting small forward, he’ll be a large part of the Wizards’ plans as the third guard behind Gilbert Arenas(notes) and John Wall(notes). He doesn’t have the upside Sessions does, but he’ll provide enough contributions in several areas (threes, assists, steals, low turnovers) to warrant a roster spot in standard leagues.
• Kyle Korver(notes) (21%) – sooner or later the Bulls will realize how crucial Korver’s ability to space the floor will be to their team’s success. He led the league in three-point percentage last season and is deadly on long two’s as well, converting 46-to-49 percent of his attempts from that range. Korver should back up both swing spots (if not win the starting 2 job outright) and will get plenty of run on what might be his best season since ’06-’07. A finish in the top-120 is certainly within his reach. Look for an abundance of threes with high percentage and low turnovers.
• Jeff Teague(notes) (16%) – an ankle injury is perhaps the only thing keeping him from winning the starting point guard job away from Mike Bibby(notes), who is a sinking ship at this point of his career. He’s a better fit than Bibby within Larry Drew’s faster-paced motion offense and offers a sizable upgrade on the defensive end. The opportunity is certainly there and there’s no shortage of talent as he enters his second season – he just needs to find a way to fine-tune his offensive game and improve his playmaking ability.
• Ty Lawson(notes) (14%) – yes, he’ll enter the season as Chauncey Billups’(notes) primary backup, but George Karl has indicated that he plans to play the two alongside each other for stretches. Lawson is in an ideal situation, learning from one of the best mentors at his position in a fast-paced system that aligns with his strengths. He was phenomenal his rookie season and I can’t see Karl playing him any less than 23-24 minutes per game. In the 36 games where he played at least 20 minutes, Lawson averaged 11.8 points, 4.3 assists, 0.9 steals, and 0.8 treys on 53.9 percent shooting from the field. Factor in natural second-year improvement and those are averages worth rostering, even in standard leagues.
• Austin Daye(notes) (12%) – as a Santa Clara alum and West Coast Conference enthusiast, I have become quite familiar with Daye’s game from his college days. I got the same feeling watching him play in person when he was at Gonzaga that I did when I witnessed JaVale McGee(notes) play first hand when he was at Nevada – an initial feeling of frustration for how he handily dominated any Bronco who stood in his path, immediately followed by a sense of appreciation that I was able to watch a legitimate NBA talent. What differentiates Daye from every other prospect blessed with his wingspan and size (for his position) is that he actually has his head on a swivel, with great basketball instincts and a high basketball IQ. He has looked a lot more comfortable playing his position this summer and it has certainly shown in the preseason, where he is averaging 9.8 points, 7 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, and 1 steal on 53.5 percent shooting in 20.3 minutes of action. Any questions about potential defensive shortcomings are dispelled when his main competition for minutes is Charlie Villanueva(notes) and Tracy McGrady(notes). Whether or not he starts at the 4, Daye should see major run at both forward spots and has displayed legit multi-category potential. Don’t wait too long to make a move here, even if it means making a semi-speculative add with your last roster spot.
• Wesley Matthews(notes) (10%) – No player on the Blazers roster has generated more buzz this summer than Matthews, not even Nicolas Batum(notes). Wes has the ability to defend three positions from one through three, is capable at handling the ball, and can initiate the offense in certain situations. That part of his game has always been there though. The area of his game where he’s beginning to turn some heads this off-season is on offense, where he’s flashed legit double-digit point potential as a proficient perimeter shooter. A sore Achilles has slowed him down a bit, but it’s become quite clear that Nate McMillan has big plans for Matthews this season.
• Josh McRoberts(notes) (10%) – the battle at power forward between McRoberts and Hansbrough appears to be a daily tug-of-war, but McRoberts is the one I’d rather own of the two. Larry O’Brien has made it pretty explicit that McRoberts is the starter and it is his job to lose. He’s got a nice all-around game with gaudy rebound and block averages, supplemented by a healthy steal rate and high conversion rate at the rim. His perimeter game is rather undeveloped at this point but should improve as the season goes on. The only real knock on him is his free-throw percentage impact. Look for McRoberts as a serviceable fourth center and a potential upside play in the late rounds.
Watch List - players to monitor closely in standard leagues
• Marvin Williams(notes) (37% owned) – I can’t say I’m overly optimistic here, but if there is ever a time for Williams to finally break away from being completely average across the board, it is this season. He’s a much better fit in Drew’s motion offense than in Woodson’s iso-heavy offense, where his passivity has really stunted his development. Williams is an excellent finisher around the basket and has the potential to draw a lot of fouls, so there is some hope. For what it’s worth, he has been excellent in his two preseason appearances, averaging 16.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.5 treys, and 2 steals.
• Greg Monroe(notes) (22%) – he’ll assuredly go through some early growing pains as he struggles defending the elite big men out East, but the payout should be there eventually. He’s a very skilled offensive player with the ability to initiate the offense from various areas of the floor and control the glass. Monroe hasn’t exactly blown people away during the preseason, but he has shown the ability to fill the stat sheet and the starting center job should be his sooner rather than later.
• Tyler Hansbrough(notes) (13%) – the other half of the Pacers power forward battle. Being a Heels fan I am a big Psycho T fan, but I can’t fully endorse him as a fantasy option in good conscience. Hansbrough’s overall game is extremely limited as he really only does two things well: grab offensive rebounds and draw fouls. He is a disaster on offense, having his shots blocked at more than twice the league rate while only hitting on 29 percent of his jumpers. And is there any guarantee his whole ear infection / vertigo issue doesn’t return? Things can potentially turn in his favor and he could warrant a roster spot by season’s end, but I wouldn’t exactly count on it.
Deep League Specials - players owned in five percent or less of Yahoo! leagues
• Chase Budinger(notes) (5% owned) – coming off a more than respectable rookie campaign, Budinger will look to build on the incremental improvements (points, rebounds, %%) he exhibited with each passing month last season. Boy genius Daryl Morey expects Budinger to step up this year and had enough confidence in him to deal away Trevor Ariza(notes). He’s still dealing with a sprained ankle, but has been one of the first two guys off the bench in the Rockets’ last two preseason games.
• Donte Greene(notes) (4%) – despite showing up to camp overweight and rather poor play in the preseason, Greene has been named the starting small forward. He improved dramatically last season but was still below-average in the big picture. There’s some three/block potential to be had here, but he is way too limited in four areas (points, rebounds, assists, steals) to warrant consideration in standard leagues. Don’t forget that Omri Casspi(notes) and Francisco Garcia(notes) will be pushing him for minutes.
• Toney Douglas(notes) (4%) – Douglas has come on with some strong performances in the preseason and has emerged as a threat to win the starting shooting guard job. Pairing him with Felton in the backcourt forces opposing teams to put a slower defender one of the two, creating a win-win scenario where either Felton or Douglas will benefit. The starting 2 spot is up for grabs right now with Mason, the presumed starter, hitting just 26.7 percent of his shots during the preseason and Azubuike possibly out until Christmas.
Cut List - players owned in over 10 percent of Yahoo! leagues who should not be rostered in standard formats
• Jermaine O’Neal(notes) (68% owned) / Shaquille O’Neal(notes) (38% owned) - These two Boston Celtic centers will not have fantasy value outside the deepest of leagues. They will limit each other’s minutes in a relatively even timeshare, akin to Brendan Haywood(notes) and Tyson Chandler(notes) in Dallas. They are both on the downside of their careers, with their effectiveness on the court rapidly diminishing. Whoever is on the court at any given time is also low on Boston’s food chain, with Rajon Rondo(notes), Paul Pierce(notes), Kevin Garnett(notes) and Ray Allen(notes) consuming the lion’s share of possessions. Plus, Turkish rookie Semih Erden(notes) has been better than advertised, making a serious case for a rotation spot. Finally, Kendrick Perkins(notes) will be back to claim his starting spot well before the head-to-head playoffs, further lowering both of their ceiling values this season.
• Jonny Flynn(notes) (44%) - Honestly, Jonny Flynn never looked totally comfortable or proficient in Kurt Rambis’ triangle-based last season. Triangle systems, like the Lakers’ system, do not utilize point guards in the same manner as more traditional systems, where point guards generally don’t dominate the ball as much as in the triangle. Flynn finished last season outside of the top-200 in per-game value. Since the end of last season, Flynn has been sidelined with a hip injury that is scheduled to be reexamined on October 25th. He is generally aiming for a November return date at this point. At the same time, Luke Ridnour(notes) joined Minnesota and has been the starter from day one. Flynn is heading for a timeshare at best or a backup role at worst. There is virtually no upside in owning Jonny at this point in the season.
• Josh Howard(notes) (37%) - Howard is another player returning from serious injury that does not deserve to be rostered outside the deepest of leagues. Howard suffered an ACL tear last February with the Wizards and is dealing with a recovery process with the potential for setbacks. With no public timeline for a return to action, leave Howard on the wires until there is sustained positive news and a more definite return date.
• Shaun Livingston(notes) (17%) - Unfortunately, Livingston will likely go down in the history books as one of those players with an asterisk next to his name to mark what could have been. Livingston is still attempting to recover from one of basketball’s most gruesome injuries and is dealing with the fallout. In fact, no NBA player has ever come back from such a devastating knee injury. Before the beginning of training camp Livingston seemed poised to take advantage of Charlotte’s lack of depth at the point but has been hampered by injury problems from the start. DJ Augustin(notes) is looking like a better option every day.
Other cut list candidates: Mehmet Okur(notes) (77%), Chris Andersen(notes) (36%), Kelenna Azubuike(notes) (32%), Tracy McGrady (28%), Derek Fisher(notes) (13%), Kendrick Perkins (12%), Michael Redd(notes) (12%), Kenyon Martin(notes) (12%)
Status Updates - quick hitters from around the league
• The Knicks recently announced that Kelenna Azubuike could potentially be out for another two months after patella tendon knee surgery almost a year ago. While he may be back sooner than Christmas, it will take him some time to get himself into game shape and work his way into New York’s rotation. He should be dropped in virtually all leagues until we have more positive information.
• Brandon Bass’ name has been surfacing in trade rumors recently. If he ends up getting traded to a team that plays him quality minutes, Bass would be a solid pickup off the waiver wire (career per-36 minute averages of 14.9 points on 49 FG% and 83 FT%, 8.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks). The biggest factor working against a Brandon Bass deal right now is his salary (three years, $12 million remaining).
• Andrew Bogut(notes)’s highly anticipated return to action was delayed another game due to a random migraine headache, not due to any setbacks with his hand/wrist/elbow injuries. Bogut posted 11 points and five rebounds in about 14 minutes of action against the Timberwolves on Sunday with no early indications that he aggravated of any of his injuries. It has also come to light that Bogut will wear a protective glove on his right hand during full contact action until further notice. There are no indications regarding how long Bogut will be required to wear the protective glove but expect an adjustment period where Andrew acclimates to his new gear.
• For the injury-depleted Trailblazers, recent developments have been a mixed bag. Marcus Camby(notes) recently missed a game due to a bruised right hip. New addition and key rotation player Wesley Matthews has a strained Achilles, which kept him out of practice on Sunday and is expected to keep him out of Portland’s next game against the Warriors. The only good news out of the Rip City recently has been the news that backup center Joel Przybilla is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a serious knee injury last season and should be available by mid-November. Finally, Brandon Roy(notes) has made statements that he wants a bigger role (i.e. more shots) on the offensive end, which would translate into more fantasy production. While some may find these comments divisive, Roy is Portland’s franchise player and deserves to be the focus of the Trail Blazer’s offense.
• The Kings’ newfound frontcourt depth is already being utilized with Samuel Dalembert(notes)’s recent diagnosis of a strained left abductor muscle that is slated to keep him sidelined for four-to-six weeks. Look for rookie DeMarcus Cousins(notes) to pick up the extra minutes and consider him the early favorite to lock down Sacramento’s starting center spot for the remainder of the season. All big men in Sacramento deserve a slight upgrade as a result.
• Since the announcement of Carlos Boozer’s(notes) injury, expectations for Taj Gibson(notes) have been fairly optimistic. However, they’ve been unnecessarily tempered a bit recently on the news of his sore right heal. The Chicago Bulls are being cautious with their starting power forward to ensure he is healthy to start the season.
• Danny Granger(notes) owners were treated to their first scare of the young season when Granger went down with a sprained ankle recently. Initial speculation indicated that the strain could be fairly serious but the MRI results came back clean showing only a mild sprain that should keep Granger out of action for seven-to-ten days, barring any further setbacks. Granger should be available on opening night.
• In what sounds like extreme cautiousness, Blake Griffin(notes) sat out Sunday’s game against the Nuggets because of a “tweaked” ankle. This news should not affect Griffin’s fantasy value in any significant way, save for reinforcing the notion that Blake may end up being injury-prone throughout his career.
• In other thin-frontcourt news, Philadelphia’s Spencer Hawes(notes) is out three weeks with a bulging or herniated disk. These types of back injuries are very concerning because they have a tendency to linger and generally require rest as one of the main prerequisites to getting better (similar to Troy Murphy’s(notes) situation). Outside of deep leagues, there are better options on the waiver wire. Also, Marreese Speights(notes) is officially listed as day-to-day with a hamstring injury and could be poised to capitalize on Hawes’ absence if he returns to the court soon as expected.
• LeBron James(notes)’ hamstring strain appears to be a non-issue at this point, with James already back to practice and likely to appear in Miami’s next preseason game against the Bobcats. Teammate Dwyane Wade(notes) will miss the game attending a custody hearing in Chicago, and is out indefinitely with a more serious hamstring injury of his own.
• The Cleveland Cavaliers are dealing with a host of minor injuries to key players, including Antawn Jamison(notes) (sprained knee), Anthony Parker(notes) (sprained fingers), Anderson Varejao(notes) (ankle) and Mo Williams (groin strain). All should be considered day-to-day, as they likely would have played on Saturday had it been a regular season game.
• If you needed additional convincing, Tracy McGrady should be ignored for fantasy basketball purposes until further notice. After logging eight scoreless minutes on October 5th against the Miami Heat, McGrady is done until the beginning of the regular season in order to work on his conditioning. Consider this a giant red flag.
• Mehmet Okur has been making progress from his Achilles injury that occurred during the first half of Utah’s very first playoff game last season. The injury was serious, the recovery period is arduous and there is no timeline for Okur’s return to action yet. This is shaping up to be a potential lost season for Memo. Let other managers deal with the headache and look for production elsewhere. In more positive news for the Jazz, Kyrylo Fesenko(notes) is expected to play in Sunday’s game against the Lakers after injuring his wrist against the Suns. With Okur out, Fesenko will be a key rotation player behind Al Jefferson(notes) and Paul Millsap(notes) this season.
• In other Bucks injury news, John Salmons(notes) has been unable to participate in training camp due to a sprained right knee. Coach Scott Skiles has been non-committal on when Salmons would return, putting his status on opening night in question.
• Tiago Splitter(notes)’s rookie campaign is off to a slow start, having failed to see any action in any of the Spurs games so far this preseason. Splitter has been dealing with a variety of ailments this summer, with the latest being a strained right plantaris muscle. Pop is handling Splitter with kid gloves so don’t expect to see Tiago on the floor prior to the beginning of the regular season, which could translate to a slow start for the Brazilian big man.
• Sophomore guard Jeff Teague remains out with a murky timeline for the Hawks with a sprained ankle. Atlanta is handling Teague’s injury with extreme cautiousness leaving his availability for the season opener is unclear.
Depth Chart Breakdown & Analysis
Though we’re a little over a week away from the season opener, several coaches are still experimenting with different lineups and haven’t exactly settled on their rotations yet. I’ll take a look at a few of these cases and break down each depth chart, offering analysis on the potential implications for those involved.
PG: Raymond Felton(notes), Toney Douglas
SG: Roger Mason(notes), Toney Douglas, Kelenna Azubuike
SF: Danilo Gallinari(notes), Landry Fields(notes), Bill Walker(notes)
PF: Wilson Chandler(notes), Anthony Randolph(notes)
C: Amar’e Stoudemire(notes), Timofey Mozgov(notes), Ronny Turiaf(notes),
There are about five different variations of this lineup that are possible, but this is the one I think the Knicks will go to the most. D’Antoni has all but abandoned his original plan to start Turiaf at center, and his recent experiment with Mozgov in the starting lineup has not fared well. He said he is tempted to go smaller and play at a quicker pace with Stoudemire at center, and believes Chandler is a better fit at the 4 (than at the 2) where he can do for Amar’e what Shawn Marion(notes) did for Amar’e in Phoenix. Randolph and Turiaf get squeezed in this configuration, and their values will certainly suffer because of it. Mason gets the nod at shooting guard for now, but I could certainly see Douglas and Fields challenging if they can exhibit any sort of high-level consistency. When Azubuike eventually gets back on the court there should be little stopping him from claiming the starting shooting guard job, though. Chandler has done well (even better) in the past when playing extensive minutes at the 4, so his value gets a small boost here.
PG: Jrue Holiday(notes), Louis Williams(notes)
SG: Evan Turner(notes), Louis Williams, Jodie Meeks(notes)
SF: Andre Iguodala(notes), Jason Kapono(notes), Andres Nocioni(notes)
PF: Thaddeus Young(notes), Andres Nocioni, Craig Brackins(notes)
C: Elton Brand(notes), Marreese Speights, Darius Songaila(notes), Spencer Hawes
Doug Collins has been adamant about implementing a bigger lineup with a more traditional big man in the middle, but a recent injury to Spencer Hawes (possible bulging/herniated disc) may force him to start the season with Brand at center. What we know is that Holiday, Iguodala, and Brand will be fixtures in the starting lineup, while Lou Williams and Meeks will likely come off the bench. Turner looks to be the incumbent starting shooting guard for now, but don’t be surprised to see him return to a bench role once Hawes is healthy and Iguodala slides back over to the 2. Brand has had some dreadful rebounding performances at the center spot in the preseason so I wouldn’t bump him up at all here. In fact, his production has significantly dipped when he’s moved from the 4 to the 5. Brand owners should be hoping for Hawes to return sooner rather than later so Brand can slide back to the 4 where he is better accustomed. Young will see time between both forward spots, more so at the 3, while Lou Williams will get plenty of minutes backing up Holiday at the point and Turner/Iguodala at the 2.
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