Court Report: Week 8 Dashboard, Part II

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, 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.

Add List - players currently owned in less than 40% of Yahoo! leagues

Brandon Rush(notes), GF, IND (28% owned)
Though he has come off the bench the past four games in favor of Mike Dunleavy, Rush has remained quite productive, averaging 15.3 points, 3.3 threes, and a steal with reasonable percentages to boot. Though I’ve been quick to point out several times that he’s shooting way above his career mark of 43 percent, there are a few areas of improvement that offer some sense of optimism. Rush had been excessively passive to a fault on the offensive end in his first two seasons, something he has at least attempted to remedy this year. His usage rate is at a career-high 16.4 percent, and he’s drawing fouls at the highest rate of his career. After two seasons where he posted sub-10 player efficiency ratings (PER), Rush appears to have finally figured it out with a more respectable 13.36 mark this year.

Robin Lopez(notes), FC, PHO (34% owned)
After going through a full practice on Sunday, Lopez could return to action (and possibly start) on Wednesday. The partial ligament tears to his left knee cost him a month of games, but the real problem was his abysmal play to start the season. There’s no singular cause that explains it – it was most likely a combination of two things: a pinched nerve in his right leg from a bulging disk, and letting slow starts to games affect him mentally. Either way, I’m viewing this month away from the court as a net positive, a much-needed opportunity for RoLo to hit the reset button. He wasn’t helping anyone by shooting 44 percent from the field, and clearly needed the time off to get his body right. The Suns have sorely missed his size and interior presence, and I’d be shocked if he gets anything less than 25 minutes per game moving forward. Expect Lopez to take full advantage of this rebirth of sorts and play more to his potential this time around.

Jodie Meeks(notes), SG, PHI (17% owned)
The 76ers have boasted an average scoring margin of +10 since inserting Meeks into the starting lineup, a testament not only to Meeks’ play, but how valuable the added dimension of a legitimate perimeter threat is to the team’s success. For those questioning the long-term viability of Meeks, I can assure that there is no immediate threat to his starting job. Doug Collins reiterated several times during the offseason that Louis Williams(notes) would be coming off the bench, and it became painfully obvious during Evan Turner’s(notes) 12-game starting stint that he was far from ready to take on that role. Yes, Meeks’ contributions are limited now to points, threes, and efficiency, but he’s still a second-year player with a lot of room for growth getting the first meaningful minutes of his career.

Cut List - players who should not be rostered in standard formats

Carl Landry(notes) (65% owned), J.J. Hickson(notes) (57% owned), Evan Turner (49% owned), Anthony Randolph(notes) (41% owned), Taj Gibson(notes) (38% owned), Jarrett Jack(notes) (29% owned), Eric Bledsoe(notes) (26% owned), Tiago Splitter(notes) (22% owned)

Watch List - players currently owned in less than 40% of Yahoo! leagues to monitor closely in standard leagues

Marco Belinelli(notes), SG, NO (24% owned)
The biggest takeaway from that dreadful five-game shooting slump (12-of-43 FG) is that Monty Williams is more than willing to stick it out with Belinelli through his peaks and valleys, which should serve as a big relief to owners worried about how big a safety net he had. Through 20+ games it has been well-established as to what Belinelli will provide statistically, and though it’s easy to step back and doubt him given his track record, remember that Chris Paul(notes) has that uncanny ability to elevate the play of everyone around him – Marco included. Marcus Thornton(notes) may be further down the depth chart than we thought, and the possibility that Belinelli could cede minutes to Thornton does not appear to be much of a reality.

Omri Casspi(notes), GF, SAC (15% owned)
The only thing separating Casspi from the ‘Add List’ and the ‘Watch List’ is Paul Westphal. Casspi put together a stellar week, delivering top-15 value in 29 minutes of action. In games where Casspi has played at least 24 minutes, he has averaged 15.6 points, 3 treys, 4.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals, and just 0.9 turnovers on 50.5 percent shooting. I’m not going to exactly start the “FREE OMRI” chants yet, but there isn’t a reason why he shouldn’t get a consistent 25 minutes of action every game. Of all the Kings who have played at least 200 minutes so far, Casspi leads the team in win shares per 48 minutes and PER.

Reggie Williams(notes), GF, GS (38% owned)
This isn’t a ringing endorsement by any means; on the contrary, I’ve been quite disappointed with what I’ve seen from the VMI product this season. The per-minute phenom we saw last year (33rd amongst qualifiers) has all but disappeared, morphing into a one-dimensional scorer, and more of a three-point specialist at that. His rebound, assist, and turnover rates have all gone in the wrong direction, and he’s gone from one of the better long two-point shooters and finishers at the rim to mere average. With that said, there’s still some room for improvement, especially with opportunity presenting itself in the form of a Stephen Curry(notes) ankle injury.

Greg Monroe(notes), FC, DET (9% owned); Jerryd Bayless(notes), G, TOR (11% owned)
I’d be careful not to go too crazy over these two, though some recent breakout performances and their rather untapped potential indicate otherwise. In reality these two are quite inconsistent since their minute totals fluctuate significantly from game-to-game, and both still have a ways to go to deliver a more well-rounded overall impact.

Deep League Specials – players currently owned in five percent or less of Yahoo! leagues who warrant a roster spot in deep leagues (14 teams+)

Raja Bell(notes) (5% owned), Matt Bonner(notes) (4% owned), Chuck Hayes(notes) (3% owned), Ryan Gomes(notes) (4% owned), Carlos Arroyo(notes) (2% owned), Martell Webster(notes) (3% owned), and Vladimir Radmanovic(notes) (just kidding)

Spark Plugs – players with a set of especially favorable matchups this week who make for excellent short-term plays

Your Blazers (@MEM, @DAL, MIN, GSW)
Portland will have a minor hiccup when they square off against Dallas on Wednesday, but otherwise it will be smooth sailing with three great matchups on tap. This is more of a guard/swing-friendly schedule (Brandon Roy(notes), Andre Miller(notes), Wesley Matthews(notes)), but LaMarcus Aldridge(notes) and Marcus Camby(notes) should be in store for big weeks as well. Nicolas Batum(notes) has been struggling big time, but if he’s going to start to turn things around, this is as nice of a setup as he can ask for.

Your T’Wolves (@GSW, @PHO, @POR, @DEN)
Kevin Love(notes) and Luke Ridnour(notes) are about the only two who have been producing as of late, with everyone else on the outside of the top-100 looking in. Michael Beasley(notes) should continue to score in bunches (2nd in points allowed) and pull down some rebounds (4th in rebounds allowed), while Corey Brewer(notes) and Wesley Johnson could be worth a look in deeper leagues. Darko Milicic(notes) remains little more than a blocks specialist at this point.

Your Heat (NOR, CLE, @NYK, @WAS)
We almost made it through an entire Dashboard without a mention of the Heat, but alas. Miami draws the third-easiest schedule this week with above-to-near average ease ranking values across the board. LeBron James(notes), Dwyane Wade(notes), and Chris Bosh(notes) are obvious starts, while James Jones(notes) and Carlos Arroyo should make for viable options, especially for those in deeper leagues.

Ronnie Brewer(notes) (IND, @TOR, LAC)
Those looking for some steals off the wire need not look further. Not only has Brewer totaled 12 steals in his last three games, but he also draws a schedule that caters to his specialty (3rd in steals allowed). Keith Bogans(notes) will continue to start, but Brewer should still see upwards of 25 minutes off the bench.

Steve Nash(notes) (MIN, @DAL, @OKC)
Nash made last week’s ‘Short Circuits’ section because of the enormous turnover potential. I set the over/under at a generous 13.5, a mark he easily surpassed with 17 turnovers in his last three games. Turnovers shouldn’t be as nearly as big of a problem this week (18th in turnovers forced), and there’s solid potential for Nash to make sizable contributions in points (8th), assists (4th), and steals (2nd).

Short Circuits – players with a set of unfavorable matchups who have a good chance of struggling this week

Your Magic (@DEN, PHI)
The strength of schedule isn’t the real concern here; it’s that the Magic are the only team to draw just two games this week. Those in head-to-head leagues punting free-throw percentage and/or turnovers should keep Dwight Howard(notes) in there, but outside of Howard no one is safe here. Those in weekly leagues are strongly encouraged to find alternative options.

Knicks big men (BOS, MIA, @CLE)
Points (30th), rebounds (t-30th), blocks (30th), and a high shooting percentage (25th) are going to be awfully hard to come by, and they'll be on on a short three-game week nonetheless. The Knicks have been a fantasy gold mine as of late, with five players in the top-75 over the past two weeks, but be prepared for Amar’e Stoudemire(notes), Wilson Chandler(notes), and Landry Fields(notes) to struggle more than usual this week.

Bucks guards (@DAL, @SAS, UTA)
Let me put it this way – 40 percent would be good for Brandon Jennings(notes) and John Salmons(notes) this week. The duo has struggled mightily over the past week or two, a trend that should continue as they go up against three fundamentally sound defensive units who don’t allow opponents to shoot well from the field (29th), score many points (29th), or move the ball around effectively (30th in assists allowed).

Cavs guards (@MIA, @IND, NYK)
I know, as if the Cavs don’t handicap themselves enough already. Daniel Gibson(notes) has been a mini-revelation this season, enough to (deservedly) earn him a spot in the starting lineup, but he will struggle more than usual from distance against two of the better perimeter defense (Heat, Pacers) and a surprisingly average unit (Knicks). Collectively they are 28th in threes allowed and 29th in assists allowed. Mo Williams(notes) also gets dinged here, but he’s already stated his case to be benched with his recent play alone.

Wizards guards (LAL, @NJN, MIA)
Be prepared for John Wall(notes), Gilbert Arenas(notes), and Nick Young(notes) to do some major damage to your shooting percentage this week, as they draw two of the bottom-five in opposing field-goal percentage allowed. It’s the toughest trio of opponents out there with respect to that category, and also a tough matchup in terms of points (28th) and steals (29th) allowed.

Follow Justin on Twitter @jphanned

Photos via Getty Images

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