Fantasy Hoops Mailbag

Tuesday was full of injuries. Mike Gallagher breaks down an eight-game night

We have actual basketball to talk about, so we're going to spend most of this week's edition addressing some noteworthy players in Spain:

Follow me on Twitter @MikeSGallagher and @ me a question for next week.

Rose Guardin’

Coach Tom Thibodeau keeps defending Derrick Rose and said the former MVP’s FIBA World Cup has been “all positive.” For a guy who blows up on the sidelines a lot, he’s awfully optimistic here.

Here’s one negative: Rose is shooting 21.6 percent in the tournament. Not even the most eternal optimist can spin that positively. It’s even worse when you think about his teammates shooting 55 percent from the field. What’s more, he has 11 turnovers to go with his 16 assists.

On the other hand, the one big positive has been that he’s blowing by guys off the dribble. The problem is that he isn’t really getting much lift on his shots or layups right now. That’s interesting because there were some spots in the Team USA scrimmages when Rose was getting off the floor really well. Could it be because of all the games in a short amount of time? Maybe because he's not as great as reacting to the defense? It’s tough to say, but hopefully he gets it turned around against Slovenia.

As for his fantasy value, there’s almost no way you’ll find him on any of my teams.

Manimal lovers

During the 2013 part of last season, Kenneth Faried didn’t look like much of a starting power forward. All of the sudden, the Nuggets lost all of their depth and it was up to the Manimal to carry the frontcourt scoring load. He did just that and turned in top-30 value in standard leagues after the break. Top 30!

He’s parlayed that strong finish into some magnificent work with Team USA. During the team’s scrimmages, Faried had an astonishing net rating of 66.8, which might not sound like much to the untrained eye. As a reference, Andre Iguodala led the NBA in net rating last season at 13.7 (minimum of more than 20 games). Manimal was ridiculous.

He still isn’t done and he’s sitting at 74.5 percent from the field in Team USA's six FIBA games. He has 4.0 offensive rebounds per game in just 22 minutes per game and his post defense looks much better.

When he came into the NBA, we were all worried he was going to take a while to come around on offense and learn to play within himself. Well, the 24-year-old forward is starting to get it going and he could be in for a big 2014-15.

I don’t think he’s going to shoot the ball as much or as efficiently as he did after the break, but he’s starting to look like a very nice fifth-round target.


Spain is dominating and they took care of business against Senegal on Saturday. In fact, all 12 of their players had a +/- of +8 or greater, which is pretty crazy. Gasol has looked like the best player in Spain and Team USA will have to be at their best up front to keep him in check in the finals. Yes, we can assume it's going to be a USA vs. Spain final.

One of the other interesting things about Gasol is his 3-point shooting. He is just 3-of-10 from deep in his six games, so perhaps that translates to the Bulls offense. Obviously, I wouldn’t bet on it and he'll be a presence in the high post and on the low block for the Bulls.

Gasol has been a fantasy stud for over a decade and he is really sliding in mock drafts. There are not many bigs who are capable of positives in both percentages, and Gasol can add stats across the board, too. If he starts to slide into the middle rounds, go ahead and grab him.

Alphabetical Disorder

Coach Jason Kidd said he’s been impressed with Giannis Antetokounmpo’s FIBA because he’s “filling the stat sheet.” Alphabet’s numbers haven’t been jumping off the page or anything, averaging 6.2 points, 4.8 boards, 0.4 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.2 blocks and 0.8 turnovers on 38.1 percent from the field in 16 minutes per game with Greece. He hasn’t made any of his eight shots from deep, but he’s actually be great inside the arc at 61.5 percent.

He’s been awesome on the glass and his shot selection has been much better than what it was during his rookie season, or even at Las Vegas. Antetokounmpo seems to have his coach by his side, which should give him the long leash he’s going to need.

If you’re a dice-rolling fantasy owner like I am, Giannis is worth a look in the 80-100 range in standard leagues. To be clear, I’m probably more bullish on him than my Rotoworld colleagues.


Well, he finally fell apart. After averaging 22.0 points per game in the first three games of FIBA, Gorgui Dieng had just 10.0 points per game and the international teams kind of figured him out. What looked to be an encouraging offseason, the last couple games make it clear Dieng isn't quite ready to be a featured big man even on a sub-par team.

Anytime an all-star gets dealt, we always want to anoint a young player as his replacement and a possible breakout guy. There has been a lot of buzz about Dieng in the Twitterverse since the Kevin Love trade, but people really need to chill. Coach Flip Saunders isn’t going to play Dieng at power forward much and most of his minutes will come at the expense of Nikola Pekovic. Pek and Dieng didn’t play a single minute together last year, and odds are they’re not going to be on the court together much either. Pekovic played 30.8 minutes per game last season, so I think we all know that number is coming down.

I’d say Dieng gets about 17 minutes at center and six at power forward next to Ronny Turiaf. That should make him a decent late-round pick. I don’t plan on targeting him.

Fly Pelican fly

He’s rolling. In his 20 minutes per game, Davis averaged 13.8 points, 6.3 boards, 1.2 steals and 2.2 blocks on 56.7 percent from the field. I don’t think there’s any doubt he’s solidified himself as a top-three pick in fantasy leagues. Personally, I’ll take LeBron at two.

Dante’s Peek

The world got a peek at the International Man of Mystery, but he hasn’t exactly been in peak form. Exum holds averages of just 3.2 points, 1.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.2 steals, 0.2 triples and 1.4 turnovers in 13 minutes per game at the World Cup.

Sure, we have seen a ton of flashes out of Exum and he has a great chance to be a star, but he’s a long way from being there. He still doesn’t understand spacing on offense very well and he stands around way too much without the ball. Plus, he’s looked worse on D this month and he’s been going under too many picks, which has led to a lot of easy shots from opponents.

If you’re going to draft him, I hope you’re in a weekly league and can just stash him.

@nick_49s @MikeSGallagher What are the chances E.Payton turns in a rookie year like MCW ?

I highly doubt he wins Rookie of the Year over Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins or Nerlens Noel. However, I think he can exceed MCW’s stats from a fantasy standpoint. MCW is one of a few guards who are detrimental to both percentages and MCW doesn’t really make treys either. Yes, Payton is not going to take triples either and he’s actually a bad foul shooter too, but he should be able to get to around 45 percent from the field because of all of his close-range attempts.

Luke Ridnour shouldn’t get much more than 20 minutes per game, which opens up a lot of opportunity for Payton. Plus, the Magic are expected to run a faster tempo. You can probably get him as the 24th-30th PG off the board and he'll offer much higher upside.

@BreanneMyBaby @MikeSGallagher How valuable is Klay in 9-cat? Other than points and threes I don't see much. Can probably find waiver 3 pt guy easy

Thanks to playing in 81 games, Klay was 34th in nine-category leagues. Obviously finishing second in 3-pointers was a big help, but he doesn’t really hurt you anywhere and perhaps his steals can go up a bit with Draymond Green playing more and David Lee playing less behind him.

I’m with you on waiting on triples, but Klay is still a nice fourth- or fifth-round target.

@aten2080 @MikeSGallagher Best and worst offseason acquisition?

I think the Suns getting Isaiah Thomas was an absolute steal. He’s been a stud the past two seasons and he’ll be one of the best second-unit players in the NBA. As an aside, I'm not targeting him. I'm going to miss the Pizza Guy.

I think Ben Gordon is the worst deal. That’s kind of obvious.

@Sports_25toLife @MikeSGallagher how much Point-Giannas will we see this year!?!?!?!?

In case you missed it, coach Jason Kidd said back at Las Vegas Summer League that he was going to look at using Giannis Antetokounmpo at point guard.

I don’t see it. We all love tall point guards, but a 6’11” guy with long arms? Teams aren’t going to have any problem getting steals off him and trapping him. He also wasn’t very good as a point guard in Vegas while the Bucks had very little ball movement with him at the point.

Even if he doesn’t play point guard, it’s OK. He still should be racking up blocks, steals and treys. There aren’t many players with higher upsides to grab after pick 75 in your draft.

@jero1d @MikeSGallagher what do you see Ariza averaging? Also, what would you consider a good ft% at the end of the season in roto?

Last season, he benefited from the John Wall drive-and-kick system and knocked treys down all season on his way to second-round value.

Obviously, he’s not going to be putting up those types of numbers, but he is capable of being a top-50 guy. The Rockets live by the triple and led the league, and their pace is going to help Ariza, as well.

I’d say he’s looking at scoring in the 12-13 point range with 2.0 treys and 1.4 steals. Solid.

I have an entire column on percentages in the Draft Guide, so that's definitely worth checking out. The league average was 75.6 percent from the line. I've always considered "good" at 80 percent, but obviously a high-volume 78 percent shooter is nice to have, too.

@FantasyBBallGod @MikeSGallagher Punt strategy vs Balanced team. Which one do you often see prevail?

This is covered in depth in our Draft Guide. Personally, I will almost always draft a balanced team. Check out our Draft Guide to find out why!