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Week 11 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em

Fantasy Writer
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The Mavericks have what might be the best single-week Fantasy schedule of the season coming up in Week 11 (March 5-11). The Mavericks are the only team in the NBA to play five times in the week, as they have a back-to-back to start the week and their back-to-back-to-back later, ending on Saturday.

But what makes it especially attractive from a Fantasy perspective is not just that their players will have an extra opportunity to put up numbers on their fellow players, but also who they get to do so against. The Mavericks play an above average defensive team just once in the week, the 13th-ranked Knicks. Other than that, they face the 19th-ranked Thunder and then a paper-bag of a back-to-back-to-back with road games against the Rockets, Kings and Warriors, numbers 20, 30 and 26 in the NBA in defense respectively.

Even without the attractive schedule, I might have tabbed Mavericks guard Roddy Beaubois as a solid starting option this week, as he has been reinserted into the starting lineup after the All-Star break and has responded with 52 points in just three games as he looks newly reinvigorated following an extended layoff.

With the incredibly favorable matchups he faces in the week along with the hot streak, Beaubois makes an attractive choice for our Start of the Week for Week 11, so add him in all Fantasy formats and expect a solid week from the talented Frenchman.

Guards

Start 'Em

Iman Shumpert, Knicks (@DAL, @SA, @MIL, PHI): The Knicks have a mixed bag of opponents in Week 11, however Shumpert should be able to thrive as he continues to play off the ball for the Knicks in their new-look offense. He had struggled some prior to the All-Star break, however that seems to have been the result of a knee injury sapping him of some of his trademark explosiveness. In his first game after the All-Star break, Shumpert scored 12 points in just 21 minutes and most importantly, defended Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving in crunch time. With a slew of elite point guards on the way in Week 11, Shumpert should continue to see crunch-time minutes as the Knicks' main defensive stopper, ensuring that he will continue to get solid minutes.

Sleepers for Week 11
Player % Started
1. Tristan Thompson, F, Cavaliers 29
2. Gordon Hayward, F, Jazz 18
3. Derrick Williams, F, T'Wolves 16
4. Mike Dunleavy, G, Bucks 10
5. Randy Foye, G, Clippers 18
6. Carlos Delfino, F, Bucks 41
7. Goran Dragic, G, Rockets 2
8. Gary Neal, G, Spurs 2
9. Kosta Koufos, C, Nuggets 4
10. Ekpe Udoh, F, Warriors 10

O.J. Mayo, Grizzlies (@GS, @PHO, @DEN): Mayo is the rare Memphis player who does not show a significant split in his home and road production, averaging right around 12 points per game no matter where he's playing. That is good news for this week, as the Grizzlies encounter a trio or porous defenses on the road, all three of which rank in the bottom 10 of the NBA in points allowed. Consistency has been a big issue for Mayo, however he should find plenty of opportunities to put up some nice numbers against these opponents, especially if his teammates struggle as they usually do on the road, as he attempts more shots per game on the road than at home.

Sleeper Alert: Jimmer Fredette, Kings (@DEN, NO, DAL, ATL): Fredette is starting to see his role grow ever-so-slightly here after the All-Star break, as he has found his shooting stroke. The rookie played 21 minutes on Friday night against the Lakers, his most extensive playing time in over two weeks, as he has made 6 of 10 from three-point range in his last three games. Fredette has scored in double digits in consecutive games for the first time since January and is starting to look less hesitant with his jump shot. Fredette has four opportunities in Week 11 to shoot threes, making him an appealing option in deeper Rotisserie formats.

Sit 'Em

Evan Turner, 76ers (@MIL, BOS, UTA, @NY): Turner started the season with some flashes that suggested he may have turned the corner on a disappointing rookie season, and yet here we are in March and his numbers are almost indistinguishable from last year's. Turner hit an extended cold streak that lasted almost the entire month of February, as he reached double digits in scoring just once in the month. Turner has scored just 12 points in three games since the All-Star break and with a handful of tough, grind-it-out matchups on the horizon in Week 11, it doesn't look like he's about to break out anytime soon.

Mario Chalmers, Heat (NJ, ATL, IND): This isn't an indictment on Chalmers, who is having an excellent year emerging as Miami's true fourth option on offense and a useful Fantasy player with his ability to hit the three-point shot at a high rate. However, in Week 11, the Heat plays just three times, with two games coming against teams in Indiana and Atlanta that guard the line at an above average rate. Fantasy owners will be able to rely on Chalmers for consistent threes the rest of the way, but with only three games this week; he might not be able to accumulate the stats necessary to make him a starting option.

Bust Alert: D.J. Augustin, Bobcats (ORL, UTA, NJ, @OKC): The Bobcats are in a terrible situation for Fantasy players, as they don't have one or two dominant offensive players who put up most of their points, forcing Fantasy owners to hold on to marginal, inconsistent options like Augustin. Augustin has completely lost his shot since returning from injury. In his six games since his return, Augustin has made just 31.0 percent of his shots after a 1 of 9 performance on Friday against San Antonio. Even with a fairly attractive schedule, Augustin has been struggling too much to consider using him this week.

Forwards

Start 'Em

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Josh Howard, Jazz (@CLE, @CHA, @PHI, @CHI): It didn't appear to make much sense to insert the struggling veteran into the starting lineup when the team was down, however Howard has made coach Tyrone Corbin look like a genius in the five games since. Howard is averaging 13.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game over that time frame, looking more like a viable Fantasy option than he has in years. The Jazz have an up-and-down Week 11 on the horizon, with two easy matchups leading into two extremely tough ones, however if recent history is any indication, Howard will be a solid force for them the whole time.

James Johnson, Raptors (ORL, HOU, @DET, MIL): Johnson is very quietly putting together a decent second season in Toronto, and he has been stepping his performance up recently. Over the last five games, Johnson has scored in double digits four times and is averaging 12.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, as the Raptors have been leaning on him a little more heavily. He is the latest Raptor to step up as the team tries to find some stability, and while his role is robust and he is playing well, don't be afraid to rely on him too.

Sleeper Alert: Kenneth Faried, Nuggets (SAC, CLE, NO, MEM): Complicating this selection somewhat is the fact that Nuggets starting center Nene is expected to return for the game against the Kings on Monday. However, Faried has been too good recently to lose his role, especially with coach George Karl saying he doesn't expect Nene to return to a full-time role this season and with Timofey Mozgov suffering another ankle injury on Friday. Faried's high-energy style fits in with Karl's running philosophy, and he has three double-doubles in the last five games without seeing huge minutes. Faried should stay in his 20-minutes-per-game role, where he has thrived, so he should be able to produce enough to be useful in that role.

Sit 'Em

Corey Brewer, Nuggets (SAC, CLE, NO, MEM): On the flip side of Faried is his teammate Brewer, who likely will lose significant minutes due to the return of a different injured teammate; this one is Danilo Gallinari, who is expected to return from a fractured ankle in Week 11. Brewer has been a nice fill in for Gallinari, however Brewer had scored in double figures just five times prior to Gallinari's injury, as he was barely a part of the team's rotation. And while Brewer has been excelling, the team has scuffled in a big way, meaning there's not really any reason not to go back to the rotation that was working. Gallinari will be worked back into the rotation, but his minutes will almost certainly come at Brewer's cost, making him a questionable option moving forward.

Richard Jefferson, Spurs (NY, LAC): The Spurs are the first team to play only twice in a week in some time, as the schedule has tightened up in a big way recently. They'll get back to a regular load next week, but for Week 11, you won't want to rely on any of their more marginal options like Jefferson in weekly leagues. Jefferson continues to redefine himself as an elite spot-up shooter in his later years with the Spurs, making him a useful low-end Fantasy option, however with only two games, you'll want to look for better options.

Bust Alert: David West, Pacers (@CHI, ATL, @MIA, @ORL): West has been turning things around recently, as he is starting to reach the one-year mark from his major knee injury last season. That might take a detour in Week 11, as the Pacers have to run through a gauntlet of the Eastern Conference's toughest defenses in the week, with three coming on the road. Against the four teams he faced in Week 11, West is averaging just 11.25 points and 4.75 rebounds, as they have been able to hold him below his season averages. Expect West to struggle some as the East's elite defenses go to work.

Centers

Start 'Em

Brendan Haywood, Mavericks (@OKC, NY, @PHO, @SAC, @GS): Haywood seems to be past the back issues that had bothered him some last week, and so he should be worth starting this week. Unlike his teammate Beaubois, who would likely have been worth starting no matter the matchups, Haywood is only worth starting because he'll have so many opportunities to play against inferior competition. Haywood is averaging just 5.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game this season, however with five chances, he should be able to rack up enough counting stats to make him a viable Fantasy start this week.

Sleeper Alert: Chris Wilcox, Celtics (HOU, @PHI, POR, @LAL): With news of Jermaine O'Neal likely missing the next two weeks with a wrist injury, Wilcox becomes the only natural center on the Celtics' roster. Wilcox isn't starting, however he has seen his minutes go up over the last few games, and he has responded accordingly by averaging 8.8 points and 10.3 rebounds over the last three games backing up Kevin Garnett. Wilcox likely won't maintain a double-double pace, but with how weak the center position is, he could be a useful No. 2 in deeper Fantasy leagues.

Sit 'Em

DeJuan Blair, Spurs (NY, LAC): This has been an odd season for Blair, as he is averaging a career high in scoring and a career low in rebounding. That trend hasn't been showing signs of reversing recently, but that isn't why Blair is here. He's here for the same reasons Jefferson is, and that is because the Spurs play just twice this week. Only five other teams in the NBA play as few as three times this week, meaning if you're relying on Blair or any of the other low-end Spurs options, you're putting your team in a hole this week that you might not be able to dig out of.

Bust Alert: Javale McGee, Wizards (GS, LAL, POR): There are plenty of criticisms to make of McGee's game, however he has been a useful Fantasy option for most of the season. Recently his various foibles have proven too much for Wizards coach Randy Wittman, who has begun tinkering with his rotation, going so far as to bench McGee for a game last week. He put him back in the starting lineup on Saturday, however McGee was not back to his usual minutes, playing just 24 and sitting out crunch time. Wittman clearly does not trust McGee at this time and until he earns his trust and minutes back, Fantasy owners will want to be careful about relying on a guy who struggles with consistency even when receiving good minutes.

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Player News
Andray Blatche heading to China
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/20/2014) Free-agent center Andray Blatche has signed a one-year deal with the Xinjiang Guanghui Flying Tigers in China. Blatche's deal with pay him almost $2.5 million, and he'll be able to rejoin an NBA team in March, Yahoo! Sports reports.

Report: Kings add Ramon Sessions
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/20/2014) The Kings have agreed to a two-year, $4.2-million deal with free-agent guard Ramon Sessions , Yahoo! Sports reports.

The team is reportedly using its bi-annual exception provision to sign Sessions, who averaged 12.3 points, 4.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 83 games between two teams last season.


Omer Asik ready to clean up in return to starting role
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Last season was a rough one for Omer Asik, who had to deal with returning to a reserve role after really shining as a starter the previous year. He should be much happier with his role this season, as the Pelicans acquired him this offseason with the intention of installing him as the starting center.

The Pelicans should have a fearsome frontcourt with Asik starting next to Anthony Davis, and Davis' presence should free Asik up to do the kind of work he excels at. Asik isn't a great offensive player, but he can be a dominant offensive rebounder, and should have many chances to clean up the boards with teams keying in on Davis offensively. Among players who have logged at least 5,000 minutes in the NBA, Asik is 22nd all-time in offensive rebounding percentage.

Asik had trouble staying healthy last season, but that was the first time he had ever missed a regular-season game in his career, so we can probably write that off as a fluke. He averaged a double-double with 1.1 blocks per game in 30.0 minutes per game two years ago, and should be capable of similar production as he returns to a starting role.

Asik should be viewed as a starting Fantasy option this season, though he may not have the upside of some other younger centers at this point. 


Tobias Harris' Fantasy value a mystery at this point
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Perception is a funny thing. Just ask Magic forward Tobias Harris, who enjoyed by far the most productive season of his career in 2013-14 but was somehow viewed as a Fantasy disappointment.

Part of that stemmed from Harris' issues with availability, as he missed 20 games and got off to a slow start to the season as a result. It really took until January for Harris to find his stride, but he averaged 15.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game from Jan. 1 on, without missing a contest.

Harris was probably better than the general perception of him a year ago, but the power of expectations hurt him. And now he enters his fourth season as something of a career crossroads, and it is hard to say just how Fantasy owners should approach him this season.

The Magic added Channing Frye and Aaron Gordon to the roster this season, further confusing what was already one of the most crowded frontcourts in the league. Harris can play both forward spots, but he is probably best used as a small-ball power forward; the presence of Frye, one of the league's elite stretch-fours certainly complicates matters for Harris, then.

At just 22, Harris still has a world of potential ahead of him. However, he probably profiles best as a reserve Fantasy option heading into the season, given concerns about his role.   


Hype may be too high for Giannis Antetokounmpo
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) No matter what he accomplishes in his second NBA season, Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is likely to be a historical outlier, given his age. The question is, how much of a leap can the now-20-year-old take next season.

Only 15 players in NBA history have logged as many minutes in a single season as a teenager as Antetokounmpo's 1,897, so he is occupying fairly rarified air already. His age is a big part of why he is considered a big-time breakout prospect for Fantasy purposes, but he has a long way to go from a statistical standpoint.

Antetokounmpo was good for a 19-year-old rookie, but his season averages of 6.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game left a lot to be desired. It is easy to dream about a Antetokounmpo taking a big step forward, but that next step is never guaranteed -- for every Anthony Davis there is a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist whose development follows a slower, less linear path. 

Antetokounmpo was very good -- for a 19-year-old. However, Fantasy owners don't get extra points, rebounds or assists if the degree of difficulty is higher, so you are betting on Giannis taking a huge step forward at the age of 20. Antetokounmpo has become something of an internet darling, and his play in Summer League and the FIBA World Cup dominated much of the offseason discussion, which only helped build the hype to potentially unsustainable levels. 

He is a lottery ticket, for sure, but he is one that might not be worth the cost at this point. 


Improved jump shot all Jimmy Butler needs
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Bulls guard Jimmy Butler had the breakout season many expected from him a year ago, but there were still plenty of flaws apparent in his game as he finished his third NBA season. With a better team around him, Butler just might have enough help to vault him to stardom.

Butler's jump shot abandoned him last season, especially after a toe injury forced him to miss 11 games in November and December. He was shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from three-point range prior to the injury, but connected on just 39.3 percent of his shots overall and 27.1 percent from three-point range from that point on.

We can blame Butler's season-long shooting slump on the injury or his increased offensive role, but he should have neither excuse available for him this season. Butler should be healthy, and the Bulls added plenty of offensive firepower this offseason, in the form of Pau Gasol and Doug McDermott, not to mention a hopefully healthy Derrick Rose. Butler took 154 shots off the dribble last season, per Stats.NBA.com, and made just 30.7 percent of them. With a better team around him, Butler should get many more opportunities to shoot with his feet set.

Butler has the skill set to be a tremendously efficient offensive player, given how often he bullies his way to the free-throw line. Last season, Butler filled up the box score extremely well, but his poor shooting limited his Fantasy value somewhat. If a new role helps his efficiency, he could be one of the very best guards in the league in category-based formats. 


Lance Stephenson set for bigger role in new setting
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Though there were fits and starts, Lance Stephenson finally began to live up to his considerable promise last season. Now in a new home in Charlotte, will Stephenson take another step forward in 2014-15?

By the end of last season, the Pacers were a mess, and Stephenson caught plenty of the blame for that. Still, he might have been arguably the team's most consistent player throughout the season, averaging between 25.8 and 29.7 Fantasy points per game from before and after the All-Star break as well as the playoffs. For as much of a mess as that team was, Stephenson emerged as something of a rock, at least for Fantasy purposes.

The Hornets are actually built in a somewhat similar way to the Pacers, so there wont' be much of a stylistic shift for Stephenson to get used to. Per MySynergySports.com, 11.8 percent of the then-Bobcats' possessions ended in post-ups, actually down from the 13.2 percent mark the Pacers' posted. Stephenson struggled at times with his post-entry passing, though his off-target feeds might find their mark more often when being lobbed in to the soft hands of Al Jefferson, as opposed to Roy Hibbert.

The Hornets might lean even more heavily on Stephenson than the Pacers did, since Indiana liked to spread the ball around with their starting five. The Hornets, on the other hand, look to be extremely top-heavy, and Stephenson will get plenty of chances to be the second or third option. We have him projected for 29.1 Fantasy points per game, and consider Stephenson a borderline top-50 Fantasy option for this season.  


Move to Houston won't alter Trevor Ariza's trajectory
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Trevor Ariza parlayed a career-year into a lucrative free-agency contract with the Rockets this offseason -- stop me if you've heard this story before.

Ariza was largely a disappointment in his first stint with the Rockets, though it did lead him to the best per-game numbers of his career. Still, Ariza was obviously miscast as a primary offensive option the last time he was in Houston, and that won't be a problem this time around.

Ariza joins a Rockets team with two established stars, and will likely spend much of his time trying to fill the departed Chandler Parsons' role. That should suit him nicely, as Ariza has just enough of an off-the-bounce game to serve as the team's third ballhandler when the shot clock gets deep. Ariza attempted 11.1 field-goal attempts per game last season, and should see a boost given Parsons' role; he attempted 13.3 shots per game.

Ariza's improved three-point shot seems legitimate, as he is shooting 38.6 percent from long range over 738 attempts since 2012. However, he will no longer have John Wall feeding him for juicy corner 3-pointers; Wall to Ariza was the league's most productive corner-three combination last season. His shooting numbers may take a hit with his move.

Even acknowledging the loss of Wall's help, we know the Houston offense is set up to get every player the most efficient shots possible, so Ariza shouldn't see much of a dip in his efficiency. His ability to fill up the box score makes him a perfect No. 2 option at forward in category-based leagues, especially now that he is a high-volume shooter. 


Despite new role, don't write off Isaiah Thomas entirely
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Suns guard Isaiah Thomas might see one of the biggest dropoffs in his Fantasy value from last season to this, as he joins the crowded Suns' backcourt.

The Suns might have three All-Star caliber guards in the backcourt now, with Thomas likely to backup Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe this season. That should put a serious dent in Thomas' value; Thomas finished 13th in Fantasy scoring among guards a year ago, but is projected to finish just 43rd this season.

Still, Thomas is definitely someone you'll want to add to your team when drafting, and almost certainly before the rest of the No. 4-type guards he is grouped with. Thomas is likely to see his numbers fall off from the 20.3 points and 6.3 assists he averaged a year ago, at least at first. However, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him end up starting upwards of 25 games throughout the year, given Bledsoe's injury-proneness. Bledsoe has missed at least 25 games in two of the last three seasons for knee issues.

Thomas probably profiles as more of a bench option for Fantasy purposes next season, but you'll be targeting him much earlier than nearly any other reserve. His upside as a handcuff option for either Bledsoe or Dragic is sky-high, and will make him well worth your attention on Draft Day. 


Eric Gordon cleared for contact
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Pelicans guard Eric Gordon has been cleared to take part in full-contact offseason drills ahead of training camp, The Times-Picayune reports.

Gordon underwent season-ending knee surgery last April, but is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season. 


 
 
 
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