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Rotisserie specials for Week 6

by | Fantasy Writer
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With injuries starting to pile up a bit as the calendar turns to December, we see several teams changing rotations and trying to plug holes in their lineup.

That is once again the case heading into Fantasy Week 6 (Dec. 3-9), as most of the players mentioned in the fifth installment of our Rotisserie-based advice column were buried deep on the bench at the beginning of the year. However, some of the other players mentioned in this piece have been fixtures in their respective club's starting lineup but are now underperforming while some are just returning from long layoffs due to injury.

Whatever their case may be, we have once again compiled our list of five players who are worth a look in Roto formats this week and the five players who should be avoided.

Find a place for 'em

Marco Belinelli, G, Bulls (IND, @CLE, @DET, NY): Belinelli hasn't seen much of the floor during the early part of the season as he has averaged just 14.7 minutes per game over his first 14 games. He is averaging just 5.0 points in those contests and only scored in double figures three times over that stretch. However, Richard Hamilton is now out for at least a week, which is expected to open things up for Belinelli. The 26-year-old will likely become the team's starting shooting guard for at least the next few games, which at the very least will get him on the court more. While Belinelli has never been much of a source for assists, steals or rebounds, he has become a popular pickup off the waiver wire in Rotisserie formats for his ability to knock down threes. Even this season, he is shooting 40 percent from behind the arc in his limited minutes and will be asked to take on more of an offensive role for the Bulls. While he is still a bit of a risky play due to coach Tom Thibodeau's defense-first attitude, Belinelli looks to have some favorable matchups on tap this week as the Knicks and Cavaliers have been dreadful at defending the three-point line thus far while the Pistons have been bad in all aspects of defending. Fantasy owners brave enough to take a risk should consider taking a flier on Belinelli this week. (owned in two percent of Fantasy leagues)

J.J. Redick, G, Magic (@GS, @UTA, @SAC, @PHO): Redick has been one of the more pleasant surprises in Fantasy this season as he is averaging a career-best 13.4 points and 4.9 assists on 44 percent shooting from the field thus far. While he continues to come off the bench most nights, he is still seeing around 30 minutes per game and has been asked to take on a more prominent scoring role with the Magic this season. Still, the one part of Redick's game that has been lacking has been his three-point shooting. He is making just 33.9 percent of his shots from downtown, which is well below his career average of 39.6. Redick has also been stuck in a bit of a rut of late as he has scored a combined nine points over his last two games. However, Redick looks to have some favorable matchups on tap in Week 6 that could help him get back on track. The Jazz and Suns rank near the bottom of the pack in opposition three-point field-goal percentage while the Kings are one of the eight teams allowing more than 100 points per game and are allowing opponents to make over 45 percent of their shots. Redick has also averaged 13 points and made five three-pointers in his last two contests against the Warriors, so get him active this week. (owned in 78 percent of leagues)

Kevin Seraphin, F, Wizards (MIA, @ATL, GS): Seraphin continues to take advantage of the extra minutes he has been seeing and is riding a two-game double-double streak heading into Week 6. Injuries to Trevor Booker and Nene have allowed the 22-year-old to average a career-high 24.5 minutes per game and he has responded by putting up 11.5 points and 5.5 rebounds over his first 13 games. He is making 46 percent of his shots from the field and has also given Fantasy owners 1.4 assists and 0.9 blocks per contest thus far. With Booker still out indefinitely and Nene being eased back into action, Seraphin should see plenty of run again this week and looks to have a few quality matchups on tap as well. The Heat and Warriors have had problems defending the paint all season and Seraphin dropped in 21 and 10 in his lone meeting against Atlanta this year. Fantasy owners should continue to roll with Seraphin in the majority of Rotisserie formats heading into the upcoming scoring period. (owned in 52 percent of leagues)

Antawn Jamison, F, Lakers (@HOU, @NO, @OKC, UTA): Jamison was expected to be the Lakers main scoring threat off the bench this season, but he was quickly labeled a bust after coach Mike Brown limited him to just 16.5 minutes of court time over his first 10 games. He averaged just 4.3 points and 3.6 rebounds over that stretch, which frankly, wasn't helping any owners. However, coach Mike D'Antoni has inserted the veteran back into his rotation and he has started to perform the way most expected him to once he signed with Los Angeles. Jamison has logged at least 25 minutes in each of his last four games and averaged 15.8 points and 8.4 rebounds over that stretch. He has shot 42 percent from downtown over that span and received the green light from D'Antoni to shoot whenever he has an open look. Even at age 36, Jamison has proved he can still be a valuable option on Fantasy rosters and looks to have some favorable matchups on tap in Week 6. The Rockets, Hornets and Jazz are all ranked near the bottom of the pack in opponent three-point percentage, which should bode well for all the open looks Jamison will see thanks to the constant double-teams Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard draw. Fantasy owners should continue to ride Jamison's hot hand heading into the upcoming scoring period. (owned in 59 percent of leagues)

Larry Sanders, C, Bucks ( @NO, @SA, CHA, @BKN): Sanders got off to a red-hot start this season as the team's primary center and became quite a popular waiver-wire pickup as a result. However, he hit a major wall in the middle of November as coach Scott Skiles decided to change up his rotation once again, which cut down on the 24-year-old's minutes. He averaged just 17.5 minutes per game over an eight-game stretch and put up 4.0 points and 5.1 rebounds during that run. Now it appears Sanders has played his way back into Skiles' good graces as he logged over 30 minutes in each of his last two games and responded by posting a pair of double-doubles. Fantasy owners have grown very accustomed to Skiles' helter skelter rotations over the years and learned to ride the hot hand while you can before he changes things up again. It appears Ersan Illyasova is on the outside looking in at the moment, which should continue to open the way for Sanders to see big minutes for the time being. Sanders has given Fantasy owners a solid source of points, rebounds, blocks and field-goal percentage when given as chance to play, so owners in Rotisserie formats should get him active now that he appears to be back in the swing of things. (owned in 61 percent of leagues)

Put 'em on your bench

Chauncey Billups, G, Clippers (@UTA, DAL, PHO, TOR): Billups was finally able to get himself back on the floor last week after suffering a torn left Achilles' last February. The veteran was quickly inserted into the starting lineup over his first two games back but wasn't on the court much over that span. In fact, he logged just 37 combined minutes over his two-game return and that is unlikely to change much in the near future. The Clippers are thinking long-term at the moment as they have their eyes set on making a run at a title this year and are not going to rush Billups back. The 36-year-old will continue to be eased back into action, which means owners should get used to seeing the type of stat lines he produced in his first week back. Keep in mind Los Angeles has also gotten strong guard play from the likes of Jamal Crawford and Eric Bledsoe and the team doesn't want to mess up the chemistry just yet. While it should only be a matter of time before Billups starts logging the 30-plus minutes per game he did last season, that is very unlikely to happen in Week 6. We strongly recommend Fantasy owners to exercise some patience and leave Billups reserved for the upcoming scoring period. (owned in 52 percent of leagues)

Nick Young, G, 76ers (MIN, BOS, @BOS): Young has gotten off to a very uneven start during his first year in Philadelphia as he has struggled to knock down his shots. While the 27-year-old has always been a bit of a streaky shooter, he has been in a major shooting slump of late. In fact, Young has failed to score in double figures in each of his last four contests and made just 36 percent of his shots from the field over that stretch, including 33 percent from downtown. Now he is dealing with a lingering toe injury and doesn't look to have the greatest matchups on tap as he will face the Timberwolves and Celtics (twice) in the upcoming scoring period. Both teams have been pretty good at defending the three-point line for the most part this season -- especially Minnesota -- and Young turned in an uninspiring 10-point effort in his lone contest against Boston earlier in the year. While Swaggy-P is normally a great source for treys, his injury, tough upcoming schedule and shooting woes make him a prime candidate for a benching this week. (owned in 16 percent of leagues)

Charlie Villanueva, F, Pistons (CLE, GS, CHI, @CLE): After spending the first three-plus weeks of the season collecting DNPs, coach Lawrence Frank decided it was time to insert Villanueva back into his rotation. Villanueva responded to the move by dropping in 17, 10 and 19 points in his first three contests on 66 percent (14 for 21) shooting from the field. However, the 28-year-old started to reveal his inconsistent ways over his last two games as he scored a combined nine points on 25 percent shooting from the field over that stretch, and was even shutout in his last contest. Unfortunately this is the way it has always been for owners over the years as he has been one of the more streaky options in all of Fantasy. Very few can go from looking like a sharpshooter to a dud as quick as Charlie V can, which makes it very tough to start him most weeks. While his three-game stretch last week surely will have owners scurrying to add him off the waiver wire, we recommend using extreme caution with Villanueva. It doesn't appear Frank is done tweaking his rotation yet and if Villanueva turns a few more stinkers, he could be right back on the bench. He is only averaging 17 minutes in the contests he has appeared in anyway, so think twice before adding Villanueva to your starting lineup this week. (owned in eight percent of leagues)

Ersan Ilyasova, F, Bucks (@NO, @SA, CHA, @BKN): Ilyasova has been a major bust this season as Fantasy owners and the Bucks are becoming extremely frustrated with the 25-year-old. He has clearly been one of the biggest disappointments in all of Fantasy to this point and has played so poorly that he earned a pair of DNPs last week as a healthy scratch. It is not often you see teams bench a player who signed a huge contract in the offseason, but that is exactly what happened. While he was able to get back on the floor for Milwaukee's last game and score a respectable 15 points to go along with eight rebounds, he finished the month of November averaging just 6.7 points and 4.3 rebounds. Coach Scott Skiles has already said he doesn't see any benefit in giving the forward more minutes to work through his struggles and now it seems like he could be starting to look in other directions as he has only logged more than 30 minutes once over his past 10 games. Based on his track record, Ilyasova should be able to turn things around, but Fantasy owners are advised to wait until that happens before getting him active again -- at least for this week. (owned in 72 percent of leagues)

Tyler Zeller, C, Cavaliers (@DET, CHI, MIN, DET): Zeller has been thrown right into the fire in Cleveland as he has seen a decent number of minutes right from the get-go for the Cavaliers. While he is still working to get over the fractured orbital bone he suffered back on Nov. 5, the rookie is seeing just over 22 minutes per game on the year and posted his first back-to-back double-digit scoring efforts of the season over his last two contests. His latest performances have gotten the Cavaliers and Fantasy owners excited about what is to come from the rookie, but we aren't sold quite yet. The 22-year-old is still shooting just 44 percent on the season and has yet to post a double-digit rebounding total in any game this season. Now Zeller will have to bang with some big bodies this week as he will find himself up against Greg Monroe, Joakim Noah and Nikola Pekovic in the upcoming scoring period, which are some of the more physical big men in the game. While Zeller looks to be finding his footing a bit and appears to have a very bright future, owners should not be fooled by his last two games and leave him reserved this week.(owned in 23 percent of leagues)

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Player News
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. 


Jrue Holiday cleared for contact ahead of camp
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday was able to participate in full-contact offseason drills last week, the first time he has done so since undergoing season-ending surgery last January.

"Getting out playing has been a joy," Holiday told The Times-Picayune. "I've been running and jumping and stuff, but getting my rhythm back on the court is definitely a big thing right now for me."

The Pelicans open training camp Sept. 30, and Holiday is not expected to have any limitations as the team prepares for the start of the season. Holiday averaged 14.3 points, 7.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game last season prior to the injury.


Kent Bazemore focused on conditioning in recovery
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Newly signed Hawks guard Kent Bazemore did not pick up a basketball until August, preferring to focus on conditioning in his recovery from foot surgery in April.

"I think the injury was definitely a blessing," he told the Daily Press, "because I was able to step away from the game of basketball. I took myself out of my element all summer. I did stuff I'm not used to doing."

Bazemore signed a two-year deal with the Hawks this offseason, and is expected to compete for playing time on the wing immediately, as he is fully recovered from the surgery. 


 
 
 
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