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Rotisserie specials for Week 8

by | Fantasy Writer
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As many Fantasy owners fill up shopping lists with the holidays right around the corner, some may be asking for help regarding their respective Fantasy teams.

With all the injuries that have piled up and coaches continuing to fine-tune their rotations, keeping track of who to start and sit can be quite a challenge.

Fortunately, we have kept an eye on all the action here at CBSSports.com and have compiled our weekly installment of the five players who are worth a look in Roto formats and the five players who should be avoided for the upcoming scoring period. As always, we recommend Fantasy owners do their own homework but to still use our list as a guide when setting lineups for Fantasy Week 8 (Dec. 17-23).

Find a place for 'em

Jose Calderon, G, Raptors (@CLE, DET, ORL): Last week we listed Calderon as a sit as he had struggled to produce on a consistent basis in his reserve role. However, Kyle Lowry was injured in Toronto's first game last week, which allowed Calderon to see starters' minutes and produce like one as well. The veteran continues to thrive when inserted into the starting lineup as he is averaging 12.7 points, 11.3 assists and 3.4 rebounds in the nine games he has started this season compared to the 8.1 points, 4.1 assists and 1.8 rebounds he puts up when coming off the bench. With Lowry now out for at least the next 10 days, Calderon will once again be handed over the reins to Toronto's offense and should be able to flirt with a double-double some nights with the Cavaliers, Pistons and Magic on the schedule. Make sure to get Calderon active in all formats this week. (owned in 86 percent of leagues)

Jarrett Jack, G, Warriors (NO, @SAC, CHA, LAL): After going through a bit of a lull a few weeks ago, Jack has gotten himself back on track. He has scored in double figures in seven of his last nine games and is averaging 13.3 points, 5.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds per contest to go along with 1.1 steals. He is shooting 50 percent from downtown during his hot stretch and has logged at least 30 minutes in five of his last six contests as coach Mark Jackson has been using him at point guard with Stephen Curry sliding over to the two-spot and Klay Thompson moving to small forward. The moves have resulted in Golden State playing its best ball in years, so there is really no reason for Jackson to switch things back up. While Jack doesn't excel in any one particular category, his all-around production coupled with his recent hot shooting from downtown has made him a very productive low-end Rotisserie option over the past few weeks. Fantasy owners in those formats should continue to roll with Jack heading into Week 8. (owned in 66 percent of leagues)

Matt Barnes, F, Clippers (@DET, NO, SAC, @PHO): Rather quietly, Barnes has turned in a bounce-back campaign with the Clippers this season and has been heating up over the past few weeks. The 32-year-old has scored in double figures in seven of his last nine games and is averaging 13 points over that span to go along with 4.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.4 steals. He is shooting 59 percent from the field during his run while logging 25 minutes per game, mostly at small forward. Barnes' defensive prowess -- as well as his ability to get up and down the floor -- has earned him extra playing time in coach Vinny Del Negro's rotation and he should be able to keep things rolling this week with the Pistons, Suns, and Kings on the schedule -- all three of those teams rank near the bottom of the pack in opposition field-goal percentage as well as points allowed. Fantasy owners should continue to ride Barnes' hot hand in Week 8. (owned in 20 percent of leagues)

Bismack Biyombo, F, Bobcats (@LAL, @PHO, @GS, @DEN): While the losses continue to mount in Charlotte, the one thing that has started to increase has been Biyombo's playing time. The 20-year-old, who is averaging 24.6 minutes on the season, has seen around 32 minutes over his last seven games. Obviously more playing time usually leads to more production and Biyombo's case is no exception. The second-year man from Congo is averaging 6.2 points and 8.6 rebounds over his last seven contests and is shooting 53 percent from the field over that stretch. He is also putting up 1.9 blocks during his run and should be able to at least maintain his production this week as coach Mike Dunlap will need Biyombo's length to combat a couple of large frontcourts in the Lakers and Denver. While Biyombo's offense continues to be extremely inconsistent, he has been an excellent source of rebounds and blocks for most owners in Rotisserie formats. With some poor defensive teams on the docket combined with his recent strong play, owners should consider rolling with Biyombo this week. (owned in 34 percent of leagues)

Nikola Vucevic, C, Magic (MIN, WAS, @TOR, UTA): After going through a bit of a lull a few weeks back, Vucevic has gotten himself back on track of late. The 22-year-old continues to flex his muscle on the boards as he has posted double-digit rebounds during six of his last nine games and is averaging 9.1 rebounds over that stretch. He has shown some improvement in his offensive game as well, putting up 10.6 points per contest over his recent board streak and is also giving Fantasy owners over a block per game on the year. While his offensive game very much remains a work in progress, Vucevic should at least be able to maintain or match his rebounding numbers this week. The Raptors, Timberwolves and Wizards all rank near the bottom of the pack in field-goal percentage and points scored this season and Vucevic pulled down 16 rebounds, six points and two blocks in his lone meeting against the Jazz this season. Leave him active in the majority of category-based formats this week. (owned in 83 percent of leagues)

Put 'em on your bench

Shannon Brown, G, Suns (SAC, CHA, @POR, LAC): Brown continues to earn starts at shooting guard for the Suns and has been able to keep his scoring up for the most part. He has scored in double figures in seven of his last eight contests and is averaging 13.6 points per game over that stretch. However, Brown's scoring has come at a price as he has not been very efficient at all. In fact, he is shooting just 37 percent from the field over his last eight contests and just 27 percent from downtown over that same span. While that may not matter to owners in Head-to-Head formats, Brown is actually doing more harm than good in some Rotisserie leagues. Because he doesn't offer much in the way of rebounds, assists or steals, Brown's poor shooting numbers have become a major liability to most owners in those formats. Even with somewhat of a favorable schedule on tap against the defensively challenged Bobcats, Kings and Trail Blazers, owners in category-based formats may want to sit Brown down until he starts making some shots with a bit more consistency. (owned in 34 percent of leagues)

Vince Carter, G, Mavericks (PHI, MIA, @MEM, @SA):. Carter has been his usual inconsistent self thus far this season as he continues to frustrate owners with his up-and-down production. While he can still be very useful to most owners during one of his upswings, he can be just as detrimental when he goes cold. Unfortunately for Fantasy owners, it appears the veteran is in the midst of another cold spell. Carter has failed to reach double figures in four of his last six games and is averaging just 8.4 points on 36.4 percent shooting from the field over that stretch. While Carter continues to see around 24 minutes per game most nights, he looks to have some tough matchups on tap this week. The 76ers and Grizzlies both rank in the top five in opposition field-goal percentage and points allowed while the Heat have finally started to flex its defensive force a bit in recent weeks. Fantasy owners may want to think about leaving Carter on the shelf until he heats back up again. (owned in 41 percent of leagues)

Carlos Delfino, F, Rockets (@NY, PHI, MEM): Delfino's first year in Houston has not gone as planned as he dealt with injuries and a major shooting slump in the early part of the season. The 30-year-old is shooting a putrid 34 percent from the field on the year and has been especially bad over his last few games. Delfino has made just 29 percent of his shots over his last five contests and is averaging 7.0 points and 2.6 rebounds over that stretch. While he continues to see around 25 minutes most nights, Delfino's poor shooting numbers have become a burden for owners in Rotisserie formats. With matchups against the Knicks, Grizzlies and 76ers -- who all rank in the top 10 in opposition field-goal percentage and points allowed -- on tap, it could be another long week for the seventh-year forward. Delfino should be able to bounce back eventually, it just may not be this week.

Brandon Bass, F, Celtics, (@CHI, CLE, MIL): After putting together a career campaign during his first year in Boston, Bass has not been nearly as productive in his second year with the Celtics. Despite continuing to see starts at power forward, Bass has only posted double-digit scoring totals in two of his last eight contests. He is averaging just 5.9 points per game on 46 percent shooting from the field over that stretch to go along with 5.4 rebounds. Bass' recent offensive slump has also forced coach Doc Rivers to tweak his rotation late in games, as Bass is seeing around 25 minutes per game over his recent cold stretch after averaging close to 30 over his first 15 games. While Bass does get to face the defensively challenged Cavs this week, owners should seek other options until Bass gets himself back on track. (owned in 45 percent of leagues)

Jonas Valanciunas, C, Raptors, (@CLE, DET, ORL): Valanciunas got off to a very nice start this season and looked primed to make a major impact for the Raptors. However, the rookie has hit a major wall of late as he is averaging just 5.7 points and 4.7 rebounds over his last nine games. He is shooting 48 percent from the field over that stretch, but coach Dwane Casey has been so upset with Valanciunas' defensive effort that there has been talk about pulling him out of the starting lineup. We aren't as concerned about Valanciunas' defense as his offense, especially since he has scored in double figures in just one of his last nine games. While it is not uncommon for young players to go through ups and downs, Fantasy owners should try and avoid sticking with Valanciunas while he works through his struggles. We strongly recommend leaving him reserved until he is able to turn things around. (owned in 55 percent of leagues)

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Player News
Andray Blatche heading to China
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:13 pm ET) 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
(1:04 pm ET) 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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