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Rotisserie specials for Week 17

by | Fantasy Writer
  •  

Fantasy Week 17 (Feb. 18-24) marks the unofficial start to the second half of the season as most teams have between 25 and 28 games left on their schedule. There have been a ton of players lost for the season due to injury already, but a few are finally starting to make their return to the court. One of those players is Andrew Bogut, who made his return to the lineup a few weeks ago. Bogut has averaged 9.0 points and 7.8 rebounds on 56 percent shooting from the field over his first six games since returning, but he has been subject to a strict minutes limit. In fact, the 28-year-old has yet to log more than 27 minutes in any game since his return and has been held out of the second leg of back-to-back sets. However, Bogut proclaimed over the All-Star break that he expects to play without restriction in the second half, including playing in back-to-back games.

Owners won't have to wait long to see if Bogut's plan holds true as the Warriors open the scoring period with a back-to-back set against Jazz and Suns on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectfully, before taking on the Spurs and Timberwolves later in the week. Still, the Warriors have yet to comment on Bogut's future playing time, but based on his injury history, we would expect the team to continue to err on the side of caution. Even if his restrictions are lifted and Bogut is able to log around 30-35 minutes, we strongly recommend Fantasy owners take a wait-and-see approach with him this week. Bogut is definitely capable of producing like a high-end option when he is fully healthy, so owners should wait for that to happen before getting him active again. Plan on getting Bogut active in Fantasy Week 18 (Feb. 25- March 3) as long as he doesn't suffer any type of setback.

Find a place for 'em

Jason Terry, G, Celtics (@DEN, @LAL, @PHO, @POR): With all the injuries the Celtics have had to deal with of late, Terry has been asked to take on a larger role on the offensive end of the court. The veteran has more than proved up for the challenge as he really stepped up his production in the weeks leading up to the All-Star game. Terry has scored in double figures in nine of his last 10 games and is averaging 12.9 points on 52 percent shooting from the field over that span. However, he has been especially hot from downtown as he is averaging more than two made treys per game over that same span with 12 of those coming over his last four contests. Terry looks to have a pretty favorable schedule on tap this week, which should allow him to maintain his productive ways. The Nuggets and Suns are both allowing their opponents to shoot better than 36 percent from behind the arc on the year, while the Lakers and Trail Blazers are both ranked near the bottom of the pack in opposition field-goal percentage and points allowed. While Terry has been a major disappointment thus far, he looks like a solid play for Week 17. (owned in 51 percent of leagues)

Vince Carter, G, Mavericks (ORL, @NO, LAL): Carter's game has been all over the place this season as the veteran has struggled with his consistency for much of the year. However, he was one of the few players trending up heading into the All-Star break. Carter is currently in the midst of one of his more productive stretches of the season as he is averaging 17 points over his last 11 games. He is shooting 48 percent from the field over that span, but Carter's 3-point shooting is the biggest reason for his recent scoring increase. The 36-year-old has buried 54 percent of his shots from behind the arc during his latest run and totaled 14 makes from there over his last four games. Carter should be able to keep things rolling this week with matchups on tap against the Magic, Hornets and Lakers. New Orleans and Orlando are allowing opponents to shoot 46 percent from the field, while the Lakers are ranked near the bottom in both points allowed and defending the 3-point line. Get Carter active in the majority of Rotisserie formats this week.(owned in 55 percent of leagues)

Charlie Villanueva, F, Pistons(MEM, @CHA, @IND, IND): Most thought Jason Maxiell would see an increase in playing time when Andre Drummond went down with a back injury, but that hasn't been the case. Instead, Villanueva has been the one who has seen his role increase as he has seen 27 minutes per game over his last four contests and averaged 13.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks over that stretch on 46 percent shooting from the field. Villanueva has also been red-hot from downtown during his run as he has made 12 treys over his last four games, including three in Detroit's win over the Wizards last week. Villanueva's inconsistent playing time has limited his production for most of the year, but he can be considered a decent source for 3-pointers and points when he sees regular minutes. While he doesn't look to have the most favorable schedule this week, Villanueva's increased role and recent hot streak are reasons enough to get him active.(owned in 20 percent of leagues)

Earl Clark, F, Lakers(BOS, POR, @DAL): While coach Mike D'Antoni continues to shuffle players in and out of his rotation, Clark has been a steady force in the Lakers' starting lineup for some time now. The 25-year-old has started each of the team's last 11 games at small forward and posted a very respectable 11.8 points and 8.3 rebounds over that span on 46 percent shooting from the field. He is also giving owners 1.2 steals and one assist during his run and has arguably been one of the Lakers' most consistent producers over that span. While he doesn't exactly excel in one particular category, his solid all-around production has made him a nice addition off the waiver wire in Rotisserie formats. Despite not having the most favorable schedule this week, owners could do a lot worse than rolling with Clark. (owned in 86 percent of leagues)

Tiago Splitter, C, Spurs (@SAC, @LAC, @GS, @PHO): Splitter has been quietly putting together his best season as a pro as the third-year big man has is averaging 10.6 points and 5.9 rebounds over his first 54 games. The 27-year-old has been playing especially well of late as he has scored in double figures in 16 of his last 17 games. He is averaging 13.7 points and 7.8 rebounds on 63 percent shooting from the field over that span and is even knocking down 77 percent of his free throws. While Tim Duncan is now healthy, we would fully expect Splitter to maintain his productive ways in Week 17 as he will be facing some bad defensive teams. The Suns and Kings both rank in the bottom tier in terms of points allowed and opposition field-goal percentage and Splitter dropped in 19 points and nine rebounds in his lone meeting with the Warriors earlier in the year. While the Clippers could prove to a challenge, owners should consider rolling with Splitter at the thin position this week.(owned in 77 percent of leagues)

Put 'em on your bench

Ben Gordon, G, Bobcats(@ORL, DET, CHI, DEN): After weeks of hearing the rumors of friction between Gordon and coach Mike Dunlap, things finally came to a head last week. Gordon got into a verbal altercation with his coach during a morning shootaround last Monday and things got so bad that Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins had to step in. The result has been Gordon logging a combined 30 minutes over his last two games since the incident and according to multiple reports, the Bobcats are actively looking to trade the 29-year-old. With the NBA trade deadline just days away, there seems to be a very good chance Gordon could be changing addresses before the end of the scoring period. Gordon was averaging just 8.1 points on 30 percent shooting from the field over his last seven games, which had forced most owners to put him on the bench anyway. We would strongly recommend leaving him there for the upcoming scoring period. (owned in 33 percent of leagues)

Jared Dudley, G, Suns (@POR, @GS, BOS, SA): The Suns limped into the All-Star break with four straight losses as they have been struggling to put the ball in the basket. Unfortunately for Fantasy owners, Dudley has had that same problem of late. The 27-year-old has been ice cold as he is averaging just 5.4 points over his last five contests. He has failed to score twice during that span while connecting on just 36 percent of his shots, including 25 percent from downtown. While a few days off may be just what the doctor ordered for the normally reliable Dudley, he will have to go up against some tough defensive foes in Week 17. The Spurs, Celtics and Warriors are all ranked in the top 10 in defending the 3-point line as well as in opposition field-goal percentage, which doesn't bode well for someone looking to find his shooting touch. Sure Dudley's track record suggests it should only be a matter of time before he bounces back, but owners should consider leaving him reserved for at least one more scoring period.(owned in 61 percent of leagues)

Matt Barnes, F, Clippers (SA, UTA): Barnes has been one of the more pleasant surprises in Fantasy this season as the 32-year-old has been a perfect fit for the Clippers' up-tempo style of play. In fact, Barnes entered the All-Star break averaging a career-high 10.4 points per game while connecting on a career-best 35 percent of his shots from downtown. He is also giving owners 4.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.1 steals, which has made him a nice low-end option in deeper Rotisserie formats. However, Barnes was mired in a bit of shooting slump entering the break, shooting just 31 percent from the field over his last nine games. While Barnes should be able to bounce back in no time, the fact that the Clippers are slated to play just two games during the upcoming scoring period, combined with his recent struggles, makes him a prime sit candidate this week. Fantasy owners should wait until Barnes gets himself going before activating him again.(owned in 78 percent of leagues)

Derrick Favors, F, Jazz(GS, @LAC): Favors continues to be stuck in a reserve role behind Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson in Utah, which many feel is a waste of his talent. However, both Millsap and Jefferson have had their names mentioned in numerous trade rumors over the past few weeks and with both players playing in the last year of their contracts, the Jazz may finally let one go. That obviously would bump Favors into a starting role, which in turn would take his production and Fantasy value to a whole new level. The 21-year-old has averaged 9.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in a limited role this season, but his inconsistent minutes make it tough to leave him active for long stretches of time. The Jazz are one of just two teams scheduled to play twice during the upcoming scoring period, making Favors a prime sit candidate this week. However, Fantasy owners should keep a close eye on what the Jazz do at the trade deadline. Favors could wind up being the steal of the season if he ends up in a starting role. (owned in 48 percent of leagues)

Andrea Bargnani, C, Raptors (@WAS, MEM, NY): Bargnani has been on the outs in Toronto for some time now and with trade deadline looming, it appears his time north of the border could be over. The 27-year-old has been limited to 25 games thus far due to a variety of injuries and has logged just 30 minutes over the two games he has been back in the lineup for, which has added to speculation that he will be traded. Even if the Raptors end up hanging on to Bargnani, there is really no telling how many minutes he will see in coach Dwane Casey's rotation moving forward with all the new pieces the Raptors have acquired. With no defined role combined plus a really good chance of being traded, owners are probably best to leave Bargnani on the bench heading into Week 17. (owned in 90 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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