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Week 5 Roto Fact Sheet

by | Fantasy Writer
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A wave of injuries has shifted the statistical landscape in the NBA over the past couple weeks. More minutes for replacements means more chances to help out in areas of expertise. For those of you in category-specific formats, here are some notable factoids that might help you gain an edge in areas of need. We'll continue to validate and debunk trends on a weekly basis in this column going forward.

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(All stats up to date through Nov. 29 games. Info provided by NBA.com and Teamrankings.com)

Scoring

John Wall has been on a tear, averaging a hair less than 30 points per game over the last seven days. The Wizards are without Bradley Beal's 20 points per game for the time being, so expect Wall to keep scoring in bunches during his absence. ... Rodney Stuckey (65 percent) has always had a knack for getting buckets, but lately his production has exceeded expectations. He's gone over 20 points twice in the last three games and is averaging 16.6 points per contest for the season. ... Nick Young (32 percent) is another shoot-first guard who's picked up his scoring as of late. Young scored a season-high 26 against Brooklyn Wednesday night and is averaging 17.5 points per game over the last seven days. ... The 76ers remain the most frequently scored on team, giving up a league-high 109.1 points to opponents per game. They play the Bobcats next week, so consider Gerald Henderson (80 percent) a good Week 6 start if you need help in the points column. ... A surprising 71 percent of leagues consider Kevin Garnett worth rostering, despite his horrendous 6.7 points per game on 36 percent shooting for the season. These owners might be better off adding Andray Blatche, who's reached double-digit scoring in each of his last seven games.

Field-Goal Percentage

Andre Drummond spends a lot of time dunking, currently leading the league with 41 slams on the season. Dunks comprise 47.6 percent of his made field goals so far. Therefore, his 64.7 "shooting" percentage doesn't come as a surprise because almost every other "shot" he attempts involves a hand or two on the rim. ... LeBron James is converting a mind-boggling 60 percent of his field goal attempts. Pretty amazing considering he's third in the league in scoring while shooting almost seven fewer shots per game than second-place Carmelo Anthony. ... Tony Allen is on your team because of his 2.2 steals per game, but his 55 percent field goal shooting is a nice bonus for Roto players. ... J.R. Smith has struggled mightily with his stroke to start the season, converting on only 32 percent of his 13 field goal attempts per game. ... Reggie Jackson (41 percent) has remained productive coming off the bench. His 48 percent shooting from the field is fifth in the league among point guards who attempt at least nine field goals per game. He can help out in just about every other category too -- shooting 90 percent from the free throw line to go along with 4.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game.

Rebounds

Kosta Koufos (54 percent) looks comfortable in the Grizzlies starting lineup, grabbing 13 rebounds in each of his first two starts filling in for Marc Gasol. ... How is it that the Heat can be both the worst rebounding team in the league and still give up the fewest rebounds to opponents per game? It's made possible by ultra efficient offense as Miami is the only team to make more than 50 percent of its field goals. Meanwhile, the Lakers give up the most rebounds to opponents because they attempt almost 12 more field goals per game than the Heat while making only 43.8 percent of them. ... Robin Lopez (71 percent) has been rebounding well as of late, averaging 10.5 over the last seven days. ... Martell Webster ranks fourth among shooting-guard eligible players with 5.0 rebounds per game. He's logged 40 minutes-plus in four straight games and will remain cemented in the Wizards' lineup during Beal's absence. ... Ryan Anderson is great for Roto because of his shooting, but his rebounding has been pretty bad to start the year. He's only grabbing 4.8 a game. Reggie Evans has been able to grab more per contest despite playing only 13.5 minutes a night compared to Anderson's 31.4.

Assists

Mike D'antoni continues to work wonders for point guards, as evidenced by Steve Blake's surging numbers. Blake (84 percent) has dished out more than 10 assists in five games this year, which he hadn't done once since 2010. He ranks sixth in the league in helpers per game with 7.3, more than LeBron James, Tony Parker and Kyrie Irving. ... At the other end of the spectrum is Kemba Walker who only contributes 4.1 helpers per game. The only starting point guard averaging fewer assists per contest is George Hill at 3.8. ... Kenyon Martin wins the award for most unlikely assist man over the last seven days, averaging 4.7 during that span. He'll likely continue to get minutes while Tyson Chandler recovers from injury, so keep an eye on his numbers. ... Fancy new stats allow Fantasy owners to see whether or not assist numbers are sustainable. For instance, Stephen Curry is averaging 8.8 assists on 14.7 assist opportunities per game. This means his teammates are shooting about 60 percent when Curry passes them the ball. Meanwhile, John Wall is averaging the same number of assists on 18.7 opportunities per game, making it much easier to buy into his numbers long term as opposed to Curry's.

Free-throw percentage

If you're struggling in the category because of Dwight Howard or Andre Drummond, you might consider adding Channing Frye, who's averaging double-figure scoring while shooting better than 80 percent from the line. ... Brandon Bass is making a scintillating 90 percent of his free throws this season -- good for second among power forwards attempting more than two per game. ... Michael Carter-Williams does many things well, however free-throw shooting is not one of them. He's only making 68.3 percent of his five-plus attempts per game. ... Other productive guards shooting free throws in the 60s include Lance Stephenson, Dion Waiters, Tyreke Evans and Dwyane Wade.

Three pointers

Channing Frye has been launching from deep all season, but over the last week he's seen a lot of them fall. Frye has made 14 over a four-game span, including five against Charlotte. ... Patrick Beverley (60 percent) has also been hitting from deep, averaging 2.3 made threes per game in the last seven days. That number could remain for the next two weeks while Jeremy Lin recovers from a knee sprain. ... Caron Butler has been surprisingly effective from downtown, averaging two made threes per game for the season. He only averages 0.8 per game for his career, so don't expect him to maintain this pace. ... The D'antoni system has been fully implemented as the Lakers currently lead the league in three point field goals made and are second in attempts. Philadelphia continues to be a gold mine for three point shooters, allowing a league-leading 10.9 made threes per game.

Blocks

Not since Dikembe Mutombo in 1995 has an NBA player averaged four blocks per game for an entire season. Roy Hibbert and Anthony Davis are on the cusp of that number so far at 3.9 apiece. ... Serge Ibaka has been surging in the blocks category as of late, tallying up 21 over his last six games. ... Samuel Dalembert, Jon Henson, Robin Lopez and Wesley Johnson are all widely available players averaging at least 1.4 blocks per game. ... Opposing teams are having block parties against the 76ers, averaging 7.3 per game. Meanwhile, teams playing the Heat average less than three per game.

Steals/Turnovers

The Thunder are currently the most stolen-from team in the league, with opponents averaging almost 10 thefts a game this year. On the other hand, the Knicks' isolation-heavy offense has them giving up the least amount of steals per game at 6.1. ... DeJuan Blair (45 percent) is tied for first in steals among center-eligible players. He and Andre Drummond average 1.8 steals per game. ... The Rockets turn the ball over more than any other team, so it only makes sense that their star player, James Harden, leads the league in giveaways per game at 4.3. ... Victor Oladipo remains the Fantasy player giving owners the fewest assists with the most turnovers. On the flip side, Martell Webster has only turned the ball over seven times in 15 games -- probably because he's shooting just about every time he gets the ball.

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Player News
Improved jump shot all Jimmy Butler needs
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(3:51 pm ET) 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
(3:02 pm ET) 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
(2:09 pm ET) 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
(12:28 pm ET) 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
(11:34 am ET) 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
(11:26 am ET) 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
(11:18 am ET) 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. 


Xavier Henry still aiming for start of regular season
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11:13 am ET) Lakers forward Xavier Henry is recovered from offseason wrist surgery, but is still working his way back from a procedure on his right knee. Lakers coach Byron Scott told the Los Angeles Daily News he is not sure if Henry will be ready to play in games by the start of training camp.

"I haven't seen him do much on the court," Scott said. "It's going to be close on if he's ready for camp."

Henry has been able to take part in basketball activities, but has still not been cleared for contact. Still, he is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season, after appeared in 43 games a year ago. 


Larry Sanders 'absolutely' a part of team's future plans
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11:09 am ET) Bucks assistant general manager David Morway told HoopsHype.com in September center Larry Sanders is still a part of the team's future plans, despite a troubled 2013-14 season.

"Absolutely," Morway said. "Yeah, yeah. Larry is in our future plans. We are hopeful that this year Larry gets back to being the basketball player that he was two years ago."

Sanders had a long list of issues follow him last season, including a drug suspension served at the end of the season, as well as a thumb injury suffered during a bar fight. Sanders was limited to just 23 games, during which he averaged 7.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game before his season ended in February with a fractured eye socket.

Sanders is expected to open the season as the team's starting center. 


Brendan Haywood possibly ahead of schedule
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10:55 am ET) Cavaliers center Brendan Haywood might be able to play during the first half of the 2014-15 season according to The Plain Dealer, as he is in better shape than expected ahead of the start of training camp.

According to the report, the team was concerned their recently-acquired big man might not be able to play until January, if at all, due to foot surgery last season. Haywood missed all of last season as a result of the surgery, but might be able to provide some depth in the backcourt shortly.  


 
 
 
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