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Week 6 Roto Fact Sheet

by | Fantasy Writer
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Some multi-overtime games have skewed the stat sheet for a few players and their lucky Fantasy owners. Luol Deng, Ryan Anderson, Glen Davis, Arron Afflalo, and Victor Oladipo all logged 50-plus minutes in a game this week. We'll try not to place too much stock in their averages over the last seven days in order to paint a more accurate picture of their production. 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.

(All stats up to date through Dec. 4 games. Info provided by NBA.com and Teamrankings.com)

Scoring

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If you have anyone playing the 76ers in a given week, congratulations. Philly has been a Fantasy gold mine for opposing players. Andre Iguodala (32), Andre Drummond (31), Caron Butler (38), Arron Afflalo (43in 2OT), and Eric Gordon (26) have all hit their season-high scoring marks against the 76ers this year. Additionally, Kyrie Irving (39) and Jeff Teague (33) got their second highest point totals of the year against them. ... Even excluding the Pelicans triple-overtime battle with the Bulls Monday night, Anderson has been a go-to option on offense since his season debut. Now with Anthony Davis sidelined, expect Anderson to get at least 15 field goal attempts per night, with the majority of them being three pointers. He's averaging 22.1 points and four made threes per game. ... Taj Gibson (55 percent) loves shooting, and now he's got a big shiny green light to do so, as the Bulls will need offense more than defense going forward. Gibson was another beneficiary of the triple-OT game, but in the two games before that he scored 18 and 23 points. Pick up Gibson for his fresh legs and 18-foot jump shots along the baseline. ... Marco Belinelli (11 percent) started out slow with his new team but looks to have found his footing in San Antonio. He's reached double-figure scoring in five of his last six games, averaging 13.3 points and 2.5 made threes per game over that span. He could warrant an add if he becomes a consistent option on a team that's hard to rely on for individual Fantasy production. ... Nick Young (39 percent) is living up to his "only good for points" reputation, averaging 16.5 points per game over the last 15 days while providing close to nothing else. If you're playing catch up in this category, "Swaggy P" is your guy.

Field-goal percentage

Andrew Bogut hasn't done anything super exciting this season, but there's value in a guy who doesn't try to play outside of himself. Bogut's been a solid source of blocks and rebounds this year while still hitting close to 60 percent of his field goals. ... Jeremy Evans is an intriguing Roto option for his blocks and rebounds potential. Right now he's day-to-day with the flu, but his 72 percent field-goal rate through his first seven games warrants a second look once he's healthy. ... Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook have been struggling from the field. The two former UCLA Bruins and current elite Fantasy options are shooting a wretched 36 percent over the last 15 days. Gordon Hayward has been even worse over that span, converting on only 33 percent of his attempts. ... The Pacers are absolutely dismantling offenses to start the year, holding opponents below 40 percent shooting from the field. So again, 76ers = good, Pacers = bad.

Rebounds

Kosta Koufos (69 percent) is averaging 10.7 boards per game over the last 15 days. He's getting full-time work with Marc Gasol out, so make use of him while he's still relevant. Robin Lopez (73 percent) is also averaging 10.0 rebounds over that span anchoring the defense for the red-hot Trailblazers. ... Jordan Hill isn't really a center, but the Lakers have him playing there. Hill had been getting close to 30 minutes a game, but saw that number plummet against real centers Andre Drummond and Robin Lopez the last two games, only managing to grab four and six rebounds against them in limited court time. ... J.R. Smith has struggled to find his shooting stroke, but he's still been a valuable rebounder, averaging just below five per game -- good for seventh among shooting-guard eligible players.

Assists

Brandon Jennings has been dishing double time lately, averaging 9.3 assists per game over the last 15 days -- good for second among point guards in that span behind Chris Paul. ... Gordon Hayward's shooting slump has provided him a boost in the assist column, dishing out 6.0 per game over the last 15 days. That puts him ahead of LeBron James during that span. ... Trey Burke had his best assist game so far, dishing out nine against Indiana Wednesday. He's averaging only 4.1 per contest to start his career. ... Mario Chalmers (64 percent) at 5.1 per game is averaging more assists than Jose Calderon, Mo Williams, Isaiah Thomas, George Hill and Kemba Walker. ... More on that Indiana defense: The Pacers are allowing a league-low 16.1 assists per game by their opponents. Expect heavy isolation ball when a team without a quick penetrating point guard matches up with Indiana. ... And yet again on the other end of the spectrum are the 76ers, who let opposing teams tally up 27.3 assists per game on average.

Free-throw percentage

Dwyane Wade seems to have corrected whatever was plaguing his free throw form, shooting close to 90 percent over the last two weeks. Kyle Lowry also started the season shooting poorly from the line, but has hit 22 of his last 22. ... Russell Westbrook on the other hand is still shooting in the mid 70s from the stripe, which is discouraging for a guy who shoots six per game on average. ... Michael Carter-Williams, Nene, Blake Griffin and Dwight Howard are all shooting 68 percent or worse while averaging at least five attempts per game. Howard, though, has not been terrible lately, hitting 15 of his last 23 attempts. ... Ryan Anderson has made all of his 23 free throw attempts to start his season.

Three pointers

The top four deep threats to start the season belong to just two teams. Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, Wesley Matthews and Damiam Lillard have made the most three pointers to start the year. ... Despite not being known for their range, Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green are still averaging more than two three point makes per game. ... Over the last 15 days, Martell Webster (80 percent) is tied for third at 3.0 made threes per game. He's a smart pick up in any league while Bradley Beal is injured as the Wizards don't have many options for the two and three spot. ... Kyle Singler is a name to keep an eye on, having hit four threes against Miami and two against Milwaukee in his last two outings. He's a spot up shooter on a team that desperately needs range, so if he can log enough minutes alongside that huge front line, he'll be useful in Roto.

Blocks

John Henson (78 percent) has been climbing up the leader board in blocks, averaging 2.2 per game -- good for sixth in the league. ... Raymond Felton (86 percent) is first among point guards at 0.8 blocks per game. And Wesley Johnson is at the top of his positions at 1.4 swats per game. ... Guess who's getting blocked the most per game? You're right -- it's the 76ers at 7.2 per game. ... Meanwhile, the Heat and Blazers are being blocked the least at 3.1 and 3.4 respectively. ... Gorgui Dieng is a shot blocker to keep an eye on. He doesn't play every game, but when he does he seems to block a shot or two, giving him value should any of the Timberwolves' big men go down.

Steals/Turnovers

Al-Farouq Aminu has been picking pockets as of late, totaling eight steals over his last three games. He also snagged 21 rebounds against Dallas Wednesday night, so keep an eye on Aminu -- especially while Anthony Davis is out. ... Michael Carter-Williams is currently the only player averaging at least three steals per game. On the flip side, he's averaging the third most turnovers per game. Houston and Philadelphia are the only teams turning the ball over at least 18 times per game. Therefore it's no surprise that James Harden leads the league at 4.1 per game, with Evan Turner trailing him at 3.8. ... Martell Webster has only turned the ball over 9 times in 18 games -- several of them where he played 40-plus minutes. He's a useful Roto piece for his volume shooting, rebounding and minimal giveaways. ... Joe Johnson has been taking good care of the basketball, only averaging 1.1 turnovers per game. Impressive considering he's their go-to guy, but not a surprise considering he dishes out only 2.6 assists per game. ... The Knicks iso ball is at the very least keeping them atop the NBA leader board in terms of giving up the fewest steals and turnovers. Opposing teams have only been able to snatch 6.1 per game from them so far. And look who's giving up the most - it's our friends in Philly, getting robbed almost 10 times a game.

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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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