We've reached the quarter pole of the season and players are starting to settle in to their statistical identities. Early season outliers, such as Carlos Boozer's field-goal percentage and Roy Hibbert's unearthly block totals, have since regressed to more reasonable numbers. 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.
Nene returned to the Wizards lineup Wednesday night and scored 17 points -- two points better than his average on the season. He's available in 10 percent of leagues and is currently outpacing Gerald Henderson, Spencer Hawes, Pau Gasol and Chris Bosh in the scoring column. ... Tony Wroten (71 percent) has proved the most consistent handcuff of the Fantasy season, averaging 17.7 points per game in the last two weeks while starting in place of Michael Carter-Williams. He's useless when he's not starting, but consider him a must-add for any MCW owner and an awesome streaming option for a team's weak at point guard. ... A Fantasy phenomenon, which we've coined the #PhillyBump, dictates that any marginal Fantasy player can conceivably double his Fantasy production just by sharing the court with the possession-crazed 76ers. This week the Nets were the lucky recipients of the stat boost, with Joe Johnson going for 37 points (more than double his season average) and Deron Williams tallying 13 assists (nearly double his season average) in the same game Monday. The Nets get the bump again Friday and the Bucks are bound to enjoy it Saturday. The lesson here is to always find guys playing Philly when deciding who to pick up and start.
Jordan Hill has taken a hit in the consistency department the last few weeks, but it doesn't mean he hasn't been efficient. He's made better than 75 percent of his field goal attempts over the last two weeks, while averaging 10.7 points and 7.0 rebounds. ... Brandan Wright went a sterling 9 of 10 in his first game of the year coming off injury, only to follow it up with a disappointing 0 of 3 night in just 13 minutes Wednesday. Keep an eye on Wright when he starts to get regular minutes, as the bulk of his shots will come around and above the rim. Last year he finished with a solid 59.7 shooting percentage from the field in 64 games. ... Amir Johnson has been a model of efficiency since Rudy Gay left Toronto in a trade. He's shooting just below 70 percent from the field over the last two weeks while averaging 19 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per contest. ... J.R. Smith on the other hand, has been absolutely dreadful from the field, hitting a pathetic 33.3 percent of his field goals on the season. He made five threes against Milwaukee Wednesday night, but it was only because he attempted 17. That's just absurd. ... Ricky Rubio's assists are the only things keeping him on Fantasy rosters as he continues to be incapable of hitting shots. He's hitting only 35.2 percent of his shots from the field so far this season. ... Brandon Jennings, Jameer Nelson, Trey Burke and Brandon Knight are all point guards shooing below 40 percent from the field on the season. ... Perhaps Rudy Gay has turned over a new leaf when it comes to his reputation of shot-chuckery. He's shooting 52.9 percent from the field in his first four games as a member of the Kings. Then again, there's a lot of season left for Gay to revert back to his old ways.
Miles Plumlee (77 percent) has only grabbed double-digit rebounds in five of his last 16 games starting at center for the Suns. He grabbed 10 and 13 in his last two games, but keep an eye on Plumlee's production, as better options may be emerging. ... Kenneth Faried has been a disappointing rebounder lately, having totaled single-digit rebounds in every game since December 1. ... Point guards Michael Carter-Williams and Russell Westbrook at 5.8 boards per game are currently out-rebounding centers Enes Kanter (5.7), Andrea Bargnani (5.4) and Andrew Bynum (5.2). That's a testament to both the point guards' outstanding versatility and the centers' disappointing inactivity on the glass. ... P.J. Tucker is just another frustratingly inconsistent Fantasy option on the Suns, but one area he's excelled in game to game is rebounding. He currently ranks 6th among shooting-guard eligible players in rebounds per game at 5.5. ... Al-Farouq Aminu has been rebounding the world since Anthony Davis went down, but the unibrow's surprise return to the Pelicans lineup spells a decrease in Aminu's production. He's currently tied for fifth with LeBron James among small-forward eligible players at 6.8 rebounds per game, but that stat is inflated by a three-game stretch when he averaged 15 boards a night. ... LaMarcus Aldridge has been shattering his career 7.9 rebounds per game average as of late. In his last 10 games, he's averaging 13.9 boards a night and he hasn't sacrificed his scoring production to do so -- scoring 24.8 points per game in that span. He's on pace to average double-digit rebounds for the first time in his eight-year career. ... Tyson Chandler made his return from injury Wednesday night, grabbing nine boards against Milwaukee. He's available in 12 percent of leagues, so go get him if he's out there in yours. There's just no way the Knicks can continue to rely on Carmelo Anthony for 9.1 rebounds a night with the kind of scoring burden he carries.
Trey Burke seems to have taken the lead in the Rookie of the Year race, averaging 6.4 assists per game over the last two weeks. ... Greivis Vasquez logged 29 minutes for Toronto against the Bobcats Wednesday night, tallying eight assists along the way. If Kyle Lowry gets traded in the near future, look for Vasquez to get close to his production from last year, when he led the league in total assists. ... Dirk Nowitzki has been an unlikely source of assists the past two weeks, averaging 4.8 per game in that span. ... It's going to be hard to hang on to Steve Blake while he recovers from a torn UCL for next month and change, even though he was averaging a career-high 7.7 assists before going down. Kobe had taken over as the Lakers' facilitator, and with Farmar and Nash also recovering from injuries, who knows what the L.A. lineup will look like when Blake finally returns. ... Speaking of Kobe, he seems to have bought fully into the role of distributor, as he's averaging 6.3 assists through his first six games. He's never averaged more than 6.0 per game for a season. Sadly, those six games will be all we know of Kobe for a while, as the Lakers announced Thursday he'd likely miss six weeks with a knee fracture. Farmar seems like he's the closest to returning, so keep an eye on his status going forward. Meanwhile, the Lakers will probably be relying on Xavier Henry, Jodie Meeks and Nick Young to man the backcourt -- none of whom are known for setting up teammates. ... I'm of the opinion that Joakim Noah is one of the most underrated passers in the league. He's only averaging 3.5 assists per game, but that's good enough for first among active centers. He might even be the best passer on the Bulls, so they should give him more touches if they know what's good for them.
This is not the Jose Calderon we've become accustomed to in Fantasy. Assists are way down, but Calderon seems to be settling in to the role of spot-up shooter with ease. He's currently sixth in the league at 2.6 made threes per game. ... Martell Webster is still available in 30 percent of leagues ... What the bleep are you people waiting for? The guy is nailing 2.4 threes per game to go along with 13.1 points and 4.7 rebounds. He exploded for 30 points Monday against the Knicks, and that likely won't be the last time with John Wall spoon-feeding him open threes each night. Bradley Beal's return likely won't affect Webster's production as Washington is especially thin at the wing positions. ... Nick Young (45 percent) has scored in double figures in 21 out of 25 games for the Lakers. Threes have been a big part of his production lately, as he's made 2.3 per game over the last two weeks. ... Danny Green has been a huge disappointment considering he looked like the second coming of Ray Allen in the NBA Finals over the summer. He's only averaging 1.5 made threes per game, less than Andre Iguodala, Marvin Williams and tied with Patrick Beverley.
Ryan Anderson has made 49 of his 50 free throw attempts so far this year. He's pretty good at shooting in general. ... Kevin Martin is the only player in the NBA to attempt at least six free throws per game and still make more than 90 percent of them. He's only missed 10 of 143 attempts so far this season. Similarly as awesome from the line are Reggie Jackson (41 of 43) and Zaza Pachulia (42 of 45). ... He doesn't get there often, but Jonas Valanciunas is one of the top free-throw shooting big men, converting on 79.6 percent of his attempts to start the year. ... Michael Carter-Williams is the worst free-throw shooting starting point guard in the league at 67 percent, so it only makes sense that his backup, Tony Wroten, would shoot an even worse 56 percent from the line. ... Josh Smith does many things well. Shooting free throws is not one of them. He's only converting on 58.5 percent of his 3.5 attempts per game to start the year.
Roy Hibbert has come back to earth in the rejection department, lowering his average to 2.9 per game. ... John Henson continues to climb the leader board, improving to sixth in the league at 2.0 swats a night. .... Tyson Chandler wasted no time in his first game back, tallying three blocks against Milwaukee. We already gave you the heads up, but here's a second reminder that an impatient person in your league may have dropped Chandler while he was sidelined with injury. ... We also already talked about Brandan Wright's disappointing second game of the year, but the lone bright spot was his three blocked shots in just 13 minutes of play. Look for him to become one of the league's best as the Mavericks find more playing time for his 7-foot-5 wingspan and 40-plus inch vertical leap. ... Terrence Jones and Wesley Johnson are both averaging 1.4 blocks per game despite lacking the size of the rest of the league's leaders.
OK, so maybe assists aren't the only things keeping Ricky Rubio Fantasy relevant. He also leads the league in total steals with 74. ... Andre Drummond is doing a great Ben Wallace impersonation on the defensive end, as he's the only big man to be among the top 10 leaders in total steals. ... DeJuan Blair continues to be a sneaky Roto play, averaging 1.3 thefts per game -- good for fourth among centers. ... The Lakers join the #PhillyBump-ers as the only teams giving up more than 9.5 steals to their opponents on average. The Thunder are third on that list, allowing opposing teams to steal from them 9.2 times per game -- not shocking considering point guard Russell Westbrook is third in the league at 4.0 turnovers per game. ... If there's one thing the Knicks do well, it's not let opposing teams steal from them. This probably has to do with the fact that the Knicks are also in the bottom third of the league in assists per game -- relying heavily on isolations in their offense.