The past two weeks have been full of statistical outliers. We had the Kendall Marshall assist-a-thon, C.J. Miles' three-point onslaught, and Anderson Varejao's 25-rebound affair. I'll share my thoughts on whether these kinds of performances carry weight or whether they're just a blip on the statistical radar in the sections below. 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 Jan. 9 games. Info provided by NBA.com and Teamrankings.com)
The Thunder might not be a better team without Russell Westbrook, but Kevin Durant sure is a better Fantasy player. He's averaging 34.3 points per game over the last two weeks, to go along with 8.9 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.6 steals over that span. This statistical snapshot makes it easier to see why Kevin Love is capable of such awesome numbers -- when a superstar doesn't have a lot of help around him, he's capable of unearthly production. ... After posting back-to-back nine-point duds, Gordon Hayward has gone berserk, averaging 27 points per game over his last three -- including a 37-point outburst in a win over the Thunder. He had already been giving you 5.4 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.3 steals per game on the season, so increased point totals might be all he needs to become an elite Fantasy option. ... Jodie Meeks has been scoring in bunches for the decimated Lakers' backcourt. He's gone over 20 points in the last three games. Assists will be a bonus for the time being, as Meeks is also running backup point for L.A. these days. He's only owned in 54 percent of leagues, so grab him now while his value is peaking. ... Thaddeus Young has been a monster on the scoring column lately -- that is if you don't count his goose egg against Cleveland. Even with a disappointing scoreless game, he's still averaging 21.4 points per game over the last two weeks. The problem is he's just not that guy, so consider him a prime sell-high candidate. ...
DeAndre Jordan is the only player averaging more than 20 minutes per game to be among the top 10 field goal shooters in the league. His 64.9 percent rate is pretty impressive considering the next closest minute average belongs to No. 1 Brandan Wright, who's shooting 71.8 percent from the field in 19.9 minutes -- 15 fewer minutes than Jordan averages per night. But it's easy to see why Jordan's been so efficient from the field when you consider 97 of his 148 made field goals have been dunks. He leads the NBA according to CBSsports.com's Dunk-O-Meter at 97 slams on the season. ... Darren Collison has been ultra efficient as Chris Paul's understudy, averaging 17.5 points on 61.5 percent from the field over the last seven days. If you're one of the lucky ones who scooped up Collison before his ownership skyrocketed to 86 percent basically overnight, congrats. ... At shooting guard Marco Belinelli has been one of the Spurs' better scorers of late, while hitting 53.3 percent of his shots from the field over the last two weeks. ... Josh Smith has been dreadful from the field over the last two weeks, hitting only 32.9 percent of his shots. Lou Williams and Rodney Stuckey have been just as bad at 33.3 percent over the same span. ... Other players who have gone cold lately include David West, Jose Calderon, Trey Burke and Jamal Crawford -- all of whom are hitting fewer than 36 percent of their field goals.
Anderson Varejao became a must-add when Andrew Bynum got shipped out of Cleveland. He's third in the NBA over the last two weeks at 14.0 rebounds per game. ... Jonas Valanciunas has also benefited form his local ball hog leaving town. He's averaging 12.6 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game over the last 30 days. ... Trevor Booker, Kosta Koufos, Kris Humphries and Reggie Evans are all widely available players who have been rebounding well over the last two weeks. ... Roy Hibbert on the other hand has been abysmal on the boards over that span, averaging only 5.1 per game. He hasn't snagged double-digit rebounds since December 22. ... Dirk Nowitzki is having a great year offensively, but his rebounding is still pretty bad as far as big men go. He's only averaging 5.9 on the season, fewer than DeJuan Blair, Lance Stephenson, Taj Gibson and Brandon Bass. ... The Heat, Mavericks, Knicks, Lakers and Bucks have the worst rebounding rate in the league, so if you need boards quickly, look for guys with those teams on their schedules. ... Conversely, avoid games against the Warriors, Pacers, Grizzlies and Timberwolves -- the best rebounding teams in the league.
After recording a ridiculous 32 combined assists in back-to-back games, Kendall Marshall has returned to earth, tallying six and eight in his last two outings. Still, he should be a steady source of assists as long as the Lakers are without a point guard, as Mike D'Antoni's offense has been known to boost this category for its backcourt leaders. Assists are so rare that if you happen to play in one of the 18 percent of leagues where he's available, you can't afford to leave him out on the wire. ... Speaking of rarities, here's how elusive assists truly are. Only 13 players in the entire league average more than seven per game. So basically in a 12-team league, you need at least one of these guys, or multiple guys that average five or six, because if Tony Parker (6.2 per game) or Damian Lillard (5.7) is your leading assist man, chances are you won't be competitive in this category for much longer. ... Perhaps an overlooked side effect of Chris Paul's extended absence is Blake Griffin's assist potential. He's easily one of the most underrated passers in the league, and it looks like he'll be tasked with more of a play-making role for the time being. He's dished out 14 combined in his last two games, so don't be surprised if he starts surging in this column. ... Similarly, Joakim Noah will end up with more assists because of Luol Deng's departure. He becomes, by default, the Bulls' most capable play-maker for the rest of the season, averaging 5.6 assists per game over the last three games. ... Raymond Felton (71 percent) might be your best bet if you're looking for assists in free agency. He passed out six in his first game back from injury and 14 against the Heat Thursday.
C.J. Miles took full advantage of the #PhillyBump by nailing a franchise-record 10 three-pointers Tuesday night. That's impressive, but I would leave Miles in free agency as the arrival of Luol Deng should mean fewer minutes for the Cleveland shooter. ... Channing Frye (67 percent) on the other hand is a hot three-point specialist I can buy into. The Suns have been without the offensive prowess of Eric Bledsoe, and will be for the foreseeable future. Frye has stepped up mostly from the three-point line to make up for this loss, and I expect him to continue to shoot and score. He's hit 20 combined threes over the last four contests while playing 30-plus minutes per game over that span. Consider him a watered-down version of Ryan Anderson for category leagues. ... Terrence Ross (44 percent) is another player who does most of his damage from the three-point line. He's been playing close to 30 minutes per game since the Raptors traded Rudy Gay and is averaging 2.7 made three-pointers per game over the last 30 days. ... Nets forward Mirza Teletovic (21 percent) has been getting some decent run and making threes. His 2.9 threes per game over the last two weeks make him an appealing option. ... And here's one more widely available shooter getting heavy minutes lately: Pero Antic (18 percent) of the Hawks. He's started at center the last four games for Atlanta and has hit 12 of his 22 three-point attempts over that span.
J.J. Redick (61 percent) should be making his return from injury any day now, so if you want arguably the best free-throw shooter in Fantasy, go ahead and pick him before he gets back. ... O.J. Mayo has been hurting you in just about every category except free-throw shooting. He's hit more than 90 percent of his them so far. ... Mo Williams is still doing his thing off the bench for the Trailblazers and hitting 87.9 percent of his free throws along the way. His minutes likely won't be affected by the debut of rookie C.J. McCollum, so don't worry about that if you're thinking of picking him up. ... If Kris Humphries is to play heavy minute for the Celtics, then you might as well benefit from his 87.5 free-throw percentage. He's also contributing 10.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists over the last two weeks. ... Terrence Jones' impressive field-goal percentage (50.5) isn't transferring over to his free-throw percentage, as he's hit only 59.4 percent of them on the season.
Unless you have a specialist or two, blocks really boil down to luck. If you don't have one yet, here are some available guys averaging more than one block per game on the season: Taj Gibson (74 percent), James Johnson (26 percent), Andrea Bargnani (84 percent), Brandon Bass (71 percent), and Kosta Koufos (39 percent). ... Channing Frye was already a must-add in Roto, but he's been increasing his value of late by blocking more shots, averaging a swat a game over the last two weeks. ... The best shot-blocking point guards won't surprise you: Victor Oladipo and Michael Carter-Williams each average 0.7 per game. But the second place crew is a little shocking. Raymond Felton, Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lin each get a block every other game on average. ... Wesley Johnson has logged 30-plus minutes in back-to-back games for the Lakers. Pick him up in case this becomes a trend, as Johnson ranks first among guard-eligible players at 1.2 blocks per game.
Jodie Meeks has been one of the better free agent options for a few weeks now, and steals have been a part of his appeal. He totaled 8 steals over his last three contests and is still available in 44 percent of leagues. ... DeMarre Carroll is another name worth scoping out, as he's also averaging 2.0 steals per game over the last two weeks. ... DeJuan Blair is still hanging around with the top stealing centers, ranking third at the position with 1.2 per game on the season. ... Stephen Curry's assist numbers have been impressive so far, as he's currently second only to Chris Paul at 9.4 per game. The problem is he also leads the league in turnovers at 4.4 per game, compared to Paul's 2.5. In terms of totals, he's 27 turnovers ahead of second-worse Jeff Teague. ... Curry's assist-to-turnover ratio is still far from the worst, however. That distinction belongs to DeMarcus Cousins, whose 3.0 assists per game look great until you see that he averages 3.4 turnovers as well. ... If you're trying to cut down on turnovers, the best guys to add are catch-and-shoot players such as J.J. Redick, Martell Webster and C.J. Miles.