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Week 12 Roto Fact Sheet

by | Fantasy Writer
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We're almost at the halfway point in the season, meaning statistical averages are pretty much to the point of cementing your players' values.

Use this time to assess your team's strengths and weaknesses and find ways you can improve, whether through free agency or trades. Fantasy is more fun when you take chances, so don't be afraid to leave a couple spots on your roster for weekly pickups or clear space with two-for-one trades. NBA lineups will be in flux for the rest of the year as teams decide to either make a run or tank for a lottery pick, so your Fantasy roster should reflect that same flexibility. 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. 15 games. Info provided by NBA.com and Teamrankings.com)

Scoring

Nikola Pekovic has outscored Kevin Love over the last two weeks. He's shooting 54.7 percent and ranks 10th in the NBA in scoring over that span at 21.1 points per game. This run of success is coinciding with a Love slump, so as Love gets back to normal output, I expect Pekovic to come back to earth. ... A 26-point outing Tuesday against Cleveland has Jodie Meeks averaging 19.6 points per game over the last two weeks. How this guy is still available in 36 percent of leagues is beyond me, because he's also getting you 3.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.6 steals and 2.7 made three pointers in that span. Grab Meeks now while his value is peaking and before the Lakers get their injured guards back. ... Avery Bradley is scoring a lot. He's gone over 20 points in four of his last five games. He's also an adequate rebounder and occasional steal guy, but the points seem destined to drop once Rajon Rondo returns Friday. ... Consider Randy Foye a Meeks-type whose job isn't in jeopardy. After being benched for a three-game stretch, Foye made it back into Brian Shaw's starting five Jan. 3 and he and the Nuggets have benefited from the move. He's averaging 17.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 3.1 made threes per game during that eight-game stretch, and he's likely to remain a starter as the Nuggets won six of those eight games. At 56 percent owned, Randy Foye is a must add for category leagues. ... If the Knicks somehow find a trade partner for J.R. Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr. will become a consistent source of points for the rest of the season. He's averaging 16.1 points per 36 minutes on the year, so keep tabs on what's happening in New York in the near future. ... The 76ers are still far and away the worst defensive team in the league, but the Lakers are slowly catching up. L.A. is giving up 105.9 points per game on the season, including 121.3 points per game to the last three opponents. Philly is still all alone though as the only team allowing opponents to score more than 110 a night on the season.

Field-goal percentage

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One of the best things about Darren Collison's run as starting point guard for the Clippers has been his efficiency. He's shooting almost as well as teammate DeAndre Jordan from the field over the last two weeks at 63.1 percent. I doubt that he'll continue to hit two thirds of his shots, but he does enough in other categories to be considered a must start. ... David Lee might be the hottest player in the NBA right now. He's averaging 23.1 points per game on 60.9 percent shooting over the last two weeks. ... It's rare that you find a shooting specialist who's also efficient from the field, but that's what Marco Belinelli has been for the Spurs as of late. He's hitting 56.6 percent of his shots from the field over the last two weeks and will continue to get steady minutes for the next month while Danny Green recovers from a fractured hand. ... Enes Kanter has played well lately, logging three double-doubles over his last five games while making more than half of his field goals. ... Keep an eye on Mason Plumlee's minutes, as the Nets could look to him to start at center with Andray Blatche struggling to embrace the role. He'll be a guy who pretty much only dunks, just like his brother, meaning his 62.4 percent from the floor is sustainable even with more minutes.

Rebounds

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (47 percent) made his return from injury Tuesday and grabbed seven boards to go along with eight points. Rebounds will be vital to MKG's value, as he hasn't proven to be a reliable scorer just yet. He logged 30 minutes in his first game back, but only 17 in his second. Still, he could prove valuable down the road as forwards are hard to come by. ... Ersan Ilyasova (77 percent) finally showed what he's capable of with his best start of the year, scoring 29 points and grabbing 9 rebounds Monday. He followed that up Wednesday with a 13-rebound performance against the Grizzlies. He's only averaging 5.3 rebounds per game on the season, so hopefully this is a sign of things to come. ... Elsewhere on the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo (52 percent) has totaled 19 rebounds over his last three games. He has the potential to record a variety of stat lines, but consistent rebounding could put him over the edge as a guy you're starting rather than just stashing. … It's been hard to count on Nene for rebounds this year. He's only averaged 5.7 per game so far and only has produced double-digit rebounds three times in 30 games.

Assists

Getting traded to Golden State might spell the end of Jordan Crawford's impressive assist average. He likely won't be getting the 30 minutes per game that afforded him his 5.7 dimes per, so keep your finger on the drop button as he debuts for the Warriors. ... Speaking of the Celtics, Rajon Rondo is set to make his season debut Friday, but it's looking like he'll only play about five minutes per quarter. It's hard to gauge what Rondo's stat lines will look like with the rebuilding Celtics. On one hand, he's crafty enough to get anyone an open shot, as evidenced by his 11-plus assist average in the past three seasons. On the other hand, he's no longer surrounded by hall-of-famers. Instead, he'll be dishing to Jared Sullinger, Jeff Green and Avery Bradley. Only time will tell, but it's not out of the question that Rondo hands out six assists in 20 minutes Friday, so consider starting him despite the initial limitations. ... If J.J. Redick (75 percent) is still available in your Roto league, stop reading this and pick him up. Go! Do it! Did you do it yet? You know what you're getting from him in terms of three-point shooting and free-throw mastery, but without Chris Paul, Redick also becomes a viable playmaker for the Clippers as well. Redick will be logging 30-plus minutes from here on out, and expect four or five assists at least until Paul returns. He dished out five in 31 minutes in his second game back Wednesday, while still finding time to score 33 points and hit seven threes. Pick him up! ... D.J. Augustin (53 percent) just will not go away. He's averaging 7.0 assists per game over the last two weeks. He's your best bet if you need assists from a free agent. ... CJ McCollum's debut hasn't affected Mo Williams (29 percent). In fact, he's been more productive lately, dishing out 6.0 assists in 25 minutes per game over the last two weeks.

Three pointers

I already told you about Randy Foye (56 percent), but just in case the message didn't get through to you, he's starting, he's shooting and he'll do a little bit of everything. He's fifth in the league over the last two weeks at 3.1 made threes per game. ... Looks like I was right about C.J. Miles flaming out. He's only managed six made threes over his last four games after hitting an improbable 10 on Jan. 7. If you picked him up, it's safe to drop him as Luol Deng will be taking and keeping most of the minutes Miles was getting before. ... If you're streaming shooters, look for guys with Miami, Sacramento, Cleveland and, of course, Philadelphia on the schedule. The 76ers are the only team allowing opponents to hit 10 threes per game on average. Meanwhile, you'll have a hard time succeeding with shooters who play Indiana, Portland, Phoenix, Boston and Chicago -- the best teams at preventing the three ball.

Free-throw percentage

Brian Roberts hasn't been anything special filling in for the injured Jrue Holiday, but he has been great at the free throw line, shooting 92.5 percent on the season. ... James Johnson (28 percent) has been an intriguing Roto pickup for the last several weeks, and that intrigue extends to the charity stripe, where he's a shade under 90 percent for the year. He also put together a solid 15 points, six rebounds, five assists, 2 steals and six blocks Wednesday against the Bucks. He contributes in just about every category, so why not take a flier on him? ... Kris Humphries (56 percent) has been getting more court time with the Celtics while hitting 88.0 percent of his free throws so far this year. ... Consider picking up one of the guys I've just mentioned if you're regularly starting Andre Drummond, Andrew Bogut or DeAndre Jordan -- the three worst free-throw shooters in Fantasy. Free throws have also been a struggle for J.R. Smith, who's received his second DNP -- coach's decision in four games Tuesday, yet is still owned in 81 percent of leagues.

Steals/Turnovers

Steals are kind of a crapshoot. Just about everyone in the league averages between 1.0 and 2.0 per game. Even the best thieves -- Ricky Rubio, Michael Carter-Williams and Chris Paul -- all average fewer than three per game. The best way to make up ground in this category is by looking for teams who get robbed the most. For instance, the pace and offense of the Lakers and the 76ers leads to more steals by opponents than any other team. And at the other end of the spectrum, the isolation-heavy brand of offense played by New York and Charlotte leads to very few steals. Turnovers, on the other hand, are very easy to diagnose. Whoever gets tasked with handling the ball for his team will have the most. Stars like Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, LeBron James and John Wall lead the league simply because they run their teams' offenses and are talented enough to take lots of chances with the ball. Therefore it's smart to pair these guys up with players who shoot just about every time they get it. Guys such as Wilson Chandler, Tobias Harris, Terrence Ross, Kenneth Faried, Robin Lopez and Andrea Bargnani are good handcuffs to turnover-prone stars. There are plenty others, but the safe bet is to look for either spot-up shooters or physical post players who mostly get the ball from pure hustle rather than play design.

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Player News
Hornets center Al Jefferson looking to improve defensive presence
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:25 pm ET) Hornets center Al Jefferson said he is tired of being a defensive liability and is looking to make sure opposing teams don't target his pick-and-roll defense, according to The Charlotte Observer.

"I refuse to continue getting picked on at the end of games. It’s not fun," Jefferson said. "Last year at the end of games teams always put me in high pick-and-rolls. I got sick of them thinking that was to their advantage, and it was to their advantage."

Coach Steve Clifford said he was happy that Jefferson brought up the subject of his defensive issues and saved the coaches from having to point it out.

"He’s working hard. His attitude is great. I sense more of a hunger than any kind of complacency," Clifford said. "He sees what the possibilities are for the group. He’s competitive and wants to win."


Pistons coach speaks highly of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:14 pm ET) Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy spoke highly Wednesday about second-year guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, according to the team's official website.

"You always look at players first to their strengths, where can a guy be great," Van Gundy said. "I think he can be an elite defender in this league at the two guard and we’ll look for that every night. I think he is a high-energy guy who can get up and down the floor and attack the basket in transition. Those two things have got to be his foundation."

Caldwell-Pope averaged 24 points per game in the Summer League. However, he's still not at the stage in his career where the Pistons are counting on him to be one of their top scorers.

"On the offensive end, he’s going to have to slow down a little bit, get under control, and like a lot of people it will come down to how many shots he can make, how efficient he can be shooting the ball, how consistent can you be," Van Gundy said. "But I think he’s got a great foundation with the defense and energy that will get him on the floor and give him a chance to develop in those other areas."


Lakers forward Ryan Kelly suffers hamstring strain
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:31 pm ET) Lakers forward Ryan Kelly suffered a moderate left hamstring strain Wednesday. The Lakers will have more information about the severity of his injury Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

Pacers forward C.J. Miles not worried about calf strain
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:24 pm ET) Pacers forward C.J. Miles has been unable to complete a full practice at the start of training camp due to a calf strain, according to VigilantSports.com. However, Miles is not worried about the injury.

"It’s just a little strain, nothing crazy," he said Wednesday. "I’m pretty much healed. I’m doing everything just monitoring the contact a little bit just because of the wear and tear on it.

"It doesn’t make sense for me to be out with a strain for three weeks now when I could take a couple days just two get it all the way back, finish the month and be ready for the first game of the season. But I’m well past sitting out. Just monitoring it, that’s all."

Miles added he only sits out a portion of practice.

"I do everything throughout the whole practice until like just a little bit of the contact just towards the end," he explained. "Since the first practices are long, they don’t want me go through the wear and tear of the whole practice."


Jonas Jerebko will be part of Pistons' 10-man rotation
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:24 pm ET) Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy indicated Wednesday forward Jonas Jerebko will be part of a 10-man rotation this season.

"We'll play at least nine on a nightly basis but probably 10 a lot, based on the way Jonas has played in September and in camp," Van Gundy said after Wednesday's morning practice, per the team's official website. "I've been really happy (with him). Nobody put more time in here this summer than Jonas did. Because of his play with the national team in years past, he's never really been able to devote as much time to his own development and his own game. He's gotten stronger. He's in tremendous shape.

"I think the key to Jonas -- and we talked about this early on -- is he has to get back to being the guy he was when he first came into the league, that hungry guy playing with incredible energy, trying to make his spot. What we've seen in September, he looks like a guy who is committed to being a high-energy guy."


D.J. Stephens added to Pelicans' training camp roster
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:34 pm ET) The Pelicans added guard/forward D.J. Stephens to the training camp roster, according to The Times-Picayune. Stephens appeared in three games for the Bucks in 2013-14, averaging 2.3 points and 1.7 rebounds.

Josh McRoberts expects to be ready by Heat season opener
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:31 pm ET) Heat forward Josh McRoberts will not play in Wednesday's scrimmage due to a toe injury, according to the Sun-Sentinel. McRoberts, who had toe surgery in the offseason, said he has dealt with the issue for years.

"I've needed surgery for a couple years," McRoberts said. "We kind of figured out last year before the season started. I knew right when the playoffs ended, so it was something I had planned for."

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the Heat are just being cautious to avoid McRoberts aggravating the injury. However, McRoberts expects to be ready by the season opener in late October.

"I'm just kind of easing back into things," McRoberts said. "It takes time to recover from something like this. I'm just trying not to overdo it."


Heat forward Chris Andersen working on jump shot
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:24 pm ET) Heat forward Chris Andersen is spending extra time after practice during training camp to work on jumpers from the elbow and baseline, according to the Sun-Sentinel. Andersen is putting in the extra work because the Heat feel he can be used in more than just pick-and-roll situations.

"To step out and have that confidence to shoot the 15-footer, a lot of people haven't seen it or don't expect it," Andersen said. "This year, [coach Erik Spoelstra] says he's going to implement it into the game plan. I look forward to getting that opportunity."


Norris Cole looking to become a scoring threat for Heat
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:43 pm ET) Heat guard Norris Cole said he wants to become more of a scoring threat this season, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

"We had so many playmakers [last year] that there were times I deferred to let those guys make the plays," Cole said. "They were great at it…. But I also I saw [plays] where I could have been more aggressive to attack."

The Heat are expected to have more balanced scoring in 2014-15 since LeBron James is no longer on the roster.

"He's gotten better individually for sure," guard Dwayne Wade said. "He had a hell of a summer working out and getting prepared. Defensively, he's a monster. The next wave for him is how to be effective as a point guard and effective as a scoring guard. He's going to have to figure out the perfect way to do that. It's not always easy for guys but if he can figure it out he can be very dangerous for us."


Blazers' LaMarcus Aldridge expected to attempt more 3-pointers
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:35 pm ET) Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts expects power forward LaMarcus Aldridge to attempt more than the 15 3-pointers he took last season during the 2014-15 campaign, according to The Oregonian. However, it doesn't appear Aldridge will become a 3-point specialist any time soon.

"This summer, I worked on it a lot more, so we'll see this season," he said. "If it's there, I'll take it. I'm not going to force it at all."


 
 
 
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