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Week 14 Roto Fact Sheet

by | Fantasy Writer
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By now you've probably realized the more recognizable names don't always make for the best Roto players. Guys like Jeff Green, Jimmy Butler and Harrison Barnes might have serious merit in the NBA, but their sub-42 percent field-goal shooting combined with a lack of peripheral stats makes them less than appealing in category-based Fantasy formats. It's going to be tough to drop one of them for Boris Diaw (36 percent), who became a must-add with the news that Manu Ginobili will be out for 3-4 weeks. San Antonio is now without four key contributors to its 2013 Finals run, meaning Diaw is slated for heavy minutes (pun intended). He's an efficient, center-eligible player who gets assists and threes. Just do it.

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

Scoring

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The scoring column has blown up over the last few weeks for a few people, with three players eclipsing the 50-point mark. We've come to expect such outbursts from Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant, but Terrence Ross? We didn't see that coming. We knew the guy could score, and shoot threes for that matter, but 51 on 10 three pointers? Impressive, but shouldn't be expected going forward. Take the fact that he followed it up with a 10-point outing as proof that we might not see Ross go over 30 points again this season. Tip your hat to him, but leave him out in free agency, as all he provides is moderate scoring and occasional threes. ... Courtney Lee and Mike Scott are both widely available players who have been on a roll. Lee has put together a string of seven double-digit scoring nights in his last eight games, and Scott has amassed an even more impressive nine straight double-digit scoring games, while averaging just 22 minutes per game in that span. ... Andray Blatche is on a bit of a hot streak, averaging 17.0 points per game over the last two weeks. ... Nicolas Batum does a lot, but his scoring has been way down lately. He's averaging just 8.9 points per game over the last two weeks, and it might have something to do with the finger splint he's had to wear on his left hand lately. ... Dwyane Wade has only played in three of his team's last eight games and has only scored eight points in each of those outings. He's planning to start Wednesday against the Thunder, but it might be time to try and move Wade in weekly leagues. In daily leagues, you probably will have to sell low on him, so just keep him around and pay extra attention to his status day to day.

Field-goal percentage

If Timofey Mozgov (33 percent) played for a different team, he might be one of the top centers in Roto. He's hitting 67.1 percent of his field goals, 81.0 percent of his free throws, scoring 10.0 points and blocking 1.5 shots per game over the last 30 days. The problem is he's only averaged 20.8 minutes per game over that span, and he plays with rebound hogs Kenneth Faried and J.J. Hickson, leading to his 5.1 average on the boards. He's still worth a pickup, but Brian Shaw has not been kind to Fantasy owners with they way he's dispersed Mozgov's minutes. ... Anyone who bashes Chris Bosh knows nothing about efficiency. He's shooting 56.2 percent from the field over the last 30 days, while chipping in with 82.6 percent free-throw shooting, 18.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.0 made threes per game. If you're frustrated with Dwyane Wade, trying to trade him straight up for Chris Bosh might be the best value you can get, because Bosh will be the main beneficiary of Wade's periodic absences. ... Jason Thompson (45 percent) has been extra efficient lately, hitting 57.0 percent of his shots from the field over the last 30 days. He's proved useful while DeMarcus Cousins has been out, recording three double-doubles in his last six games. ... Tyson Chandler has quietly been awesome for Roto. His blocks are down, but he's still hitting 56.1 percent of his field goal attempts while scoring 8.0 points and grabbing 9.3 rebounds over the last 30 days. He also hasn't been bad from the free throw line, sinking 72.7 percent of them in that span.

Rebounds

Tobias Harris has been a monster on the boards with Nikola Vucevic out of the Magic lineup. Harris' value likely peaked with his 28-point, 20-rebounds performance Friday against the Lakers. This means it's probably time to sell high on Harris before the Orlando gets healthy and his numbers drop. ... An up-and-down sophomore season for Jonas Valanciunas looks like it's on the upswing for now. He's recorded back-to-back double-doubles while averaging 9.1 rebounds per game over the last two weeks. ... Speaking of up and down, Markieff Morris followed up a 15-rebound performance with a three-rebound outing. It's very hard to peg this suns team other than Goran Dragic. Morris has been scoring well at 19.4 points per game over the last two weeks, but his rebounding has been so erratic that it's hard to trust him. ... Blake Griffin's assists are up, but his rebounds are way down. He's only grabbed 7.1 per game over the last two weeks -- down from almost 10 per game on the season. ... I've ragged on George Hill all year, but I guess he's been OK in Roto lately -- that is if you've got a sizable lead in the assist column. His 4.9 rebounds, 55.8 field-goal percentage and 93.8 percent free-throw rate over the last two weeks somewhat make up for his disappointing 3.3 assists per game on the year. ...

Assists

Greivis Vasquez (62 percent) seems to be finding a role off the bench for his new team, as he's averaged 5.4 assist per game over the last two weeks for the Raptors. His short term value is on the rise, but his stock will skyrocket if Kyle Lowry somehow gets traded before the deadline. ... Phil Pressey (five percent) is another reserve point guard getting a decent run at playing time lately. He's also averaging 5.4 assists per game over the last two weeks while spelling Rondo in his first few weeks back from injury. ... Anderson Varejao has been doing his best Joakim Noah impression helping the Cavaliers facilitate, averaging 4.7 assists per game over the last two weeks. He missed Tuesday's game with weeks, but looks like he'll continue to surpass our Fantasy expectations once he gets healthy. ... Bradley Beal has been helping John Wall carry the assist load, dishing out 4.1 assists per game over the last two weeks. If he can start producing consistently in this category, he'll have some serious value heading into next season. ... Mario Chalmers (63 percent) is back from an Achilles injury and assisting well for Miami. He's totaled 30 assists in six games since returning, and is a nice source of steals anytime he's in the lineup. ... Shelvin Mack (12 percent) is another available guy averaging more than five assists per game over the last two weeks. Grab him now while his minute totals are peaking.

Three pointers

As I predicted last week on our podcast, Damian Lillard has hit a slump and it stems directly from his over-reliance on threes. Lillard hit five threes on Jan. 15 but has gone on to make just 11 in the eight games that followed. During this stretch he's shooting an abysmal 22.9 percent from three, as opposed to the 44.5 percent he was making leading up to it. Almost half (45 percent) of Lillard's made field goals on the season have been threes. The Trailblazers offense does encourage players to fire away from deep, and he's only halfway through his second season, so there's still time to prove me wrong. But he's one of only four players averaging at least seven three point attempts per game on the season, and the other three are Stephen Curry, Ryan Anderson and Klay Thompson. Those are three of the purest shooters in the league, and the way I see it, Lillard's just not. ... Randy Foye, Jodie Meeks and Mirza Teletovic are all making at least 3.0 threes per game on average over the last two weeks. All three are owned in less than 75 percent of leagues.

Free-throw percentage

Courtney Lee has also hit 90.0 percent of his free throws on the season, adding to his Roto appeal. ... Gerald Green has scored his way into Fantasy relevance, so consider his 84.1 free-throw percentage extra incentive to pick him up. ... Devin Harris made his season debut Jan. 18 and has scored 14 points in back-to-back games for the Mavericks. He's also hit 83.3 percent of his free throws so far. ... If Paul Pierce got dropped in your league somehow, go ahead and pick him up. He's hit 83.0 percent of his free throws on the season.

Steals/Turnovers

If you have an extra roster spot, go ahead and stashed an injured Tony Allen, as he's one of the few steals specialists we have in the league. ... Corey Brewer has scored in double digits in four straight games and tallied eight steals in that span. ... You never know what James Johnson is going to do, but sometimes he decides to get a bunch of steals, like he did Saturday, when he snagged four against Houston. ... At 2.8 a night, Brandon Knight turns the ball over an awful lot for a guy who only gets you 4.6 assists per game. ... Tony Wroten has been equally sloppy with the ball. He and Rajon Rondo are the only players averaging more than 2.6 turnovers while playing less than 25 minutes per game. ... Center can be a turnover-prone position, but Robin Lopez is a shining exception. He's averaging a league-low 1.1 per game, the best among starting centers.

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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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