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Week 15 Roto Fact Sheet

by | Fantasy Writer
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Trading Fantasy players takes a certain finesse. You don't want to be that guy who spams the league with low-ball offers, but you also don't want to remain completely silent and discourage possible deals down the road. I've found the best method is to talk things out before proposing a trade in your actual league interface. Don't surprise people by asking for their best player. They'll reject it quickly and remember it later on. Causally discuss a multi-player deal via email thread or in person first to better understand the needs and wants of both teams. Category players especially need to be conscious of what other teams lack in terms of statistical production in order to leverage the right kind of offer.

(All stats up to date through Feb. 3 games. Info provided by NBA.com and Teamrankings.com)

Scoring

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Al Jefferson has been an absolute beast while Kemba Walker has been out -- at least until he played the Suns. After combining for 107 points and 42 rebounds in a three-game span, Jefferson went on to register just 10 and six Saturday against Phoenix. Still, he should shoot close to 20 times a game, so consider him an elite Fantasy center for the rest of the season. ... Dwyane Wade made a bunch of Fantasy owners hit the "withdraw" button on their pending trade offers when he dropped 30, 10 and five against the Pistons on Tuesday. He's bound to cause frustration down the road again, but these moments of brilliance might keep you from selling too low on him, as only a handful of guys in the league can achieve that stat line. Wade has even more value in Roto because he's one of the most efficient and versatile players in the league, shooting 55 percent from the field and helping himself to 1.7 steals per game on the year. ... The Suns keep getting better, and that steady improvement stems from the brilliance of their lead man, Goran Dragic. In the 17 games since Bledsoe went down, Dragic has averaged 22.5 points, 6.4 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.8 made threes per game while shooting 53 percent from the field and 75 percent from the free throw line. Pretty fantastic production for a guy who was selected at the end of the fourth round in most drafts. ... I've been calling Randy Foye a must add for a while now, and he's been proving it lately. Brian Shaw's been notoriously stingy with how he hands out minutes, so the fact that Foye's gone three straight games logging 40-plus proves just how badly the Nuggets need him right now. Over the last four weeks, he's fifth in three pointers (39), 25th among guards in points per game (17.25) and 45th in assists per game (4.33) overall. If you play in one of the 31 percent of leagues where Foye is available, go get him now. ... Taj Gibson (81 percent) has now gone eight straight games with double-digit points. He's also shooting close to 50 percent and blocking 1.6 shots per game over the last two weeks.

Field-goal percentage

Mike Scott (24 percent) hasn't been held to single-digit scoring since Jan. 6, an impressive streak of 11-straight solid games, averaging 14.1 points and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 54 percent from the field and 88 percent from the line. Pretty impressive considering he only gets about 22 minutes a night to do it. ... If you have solid free throw shooting, then maybe try to trade for Andrew Bogut, who's been Roto gold for the last month. He's hitting 70 percent of his field goals (!), grabbing 11.8 rebounds (!!) and blocking 2.7 shots (!!!) per game over the last 30 days. Too bad he's made just 14.3 percent of his free throws (?) over that span. ... Enes Kanter has been great over the last month considering his fluctuating minute totals. He's scoring 14.6 points on 57.9 percent from the field over the last 30 days. If only he could get more than the 23.8 minutes per game he's gotten in the span, then maybe his 6.3 rebounds per game would be a lot closer to double digits. ... More proof of Dragic brilliance: He and Wade are the only guards averaging at least 32 minutes per game while making more than 53 percent of their field goal attempts over the last month. ... But just behind those two sits Courtney Lee (32 percent), who's shot 53 percent from the field in 31 minutes a game over the last 30 days. ... Give it up for Rudy Gay, everybody. Once knocked for his inefficient shot-chuckery, Gay now sports a 56 percent field-goal rate over the last 30 days. Bravo, good sir. Bravo. ... Mario Chalmers (62 percent) has been flexing his Roto muscles over the last two weeks, averaging 10.7 points, 4.7 assists and 3.0 rebounds on 52.6 percent from the field. ... The 48 percent of leagues Harrison Barnes is still owned in better not be Roto scoring, as the Golden State forward has a dreadful 31.3 field goal percentage over the last 30 days. ... Brandon Jennings and Jimmy Butler have been almost as bad, shooting 34.6 percent and 33.7 percent respectively.

Rebounds

J.J. Hickson is the kind of big man you could buy low on no matter how well he's playing. He gets it done ugly, and his name doesn't inspire much confidence for Fantasy owners. Still, he's averaged a double-double over the last 30 days while shooting 53 percent from the field. Hickson's player page displays some of the players he's currently being swapped for in CBSSports.com leagues, guys like Jodie Meeks and Channing Frye, who you probably picked up off the wire. ... Tobias Harris has seen fewer rebounds bounce his way since Nikola Vucevic's return. He's grabbed only 17 over the last three games, as opposed to the 29 he snagged in the three games prior to that. ... Lance Stephenson has already established himself as Indiana's best passer, but he's also been the Pacers' best rebounder lately as well, averaging 8.8 per game over the last 30 days. He leads the league in triple-doubles with four, and has recorded nine of his 16 double-digit rebound games in the last month. ... Jared Sullinger has gotten back on track the last two games, combining for 29 rebounds and 45 points in back-to-back outings. ... Rebound numbers have a lot to do with a guys' opportunity. Take Kenneth Faried for example. He's the only guy getting fewer than 25 minutes per game on the season but still grabbing 7.8 per game. Same thing with Jordan Hill, who's only received 19.7 minutes per game, but has made the most of it by grabbing 7.3 boards a game. Hill should be added if you need rebounds, as Pau Gasol is injured for the short term and on the trading block for the long term.

Assists

This might be the last week of the Kendall Marshall festival of assists, which has been going strong for over a month. Over the last 30 days, Marshall has accumulated 21 more assists than second place John Wall despite playing 77 fewer minutes. He's definitely earned a spot in the permanent rotation, but it's going to be hard for him to reach these lofty totals with veterans like Steve Nash, Jordan Farmar and Steve Blake returning this week -- not to mention Kobe Bryant a little further down the road. Still, you've got to milk this cow for all it's worth, so send Marshall out there a few more times before pulling the plug. ... Reggie Jackson has been solid filling in for Russell Westbrook, but it looks like my colleague Chris Towers was right about him being a lackluster facilitator. He's averaged just 4.8 assists over the last 30 days, a pretty disappointing figure for a starting point guard. ... Knicks fans might not be too crazy about Raymond Felton right now, but at 78 percent owned he's the best source of assists you can get from free agency right now in Fantasy. His 6.2 dimes per game put him in the top 20 assist men over the last three weeks.

Three pointers

Mirza Teletovic (15 percent) could be shooting his way back into Fantasy relevance. He hit five threes Tuesday night, making the most of Andray Blatche's absence. Pick him up just in case his green light stays on for the next week. ... Other than his 2-for-10 night Tuesday, Tim Hardaway Jr. (36 percent) has been on fire from deep lately. He totaled 17 made threes in the five previous games. ... D.J. Augustin's 2.7 made threes per game over the last 30 days put him at fourth in the NBA over that span. Oh how the lowly have risen. ... Keep an eye on Evan Fournier's (20 percent) minutes, as the Nuggets will need backcourt help for the rest of the season. He only logged nine minutes Tuesday night, but he scored close to 20 points in each of the two games prior while hitting six combined threes. ... J.R. Smith is back to doing what he does best: knocking down threes. He's combined for 10 in the last two games, and has hit at least two in nine straight games.

Free-throw percentage

Kyle Korver, Danny Granger, Norris Cole, Kris Humphries, Martell Webster, and Courtney Lee are all players owned in fewer than 80 percent of leagues who are hitting 90 percent or more of their free throws over the last 30 days. ... Meanwhile, Gerald Wallace, Larry Sanders, Kenneth Faried, and J.R. Smith might not be the free agents for you if you're lacking in free throw efficiency, as each of them is shooting worse than 60 percent from the foul line in that span. ... Zaza Pachulia is back from injury, and represents the opposite of what Milwaukee's other two Fantasy big men, John Henson and Larry Sanders, offer Fantasy owners. He's hit 46 of his 49 free throw attempts this season, and put together a solid 12, seven and two in his second game back. ... Boris Diaw's shooting percentages should earn him must add status in Roto. He's plying big minutes for the Spurs, hitting 56 percent of his field goals and 76 percent of free throws on the season. You won't do better than that as far as free agent centers go.

Blocks

If you don’t have Anthony Davis, chances are you’re not leading in blocks. He’s tallied 25 blocks in a four-game span. Ridiculous. … James Johnson is still among the league leaders in blocks per game at 1.8 over the last 30 days. … Rudy Gobert might be one of the league’s best shot blockers, when you consider he’s getting a hold of 1.4 shots per game over the last 30 days while playing just 16.1 minutes a night. … Randy Foye has even blocked a couple shots lately – four in the last six games. Pick him up already. … Some of the best shot-blocking shooting guards include Dwyane Wade, Gerald Green, Terrence Ross and … Mike Dunleavy? That’s right. He’s totaled five blocks in his last five games. … James Johnson leads all small forwards in blocked shots per game over the last 30 days at 1.8 a night – better than Josh Smith and Kevin Durant.

Steals/Turnovers

Big guys can steal too. Thaddeus Young and Paul Millsap have been the sneakiest players in Fantasy over the last 30 days, averaging 2.9 and 2.4 steals per game respectively. ... Shaun Livingston represents a great pick up for deep Roto leagues. His assists have been disappointing, but it looks like he's established a role on the Nets, logging 30 minutes a game and recording 2.0 steals per game over the last 30 days. He also shoots 50 percent from the field and 82 percent from the line as a bonus. ... DeMarre Carroll is playing like a must add in Roto. He put together a 19, five and four outing with three steals Saturday against Minnesota. Pick him up for threes, consistency and well-balanced peripheral stats. ... What do Robin Lopez, Channing Frye, Ersan Ilyasova, Marcin Gortat and George Hill have in common? They're all Fantasy relevant players averaging less than one turnover per game over the last 30 days. ... It might be safe to call Tony Wroten the most turnover-prone player in the league. At his 3.1 per game over the last month, Wroten is the only player among the 50 sloppiest players averaging fewer than 20 minutes per 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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