I like to think that once a year, people like Mike Scioscia, Mike Shanahan and Drew Brees get together at some dive bar in Montana and discuss how best to completely ruin the lives of fantasy owners across all sports. Want to have a closer by committee? Sure, why not. How about changing your lead running back every week? Sounds good to me. Which receiver should I throw to the most? All of them.
This season, they root of all fantasy evil invited George Karl to their yearly conference. And as a result, the Denver Nuggets have become something of a fantasy clusterf**k.
For much of the early part of the season, Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari and Nene were the clear most valuable fantasy assets the team had to offer: Lawson and Gallo ranked easily inside the league’s top-50 in production and Nene wasn’t far behind. But injuries and strong bench play have unleashed hell all over Denver’s fantasy hierarchy. Andre Miller and Rudy Fernandez have stepped in nicely as bench scorers for the team, and Arron Afflalo and rookie Kenneth Faried have seen huge boosts in production since injuries sidelined Gallinari and Nene last month. And let’s not forget about Al Harrington, who’s making his case to be Sixth Man of the Year.
Now that everyone is finally getting healthy at the same time, things are getting messy. The Nuggets go eight-deep at the four positions other than center, making them a tricky team to operate in pretend basketball. Lawson should finish the year as a stud, Gallo and Nene will likely be back to their old selves as their health returns and Big Al should continue to produce off the bench. As for the rest of them: buyer beware.
Ramon Sessions – Now is the time to add Sessions if he’s not already scooped up in your league. His numbers backing up Kyrie Irving are about as uninspiring as any acting job Nicholas Cage has ever done, but he could be a fantasy stud of he gets traded to a PG-needy team before Thursday’s trade deadline. And if he doesn’t end up escaping Cleveland? Drop him like you dropped that English class after you saw there were four group presentations listed on the syllabus.
Rodrigue Beaubois – If you add them together, Jason Kidd and Vince Carter are 73 years old. So it’s no wonder that Roddy Buckets is starting to post numbers in the Dallas offense. He’s averaging 13.7 points, 1.2 threes, two assists and two steals per game over his past six games, and that production should continue while J-Kidd and Vinsanity are busy registering for AARP cards.
James Johnson – You can literally buy anything in Wal-Mart. Pharmaceutical goods, cheap off-brand clothing, assorted knickknacks; you name it, they got it. Forgot your three-weeks-since-your-first-kiss anniversary with your insignificant other? You can get all the scented candles and copies of the “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” soundtrack you could possibly need at the Wal-Mart. With 12.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.2 blocks per game in the past two weeks, James Johnson is the Wal-Mart of pretend basketball.
Brandon Bass – Bass is krilling it right now. He’s averaging 12.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and nearly two blocks per game in his last five. Jermaine O’Neal carped the bed with his injury and Chris Wilcox is really floundering, so with Kevin Garnett looking like the Celtic’s offishial center, Bass has the oppor-tuna-ty to continue posting solid numbers from the power forward spot until the season’s fin-ish. Halibut.
Bismack Biyombo – Bismack and Serge Ibaka should totally hang out. Actually, they shouldn’t just hang out: they should be best friends. They should live together. Shop together. Eat together. Create a “Biz & Serge” sitcom together. With tantalizing points-boards-blocks ability and the maddening inconsistency, they’d be like two peas in a seven-foot-tall pod. If you need a center, you could do much worse than Biyombo. And if you own Iblocka and Biyombo is available, I implore you to own both.
Zach Randolph – No hysterical wit here — if Z-Bo is somehow available in your league, add him right now.
Isaiah Thomas – Well, at least it was a fun ride while it lasted. After a torrid six-game stretch where the diminutive Kings point guard averaged 17.8 points and 6.7 assists, Thomas has cooled off dramatically in the past week. He’s notched just nine points and three assists per game in his past three, and Sacramento has hinted that he’s going to be more of a matchup play from now on. Sorry little man, there can only be one Isaiah Thomas. And it’s the one currently destroying the FIU Panthers and the New York Knicks at the same time.
Landry Fields – In New York, the big story is whether or not Jeremy Lin and Carmelo Anthony can play together on the court. In this scenario, Fields is the basketball equivalent of that kid who’s sitting on the bleachers in the rain for an hour because his mom forgot to pick him up from soccer practice. Laundry has averaged just 7.3 points per game since the return of Melo, scoring eight or less in each of his last four. If there are better options available, don’t be afraid to Gym, Tan and set fire to your Laundry.
J.R. Smith – You’re going to put J.R. Smith in your lineup tonight. And he’s going to do something like shoot 1-for-8 from the field, score four points and chip in a few rebounds. Frustrated you’re going to drop him, only to see him total 24 points, four 3-pointers five rebounds and four assists from the waiver wire. So when you’re curled up in the fetal position, fighting back tears as you decide whether or not to add him again, remember that he’s hurt you before and he’ll hurt you again.
Jornick Youngford – If such a player existed, he would be a must own fantasy asset. Split them apart, however, and you have two players that will disappoint you more than your high school boyfriend did on prom night (a joke for my lady readers!). While both Jordan Crawford and Nick Young have shown the ability to drop 25-plus points in a night while shouting “ME! ME!” and wearing “I hate passing” t-shirts, they usually do little else to help your team. If maddening inconsistency and less than four rebounds/assists per game float your boat, fine. But if you like winning, cut bait.
Boris Diaw – This guy had trouble staying in the Bobcats’ starting lineup. So even if Charlotte does end up trading him (no chance with a $9 million contract) or buying him out (does that mean buying out an entire buffet for butterball?), there’s little chance he makes an impact anywhere else in the league.
Brook Lopez – You invested an early round pick in him and he rewarded you with five games played and 35 games of wasted roster space. B-Lo is dead to you.