Trailing hot on the heels of yesterday’s Manu news (Manunus!) that he will be watching basketball from incredibly fantastic courtside seats for the next two months while wearing a $5,000 suit like the rest of us insanely wealthy society folk, comes the follow-up jab-cross-jab-hammer combo that Memphis forward Zach Randolph is also out a couple months with a slight tear in his knee. A slight tear in Z-Bo’s knee means a slight tear in the eyes of his fantasy owners. How’d you like that homograph? Way to kick a guy while he’s down by calling him a nasty name. No, no. Homograph. Mr. Italics failed grammar class, apparently. There was no “grammar class!” It was called language arts, you jerk! Anyway, Randolph is out until late February and in his place are a number of fill-in options that are the fantasy equivalent of a woman breastfeeding in public: you know nothing will come of it and you shouldn’t pay any attention, but you’d always wonder about it if you hadn’t checked it out. So who are the suckling teets in this scenario? Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo, Marreese Speights and Dante Cunningham. Scenario 1 would have Gay slipping into Randolph’s position, allowing Mayo to see a huge boost in minutes. Scenario 2 has Speights and Cunningham playing something like a 60/40 split for PF minutes. Like most truths, I think the answer will lie somewhere in between these two scenarios, which will make absolutely no one happy. Gay’s already uneven production will take a hit due to his time out of position. Mayo will see an increase and is probably the most must-add of those involved owned in fewer than 50 percent of leagues. Speights will see more than his career-high 16 mpg, but not much more because, frankly, I’m unconvinced big boy can handle many more minutes. And Cunningham will remain Cunningham. A lot of you are going to ask me about Speights’ projected production in these next 6-8 weeks. My guess is somewhere in the ballpark of 24-28 mpg, 11/7/1, with a block and .475/.750 percentages. Cool? Cool. Here’s what else happened yesterday in fantasy basketball.
Stephen Curry – Left the game … again … with an ankle injury … again. You’ll stash him and go about scrapping until he returns to your lineup … again. Would developing cankles help his situation? Like interior body fat insulation?
Dorell Wright – 0-for-2 in 27 minutes. I’m still not ready to drop him, but I sure ain’t playing him.
Evan Turner – Dropped 21/6/4. Then he picked it up, shined it a bit and stuck it back in his pocket for another game in the near future. #DareToDream
Eric Gordon – Returned after a couple games off to shoot a rusty 22/6, with 3 steals and 2 blocks. That’s not rusty enough to keep him out of your lineup. RELEASE!
Al-Farouq Aminu – In for the injured Ariza, went 0/4/0, on 0-for-4 shooting in 20 starter’s minutes. This is only mildly worse than ol’ Trev’ would have done.
Lamar Odom – 15/5, with 2 stl and a three. Queue intro music! Odom’s on his way!
DeMar DeRozan – De biggest DeMerit I gave DeRozan last year was that he DiDn’t shoot DeThree very well (made just five). Six games into DeSeason, DuDe is DeStroying ’em (10-for-16, including five last night alone). He won’t keep making them with such a high efficiency, but if he keeps taking them, we’re likely watching a huge step forward for the guard.
Dwight Howard – Chunked 28/20, with 3 blk against the Wiz. No complaining there. Still though, he’s shooting .418 (28-for-67) from the line a tenth of the way through the season. If missing 58 percent of the shots they give away for nothing is wrong, I don’t wanna be Dwight.
James Jones – Sank four threes on his way to 14 points in place of the staycationing Dwyane Wade. Flash’ll be back for the next game. Don’t bugger with Jones, he was just making a cameo for the Pacers. Call him Indiana Jones.
Marshon Brooks – Scored 17 against Boston’s D, then twisted his ankle and left the game. It doesn’t sound as if he’ll miss more than a couple games, if that. We’re dealing with a small sample size with the 23-year-old Brooks, but his per minute stats line up quite favorably to those of a 23-year-old Ben Gordon. Gentle Ben shot the three and dished better, Brooks grabs a larger number of rebounds, but basically, with Brooks, we’re looking at a solid Sixth Man on a good team or a legend in, you know, New Jersey.
Jordan Farmar – Between Deron’s rib, Marshon’s ankle and the 11 pts/ 6 ast line Farmar had, he’d be a smart speculation pick until things clear up.
Rodney Stuckey – Left the game after injuring his groin. Is it me or have there been an abnormal number of groin injuries already this season? Of all the muscles I was pretty sure wouldn’t need conditioning after a long offseason, the groin was on the top of that list, ’cause … you know. If Brandon Knight is available, a-hunting you should go.
Danny Granger – 2-for-13 last night (1-for-7 from the arc). He’s now shooting .317 a tenth of the way through the season. Danny Granger needs a Backup Plan-y Granger. The well-rested Adam apologizes for that last sentence. The sleep-deprived Adam just isn’t feeling your critique, dawg.
Kenneth Faried – Manimal doubled his professional career playing time by playing 10 garbage time minutes at the end of this one. He dumped an electrifying 7/4, with four blocks on a defenseless Kings team. Perhaps this small performance begets more minutes. Perhaps not. Probably not.
Kosta Kouf0s – 10/11 in 25 starter’s minutes. It was his first career dub-dub. So should you pick him up while Nene is out? Well, let me rephrase that first sentiment: this was a 7-foot tall basketball player’s first game in which he scored 10 points and pulled down 10 rebounds at the same time; something all giant humans should be able to do with ease.
Byron Mullens – 16/5 in 20 minutes. We’ll call that the Knickerbocker Special.
Iman Shumpert – Returned after injuring himself on Christmas Day. Played 30 minutes and ended with 18/5/3, with 2 stls a blk and 4 3ptm. Yes, you should grab him. No, the Knicks have no one else that can facilitate. Yes, you should go get him now before someone else does. No, not the guy breathing heavily behind you, I’m talking to you. Go.
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