There are many ways to play fantasy basketball — rotisserie, head to head, lineups that can be changed any time and lineups that lock just prior to Monday night’s tip. With that in mind, Athlon Sports will give you the Fantasy Dime each week. These are 10 things to assist you before you have to lock in that lineup for the week.
Tim Duncan's minutes took quite a dip last week — going from nearly 34 to 23 — and with that came a major dip in production. His minutes are at a career low and have been in decline over the last five years. He went from 18 points and 11.3 boards two weeks ago to 6.3 and 5.3 last week.
While the Spurs are apparently preserving him for the playoffs, it makes it tough for fantasy players to know what to do with him. Assuming it's an every-other-week deal, this would be the "on week." San Antonio plays three games — home vs. Chicago, at Utah and back home vs. Cleveland. He should see minutes in the first two, but might not be needed vs. the Cavs Saturday night as it's the second game of a back to back that the Spurs should win.
Give Telfair a week
PG Jonny Flynn is expected to make his season debut Wednesday after having been sidelined from hip surgery. Luke Ridnour, who began the season as the starter, has sat out the last week with a hamstring injury. He, too, could return Wednesday vs. the Clippers.
In both their steads, Sebastian Telfair has performed well over the last week. He averaged 11.8 points — including a goose egg against the Knicks — while dishing out 6.5 assists, 1.5 boards and steals and 3.5 turnovers.
Minnesota plays three games this week — at Charlotte tonight then home vs both L.A. teams. Telfair should be a safe play for one more week as Flynn and Ridnour ease back into the lineup. He was averaging 9 points and 3.1 assists in the seven games prior to starting, and his first start came against Lakers when he had his most complete game of the season — 13 points, three 3-pointers, nine assists and five rebounds.
Go with Lowry
Kyle Lowry has assumed the starting PG role over Ishmael Smith in Houston. The move was expected as Lowry had been sidelined with back spasms and was expected to take over for Smith, who took over for the injured Aaron Brooks (3-5 weeks due to an ankle).
Lowry is averaging 35 and 36 as a starter. He is averaging 10 points, 6.5 assists and rebounds and 2.5 steals in the two starts. His minutes make him a good play this week with three games, but be wary as he goes up against Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook in back-to-back games starting Tuesday before finishing the week in Toronto.
Cavaliers are in Sessions
Cleveland PG Mo Williams is out for the second time this season due to a groin injury. In steps Ramon Sessions.
He has started five games this season, averaging 12.6 points, 3.6 assists, 3.0 rebounds and shoots .375 from the field. Oddly enough, as a bench player, averaging over eight minutes less a game, Sessions' numbers go to 11 points, 3.8 assists, 3.5 boards and .394 from the field.
It's not the easiest road for the Cavs this week, either. They play three games — home vs. Philly on Tuesday and then a back-to-back at New Orleans and San Antonio on Friday and Saturday. If you have to lock a lineup today, leave Sessions out of it.
Gilbert's gone green
It certainly seems Washington guard Gilbert Arenas has been given the green light to launch his shot. He has put up 69 shots in the five games since his return from an ankle injury, connecting on 24 of them, including 16 of 35 from 3 — seven against Chicago Saturday night. The last two games, Arenas has logged exactly 31:33 minutes and should continue to see playing time and opportunities.
John Wall (foot) was in a walking boot and crutches for at least the second time this season and is day-to-day, and Kirk Hinrich is getting minutes but has only attempted 11 shots in the last two games.
The Wizards have four games this week — home vs. Toronto and Memphis with road games at Boston and Detroit — and Arenas should be in the lineup.
Rise of the 3
Fourteen players hit at least five 3-pointers in a game over the last week. Let's see if you should have them in your lineup this week.
• Manu Ginobli, 5-of-11 on Monday — Always have him in the lineup.
• Gary Neal, 5-of-7 on Monday — It's a reach, but James Anderson is out for two months and that should mean more PT for Neal.
• Mike Dunleavy, 6-of-10 on Tuesday — Keep him in there until Brandon Rush knocks him out, but keep in mind the Pacers play Atlanta, the Clippers and Orlando this week
• Anthony Morrow, 5-of-8 on Wednesday — The Nets play four road games this week and Morrow has the green light. Play him.
• Ray Allen, 7-of-9 on Thursday — Always have him in the lineup.
• Mickael Pietrus 8-of-11 on Friday — The 6-6 shooting guard enters a three-game week on a hot streak from beyond the arc, having hit 12-of-17 in his last two games. The Magic take on Memphis tonight then Phoenix and Indiana. He has added 2.5 rebounds during the last two games, but is pretty much a 3-point guy as of now. Play him while he's hot. He did knock down 116 3s last year in 75 games.
• Charlie Vllanueva 5-of-7 on Friday — The Pistons are a mess, and particularly at the PF position. They play Golden State, the Clippers and the Wizards this week — three teams not necessarily known for defensive prowess. CV averaged 27 minutes, 16.3 ppg, 3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks last week. Play him.
• James Posey 5-of-8 on Friday — You know what, why not? The last two seasons, Posey has had nine games in which he hit at least four 3-pointers and in the the three games following each he has posted 19 the first game, 23 the second and four in the third. The Pacers play three games this week, and if you need a streaky 3-point shooter, might as well see if Posey can continue the trend.
• Gilbert Arenas 7-of-11 on Saturday — A good play this week.
• Danny Granger 5-of-8 on Saturday — Always have him in the lineup.
• Stephen Jackson, 5-of-13 on Saturday — Always have him in the lineup.
• Jason Richardson, 7-of-10 on Sunday — Is the Suns' scoring leader, but temper expecations against Denver, Miami and Orlando. Also play at Charlotte this week.
• Matt Bonner, 7-of-7 on Sunday — Came back from a two-week hiatus (ankle) and saw an increase from 15 to 25 minutes in second game. Spurs play three this week, and he should be a safe play.
• Hedo Turkoglu, 5-of-7 on Sunday — The Suns play four games this week — at home vs. Denver then hit the road for Miami, Orlando and Charlotte. Hedo may have found his groove Sunday, but I would sit him this week until he can prove more consistent.
Forecast is Sonny
Which Toronto Raptor will be the fantasy player du jour this time? Well, it is Sonny Weems G/F that is attracting attention in a four-game span where he averaged 31:30 mpg, shot 63 percent from the field, scored at 15.3 per game and added 3.0 apg and rpg to go with 1.3 steals and just two turnovers a contest.
Toronto has four games this week, and there is no reason to think Weems will slow down against Washington, Philly and Houston. Boston, yes, but three out of four isn't too bad. The Raptors will take a toll on you, but give Sonny a shot.
Take a seat, Troy
Troy Murphy fell farther in your drafts because of the back injury in the preseason. So you thought to yourself: "I'm getting a steal here in the mid-to-late rounds." Why wouldn't you think it? Murphy has hit 161 and 128 3-pointers over the last two seasons from the PF/C spot. He has also averaged 11.8 and 10.2 in rebounds, 2.4 and 2.1 in assists and nearly a steal a game on average.
You expected him to be worked into the lineup slowly, which he was. He eventually returned to the starting lineup, but now Kris Humphries is getting the start at PF, while Murphy comes off the bench. There is also the Derrick Favors issue — the No. 2 pick in this year's draft needs to get minutes somewhere.
With Murphy having played in five games, adding a foot injury to the equation, getting 20 minutes, hitting .6 3s per game and just 5.2 boards, he is a fantasy liability. If your lineup locks today, keep him out this week.
Beasley does it
If there was any question as to whether Minnesota's Michael Beasley needed to be in the lineup, stop asking. He is apparently playing with a chip on his shoulder after being shipped out of Miami last season. In the last three games, the PF has scored 25, 35 and 42. Those 102 points are the second-highest three-game total by a Timberwolves player, trailing Kevin Garnett's 112 in March 2000. Games against Charlotte and both L.A.s should prove to be good ones for Beasley.
Chicago's SG spot leaves plenty to be desired in both the real and fantasy worlds. The Bulls begin their annual Circus Trip this week — seven road games starting Tuesday in Houston and lasting until Nov. 27 while the circus is at the United Center. Starter Keith Bogans (6.4), reserves Ronnie Brewer (4.5) and Kyle Korver (8.1) are lacking in the scoring department and don't offer much, if anything, in any other category. Chicago will probably trade to improve the spot later this season, but the Bulls are winning without it and without Carlos Boozer right now. You should win without any of the Chicago SGs as well.
— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter