The Magic of fantasy

How does Orlando's weekend dealings affect your lineup?

How does Orlando's weekend dealings affect your lineup?

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.

A three-team trade involving the Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards went down over the weekend and of course that means a shakeup for the player who was traded, the rest of the roster for the team he is coming to and the rest of the roster for the team he departed.

First, for Orlando, which did all the dealing, welcomes four new players (Yahoo eligibility in parenthesis).
Jason Richardson (SG/SF) from Phoenix — Was the Suns' leading scorer and shouldn't slow down in Orlando.
• Hedo Turkoglu (SG/SF/PF) from Phoenix — Had his best numbers in previous Orlando stop.
• Earl Clark (SF/PF) from Phoenix — Has no fantasy value as of now.
Gilbert Arenas (PG/SG) from Washington — Will still come off the bench.
Second, is Phoenix, which received three players from Orlando.
Vince Carter (SG/SF) — Being with Steve Nash can't be all that bad.
Marcin Gortat (C) — Could vie for the starting center job.
Mickael Pietrus (SG/SF) — Solid defender and 3-point shooter.

Third, for Washington, is the one-for-one trade with Orlando.
Rashard Lewis (SF/PF) — I wouldn't expect much outside of 3s.

There are plenty of opinions on how it will affect the players traded and how it will affect what's left on the rosters of the three teams involved. So here's half a Fantasy Dime, a Fantasy Nickel if you will, to give you all the angles of the trade.






With the news that point guard Brandon Jennings will be out 4-6 weeks with foot surgery, Keyon Dooling is expected to step in. The 10th overall pick in the 2000 draft, Dooling has played just 17.3 minutes per games this season, scoring 5.2 a game on .356 from the field, .310 from beyond the arc and .864 from the line. He averages two assists and one rebound. For his career, Dooling averages 19:30 minutes per game, 7.1 points and 2.2 assists. On top of that, the Bucks are the worst scoring team in the league at 91.6 points per game. So keep the Bucks' scoring woes and Dooling's career averages in mind before you run out to the waiver wire and add him.

Anderson Varejao
was the fourth-best player in nine-category leagues. In four games, the Cleveland forward-center averaged 37 minutes and 15.7 points while shooting .563 from the field and .917 from the stripe. He also posted 12.7 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 1.7 assists and a steal over the last week. He is still available in 33 percent of Yahoo leagues. The Cavs play three games this week.

Ty Lawson
was the 12th-best player in nine category leagues last week as he filled in for starting Denver point guard Chauncey Billups. While Billups is expected to return midweek, Lawson should still be a safe play this week. He is still available in 74 percent of Yahoo leagues, and if you have a deep enough bench he is certainly worth holding on to. Lawson averaged over 35 minutes in four games over the last week, scoring 18 points per game with 7.3 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and just 1.0 turnovers. The Nuggets play three games this week against San Antonio, Oklahoma City and a resurgent Philadelphia, so they will need all the offense they can get.

Kyle Lowry
has filled in nicely for Aaron Brooks at the starting point guard spot for Houston. Lowry was the 13th-best nine-category player last week. He averaged over 33 minutes during the four-game stretch, scoring 14.3 points, dishing out 9.3 assists, collecting 2.8 steals and dropping in 1.8 3-pointers a game. Brooks returned to action Dec. 19 and will eventually resume his starting role. The Rockets have just two games left this week, so using either Lowry or Brooks is not suggested if you have better options. But keep an eye on Lowry, available in 44 percent of Yahoo leagues. He has started 19 of 23 games for the Rockets this season for Brooks who has been out since Nov. 6 with an ankle injury. Houston was 0-5 with Brooks as a starter.

Reggie Williams
posted the 23rd-best nine-category week in three games played for Golden State. The guard-forward played over 38 minutes a game, averaging 20.3 points on 3.0 3-pointers a game with 5.3 boards and 3.7 assists. WIlliams also shot .538 from the field and .714 from the stripe. He is still available in 51 percent of Yahoo leagues for a Warriors team that has three games this week — two at their home court against Houston and Portland and one that might as well be when they travel to Sacramento Dec. 21.

Washington's Kirk Hinrich, who has eligibility as a point and shooting guard in both Yahoo and ESPN leagues, is available in 51 percent of Yahoo leagues and 59 of ESPN leagues. The time to go snag Hinrich is now if you haven't already. Constant injuries to rookie guard John Wall, along with his dual eligibility, should have had Hinrich on your roster weeks ago. But now with Wall out indefinitely due to a knee injury and Gilbert Arenas traded away, the minutes are going to continue to be there for Hinrich. He is scoring 10.6 a game on .447 from the field and .850 from the free throw line to go along withh 4.9 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals.

Mehmet Okur
has returned from his Achilles injury, but the Utah Jazz are easing him into the rotation. In his two games back, the center has logged 11 and 13 minutes. He averages 29 minutes, 13.8 points, 7.1 boards, 1.7 assists for his career, but it is not known how he will be used in the Jazz frontcourt. The acquisition of Al Jefferson in the offseason and the play of Paul Milsap gives Utah a formidable starting inside presence as it is. But solid centers are scarce in fantasy basketball, whether they are coming off the bench or not. Monitor Okur's progress. He is available in 89 percent of ESPN leagues and 60 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Robin Lopez
also returned from injury for the Phoenix Suns. He missed 14 games with a sprained MCL and PCL. Lopez has company in the form of Channing Frye and the newly acquired Marcin Gortat at the center spot for the Suns. Lopez was averaging under 20 minutes prior to the injury, but has played no less than 21:52 in his three games back. He is available in 47 of Yahoo and 78 of ESPN leagues, so like Okur, monitor how he, Frye and Gortat work for Alvin Gentry's Phoenix squad.

Marcus Thornton
was supposed to be a nice sleeper for the New Orleans Hornets this season. Then Marco Belinelli earned the starting 2 guard spot to start the year, the Hornets went on a winning tear and Thornton seemed lost in the mix for the first quarter of the season. But he started to turn it on last week — scoring 19 points and playing nearly 24 minutes on back-to-back occasions. He cooled off Dec. 19 with three points in 13 minutes played in a close loss to Detroit. Thornton can be the occasional spark off the bench, which is where he has been all season, but that spark has also seen 10 occasions in which he saw no minutes and eight others where he didn't register at least 12 minutes of action. He's another monitor and hope that he lives up to his potential as the season wares on.

You'd never sit him unless you have better options or in a one-center league, but I just need a place to overreact about the underperforming Marc Gasol. I drafted Gasol as my first center in a two-center league in the fourth round of the Athlon Sports draft. I was so secure that he would follow up his 2009-10 season of 28 double-doubles that I felt confident that the only legitimate frontcourt partner he would need was JaVale McGee. I took a flier on McGee in the eighth round, not expecting him to be the dependable one — 9.6 points, 8.4 boards and 2.4 blocks. Gasol is averaging 11.6 points 7.6 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and has just four double-doubles. He has shot .273, .125, .333 and .250 from the field in the last four games. In the month of December alone last season, Gasol averaged 14.5 points and 10.1 boards. McGee has seven double-doubles already this season, shoots a higher percentage from the field and has turned it over 18 fewer times. I'm not giving up on Gasol, but they are not the numbers I expected from a player I thought was going to raise his game to another level this season.

— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter to ask any questions or make any comments

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