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.
Miami Heat garbage time
Players such as Eddie House and James Jones are finding a few ways to rack up some numbers. One is by just being on the floor with any of the Big Three in Miami. The other comes when those three are off and they are the go-to guys when the starters have taken care of business and are riding the pine for the rest of the game. House (PG/SG) is averaging 24 minutes with 11 field goals made — six being 3-pointers — and has seven boards, eight assists and five steals. Not a bad play in deeper leagues. Jones (SF) is even better. In 28 minutes a game, he has 14 field goals — 13 of them treys — six boards, three assists, three steals and two blocks. He is shooting 48 percent, while House is at 39.
The “Project” is working early
No. 3 overall pick Derrick Favors, considered a project pick, is not doing too badly in the absence of Troy Murphy (back). He is shooting 58 percent from the floor while averaging 21 minutes, 10.3 points and 10 boards in three games. Murphy should return by week’s end, but Favors is a name to keep an eye on before and after Murphy gets back into the lineup. He has a tough week this week, however, with games against Charlotte and then on the road at Orlando and Miami.
It’s all Wright in Golden State
Dorell Wright came on as a late sleeper after he nailed down the starting small forward position. Reggie Williams was expected to be the sleeper name at that spot and on that team, but Wright is getting 35 minutes a game, shooting 52 percent with 19 points a game, and has hit 11 3-pointers with 16 boards. He is a good play this week at home against Memphis, Utah and on the road at Detroit as all three are allowing 99 ppg or more.
Take your time, Bynum
It was strange to see Lamar Odom’s average draft position where it was entering the season. The forward had an ADP of 87 despite finishing as one of the top 60 players in most formats last season. This year, in nine-category formats, he is the 22nd-best player at 16 ppg, 13.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, three 3-pointers made and a 67-percent shooting clip. Andrew Bynum has been cleared to run and can start practicing in a few weeks, and perhaps Odom’s ADP was low due to looking at the long haul and Bynum being there later on. Odom has had inconsistency issues in the past, but he’s there now while Bynum isn’t, and if he can even stay close to this pace he will be a good play even when Bynum returns. He’s an especially good play this week as the Lakers have four games.
For the love of guard
So point guards are fun to figure out, huh? For every Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook or Derrick Rose there’s a Shaun Livingston, George Hill and Roddy Beaubois. Livingston was supposed to be the man in Charlotte, but D.J. Augustin’s performance coupled with Livingston’s keen injury has slowed that down. Tony Parker just signed a four-year extension, thus ending the hopes of Hill becoming the starter in San Antonio. Beaubois is recovering from a broken foot and won’t return until December. So there’s a better chance that Jason Kidd will hit a 65-foot jumper before Beaubois … oh, wait, Kidd did hit said jumper
Livingston is playing 13 minutes a game and right now is no threat to Augustin, who averages 40 minutes with 17 ppg, 5.3 apg, 3.0 rpg, 2.7 treys a game, shooting 43 percent from the field and 11-of-11 from the line. Hill is still the best option of the three despite Parker’s extension. Parker is at 32 mpg, while Hill is a 27. So he’s still getting minutes to go along with 11 ppg, 5 apg, 2.0 steals and 2.0 boards. Beaubois should be in no other lineup than a deep, keeper league lineup.
T.J. Ford is also cutting into Darren Collison’s time unexpectedly. He’s getting almost 22 mpg with 7.3 ppg, three assists and 1.7 steals. It’s not so much that Ford is waiver-wire worthy as it is the fact that he is taking numbers away from Collison, who is at 27 mpg, 13.7 ppg, 5.7 apg, 2.3 rpg and 1.3 spg. Collison is 30th when it comes to guards and minutes played.
Grab these guys
SG Aaron Afflalo has kept his preseason streak going well into the regular season. The Nugget is averaging 14 ppg, 3.3 apg, 2.3 rpg while shooting 64 percent from the field and 82 from the line.
Guard Kirk Hinrich is averaging 37 minutes for the Wizards with 10 ppg off of five 3-pointers made, 3.0 apg and 1.0 spg. He should continue to see playing time with Gilbert Arenas sidelined, and has good matchups with Philly, New York and Cleveland all allowing 98 ppg or more so far.
PG Luke Ridnour is filling in well for the injured Jonny Flynn in Minnesota. He is logging 30 minutes a game with 13.3 ppg, 5.3 apg, 1.0 steals and an added bonus of five boards a contest. He might be a tough play this week, however, with games at Miami, Orlando and Houston and hosting Atlanta in between.
And for a complete flyer if Zach Randolph (tailbone) is out any length of time, Darrell Arthur is a good play in Memphis. The MRI came back negative for Randolph, but he is already banged up early in the season and center Marc Gasol missed the opener with an ankle injury. He returned to play in the second game, but it still is a good opportunity for Arthur to sneak some minutes. He is averaging 17 ppg over 29 minutes, shooting 60 percent from the floor, 100-percent from the stripe and has 14 boards in three games.
Da buona a bad
Translation: Marco Belinelli has gone from good to bad.
The Italian got the starting SG gig in New Orleans, and it looked like it was all going to be roses alongside Chris Paul. He started off great with 18 points, six boards, 40 percent from the field and 100 percent from the stripe in 35 minutes during the season opener. But it has tailed off since then, shooting 25 percent from the field with a total of eight points and two boards in the last two games. His minutes also dropped to 23 a game. Marcus Thornton may re-assume the role he was slated to have before the season began.
Ben Gordon is probably going to be a tough one to figure out this season. He is part of a crowded backcourt in Detroit, and his consistency could be a question mark. Case in point was Saturday night against Chicago. Gordon, a former Bull himself, scored 21 points in the first half as the Pistons built a 21-point lead. He was 5-of-5 from the field and went to the line for a 10-of-10 performance. Then the second half began. He missed all five of his shots, did not get to the line and coughed up the ball five times. Chicago’s pressure was certainly a factor, but it has to be disturbing to Ben Gordon owners that trapping him on the perimeter like that can cause him to completely disappear from a game. The Pistons went on to lose by nine. He is averaging 21.7 ppg in 27 minutes, but games against Boston, Atlanta, Charlotte and Golden State make him a tricky play this week.
Cousins Cruising … for now
Rookie DeMarcus Cousins has been better than expected in the early part of his career. Through three games he is averaging 13.3 ppg, 7.3 boards and 2.3 apg while shooting 46 percent from the field and 78 percent from the stripe in 25 minutes a game. The Sacramento PF/C is getting this action early due to the injury to Samuel Dalembert. Well, Dalembert returned Friday night with six minutes, got 16 minutes Saturday — starting the second half — and could send Cousins back to the bench. So keep an eye on both players as the week goes on. The Kings only have two games this week, hosting the Lakers and Grizzlies.
Valley of the Bust
So many fantasy players were leery of PF/C Channing Frye this season. There was no way the Phoenix Sun could duplicate the numbers from a year ago, right? After a 2009-10 in which he shot 44 percent off of 172 made 3-pointers, Frye has started off 2010-11 by hitting 3-of-11 3-pointers — 6-of-18 from the field altogether — for a total of 19 points through three games. The 6-11 Frye is averaging 3.6 boards and 1.6 blocks as well. So the label of bust or one-shot wonder that he had attached to him might be justified since he was only shooting 17 percent from beyond the arc in the preseason. Keep this in mind: Frye made 172 treys last year and had made just 20 of 70 attempted in the first four years of his career.
— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter