Music of the Traffic

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 NBA FANTASY WEEK 4

As we enter week 4 of Head to Head NBA Fantasy leagues, here’s a new column we hope will become a regular one. This quick primer will help get you ready for the week ahead as the Downtown team listens to the ‘music of the traffic’ and lets you know what last minute moves or adjustments you could make to your line-up.

Before we get into this week’s detail, a reminder to prepare for your upcoming matchup with some quick research. See how you stack up in each category versus your opponent and try to forecast which categories you may need a little bump in to win the week. Using the Head-to-Head stats page on Yahoo for example, is an easy and quick way to do this. Make sure you also check the game totals of your opponent to see if your starting position is ahead or behind for the week. That may assist in determining whether you need to make any moves at all.

Week 4 (Nov 18-24)

5 Games: LAC

4 Games: ATL, BOS, BKN, CHA, CHI, DAL, DET, GSW, MIN, PHI, PHO, POR, SAC, UTA, WAS

3 Games: CLE, DEN, HOU, IND, MEM, MIA, MIL, NYK, OKC, ORL, SAS

2 Games: LAL, NOP, TOR

There is a huge difference between 5 games and 2 games, especially in weekly lock leagues, so if you have any Clippers players you were thinking of cutting (e.g. Barnes, Dudley, Collison) for someone hotter right now, you should hold them for one more week.

Conversely, you can dump any Lakers (e.g. Young, Henry, Johnson and Meeks with Kobe possibly returning on Friday), Pelicans (e.g. Stiemsma who is injured or Smith now that Anderson is back) or Raptors who have borderline value. None of them will contribute enough in only 2 games, outside of the deepest leagues.

As for those playing 3 or 4 games this week, here are a few names who may be available in standard 10 or 12 team leagues that could make a difference for your squad.

Lou Williams (G, Atl): A surprise early return on Friday saw Sweet Lou play 16 minutes off the bench and hit 3-8 FG (1-3 3Pt) on his way to 7 points, 2 assists, 3 rebounds and a steal. Williams was not active Saturday versus the Knicks, so given the Hawks play two back to back sets this week, he may only play in 2 games as he regains fitness and ensures his knee is stable. He is still worth an add this week if available as he will be someone you would hold longer term and you wouldn’t want to miss out.

Vitor Faverani (C, Bos): The Celtics Center Carousel goes around again, as Faverani got the start over Kelly Olynyk on Saturday. Faverani (9pts, 14reb, 4blk, 3stl) showed again what he is capable of when given solid minutes (26 mins vs. 14 for Olynyk), and with Boston’s 4 game slate this week, El Hombre Indestructible should help you in boards and defensive stats.

Shaun Livingston (G, Bkn): Another ankle injury to Deron Williams means Livingston instantly has value as the starting Nets PG. It’s a little unclear exactly how many games Williams is likely to miss, so Livingston is a bit of a gamble, but could pay dividends if you need a boost in dimes and steals. And, besides, who isn’t cheering for Shaun Livingston to do well every time he takes the floor?

Khris Middleton (F, Mil): With Ilyasova also out with a lingering ankle injury and Caron Butler missing time with a shoulder issue, it is Khris Middleton who has benefited in the past few Bucks games. He hasn’t shot the ball at a great percentage, but he has scored in double digits in 3 of his past 4 games (all starts) and averaged 1.25 3ptm, 1.5 steals and a solid 6 rebounds from the SF position in 32 mpg in those contests. I added him in a weekly league for the upcoming week. If you need traditional wing stats, then grab him while you can use him.

Tony Wroten (G, Phi): Another player benefiting from a teammate’s injury, Wroten has been great filling in for rookie PG Michael Carter-Williams. He has averaged 38 mins and produced 19.7pts, 6.3 ast, 1 stl and even 4.3 reb in 3 starts. MCW is doubtful to return this week, meaning you could get 4 starts out of Wroten to help your PG woes.  

Alec Burks (G, Uta): Burks has been underwhelming so far in his short career. Full of promise, he has never been able to earn consistent minutes until this year. Pegged as a potential starter at SG during preseason, Burks only started his first game on Saturday, but it was at PG. Utah has no serviceable PG right now with Lucas III, Tinsley and now Diante Garrett just not up to par, while Ty Corbin awaits the return of lottery pick Trey Burke (to be re-evaluated November 25). This gives Burks a small window to take advantage of, with Utah’s upcoming 4 game week. He will score, hit 3s, and get you some steals, but don’t expect big assist totals or solid percentages. Add him only if you’re desperate.  

Finally, a word on the impact of Kobe Bryant’s possible return for Friday’s game versus Golden State. While he may come back initially on a minutes limitation, his return will kill any value that most of the current wings on the Lakers have. Guessing which of Nick Young, Xavier Henry, Jodie Meeks or Wesley Johnson will start alongside Bryant is near impossible given Mike D’Antoni’s penchant for changing his rotations on a nightly basis. That, coupled with a paltry 2 game schedule this week, means stay away. If The Black Mamba is somehow available in your league, it probably means it’s time to find a new league; But seriously, he won’t be, and no-one will trade him now with his return so imminent, so this is just one to watch as a basketball fan and nothing more.

For those in leagues with daily changes, these guys all make for good plug and plays, but monitor the guys they are replacing.

Follow me on twitter @tomhersz for updates.

Author of the article

When you’re introduced to the NBA as a 6 year old in 1984, staying up late to watch Bird, Magic and Dr. J, it’s pretty hard not to fall in love with the game. I became consumed with the Association, and as my own game was developing, I tried to emulate as much as I could at an early age and learn how to play “the right way”. I have memories as a teenager of being glued to Saturday Basketball on TV and spending every spare cent I had on basketball cards and replica jerseys and so began my obsession with NBA knowledge and stats. I played my first season of Fantasy Hoops in 2002, as my serious playing days were slowing down. I now play in 5 or 6 leagues every year. To say I’m obsessed with Fantasy Hoops would be an understatement. To say I love nothing more than sharing my opinion on a player’s value would be entirely accurate, and I guess, the reason why I’m here. Follow me on twitter: @tomhersz @downtownball