By Jeff Rosenberg – Staff Writer
Welcome back everyone. This week we shift back to the East. Before we dive into the typical facets of my weekly article, lets kick this Eastern Conference write-up off by paying homage to The King. LeBron James put on a clinic last night at the Triple A in Miami, posting 31/8/8 with two steals. He made his first eight field goals, and was an absolute enigma for the Bobcats D. Amazing night for LeBron, even if he did miss a jumper in the lane (13-14 from the field). Good news for James owners and Pat Riley, LBJ has not yet peaked. Better days ahead.
Back to the matter at hand. Lets get into it…
BEASTS OF THE EAST
(Eastern Conference Players under 50% owned, endorsed by me)
SG/SF Kyle Singler (DET) (16% Owned): Since the Rudy Gay trade (Jan. 30th), Singler has drawn the start at the three for the Pistons in all four of their games, getting 30, 36, 40 and 25 minutes. While he had a lackluster game last night @NY (5/2/1 with one steal), the minutes are there for him. In the three starts prior to last night, Singler was averaging 12/5/0.5 with 1.3 blocks/steals/threes per game. Very solid numbers, with equally solid potential available for the former Blue Devil thanks to the latest minutes boost and departure of Tayshaun Prince. Keep an eye on Singler.
PF/C Taj Gibson (CHI) (26% Owned): Joakim Noah is out indefinitely. Carlos Boozer is banged up (and went 4-12 with 10 points and five boards last night). Remember Taj? In the three games that Noah’s been out, Gibson has averaged 45+ minutes, 15.0 points, 13.0 rebounds (including 13 total offensive rebounds over that stretch), 1.7 assists, .7 steals and 3.3 blocks. Those are must start numbers. Obviously, Noah is the key here, and that may work to Gibson’s advantage. The Bulls are comfortably settled amongst the top Eastern Conference teams, with only four games left until the All-Star break (in which the Bulls will have a full five days of rest between games). Noah suffered from plantar fasciitis in 2009-2010, and ended up missing 18 games. Looks to me that the Bulls will keep Noah out through the break, making Gibson a nice plug and play this week and next. As long as Noah (or Boozer) is out, Gibson is a must-start.
PF/C Byron Mullens (CHA) (27% Owned): Though I thought he was more marketable when he was better known as B.J. Mullens, this Byron version seems a little more reliable. Mullens returned Monday night @Miami and played a surprising 28 minutes. Not surprising because he isn’t expected to play that much (he’s expected to play 30+ when proven healthy), it’s surprising because reports from Charlotte had him only playing +/-15 minutes Monday night, and he nearly doubled that number in his return. The artist formerly known as B.J. dropped 12 points on 5-14 shooting (2-5 from 3) with 9 rebounds, one assist, two steals and a block. As the season goes on, I’m expecting all of the same numbers with points in the mid-to-high teens. 27% Ownership is just unacceptable. I can’t imagine there being a player with higher ability than Beej on your league’s wire. Make the add and don’t look back.
SG/SF Nick Young (PHI) (31% Owned): .449/.885 percentages, 14.0/3.2/1.6/0.9/0.5 with 1.5 threes per game over the last 30 days in an average of 29 minutes per. Ok, but what has he done for me lately? Last 14 he’s at a full 2.0 threes and 17.7 points in 35 minutes per game, while all the other stats see increases (although his FG% is down .002). Last night, Young went 7-15 15/6/2/4/2. You are not dyslexic. That’s 15 points, six rebounds, two dimes, FOUR STEALS and TWO BLOCKS; all of which came in 36:20 minutes. Where has this been all season? Jason Richardson (who is 38% owned) who has been in and out of the 6ers lineup with injuries has held Young’s minutes down all year. However, Philly insiders are now saying that when Richardson does return, it’ll likely be to a diminished bench role, leaving Young in the starting lineup due to his recent surge. Young’s the guy to own here. If you have Richardson, please make the swap. Young looks like a very good add ROS.
(Eastern Conference players +35% owned, and I have no clue why)
SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA) (65% Owned): Gilchrist is the best of the bunch this week (though, once you read on, that’s not a compliment at all), but that ownership percentage is way too high (I’d hope for it to be cut in half). While it’s attractive to have an SF getting 9.6/5.9 per game, you’d hope that SF could crack double digits for you once in a while in points (hasn’t dropped 10 points since Jan. 14th, has scored 20+ just three times this season). The #2 overall pick has great potential, but it won’t be realized during your 2013 fantasy season. By the way, he’s concussed and not expected to play for the rest of this week… and my boy B.J. came back last night and looks to regain his #1 spot in the Bobcat offense (as said as that is, it’s B.J.’s, and he’s proud of it). If you can grab one of this week’s BEASTS, cut MKG all day.
PF Kris Humphries (BKN) (51% Owned): Can’t even formulate a blurb for this one. More than 50% owned? The guy isn’t even a Kardashian any more? Shooting 35.7% with 3.8 points and 4.8 rebounds over the last 30. Unlike Jay-Z, you CAN drop Humphries from your team. Whether you decide to pick up a replacement player for your team is up to you (either way, you will see beneficial results).
PG/SG Jordan Crawford (WAS) (46% Owned): Bradley Beal’s out and John Wall has a glass frame. Pick up Jordan Crawford?! Not a bad thought, but it just hasn’t worked out. Crawford has put up 24 points, five rebounds, four assists, one steal and two blocks (both last night…hmmm) over the last five games (Beal’s entire absence). Crawford quite simply, missed his opportunity. Beal is reportedly getting closer to full health, and while we don’t know what he’ll look like when he comes back, I just cannot recommend keeping Crawford any longer. Cut him now.
PF/C Glen Davis (ORL) (38% Owned): Boy have I eaten my words since my “Catfish, Lobster or Shrimp” article a few weeks ago. I had Nikola Vucevic facing a severe dropoff in production upon the return of Big Baby. In the eight games Davis played when he came back from injury, he averaged 12.4/5.4/2.7/0.7/0.4. Nowhere near the guy he was before he got injured. And now? Out again with a fractured left foot (out 8-12 weeks). Done for the fantasy season. Cut A$AP.
EAST RUN DOWN
Bobcats’ Jeffery Taylor went 4-8 for 10/2/0 with a steal and a block in 28 minutes. The guy plays PG/SG/SF, and could be quite valuable because of that versatility if he can keep these minutes… Knicks C Tyson Chandler has secured at least 20 rebounds in his last three games (and Garnett is the starting center for the East over the Knickerbocker, go figure); Chandler’s teammate J.R. Smith air-balled a free throw last night, despite shooting 79% from the line on the season… Bulls’ guard Marco Belinelli dropped 24 points in 24 minutes @Indy last night. Worth a look?… Detroit’s new PG Jose Calderon made his Pistons debut Monday night with 15 points and 3 dimes on 26 and a half minutes… ESPN’s Dunk of the Night from last night featured an alley-oop reverse throw down by the Pacers’ Paul George (assist by George Hill); highly recommended… Jonas Valanciunas didn’t make the article this week, though I do still love his upside for the ROS. He did get sonned by Caron Butler a few days ago though, as Butler faked the Lithuanian out with a hand shake that led to a Butler steal with seconds left in the Raptors’ blow out victory over Butler’s CP3-less Clippers. Jonas still has no idea what happened on that one… Low scoring affair in the Philly/Orlando game last night. Philly embarrassed E’Twuan Moore and company, holding the Lady Magicians to 61 total points.
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