Dirk Nowitzki has averaged 12.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, a steal, 0.8 blocks and 1.8 turnovers in his last four games. He has also failed to hit a single three-pointer during this stretch. Digging a bit deeper, you’ll see that two of those games were blowout victories, while one was a blowout loss. Diggler’s in a temporary slump accentuated by circumstances, which is another way of saying that owners should try to buy low on him before he shakes this off.
Paul Pierce is shooting a miserable 23 percent from the field in his last two games, through which he’s averaged 8.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.5 steals, 3.0 turnovers and a three. The bruised heel he was battling through earlier this season is reportedly history, so there’s little reason to expect Pierce to remain this unappealing for much longer. The window might be small, but he’s a solid buy-low target.
Serge Ibaka has been a top 80 fantasy basketball player through his first 12 games this season, which isn’t too shabby — except for the fact that he was drafted in the third round of most drafts. While his scoring and rebounding are down, Ibaka is still blocking 2.2 shots per game. It’s not guaranteed, but it’s not a bad idea to bet on the possibility that he’ll work his way back up to steadier minutes and production as the season progresses.
DeMar DeRozan started the season off in loud fashion, averaging 18.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.7 threes in his first six games. Since then, he’s cooled off to the tune of 8.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.6 steals and zero three-pointers made in his last five games. Inconsistency was to be expected of DeRozan, so fantasy owners shouldn’t see this as much more than a bump in the road. He’ll get hot again soon enough.
Carlos Delfino is off to a mixed start this season, averaging 9.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, a steal and 1.7 threes per game. The good news is that he’s improved his field-goal percentage to 46 percent so far this season, up from 39 percent in 2010-11. However, with Mike Dunleavy set to miss about a month with a groin injury, Delfino should receive ample amounts of playing time for the foreseeable future, which will help him find his groove. If you need threes, Delfino is a perfect buy-low target.
Zach Randolph, Marcus Thornton, Jason Kidd and any other productive fantasy players who are injured should be considered buy-low candidates.
Tim Duncan is averaging 18.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 2.5 blocks in his last two games — great numbers by any measure. He also averaged 37 minutes in those two games, far above his 26 minutes per game for the whole season. This deceased steed doesn’t need to be beaten much more, but it’s obvious that Duncan’s appeal down the stretch of the season is limited, mostly because of his limited minutes on most nights. If you can find an optimistic owner, get all you can for this aging star.
Iman Shumpert has been great this season. In five games this month, Shumpert is posting 13/4/4 along with 2.6 steals and 1.2 threes per game, not to mention 46 percent shooting from the field and 83 percent shooting from the charity stripe. That said, fantasy owners should remember what’s on the horizon. That approaching round mound is none other than Baron Davis, who is targeting a return at the end of January. Shumpert will retain decent value, but owners looking for more stability in the future should feel free to sell him while he’s hot.
Kobe Bryant has been a stud so far this season, in real life and in fantasy basketball. He’s averaging about 30/6/6 along with a steal and 0.8 threes per game, good for top 15 value. Though it sounds foolish to “doubt” him, it’s hard to imagine Kobe continuing to play nearly 37 minutes a night for the rest of the season, especially if the Lakers assert themselves in a favorable playoff standing. This isn’t to say Kobe’s production will somehow fall off a cliff — it’s just a reminder that after back-to-back 40-plus-point games, his trade value is possibly higher than it’ll ever be this season. If you can deal him for a guy like Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Love, it’d be a pretty nice return on the draft pick you used to draft Kobe.
Brandon Jennings is averaging 18.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 3.0 steals, 1.8 turnovers and 2.2 threes while shooting 47 percent from the field in his last four games. Those are stud-like numbers, but if you think this career 38 percent shooter can maintain this kind of accuracy, not to mention this kind assists-to-turnovers ratio, you have to take off those rose-colored glasses. Jennings’ owners should do their best to trade him for a surer thing.
Richard Jefferson is having himself a resurgence of sorts this season, and fantasy owners have definitely taken notice. In January, RJ is averaging 14.6 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.7 steals and 3.7 threes. During this run, he’s been shooting 51 percent of his shots from the field. Two main things are working against him: Manu Ginobili‘s return in about five weeks and history. The former is still far away, but it puts an expiration date on Jefferson’s days as a reliably productive fantasy player. The latter can be learned by looking at Jefferson’s game log from last season. In 2010-11, he started off strong before sputtering out sometime in (wait for it) January. Given the late start to this season, maybe his wall this season will wait to pop up in February, which could coincide with Ginobili’s return. Yes, a storm is brewing for RJ and his owners should try to jump ship before it hits.
Throughout the season, be sure to leave your questions, comments, concerns, trade offers, roster problems and more in the comments below.
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