Wesley Matthews is averaging 7.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.0 steals and 0.3 threes in his last three games. He’s also shooting 33 percent from the field during this forgettable stretch. Stepping back and looking at the picture will show fantasy owners that Matthews is shooting 41 percent from the floor this season, notably below his career average of 45 percent. His game log shows that he’s only cracked 50 percent from the field three times in his 12 games since Jan. 14. Before that night, Matthews was hitting 48 percent of his shot from the field. Chalk his recent struggles up to a slump. He’s still starting and getting 32+ minutes a night and remains a solid source of threes and all-around production.
Dirk Nowitzki doesn’t appear to be rejuvenated one bit from his four-game rest. In his three games since returning, Diggler has averaged 9.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and a steal. The good news is that he hasn’t turned the ball over in that stretch; the bad news is that he’s failed to connect on a three-pointer (in 11 attempts) and is shooting a miserable 28 percent from the floor. While Father Time might finally be getting the best of Nowitzki, fantasy owners would be shrewd to buy low right now.
Josh Smith is averaging 8.0 points, 6.3 boards, 1.7 assists, 0.7 steals, 2.0 blocks and 3.3 turnovers in his last three games, while shooting 42 percent from the floor and 22 percent from the charity stripe. What can he say? He’s a mere human. For the season, Smith is averaging strong numbers, though his 51 percent accuracy from the free-throw line is a bummer. Try to buy him on the cheap before he bounces back.
Kyle Lowry has finally fallen back to earth. In his last four games, the point guard is averaging 9.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.3 threes and 2.0 turnovers per game, while shooting 34 percent from the field. This production falls well below his season averages, which are among the 15 best in the league. His top 10 status earlier this season was a bit dubious, but it’s easy to see Lowry finishing the season with top 30 value. He’s the unquestioned starting floor general for the Rockets, so buy low before he finds his groove again.
Channing Frye “blew up” for 16 points, seven rebounds, a three, a steal and two blocks Wednesday night. The more important thing to note is that he has his starting gig back. Though he’s been pretty pathetic this season, Frye’s still a big man who can block shots and hit threes — a nice luxury to have on your fantasy squad. If your team needs to be shaken up a bit, Frye should be among the players you should take a low-risk gamble on.
Brook Lopez, Manu Ginobili, Luol Deng and any other productive fantasy players who are injured should be considered buy-low candidates.
Landry Fields is averaging 13.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.3 threes ins his last nine games, which makes him a top 40 stud during this run. While it’d be nice to see him keep this up the rest of the way, Baron Davis‘ eventual debut for the Knicks could spell some trouble for Fields. Davis would push Iman Shumpert into more minutes at shooting guard for the Knicks, which could throw Fields out of his groove. Trading him while he’s hot would give fantasy owners more peace of mind.
Vince Carter is alive. He’s started in his last three games and is averaging 15.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.5 blocks and 2.0 threes in his last four contests, good for top 35 value. If you’re reading this and wondering how you can ride the VC wave, snap out of it — it’s not going to last. Owners who have Carter sitting on their rosters should do whatever they can to move him for better value ASAP.
Tim Duncan is in the midst of a nice little run. Since sitting out a game on Jan. 21, Duncan is averaging top 60 numbers, which is great considering the low expectations placed on him heading into the 2011-12 NBA season. Nevertheless, “The Big Fundamental” will see limited minutes and inconvenient DNPs for rest down the stretch. In formats based on averages, it’s not that huge of a worry. For owners in weekly and daily update leagues, unloading him for more reliable value will relieve some stress.
Jamal Crawford‘s last three games were solid, but they also coincided with Matthews’ clunkers. The guard has helped owners with his scoring and three-point making, but his low field-goal percentage (38 percent) drags down his overall appeal. Crawford’s game log shows his inconsistency, so a three-game string of decent lines is always a good time to sell him off.
Al Harrington deserves praise for turning in some sturdy averages this season. So far in 2011-12, he’s been a top 60 fantasy asset. For transparency’s sake, this sell-high recommendation is based more on a bad feeling than anything, but a look at Harrington’s career numbers reveal that he has never been the healthiest dude around. With a more strenuous schedule this season, there’s a chance his body could give way to some DNPs sooner than later. Also, his 50 percent accuracy from the field (the best mark of his career, and his best since he shot 48 percent in 2001-02) is hard to trust for the remainder of the season. If anything, Harrington is a good player to test the waters with if you want to swap him for a big man who does things he doesn’t (i.e., block shots, grab more boards).
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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