Photo Credit: Keith Allison
No intros needed. More after the jump:
Studs & Duds
Chris Bosh & Mario Chalmers – Dwayne Wade is dealing with a bruised foot/plantar fasciitis and LeBron James missed some time because of a sprained ankle. While both games the "Kings of Miami" missed went into overtime and thus super-boosted the numbers of Bosh Spice and Chalmers, it's clear that these are the guys who will take the reins when the Heat need a temporary general.
Marcin Gortat – Gortat was talked up by all the fantasy experts before the season started, but a broken thumb derailed his breakout potential. Fortunately for Gortat owners, he has taken off the thumb splint and is currently shooting a lights out .634 from the field. He has hit 25 out of his last 33 attempts! The buy-low time has passed and we should all expect solid, all-around numbers with a low turnover rate for the rest of the season.
Danilo Gallinari – I figured that Gallo would be the guy to step up this season in Denver. At the same time, there are a lot of borderline studs on that squad (Nene Hilario, Ty Lawson, Arron Afflalo) and legitimate options off the bench (Al Harrington, Andre Miller). At the same time, Gallinari is a physical specimen and arguably the most talented of the lot. His shot finally clicked this past weekend and he drained three treys in both a 31 and 23 point effort.
Andrea Bargnani – Toronto will have to grind it out if they want to pass the .500 mark, but clearly Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan are the top scoring options. Amir Johnson and James Johnson are legit on the defensive end, while Jose Calderon has been pimping it with Jerryd Bayless out. However, this squad is still trying to find its identity. In the end, the only thing I can guarantee is that Bargnani will do work this season. He won’t offer mush help in the defensive categories but will score at an efficient clip and rake in decent-at-best rebound and assist numbers.
Josh Smith – It was only a matter of time before J-Smoove took off. 20-plus points in three straight and he supplied a four steal, six block game on Saturday. Killing it.
Iman Shumpert – We want Shump! The rookie played really well before injuring himself in the first game of the season, and has been caking since coming back. Double digit points, decent rebounds/assists, and is averaging over two steals per game. I think he will be very solid even after Baron Davis comes back, so feel free to buy on a discount if Shump owners bug out about Baron.
Honorable Mentions – James Harden, Richard Jefferson, Steve Nash, Caron Butler
Dirk Nowitzki – The entire Dallas team looks out of whack and now Jason Kidd is dealing with back issues. I don’t need to tell you that is bad news for an old man, and Delonte West/Roddy Beaubois can’t dish to Dirk like Kidd can. Nowitzki had a rough week , putting up a combined 16 points in the last two games. Do not lose faith or rush to sell him for 50 cents on the dollar. Yes he is getting older, but I am confident that he will put up typical Dirk numbers even if there is a slight decline.
Danny Granger – Much has been published recently about Granger's poor shooting this season. Although he has made up for it with solid defense, there is something seriously wrong as his best shooting percentage this season has been .421. He missed a game due to food poisoning but there are now rumors he is dealing with a left ankle injury. It looks like Granger will have an inefficient season, but will remain serviceable simply due to his high usage.
Dorell Wright – This will be the last time I mention Wright in the dud column since his expected value has already hit rock bottom. Thirteen points total in four games last week. Brutal.
John Wall – We were all expecting a healthy Wall to absolutely dominate this season but it seems like the Wizards don’t have their hearts in it this season and Wall is struggling. I expected the turnovers to be lower and the steals to be higher. Last week, Wall struggled from the field and it seems obvious at this point that he hasn’t improved his shot from behind the ark.
Raymond Felton – Ray Ray claims his weight is where he wants it to be and he is well conditioned. Although the minutes are high, he simply isn’t producing. Felton is providing little to no defense, low scoring, and minimal three pointers. I love Portland’s depth and perhaps Felton is the guy who will see a slight decline this season. LaMarcus Aldridge is playing great, I am big on Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum, and Gerald Wallace also gets a lot of usage. I am happy I stayed away from Felton in all my drafts this year and although I expect him to put up better numbers as the season goes on, I don’t think he will be a top fifteen point guard when all is said and done.
Dishonorable Mentions – Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace, Nene Hilario
-Andrew Bogut is back after dealing with a family issue in Australia. No worries here as I am sure he will start dominating again.
-I didn’t really like Caron Butler heading into the season, but he seems to be finding his groove in L.A. He has scored in double digits every game and coach Vinny Del Negro stated he wants to get Caron more touches on offense.
-Serge Ibaka came in as the favorite to lead the league in blocks but the minutes are down and it appears as if the love affair between James Harden and Nick Collison is the main culprit. Harden is in the midst of a breakout campaign and he has spent a large majority of his court time with Collison as opposed to Ibaka. If this continues to bring positive results, then Ibaka will remain the odd man out. Although he will still be a serviceable starter, he won’t provide a solid return on investment. He is still offering decent production for the minutes he is seeing and if you need blocks, I wouldn’t call you crazy if you bought low on Ibaka since I doubt he will see fewer minutes.
-Chris Kaman will continue to put up solid offensive numbers if he stays healthy and Matt Barnes is going to be a perfect glue guy for your fantasy squad as long as he holds on to the small forward job in L.A.
-Marreese Speights and Nate Robinson are very solid free agent pickups in deep leagues.
-Brandon Knight is a must start as long as Rodney Stuckey is hurt.