Another week has passed and that makes you one week closer to league domination, or does it? How ARE you doing in your league out there? Personally, I’m about to win again this week, making me 11-4 on the season and only 1 game back behind my league’s leader. I look to be in excellent position to find my way into the playoffs, with a good matchup in the first round that should pave my way to a finals appearance.
Since the new year, The Raptors have seen a number of former teammates on their respective rosters. In fact, it has been pointed out recently that DeMar has played with more teammates than any other player from his draft class, 54 players if memory serves. This statement sums up much of what we fans have seen from the Raptors organization under previous management, which reminded me more of the operation of a fantasy team. Their constant rotation of different players into the system as a quick fix, in the hopes it gives them what they need. If it didn’t, trade ‘em or toss ‘em aside, whatever’s quicker to get the next guy into the lineup. Some made us happy to see them go, while others left us with a feeling of melancholy whenever we see them play. In either case, it leaves former Raptor players peppered throughout the Association for fans to compare from before to after they left.
On Wednesday, the team stopped in at Sacramento where Rudy Gay has definitely found fantasy success. In case you forgot, here’s what his numbers looked like while he was being showcased at the beginning of the season on the Raptors. While his 19.4 PTS, off .388 FG%, .772 FT%, and 1.2 3PM, with 7.4 REB, 2.2 AST, 1.6 STL and 1.3 BLK may have been sufficient for your fantasy roster, but he left much to be desired with the chemistry of the actual team. Since the trade, both teams have found success and chemistry with their new personnel. As a fan, it was nice to see Quincy Acy get some run, in spite of everything that transpired during that game. There was even a sighting of Bigfoot Aaron Gray, who was up to his old tricks of cheering for his teammates from the comfort found at the end of the bench. Also, a quick shout out to John Lucas III a.k.a. Easy Bake, who didn’t get any burn against the Raps on February 3rd in Utah. Unfortunately, he isn’t getting a breakdown on here either.
Along with following the progress of some of our Raptors from last week, let’s take a look at how a few of the Raptors alum have found their change of scenery from a fantasy perspective, since leaving the greatest franchise in the NBA.
Gotta Have ‘Em
DeMar DeRozan – Current player rating rises from 63rd last week up to 47th, and is owned by 100% of the leagues at ESPN. Over the last 15 games DeMar has increased most of his averages with 25.1 PTS, 4.9 REB, 4.7 AST, 1.0 STL per game, while shooting .871 from the charity stripe. He has also brought up his three pointers made to a respectable 1.3 per game. Unfortunately he’s dipped is in his FG% during this west coast road trip currently at .417 down from .443 last week. Still, the hit in FG% is a small price to pay for the added production in the other categories. Sky’s the limit for DeRozan as he continues to show improvement throughout his career.
Kyle Lowry – Current player rating stays the same this week at 11th, and is owned by 100% of the leagues at ESPN. Over the last 15 games Lowry has maintained his averages of 19.0 PTS, 7.9 AST and 1.3 STL, while increasing his rebounding to 5.7 per game. His three point production has taken a small drop from 3.2 last week, but is still at a beastly 2.7 per game. His shooting percentage has dropped as well down to .427 FG% from .450 the week before. Not to worry, as percentages have been down in general around the league. This is the time of year where players tend to hit that wall from the first half of the season or relax a bit with the upcoming All Star break in their sights. Continue to look for Kyle to be a fantasy force to be reckoned with.
Rudy Gay – Current player rating of 25th, projected to go 34th and owned by 100% of all leagues at ESPN. Since the trade, Rudy’s shooting woes managed to leave his game and has also maintained or increased most of his numbers in other areas as well. Over the last 15 games he has averaged 23.8 PTS off .532 FG% and .846 FT%. These are all substantial increases from his time as a Rap, but he’s seeing a big dip in three pointers production, currently down to only 0.4 made per game. He’s managed to hold his 7.4 REB per game and bring up his assists to 4.4 and steals to 2.6 per contest. On the other hand, his 0.4 BLK per game is way down from when he was wearing the Raptors uniform. All this comes in 35 minutes a night and a more efficient 15.8 shot attempts per game. It looks like the lack of attention Rudy’s new team pays to the defensive end of the game has worked well with the fantasy value of Gay this year. My guess is that his numbers and focus as of late was, in part, due to his attempt to make the All Star team once again. I wouldn’t be surprised to see these numbers take a hit after the break. You may want to consider selling high on him for the right player while his percentages remain good, because you may not get the same Rudy after the All Star break.
Keep An Eye On
Amir Johnson – Current player rating drops from 61st down to 68th and is owned by 45.5% of the leagues at ESPN. If I was to sum up the reason for his drop in a word it would be health. Tall Money’s minutes continue to dip (24.3 MPG), most likely due to the nagging ankle injury that he has valiantly been playing through. Over the last 15 games Amir’s points have sunk to 8.6 PPG, but he has managed to dig deep and fight for an uptick in his rebounding production increasing it to 6.6 per game. His double double in Utah (11 PTS, 11 REB, 2 BLK, 1 STL) was followed up with two lackluster performances from a fantasy perspective, so its anyone’s guess whether you will find any success picking him up on the short term, but his .500 FG% and .714 FT% means he isn’t hurting you if you take the gamble on adding him into your rotation for a night. When he gets healthy expect his numbers and consistency to increase accordingly.
Jose Calderon – Current player rating of 51st, projected to go 76th and owned by 97.4% of all leagues at ESPN. Over the last 15 games Jose has averaged 11.7 PTS, off .395 FG%, .778 FT%, and 2.1 three pointers made (all down from his season averages of .451 FG%, .863 FT%, and 2.5 3PM) with 2.0 REB, 5.6 AST and 0.9 STL. Despite his current shooting slump, Calderon had been flirting with another 50%,40%,90% season this year. With a current dip in his production, right now may be the time to steal him from someone in your league if you have any interest. While his numbers may not excite you at first glance, you can be fairly certain they will help contribute to a win by the end of a week, as usually his percentages don’t hurt you. Now’s the time to buy low if you can.
Patrick Patterson – Current player rating rises from 166th up to 153rd and owned by 0.6% of the leagues at ESPN. His 10.6 PTS, 5.4 REB, 1.1 STL off .507 FG% while still adding almost 1 three pointer per game over the last 15, is right about where we saw him at last week. If you look over the last seven games you will see that he has doubled his assists output to 2.3 (currently averaging 1.1 on the season) adding to the stats sheet. His averages show he won’t single handedly win you your week, but he also won’t hurt you. This makes 2Pat a great option to slide into your roster to fill an open slot in your lineup. If you have that revolving option at the end of your roster, be sure to keep this guy to your short list of choices for any given night.
D.J. Augustin – Current player rating of 142nd, projected to go 226th and owned by 90.5% of all leagues at ESPN. In 10 games for the Raptors this season D.J. had struggled to get his game off averaging a frighteningly low 2.1 PTS, off .292 FG%, 1.00 FT% (from only 0.6 Attempts/PG), 0.1 3PM, with 0.4 REB, 1.0 AST and 0.1 STL. However, after being released he found a home in Chicago when D. Rose went down with another unfortunate knee injury to potentially end his season. Rose’s misfortune has been Augustine’s reward as his numbers have picked up tremendously. Over the last 15 games he has averaged 16.0 PTS (which leads the Bulls PPG during that time) off .404 FG%, .759 FT%, 2.3 3PM, with 1.1 REB, 4.6 AST and 0.9 STL in 34.3 minutes per contest. Despite these great increases, his FG% is a concern and his attempts per game (at 13.6, second on the Bulls to Boozer) is enough to tip the balance to a losing FG% category. Much of his 90% ownership derives from lazy owners unwilling to search out a better option after losing Rose for the season, knowing his minutes will be there. This isn’t to say he’s a worthless fantasy option by any means, clearly that isn’t true, but there are other options that give you everything he does sitting on the waivers waiting to be snactched up like Randy Foye (owned by 88%), Avery Bradley (owned by 39.3%), Lou Williams (owned by 15.1%) or Brian Roberts (owned by 0.7%) who are all PG’s currently enjoying better shooting percentages over the last 15 games with similar outputs in the other categories and could all be rotated through that player slot instead if FG% is important to you.
They Try and Try
Terrence Ross – Current player rating drops from 125th down to 133rd and owned by 30% of the leagues at ESPN. A lot has happened since the 51 point game for Flight 31. He was selected to the Eastern Conference Dunk Team, a new format for the NBA to showcase their high flyers during All Star weekend. This may have shifted his focus to retaining his title as dunk champion as of late. A drop in numbers is to be expected from that point, but that game will still skew the outlook of his numbers some when looking over the last 15 games. With that in mind, we instead look at his last seven games to get a better perspective of what T. Ross has put up, which is some disappointing numbers. In that time he’s averaging 7.3 PTS, off .282 FG%, .750 FT% and one 3PM, with 2 REB and 0.5 STL per game. Consistency is a problem for many young players and at 23 years of age, coming back to reality off a 51 point game and getting ready to defend his dunk title in a new format, I can see how he can be distracted. I hope to see Terrence get back on track after the break.
*All numbers extracted from ESPN’s fantasy basketball site on Feb.8, 2014 at 8pm.