Archive for January, 2011

Toronto Big Men To Eye

Sunday, 30 January, 2011

By Zack Cimini

Teams that are transitioning are going to shuffle their lineups frequently. Toronto’s been in that scenario for many years. In the past though, they had the reliability of Chris Bosh. The over haul of the franchise features new guards in Jerryd Bayless, Leandro Barbosa, Sonny Weems, and DeMar Derozan. A backcourt nucleus they’re trying to figure out along with veteran Jose Calderon.

It’s definitely a team that is going to be in the cellar of the eastern conference and NBA for many years. Give credit to Raptors fans though. They show tremendous support unlike what they do for the Blue Jays. If this team is going to make any kind of shift it’ll start in the interior. We profiled Ed Davis a few weeks ago, but there are a couple of other guys to follow.

Amir Johnson, owned by just 57% of Yahoo fantasy rotisserie owners needs to be picked up immediately. Toronto seems to be leaning more in more in Johnson’s direction. He gives the team energy inside and brings it on both ends. Earlier on in the year he was foul prone, but lately he has been able to stay in games. In the month of January he is averaging near twelve points and eight rebounds a game. Remember, Johnson came straight out of high school in 2005 and went late in the second round. So he is starting to blossom just at the right point you see most young athletes do in the NBA.

If Johnson or Davis goes down, the Raptors have another big man that is still a project in Alexis Ajinca. A first round pick out of France a few years ago, he just hasn’t panned out to the NBA style. Against Milwaukee, January 28th, he did give the Raptors a solid twelve minutes. He is used sparingly though as he is too much of a liability currently on the court. A development player that is probably a year or two away from getting regular bench minutes.

NBA: Youth Emerging For Pistons

Sunday, 16 January, 2011

By Vidur Malik

Much has changed in the NBA’s Eastern conference in the past decade. Many of today’s contenders were at the bottom of the East just a few years ago, and the elite teams of the decade’s earlier years are now in rebuilding mode.

The Detroit Pistons are perhaps the best example of this power shift in the East. From 2002 to 2007, the Pistons made it to five straight Eastern conference finals series, and made it to two NBA Finals in that span, including a dominating four-game series win over the Los Angeles Lakers in 2004. Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace and the selfless Piston lineup are either out of Detroit or becoming irrelevant. They’ve taken chances on aging players like Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady without great results, and they’re currently 12-26 and at the bottom of the conference.

Despite its struggles, there is enough young talent on the team to instill hope for the future. Guard Rodney Stuckey and forward Tayshaun Prince have been reliable players for a while now, and there are younger players who are showing signs of solid play. Rookie center Greg Monroe has seen a huge improvement in his numbers recently. He is averaging 5.8 points per game and 5.7 rebounds per game this year, but he’s had a double-double in his past four games. That kind of consistency is something that can benefit your fantasy team. If four-straight games of double-digit points and rebounds aren’t enough to convince you to pick him up, keep an eye on him to see if he keeps it up. If Monroe continues to develop, he could be the East’s next great big man and have some epic battles with Dwight Howard.

Though his numbers might not be as impressive as Monroe’s, Pistons forward Austin Daye has also been playing well recently. Daye has improved his numbers in important categories in his second year in the league. His scoring average has gone from 5.1 in his rookie year to 6.6, he’s getting more minutes and his three-point percentage has risen significantly. Day hit 29 3-pointers in 2009, and has already made 27 this year. If you’re looking for a forward who you don’t need to depend on for big numbers every night, consider Daye. He might not be a consistent scorer, but if you want to take a chance on someone, he would be a good pick.

The championship-caliber teams of the early-to-mid 2000’s are gone, but there is a new group that could make the Pistons a playoff team again. You’ll benefit from picking up those players and seeing how they can add to your team’s production.



NBA: Bizarre/Cavaliers That Have Fantasy Value

Monday, 10 January, 2011

By Zack Cimini

Sinking to the bottom of the barrel as a team was expected by outsiders of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Even though there owner promised revenge and that they’d win a title before Lebron. If they even make the playoffs while Lebron is still a member of the Heat, that’d be astonishing.

Through the first portion of the year some of the Cavaliers expected to fill the voids of Lebron James have been a dissapointment. Starting with JJ Hickson. The versatile big man that left NC State has shown signs that he could take on a more featured role while playing with Lebron. Without him though he has looked lost on the court. Clearly he is going to need more time to mature and can’t be expected to create for himself. He is a put back scorer without a low post game or jump shot.

The veterans of the Cavaliers have taken poor shots and seem content at letting the season run its course with lackluster effort. A veteran coach like Byron Scott sees this and in order to be competitive starts to give minutes to players with hunger. Undrafted talents that can provide a spark and play tough to try and stick and land a long term deal.

This trend has been happening more and more as teams let ex-D-League players and undrafted athletes garner minutes. Over the last week two key players for the Cavs have been stepping up. One is ex-Michigan Wolverine Manny Harris. Harris started his career with the Wolverines as an expected NBA talent then fizzled as a junior and senior.

It looks like his skill set is perfect for the NBA. He has shot the ball well and with his long frame is showing value on the boards as well. The past two games he has kept himself on the court with his play and earned starts. Last night against the Suns he kept the Cavs in the game with the rest of the team bricking shots. He finished with a career high 27 points and 8 rebounds. Getting to the free throw line eleven times and draining four out of seven from three point range.

With Anderson Varejeo out, another no name guy to take a look at is Christian Eyenga. The Cavaliers drafted him in the 2009 draft, but spent that year playing basketball for a Spanish team. He is undersized at 6’5, but gets off the floor quickly. He is a competitor that will hustle for boards and give it his all. His done a solid job in limited minutes this past week. Expect his minutes to increase and for him to start sneaking up on fantasy basketball waiver wires as well.

Week 17 Spread Selections

Saturday, 1 January, 2011
By Zack Cimini


Another positive week almost guarantees an above .500 year picking against the spreads. Check around and you won’t see very many people that have done that this season. Week 17 is always tricky to handicap. Teams are sitting players and teams that are out of it are looking to their youth to see what they have for next year. Predictability hasn’t been a part of the 2010 season all year, so will move forward and expect another unpredictable weekend.



Overall Record: 124-113-4

Last Weeks Record: 9-6

Kansas City -3.5- The Chiefs are headed back to the playoffs because they dominated their division. They’ll tack on another win at home. A scary AFC team to face in the playoffs.

Miami +4.5- Besides their early season blowout home loss to New England, Miami has been in all their games. Traveling to New England is what Miami needs to end their year at .500. They’ve been a tale of two different teams and fare well on the road. They’ll hang around in this one and get the cover.

Indianapolis -10- The Colts are getting healthy at the right time. Manning will show on Sunday that they’re not going to be a quiet team entering the playoffs.

Houston -3- Both the Jags and Texans are banged up. Trent Edwards will get the start and try to fill in for David Garrard. With Andre Johnson out, expect a heavy load of Arian Foster.

Pittsburgh -5.5- A tough game to call here, but based on the Browns offensive woes lately, they’ll have a tough time scoring ten points. Pittsburgh should get in the mid 20’s and roll.

Cincinnati +9.5- Odd that the Bengals are performing better with Chad Johnson and TO sidelined. Hmmm.

Detroit -3.5- All it takes is one game tape on a new player to figure someone out. That’s how quick the NFL defensive coordinators can react. Detroit attacks with the best of them with their front four and will cause havoc for Joe Webb.

NY Giants -4- A loss here to end the year and the Coughlin speculations will surface to the top of coaches on the hot seat. His been down this road before and always digs himself out.

Green Bay -9.5- With the Bears likely resting their players this is a meaningless game for them. We all saw how their backup quarterbacks fared against the Giants and Panthers. They may have the worse backup quarterbacks in the NFL.

NY Jets -1- Buffalo has fell backwards and it’s been because of the quarterback play. Fitzpatrick did a solid job for the most of the year, but the lack of a true running game has caused him to become turnover prone. The Jets defense will step up in this one after being torched as of late.

Carolina +14- The trend of teams covering double digit spreads has been awful. As bad as Carolina has been will take the points here.

New Orleans -7.5- This team is gaining more momentum to the finish the season than anyone. They fought hard to pull out the victory and end Matt Ryan’s home streak. Now they’ll finish off Tampa Bay and end their playoff hopes.

St. Louis -3- Seattle has been one of the worst teams in the NFL the last eight weeks. St. Louis struggles to get touchdowns on their red zone drives, but they’ll do enough to win the division.

San Francisco -6- Everyone saw how poor the Cardinals offense was on Christmas Day. They survived because of their defense stepping up. San Francisco has the burden of Singletary in their ears constantly off their backs. They’ll respond in a positive way.

Denver +3.5- The Tim Tebow official 2011 starter continues with a finish and another win versus the disappointing Chargers.

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