Tuesday, November 15, 2005

East Fantasy Report

By Anthony Peretore

Let’s get something straight right off the bat…I love fantasy sports. I love it so much that if I knew enough about it, I’d probably partake in fantasy badminton. And not only would I join that league, I’d make sure to have the best shuttle-cockers the game has to offer. I would be having conversations like, “Dude, I’m not giving you Jan Sebastian Brockington for Jules Quincy-Hollinger, quit asking!" And even though my social life would be as exciting as Adonal Foyle’s drop-step, as long as I had my fantasy fix I‘d be perfectly content. But since I’m not a complete loser (my apologies to any badminton fans) and actually compete in socially acceptable fantasy sports like basketball, I thought I’d offer my opinions and suggestions based upon the first two weeks of the 05-06 NBA fantasy season.

The format of this piece is rather simple. I’ll first order the Eastern Conference teams 15-1 as I see them today, then provide a brief write-up on three players from each squad. The “Bronze” players will be those currently providing your team with a nice, fat cancerous tumor after making you believe they were going to produce/turn it around/have a break out year, etc. Those placed in the “Silver” category can be classified as either, A) a “Sleeper” currently overachieving, or B) a Gold Level player struggling to get his head out of his ass. And finally, those anointed with “Gold” status are, in my opinion, among the elite players in the league today. As you might expect, not every team will have a Gold representative, as there are only 10-15 players in the NBA worthy of that accolade.

(Note: I’ll try and focus on the not-so-obvious players so that this article can perhaps act as a helpful tool in picking up/dropping someone)

15. Atlanta Hawks (0-6)

Bronze: SF Josh Childress (7.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 0.2 BPG, 50% FT)
Penciled in as a starter to begin the year, many of us thought this would be the former Stanford Cardinal’s chance to shine. At this point it’s just a matter of time before Mike Woodson replaces him in the first five with either Josh Smith or Marvin Williams. In other words, find another small forward if you haven’t already.

Silver: GF Joe Johnson (19.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 6.0 APG, 1.5 SPG, 3.8 TO)
Just recently has Johnson begun to display why the Hawks risked nearly their entire future on the Arkansas product. His 24-10-5 performance vs. Clippers followed up by a 12-assist effort last Saturday vs. Memphis show us that JJ may indeed have to be elevated to gold level before the year is through. This will especially be the case if he becomes eligible at the PG position.

Gold: The only thing gold in Atlanta right now is 98% of their rappers’ teeth. Seriously, how do they eat? I mean, I get pretty pissed when I accidentally bite my cheek, what happens when of them chomps into a hidden bone in their steak?

14. Toronto Raptors (0-6)

Bronze: GF Jalen Rose (14.5 PPG, 2.7 APG, 35.8 FG%, 4.3 PF)
Not only is Rose’s contract astronomical, but now he’s also beginning to play like his 33 years of age suggests he should. Rumors floating around have Jalen being shipped to NY for Stephon Marbury. If you’re a Rose owner and this does indeed go down, just kill yourself.

Silver: PG Jose Calderon (7.8 PPG, 7.2 APG, 0.7 SPG, 50 FG%, 1.7 TO)
As preposterous as it may seem, I really think GM Rob Babcock made the right decision in trading Rafer Alston for Mike James. Not only did he save some cash, but the deal is also allowing for the development of the young Calderon. And while his name makes him sound like the bad guy on Walker Texas Ranger, he’s been one of the few “good guys” on this Toronto ball club.

Gold: Chris Bosh is getting there, but needs some protection at the center position. Rafael Araujo, Loren Woods, and Aaron Williams could be the three worst 5’s in the entire league. Actually, I’m certain that they are.

13. Charlotte Bobcats (2-5)

Bronze: PG Raymond Felton (5.9 PPG, 3.3 APG, 1.4 TO, 27.1 FG%)
Now I know Ray Ray’s just a rookie, but this is the same player who’s supposed to be hurting my fantasy team. As an owner of Brevin Knight, I was told by countless friends that it was a bad decision to draft him because Felton would eventually be handed the Charlotte reigns. And while that still may be the case, remember that asking a rookie PG to play 25-30 minutes for 82 games is like asking anyone over the age of 75 to stay awake for longer than an hour. Keep this in mind as Knight sits in your free agent pool.

Silver: GF Gerald Wallace (16.2 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2.8 SPG, 56.6 FG%)
Paul has Wallace in our league and so I’ll try and limit my praise here. There’s no denying this kid has the talent as well as the opportunity to shine, but the question remains if he can stay healthy. GW is already out 1-2 weeks with a concussion, this after missing 12 games of action a season ago. Once he returns however, expect Wallace to remain among the league leaders in steals.

Gold: This continues to be an extremely balanced young team, and one content on proceeding without a Gold-caliber player. Emeka Okafor is as big a star as they need.

12. Orlando Magic (2-4)

Bronze: PG Jameer Nelson (6.5 PPG, 2.5 APG, 1.8 TO, 34.2 FG%)
Why isn’t this guy getting more shit for his lackluster play? Have we forgotten that easily that Nelson was the National Player of the Year his senior season at Saint Joe’s? I graduated from SJU in 2004 and the game Nelson played in college looks nothing like the one he’s currently displaying in the pros. It seems like that Keyon Dooling signing absolutely destroyed his confidence. Too bad…

Silver: PF Dwight Howard (15.7 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 1.5 BPG, 49.2 FG%)
Have you ever watched those scary movies where the innocent young girl is pacing around the woods just waiting to get mauled by a giant monster? She waits, we wait, she waits some more, we wait some more, then BAM! She’s toast. Well this is sort of like what DH is doing right now. He shows semi-brilliance one night, then has a mediocre performance. Semi-brilliance, mediocrity, semi-brilliance…then some time in December, BAM! A 35, 19, and 7 block game comes out of nowhere and subsequently begins the Magic back on the road to .500. Don’t believe me, fine. Then just be prepared to get mauled in a few weeks...

Gold: Stevie Franchise should be here, but his game continues to slip off. Although, he does seem to be making a conscious effort to step up as the leader of this team in Grant Hill’s absence. For that I give him one of those little gold stickers you got on your spelling tests in 2nd grade. But Gold Fantasy Status? Forget it.

11. New York Knicks (2-5)

Bronze: GF Quentin Richardson (8.1 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 1.9 TO, 1.6 3PM)

I actually heard on the radio the other day that Q, just a month after breaking up with Brandy, is rumored to be dating Keisha Knight Pulliam. That’s right folks, the problems on your fantasy team are stemming from Rudy Huxtable. Did you ever think you’d read that? Ever?

Silver: SF Trevor Ariza (6.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.9 SPG in 22.3 minutes)
I thought Larry Brown liked defense? Thus Ariza, as one of the few Knicks who can actually play it well, should be getting more run right? Well after TA’s 13-5-6 and 4 steal performance in Sacto the other night, perhaps he’ll start to get it.

Gold: "Hi you've reached Isiah's voicemail, I can't come to the phone right now, but if you have a worthless, overpriced veteran you want to dump on me I'll get back to you as soon as possible..."

10. Chicago Bulls (3-3)

Bronze: FC Tyson Chandler (6.3 PPG, 2.2 TO, 0.7 BPG, 4.3 PF in 30.7 Min)
Yeah, I know he’s ripping down 10.0 boards and still adjusting to a new position, but how long do we have to wait for this kid to be a stud? I’m sick and tired of waiting. This is the same aggravation I feel when I go shopping with my girlfriend and she tries on the same fuckin jeans 1,286 times and NEVER ends up buying them. Is she ever going to settle on a pair? Is Chandler ever going to be a star? You see the parallel here? Eh, maybe not.

Silver: GF Luol Deng (13.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.0 TO, 80.8 FT% in 29.2 Min)
I realize that Andres Nocioni is pretty good, but when are they going to release the beast that is Luol Deng? And by the way, never forget that the Suns gave up this pick for a future conditional first rounder and the 80’s cover band, Jackson Vroman. Wouldn’t Deng be perfect for Phoenix right now? Oh well…I expect Deng to get more and more run as the season progresses, so make sure to hold onto him.

Gold: If your fantasy team only accumulated stats in the 4th quarter, Ben Gordon would be your man. However, until BG starts to produce for 48 minutes, he’s stuck on Silver Status.

9. New Jersey Nets (3-4)

Bronze: Anyone not named Kidd, Carter, or Jefferson
Face it, these three guys are going to have the ball in their hands more often than not. That leaves hopeful fantasy producers such as Nenad Krstic and Marc Jackson on the outside looking in. I do believe Krstic will end up in the neighborhood of 13 and 7, but for now I’d go a different route.

Silver: PG Jason Kidd (13.0 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 6.6 APG, 2.0 SPG)
Despite his assist numbers being significantly down, Kidd is actually having a pretty solid start to the season. In addition to his above-average rebounding totals, JK is also shooting 40.6% from 3, while only turning the ball over 1.7 times per game. If that knee can stay healthy for him all year, I fully expect the assist numbers to climb closer to 9. Thus, if anyone in your league happens to be shopping him based on those weak passing numbers, I’d jump all over any deal.

Gold: SF Richard Jefferson (20.3 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 4.6 APG, 44.9 FG%)
No, I don’t think RJ is a Gold Level player for the entire season but there’s no denying these numbers through seven games. Remember that Jefferson was having an All-Star caliber year last year before Chauncey Billups ended his regular season. This year, we all assumed his numbers would suffer with VC now in the lineup, but thus far he’s been the go-to guy. However, if you currently own him, shop him—and shop him fast.

8. Boston Celtics (3-3)

Bronze: PF Al Jefferson (6.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 44.4-FT%, 3.7 PF in 17.2 Min)
Granted big Al is still getting over an ankle injury he suffered this preseason, but for many of you banking on him having a breakout year, that’s no compensation. What it also boils down to is that Raef LaFrentz (32 points vs. HOU on Sunday) and Mark Blount (13.2 PPG) are playing very well and not allowing for Jefferson to get much run. Eventually however, those two will start to fade and AJ’s minutes will start to fatten. Expect this to occur sometime in December.

Silver: GF Ricky Davis (17.5 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 5.0 APG, 2.7 SPG)
Any of you who drafted RD thinking he’d go back to his Sixth Man role have been rewarded with a huge surprise. And if you have any doubt that Davis will remain a starter, check out Paul Pierce’s numbers playing alongside him…go ahead, don’t be scared. Actually, just look one line down.

Gold: SF Paul Pierce (26.3 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 5.0 APG, 1.3 SPG, 48.5 FG%)
I bet Danny Ainge is pretty happy he didn’t move “The Truth” after all… Not only is the Celtics’ captain playing well on both ends of the floor, he also looks as happy as ever despite the countless trade rumors filling his Gmail account this summer. Anyone still questioning his maturity should stop right now. If Pierce keeps playing this well the Celtics will be absolutely be a Playoff team, guaranteed. (Note: I’ve made approximately 7,000 guarantees in my life, 8 of which have actually been correct).

7. Philadelphia 76ers (4-3)

Bronze: C Samuel Dalembert (Injured Right Quad)
This has to be devastating for some teams early on as Sammie continues to nurse a quad strain. To make matters worse, a report from last Wednesday read: “The Philadelphia 76ers are going to be very cautious with Dalembert and plan to hold him out for at least another couple of weeks. After missing much of the preseason slate, the center returned for the team's final pair of exhibition contests, but he aggravated the injury and was forced back to the bench.” Never good news...

Silver: PF Chris Webber (19.3 PPG, 9.3 PPG, 1.7 SPG, 1.1 BPG, 89.2 FT%)
Is it just me or is having C-Webb on your fantasy team exactly like the final few moves in Jenga? I mean, even when he turns in a 13 and 6 performance like he did last Sunday, I’m just relieved he didn’t dislocate his knee or slip a disk or something. Just like in Jenga, some times games won’t be pretty but if everything doesn’t come toppling down, you still may be around in the end.

Gold: PG Allen Iverson (30.1 PPG, 7.9 APG, 2.6 SPG, 3.1 TO)
That new commercial is an instant classic.

6. Miami Heat (4-3)

Bronze: C Shaquille O’Neal (2 games, 15.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 3.5 BPG)
I think Paul and I lost 3,459 to 11 last week in our Bloggers’ Fantasy League and a big reason why is because Shaq’s fat ass is hurt, AGAIN. And while we can be certain he’s not a Bronze player by any means, riding the stationary bike next to Earl Barron isn’t doing much for me or any of us owners, is it? Hurry back Diesel.

Silver: F Antoine Walker (14.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 2.6 APG, 42.7 FG%)
Why do I feel like I’m playing Minesweeper with this guy? One wrong move and you know Shaq’s going to put Walker in his place. But for now, Toine seems perfectly content in taking a back seat to the Diesel (when healthy) and Dwyane Wade. As long as he keeps his pride in check and his FG% up, I don’t see any reason to worry.

Gold: G Dwyane Wade (24.4 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 7.3 APG, 2.0 SPG, 1.0 BPG, 4.6 TO)
Is anyone doing more for his team at this point? I feel like whenever Shaq goes down, Wade makes it his personal mission to keep the Heat winning consistently. It’s like some weird father-son relationship where the son always wants to impress the dad and make him proud. While that remains extremely weird on any level, as Paul likes to say, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

5. Cleveland Cavaliers (5-2)

Bronze: PGs Eric Snow and Damon Jones
These guys are putting up rather boring, useless numbers aren’t they? I bet all you Snow/Jones owners are just praying for one of them to go down with an injury, right? Well why you hope and pray for that to happen, why not just find a better option? These guys won’t do anything for you unless you have Jones in a league with 3PM. If that’s the case, hold onto Mr. Ed.

Silver: F Donyell Marshall (12.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 36.7% from 3)
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Marshall this season, especially playing as the Sixth Man. But so far he seems to be reveling in the role, providing the Cavs with an inside-outside game they desperately need. With Drew Gooden due to shit the bed at any moment, expect Marshall’s minutes to go up from 26 to the 30-range in the near future.

Gold: F LeBron James (26.7 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.7 APG, 1.1 SPG, 49.6 FG%)
While his rebounding and assist numbers may be down significantly from last season, I get the feeling that LeBron hasn’t even left the driveway yet. While we all expect him to be racing along the freeway at this point, James knows he doesn’t need to do it all right now for his team to be successful. That’s not to say I don’t expect astronomical numbers from him this season, but be prepared if they don’t arrive for a few more weeks.

4. Indiana Pacers (4-2)

Bronze: F Jonathan Bender (2 games, 5.0 PPG, 2.0 RPG, in 10.5 Min)
Quote from Paul this preseason: “Dude, Bender looks NASTY right now. If he can stay healthy him and Jermaine could be a nasty combo in the frontcourt.” Yeah and if Mickey Mantle weren't dead the Yankees would have no problems in centerfield right now. C’mon now, we all know Bender can’t stay healthy. What’s the most games he’s played in one season? 6? 7? Actually here are the official numbers in order since his rookie year (99-00): 24, 59, 78 (HOLY SHIT!), 46, 21, & 7. That’s right, 7.

Silver: FC Jermaine O’Neal (22.2 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 2.0 BPG, 45.5 FG%)
I just wish Jermaine could play with the type of aggression he showed in the “Malice at the Palace” brawl, don’t you? It always seems like he’s half asleep out there, like he and Stephen Jackson stayed up all night taking bong rips and playing NBA Live. Wake up Jermaine, it’s time to be a 25-12-2.5 type of player.

Gold: F Ron Artest (21.8 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 2.5 SPG, 52.9 3-pt FG%)
Maybe he’s not quite Gold right now, but I commend him for coming back in tip-top shape and inevitably forcing the awkward moment when he’s left off the All-Star Game Reserve list. Trust me, it will happen and trust me, Jason Whitlock will have something to say about it.

3. Milwaukee Bucks (4-1)

Bronze: C Jamaal Magloire (8.2 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 2.4 BPG, 37.8 FG%, 4.4 PF)
To be quite honest, I don’t consider Magloire Bronze material at all except for his poor shooting. He’s averaging a career-high in blocks and almost double-digit boards while playing next to both Andrew Bogut and Joe Smith, two pretty good rebounders as well. If you drafted JM before the big trade then yes, you kind of got screwed. But if his defensive numbers stay strong I don’t think you’ll be hurting too badly.

Silver: F Bobby Simmons (14.2 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 44.4 FG%, 4.6 PF)
I wouldn’t expect much improvement on these numbers, but then again you shouldn’t have anticipated much more than this anyway. Sure, Simmons is an up-and-coming player in this league, but surrounded by Michael Redd, Bogut, Magloire, and TJ Ford, production might be hard to come by.

Gold: PG TJ Ford (15.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 10.2 APG, 2.2 SPG)
Man, I’m sure glad I passed this guy up for Brevin Knight. Seriously though, who the hell expected this? Who does TJ Ford think he is? Who comes back from a career-threatening neck injury to emerge as one of the best fantasy PGs in the league? At least warn us you’re going to have a monster year so we don’t draft someone like Anthony Goldwire ahead of you. Jeez

2. Washington Wizards (5-1)

Bronze: PG Antonio Daniels (7.4 PPG, 4.0 APG, 0.8 SPG, 40.0 FG%)
Um, isn’t he starting and playing 30 minutes a night? Am I missing something here? I guess Gilbert Arenas turning into Michael Jordan might have something to do with it.

Silver: F Caron Butler (4 games, 17.8 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.5 SPG, 47.9 FG%)
Our buddy John dropped Butler last week for Trevor Ariza, claiming he thought CB was just being benched for poor play. Keep in mind that this kid has League Pass and somehow still missed the news that Butler was hurt. Anyway, I’m happy to see Caron come back with a vengeance while John desperately attempts to get him back from the smart manager who happily scooped him up. What a DUMBASS.

Gold: G Gilbert Arenas (28.5 PPG, 6.0 APG, 50.8 FG%, 43.6 3-PT%)
Yeah, someone forget to tell Gilbert that he’s not supposed to drop 43 points and 6 assists on the defending champs. Not only did he not feel badly doing that, he helped lead the Wizards to a 110-95 victory over the Spurs that night, while propelling Washington to an impressive 5-1 start. I told you he was a sleeper to win the scoring crown, didn’t I? I hope you listened…

1. Detroit Pistons (6-0)

Bronze: F Rasheed Wallace (10.7 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.2 SPG, 0.8 BPG, 44.9 FG%)
Think his measly 28.6 minutes per game are due to the fact that the Pistons currently rule the earth? Nevertheless, Sheed’s numbers are suffering because of it and in turn, so is your fantasy team. Have no fear however, as the Pistons can’t win every night and soon enough Wallace will be racking up 35-40 minute nights on a regular basis.

Silver: Hamilton, Prince, Big Ben, & Billups
While all of these guys are effortlessly posting solid numbers across the board, Chauncey’s early season domination has to be the most surprising. His 17.2 PPG and 9.3 APG are both career-highs and while we’re just six games into the season, Billups seems primed for an All-Star year (not to bite off Paul or anything). I’d hold on to all four of these guys if I had them as I don’t see anyone from Detroit’s bench harming their numbers—especially Darko.

Gold: While there may not be any Gold level players on this Pistons ball club, that’s not going to stop them from controlling the East all year long. I wonder what Larry Brown is thinking about before he goes to sleep at night? That is if he can sleep…

Hopefully back with the West later this week...


At 5:38 PM, Anonymous rf said...

Interesting post. I am an avid online gambler and fantasy sports player and place most of my bets online. I find the internet to be a great tool and even use resources like StatShark to help me make my picks. What a great tool.

At 7:40 PM, Blogger Mike said...

You're a great tool, rf. Nice spam.

Good post though, guys. Can't wait for the West.

At 7:54 PM, Blogger Anthony Peretore said...

HAHAHAAA, sick post Mike. Hopefully I'll find time for the West this week. Thanks for reading

At 9:17 PM, Blogger Ryan Kinkade said...

Looks like "FINALLY!" game for Dwight Howard happened a little earlier than you expected... but at least you saw it coming! And about damn time, he is a cornerstone of one of my fantasy frontlines.

Great article... looking forward to the West.

At 12:17 PM, Blogger j said...

Well done, I have a wife with jean fettish, and chandler on my fantasy team...very frustrating..
great work

At 3:08 PM, Blogger Anthony Peretore said...

Haha, sorry J, I'm not sure what to tell you. Glad you see those two relate as well. Anyway, thanks for all the positive feedback. For the rest of you, any suggestions on how to improve this fantasy piece? Or is this format the way to go? Let me know...

At 5:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is john. yes, the john that dropped butler. and yes, i dropped him because i thought he was bombing. and yes, i have league pass. in conclusion, i am a dumbass.

ant does play basketball instead of badminton. if you ever watched him play ball, you would wonder why he ever chose basketball over badminton. between those two sports, the only net he can touch is the one that runs across his chest height. his shooting would tell you that he probably would have a better chance of hitting a shuttlecock through the hoop with the butt of his racket.

finally, who needs butler anyways when i have joe johnson backing up tmac in my fantasy lineup?

great blog guys. especially you ant, since paul is an a-hole when it comes to him knowing his basketball.


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