Welcome to the first Damn Lies & Statistics Monday live blog, where Jeff Andriesse, Greg Fox and Tom Lorenzo will post late-breaking news and analysis leading up to the first game of the week. Many fantasy owners play in weekly leagues where lineups lock on Mondays. You have to make the most informed and difficult decisions with your lineups, and we’ll be here to help you through that process.
We’ll be posting your lineup questions here as well. You can fire off your questions to us on Twitter. Follow us at @JeffAndriesse, @TomLorenzo and @gregfoxy5. We’ll post all relevant questions here with answers from the group.
Check back throughout the day for updates to this post.
10:03 a.m. – Marreese Speights went for 17 and 7 last night in 29 minutes of action, making Tom Lorenzo look like a sage. Is one of the last Memphis big men standing worth starting this week? With just three games for the Grizzlies, it’s a tough call. I’d have to be hurting at forward in a shallow league to do it. – Jeff Andriesse
I’ve done it again! I beat Solitaire! As for my Speights prediction, I guess I was spot-on. But, really, when I looked at the Grizzlies and identified their true “need” was — a scoring power forward — it was pretty hard not to see this one coming. I think Speights is a 12-team must-own. Maybe not a must-start, but he’s ownable. He’s going to check in with 15 and 6 on a regular basis, with a few off nights sprinkled in. Really, if you watched the Grizzlies-Lakers game from last night, you saw a Memphis team that was just begging to get some sort of half-court set going. And, really, Speights turned into their best option. This guy has value. My advice: add him! – Tom Lorenzo
I had Speights a few years ago in Philly and the man can definitely score. Unfortunately, for a big dude, he doesn’t do much else. I can absolutely see nightly 13 and 7s, but mediocre percentages and little in terms of defensive stats. Like the venerable Mr. Lorenzo stated, he’s ownable, but don’t go trading the ranch for him. Ok, the ranch part is mine. – Greg Fox
10:21 a.m. – Twitter questions coming in from @conradburry: In an average-based points league (assists=2 pts), he’s deciding between Jeff Teague, Marcin Gortat and Roy Hibbert for his flex spot. Another question was a choice between Ben Gordon, Anderson Varejao and Brandon Knight in the same format. I’d probably lean Hibbert and Ben Gordon. Let’s see what the other guys think… – Jeff Andriesse
It’s close, but I think I would go Hibbert and Knight. Since being moved into the starting point guard spot, Knight has averaged over 38 minutes per game, he’s scoring (19 against the Knicks), dishing (4 assists per game as a starter) and giving you 7.5 rebounds over the last two games. Not to mention he picked three steals against the Knicks as well. Gordon is probably the safer bet, but I think with 5 games this week, either guy makes for a nice play. I’ll just take the Knight upside. – Tom Lorenzo
I’d go Gortat and Gordon. The Polish hammer seems to have gotten past his thumb injury and has put together a nice string of games recently. I think he’ll end up giving Top 50 value when all is said and done. Gordon seems to be getting back to his old ways, which may not be good for the Pistons long-term, but is great for his fantasy owners. – Greg Fox
10:34 a.m. – Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star is reporting on Twitter that Danny Granger will be a game-time decision tonight because of food poisoning. I have no immediate advice, other than drink lots of fluids, maybe? – Jeff Andriesse
They always play better when feeling ill, though i’m sure it’ll be out of his system by the tip. Start him. – Greg Fox
11:06 a.m. – Marvin Williams is out for two games with a sprained ankle. Hawks play four this week. Williams was barely startable as it was. Hog-tie him to your bench. – Jeff Andriesse
11:28 a.m. – Kyle Lowry is hoping to play on Tuesday after sitting for a few games with a sore right foot. He probably has to have a successful practice today before that becomes official. Houston plays four times, but there are two back-to-backs, so Lowry remains a risky start. What do you guys think? Play him? I think you almost have to take that chance, since even if he does play three games he’ll put up big numbers. – Jeff Andriesse
I agree, Jeff. I think you have to take the chance and get Lowry in your lineup. When healthy, he’s a near-elite point guard. With four games, even if he does miss one, you’re still getting great value. I’d start him. – Tom Lorenzo
Lowry is nearing a return and is a must-play. He’s come close to triple-doubling during lopsided losses and even three games will be well worth it. – Greg Fox
12:14 p.m. – Some quick schedule notes… Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and Toronto play five times this week. Orlando plays twice. Boston, Cleveland, LA Clippers, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee and Oklahoma City play three times. – Jeff Andriesse
12:43 p.m. – Roy Hibbert (ankle) is listed as a true “game-time decision” tonight against the 76ers. I only mention this because earlier we had a question about Hibbert vs. Gortat this week. Really, it sounds like Hibbert will play, though we can’t say for certain he’s going to be all that effective. But I still think Hibbert is the guy to play, if only because I like his matchups better. Plus, I still have some concerns with the fact that Gortat is playing only 25 minutes per game, while Hibbert has been consistently seeing close to 30 minutes per. We know what Hibbert’s role with is with the Pacers when he’s healthy — he’s the starter, the lead big. With Gortat, we’re still seeing a spotty rotation between the Suns bigs. As far as I’m concerned, you should stick with Hibbert, unless you hear prior to the tip that he’s not going to play tonight. – Tom Lorenzo
I like both Hibbert and Gortat, but I think that in the long run, Gortat will prove to be the more consistent of the two. Albeit for a couple of blowouts and Alvin Gentry’s decision to go small against Golden St., Gortat’s minutes have been in the 30s. – Greg Fox
1:17 p.m. – No Rodney Stuckey tonight for the Pistons once again. Stuckey’s got a nagging groin injury, a tough injury to rush back from in a season like this. He could return this week, but for now Brandon Knight and Ben Gordon are both looking a lot better this week. – Jeff Andriesse
Both could be solid plays, but I’m a little afraid of Knight. I just don’t think he is ready for any sort of offensive efficiency, so be prepared for some heinous shooting nights. Gordon has been in the league eight years and I could say the same for him. – Greg Fox
2:22 p.m. – Some questions for the panel to ponder: 12-team league, standard 9-cat league, weekly lineup… do you start: MarShon Brooks (4 games), Brandon Rush (4 games), Caron Butler (3 games), Marcus Camby (4 games). Thoughts on each guy? I have all four just outside the ideal starter threshold for standard leagues. Also: Sam Dalembert started the other night – do we look into that at all? Hold on Dalembert? Finally: You own Dorell Wright. Can you recommend a fine-quality straightjacket? – Jeff Andriesse
Of those four players I would rank them in this order (for the week): Rush, Brooks, Butler and then Camby. Obviously, total number of games is a factor here. With just three games, Butler loses out on the most value. Still, I would rather start him over Camby, who has apparently decided that he no longer wants to score the basketball. Brooks, to me, is the most valuable of the four players. But, seeing as he’s coming off an ankle injury and still isn’t quite 100 percent, I have to give Rush the nod. As for Dalembert, you can have the bum. I want nothing to do with him. I’m more concerned by the fact that as the team’s starting ‘5’ he still managed to post just 2 points, 4 rebounds and 0 blocks in 23 minutes. That’s disgusting. He’s all yours if you want him.
Here ya go, Jeff. There’s not much I can say, as a Dorrell Wright owner, other than: the dude stinks! I’ve actually heard fantasy owners ask whether or not they should just drop him altogether. I’m not sure I would do that, but at this point you may not have any other choice. I think the best approach right now is to use him to “sweeten” a trade proposal… if that’s even possible. Use him as the third player to push along a 3-for-2 deal. That’s the best advice I can give you. – Tom Lorenzo
Tough call, but I’d go Brooks, Rush, Camby, Butler. Butler is the safest choice of the four, but with only three games and pedestrian value, I’ll take my chances with the others. Brooks intrigues me and he’ll have every opportunity to freelance on an offensively challenged Nyet squad. He moved around pretty well the other night, so I think we’re looking at at least 30 minutes per game this week. The rook can shoot the three and seems to have a knack for steals. I was waiting for Rush to explode last week, but Mark Jackson kept him hogtied in two of those games. Rush is finally coming into his own after disappearing in Indiana’s congested swing rotation. I do expect him to play 25 minutes, but Jackson also likes what Klay Thompson offers, and until he shows Dorell Wright the gate, Rush’s minutes may fluctuate. As for Camby, we’ve got to give him credit for what he brings to the table in his old age. 35-40 rebounds and 6-7 blocks wouldn’t be such a bad week for someone searching for these categories.
As for Wright, this is a disaster of epic proportions. He needs to drain his first shot of a game for some confidence maybe get going. At halftime of every game, he is 0-for-2 from the floor and 0-for-1 from 3-point range. This will probably end badly for him, and also pretty soon. I do think that Rush and Thompson could be in for a timeshare. As for Dalembert, he looks horrible in a Rocket uniform and not just because it is three sizes too small for him. He is capable of boards and blocks, but he is clearly way out of shape. I will not be taking a flier. – Greg Fox
3:34 p.m. – Some musings from the mind of Andriesse: James Harden has scored between 16 and 23 points in nine of 10 games this year. That kind of predictable consistency is extremely rare and even more valuable this season. He’ll keep it up, too. He’s a stud… The ageless(TM) Ray Allen has probably been the third-best shooting guard so far behind Harden and Kobe Bean, averaging 20.4 points and 3.7 threes while shooting 57.5 percent from the floor, although scientists are reportedly honing in on his age as we speak… The Paul Westphal for Keith Smart swap in Sacramento is already paying fantasy dividends for Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins. Evans is averaging 27.0 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 6.5 APG, 2.0 SPG and 1.0 BPG in his last two. Cousins is putting up a 20 & 9 with over two blocks a game in his last three… LaMarcus Aldridge better be an All-Star this year. That is all. – Jeff Andriesse
Harden and Allen have been terrific thus far, but maybe a little too good. I think if I owned either, particularly Walter Ray Jesus, I would look to move him. Evans has been great since Keith Smart took over, but I would trust that guy as far as Timmy Tebow could throw him. Cousins is tough to figure. He does put up strong totals, but his percentages are an atrocity. Reminds me of Derrick Coleman from a fantasy perspective. As for Aldridge, if the Blazers keep up this pace, he should get MVP votes. – Greg Fox
3:54 p.m. – Twitter question!
@edog1308: need 2 out of (Jarrett) Jack, Brandon Knight, (Ben) Gordon and G Henderson.
For tonight’s games only. I’m going with Jack and Henderson. Jack’s at Denver in what should be a high-scoring affair. Henderson’s at the Knicks, who he had a season-high 24 points against a week ago. Good luck! – Jeff Andriesse
I’d go Jack, and then also Gordon with the extra game. – Greg Fox
5:54 p.m. – Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinal tweeted Monday that Dwyane Wade mentioned plantar fasciitis when discussing his foot injury. This is not a good sign, as it’s the kind of injury that needs rest to heal. If it is indeed true that Wade has plantar fasciitis, he will probably be shut down for a little while. As for now, he’s questionable this week. Stay tuned. – Jeff Andriesse
5:57 p.m. – Updating two previous items: Roy Hibbert WILL play. Danny Granger WON’T play. David West WILL suck regardless because I decided to start him this week at the last minute in the Damn Lies league. – Jeff Andriesse