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RotoExperts Draft Kit: Top 25 Small Forwards

Durant edges LeBron as the NBA's top flag football player

From the RotoExperts 2011-12 NBA Draft Kit

These rankings were written on Dec. 16 and published a day later. Derrick Williams is flying up draft boards, while Corey Maggette has been available late. Andrei Kirilenko’s future remains cloudy; rumors persist that he will sign with New Jersey but nothing is official yet. Austin Daye looked strong in the Pistons’ first exhibition game and has more upside than Tayshaun Prince. Watch that situation closely. 

Positional eligibility is important to consider when building your Fantasy basketball team. The top sites usually vary in terms of positional leniency, and the games played at a position is much foggier than in, say, Fantasy Baseball. For the purposes of the RotoExperts Top 25 positional rankings, we limited players to one list only; namely, the position they play most of the time. Under these circumstances, the small forward position is very top-heavy, with stars like LeBron James and Kevin Durant heading the list. The talent drops off significantly, so it is crucial that, depending on your league’s positional rules, you check to see what shooting guards and power forwards could also slot into your SF spot.

In general, drafting based on positional depth is a solid strategy, and true small forwards and true centers are in shorter supply this season than the three other positions. It’s just something to keep in mind while you are drafting; it might be a good idea to get one of the top SFs on this list before it’s too late.

The following rankings are based on a nine-category, head-to-head league format (PTS, REB, AST, STL, BLK, 3FG, FG%, FT%, TO), using Yahoo!’s positional eligibility. We break down players into tiers as well to help you organize them within your overall cheat sheets. These rankings take into account not just stat projections, but injury risk, competition for minutes and other intangibles.

ROTOEXPERTS.COM SMALL FORWARD RANKINGS

TIER 1

1. Kevin Durant, OKC

Projected Stats: 28.6 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.7 APG, 2.0 3FG, 1.1 SPG, 1.0 BPG, 2.9 TO, 46.5 FG%, 89.6 FT%

He’s Fantasy Basketball’s 1A to LeBron’s 1B. Who you choose comes down to, perhaps, personal preference (do you dislike rooting for LeBron because of “The Decision”?) or, if you are a cold and calculating Fantasy player, or league format. In rotisserie scoring, Durant is the clear No. 1 overall pick because of his incredible free throw percentage at such a high volume. In H2H formats, it is more of a toss-up. Durant turns it over less than LeBron, has that better free throw percentage, and even bests him in blocks. He’s also easier to root for. There’s your tiebreaker! Continue reading

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Fantasy & Free Agent Fest: Atlantic Division

In the days leading up to the start of free agency on Dec. 9, Damn Lies & Statistics will be taking a look at each team’s potential moves, top fantasy players and more. We’ll start with the Atlantic Division.

BOSTON CELTICS
Fantasy-Worthy Players Under Contract (H2H Draft Round in Parentheses): G Rajon Rondo (2/3), F Paul Pierce (3/4), G Ray Allen (7/8), F Kevin Garnett (8)
Key Unrestricted Free Agents: F Glen Davis, G Delonte West, F Troy Murphy
Key Restricted Free Agents: F Jeff Green
What to Look For: Boston is a team looking to win right now. Allen and Garnett come off the books for the summer of 2012, so this is it. Unfortunately, since the core of the team is aging and expensive, there are few moves Danny Ainge can make outside of trading an asset like Rajon Rondo. Rumors are already starting to percolate that the Celtics could move Rondo for Chris Paul. Crazier things have happened under Ainge’s reign as GM. For now, the team will likely hope Jeff Green doesn’t get any big offers and try to fit him into a reasonable new deal. Davis is likely gone and West could return on the cheap. With the doddering Jermaine O’Neal as the team’s only center, expect the C’s to grab a few cheap big men. The bottom line is that barring a major trade, the fantasy values are set in stone here. However, we’re very wary of spending high picks on Garnett or Allen, and even Pierce, considering the condensed nature of the 66-game schedule. They will have to be rested regularly and are injury risks.
The Damn Lies Bold Recipe: Let both Davis and Green walk, re-sign West, lure Chuck Hayes on the cheap and maybe use the mid-level on Carl Landry or Tayshaun Prince. Fill out the roster with a Roger Mason or Theo Ratliff, and try to win with this group. Dwight Howard and Chris Paul ain’t walking through that door. Continue reading


Fox Unbalanced: Wake Me Up for the Playoffs, Part II

VCU has Shaka'd the world

You know, I’ve watched this VCU team a few times during the NCAA Tournament and not until the Elite Eight did I realize that Shaka Smart was the head coach. I swear I thought Nantz and Kellogg were referring to the team’s undersized big man who is killing people down low. Live and learn. He doesn’t look like a Shaka Smart… I mean, if one is born with this name, this person’s career is pretty much mapped out for him. It’s either bouncer, hitman, Zulu warrior or power forward. I wouldn’t think “coach” would be in the mix.

Last week, as the sight of my team in the Damn Lies standings had me on the brink of forging a prescription request from my internist for a cauldron of Zoloft, I escaped from the depression by breaking down the potential first round of a 10-team, eight-category, points-based playoffs league. Since it did momentarily have me thinking twice about accepting that harnessless window-washing job at the Chrysler Building, I figured I might as well put together round two.

Here was Round 1…

1. Derrick Rose

2. Kobe Bryant

3. Pau Gasol

4. Kevin Durant

5. Rajon Rondo

6. LeBron James

7. Dwyane Wade

8. Russell Westbrook

9. Serge Ibaka

10. Luol Deng

Round 2… Continue reading


Moving Without the Ball: Trade, Dead Line.

Original to RotoExperts.com

Monday marks the worst week of the Fantasy Basketball season, with no teams playing more than twice as we head into the All-Star break. I know that some owners are looking at this week as a bit of a break from the daily grind, but owners in leagues who don’t split this short week as an add-on to the following week can pick up a tough loss in a blink.

My colleague Jake Ceily broke the short week down in his schedule piece. He made a lot of great points in maximizing your games played. The other key to winning the week is following the injury buzz. For example, you have Paul Pierce who is dealing with an injured left foot. On Monday, Pierce was scheduled to get an MRI on said foot, and while it’s expected that his MRI will come back negative, it’s likely that the Celtics will sit Pierce on Wednesday as a precautionary measure.

The Celtics will suit up once this week, against the Nets on Wednesday, which is the kind of game Boston can win without their team captain. In this case, you want to look at Von Wafer as a pick-and-plug option for Wednesday. The Celtics are already short at the small forward position, with Marquis Daniels out for the next six-to-eight weeks. If Pierce is also sitting on the bench in street clothes, the Celtics would have no choice other than to give Wafer significant minutes. We saw him in action on Sunday, playing 13 minutes and scoring 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting with two threes and two steals. He’s Nick Young-lite, a scoring wing who does little else. You won’t get assists, rebounds or blocks from Wafer, but in this short week any numbers you can get could help you in winning this short week.

Continue reading


Damn Lies Midseason Report: Atlantic Division

A cheap ploy for us to get page views, and Nets forward Kris Humphries.

We’re gonna mix it up a bit this week at Damn Lies. Now that the season is roughly halfway over (emphasis on ‘roughly’), we thought it would be fun to hand out grades to each player who has made an impact, positive or negative, on the fantasy landscape. Think of these as sort of the Golden Globes to our annual postseason awards, The Dammies, only with fewer scientology jokes. This isn’t very scientific, in the sense that the three of us were liberal arts majors and are much more comfortable making stuff up rather than postulating an actual theory, which I can rarely do without pulling a muscle. For each team, we’ll assign grades based on how players have lived up to fantasy expectations. If a guy has disappointed or has been hurt more than not, he could get a ‘D’ or ‘F’ even though his numbers aren’t totally awful. If someone went undrafted in every league but has come out of nowhere to offer solid value, he could get an ‘A’. Or not. It’s really up to us. Don’t think to much about it.

I’ll start with the Atlantic Division, and we’ll have a new division per day. Enjoy! Continue reading


Damn Lies Fantasy Preview: Boston Celtics

A hard-fought Game 7 with the Lakers, played without Kendrick Perkins, that could have been won. Doc Rivers returning, as well as the team’s core. A point guard who is one of the rising stars in the league and peaking just in time to take over the alpha role from the team’s veterans. Optimistic Celtic fans have a lot to point to for the upcoming season.

Pessimists, however, would say the C’s tinkered too much in the offseason, committing money and years to two major question marks at center (Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal). They’d also wonder if Boston can once again coast, then turn it on for the postseason and roll through an Eastern Conference featuring a new juggernaut in Miami and a potential new one in Chicago. Of course, we won’t really know the answer to all of this until the playoffs. In the meantime, the C’s seem deep and talented enough to chill for much of the year, to the point where the team’s biggest worry might be whether Tommy Heinsohn commits a homicide due to the stricter technical foul rules. From a fantasy perspective, all of this needs to be taken into consideration. The Celtics have big names who won’t return anything close to the value we’ve come to expect from them in their primes, and they’ll do everything they can to assure their stars are fresh for one more run at the title in the spring. Draft accordingly.

This might be the only way to stop Rajon Rondo this season.

LIES
Rajon Rondo is one exception to this rule. Still the only true point guard on the roster, he should lead the team in minutes and keep his trajectory pointing skyward. Most fantasy experts won’t nudge Rondo above Jason Kidd, Steve Nash and Chauncey Billups, but I’m not among them. I’ll choose youth and upside as a tiebreaker and enjoy Rondo’s 2+ steals, 10 assists and 50 percent field goal percentage in the second round.

DAMN LIES
Boston’s Big Three are now clearly the Big Two Through Four. Paul Pierce has something left in the tank and should once again lead the team in scoring. But rest is as crucial as anything in Boston’s quest for a title and Pierce won’t turn it on until later in the year. Ray Allen is essentially a role player at this point in his career, albeit one who can nail threes and shoot 90 percent from the line. He’s a nice pick in rotisserie leagues if the value is right. Kevin Garnett is a shell of himself, but early reports are that he’s at least over the knee injuries that have plagued him over the last two years. Rivers will be stingy with his minutes and expecting more than 14 & 7 with nice percentages is wishful thinking.

STATISTICS
Who else should be drafted? The O’Neals are a great fit in Boston, but more for the area’s famous hospitals than anything they can do on the court at their advanced age. They just need to hold down the fort until Perkins returns from his torn ACL, probably in February. Jermaine is going very late in drafts because he can still block a couple of shots a game. Shaq should be avoided. The C’s do have a deep bench with plenty of potential fantasy options should injuries strike. Nate Robinson can fill it up if need be, but Rondo would have to be hurt for him to be a factor. The Shrek to Robinson’s Donkey, Glen Davis is the first to benefit should Garnett go down again; ditto for Marquis Daniels with Pierce. The acquisition of Delonte West is the single best signing in the NBA this offseason, if you ask me. Yet he’s not worth much in roto leagues unless Allen sits for any length of time. West is also suspended for the first 10 games of the year for his Mad Max routine. There’s a chance both O’Neals could go bad before Perkins is ready. In that case, keep an eye on Turkish signee Semih Erden, a banger with touch around the hoop who has been impressing in the preseason.

DEPTH CHART
PG – Rajon Rondo, Nate Robinson
SG – Ray Allen, Delonte West
SF – Paul Pierce, Marquis Daniels
PF – Kevin Garnett, Glen Davis
C – Jermaine O’Neal, Shaquille O’Neal, Kendrick Perkins (injured)

Up Next: Minnesota Timberwolves

Full Schedule


Daily Lies & Statistics: Up Next: Jewish Singles Night at the Meadowlands

It was Jewish Family Night yesterday at the Meadowlands as the Nets secured win No. 8 of the young season by thrashing Sacramento, 93-79. New Jersey held Israeli rookie Omri Casspi to two points on 1-of-8 shooting from the field and fans celebrated the victory by heaving kasha varnishkes onto the Izod Center floor.

And what better way to celebrate the Nets’ orthodoxy than by holding this special occasion. For a mere $18, fans received a ticket to the game along with a Jewish Family Night tee-shirt.  This evening could rival another of the Nets marketing machine’s ingenious strategies of having Yi Jianlian, or any other Net for that matter, making an appearance at your son or daughter’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah with the purchase of a season ticket. Of the people who have done this, I’d love to know the percentage of those who didn’t choose Chairman Yi. Big mistake if they didn’t.

The Nets fan has replaced the Jew on the self-loathing scale.

As for the game, Brook Lopez erupted for 26 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots. Devin Harris added 24 points (2-5 3-pt-fg) and nine assists. The Kings, still playing without the concussed Tyreke Evans, were again led by Mark Price, again wearing his Beno Udrih costume, and finished with 19 points (8-13 fg), eight boards and five assists.

It was a busy night in the Ligg, as Hubie Brown would say. Let’s take a peek at some of the fantasy standouts.

Rajon Rondo – Rage On explained to his owners last night why he was drafted in third round following his 11-point, 11-rebound, 15-assist, four-steal beauty.

Paul Pierce – Pierce is apparently over whatever has been ailing him the past few months. Last night he torched the Nuggets for 27 points (10-16 fg), seven rebounds, two steals and a block and has averaged 24.4 points and is shooting 57 percent from the floor over his last five.

Dwight Howard – Superman put up some seriously crooked numbers (19 pts, 24 reb, 4 bk, 2 st) in a tough loss at Atlanta. He’s a free throw percentage killer, but if you’ve owned him all season, there’s no longer a need to worry about that category.

Jameer Nelson – Nelson has been brutal of late, but maybe he’s over his doldrums as last night’s 20-point, 8-assist performance will attest.

James Singleton – Even with Andray Blatche (21 pts) in the starting lineup despite bickering with Flip Saunders, Singleton exploded for 19 points, 21 rebounds and a block. The Wizards are probably the worst team in the NBA right now and Singleton should get the chance to prove his worth with 30+ minutes a night the rest of the way. If you can still make adds, look no further.

Josh McRoberts – He did post a double-double last night with 14 points, 12 caroms and two blocks. But don’t go running to your waiver wires as it did come against lowly Washington and Roy Hibbert was out with a sprain of his temporo mandibular joint. God, I’ve been waiting all my life to write that.

Deron Williams – Williams is a freak and proved why with his devastating 18-point, 16-assist, four-steal extravaganza in the blowout win over the fading Raptors.

Wesley Matthews – Matthews has been on the fringe of being a legit pickup and now may be his time following a 16-point (3-6 3-pt fg), 8-rebound effort. The son of blazing fast former NBA guard Wes Matthews has averaged just over 34 minutes per game over his last four.

Jose Calderon/Jarrett Jack – This situation stinks as they continue to split time at the point guard position. Both are unstartable right now.

Darko Milicic – This may be my only chance to write about Darko, who totaled 10 points, four caroms and two blocks in last night’s loss at Charlotte. He does not resemble an NBA player by any stretch of the imagination yet he has some pretty steep demands if he plans on returning to the league next season. Darko, do us a favor and don’t come back. As Branch Rickey once told the great Ralph Kiner, “we can finish in last without you.”

Gerald Wallace – It’s got to be fun to open a Bobcat boxscore when owning Wallace and knowing the team had a good night offensively. That is if one considers 23 points (9-16 fg), four assists, four steals and three blocks a quality night.

Stephen Jackson – Captain Jack bounced back from some subpar shooting nights with 37 points on 15-of-24 from the floor. He also got his owners high with five rebounds, three assists, four 3-pointers and two steals. If you can live with a low field goal percentage, Jackson is your man.

LeBron James – LeBron celebrated the return of his big li’l buddy Zydrunas Ilgauskas with a typical 38-6-9 on 15-of-22 from the field. The Cavs could have home court advantage throughout the playoffs locked up by the end of next week, so don’t be surprised to see the 2009-10 MVP’s minutes limited the last few games of the regular season.

Marcus Thornton – Somehow, Thornton is the big winner in the return of Chris Paul Sweepstakes. Now entrenched in the starting lineup, the rookie registered 20 points and five assists in 43 minutes of work. Paul (5-2-7) and Darren Collison (17-4-7) each saw 31 minutes of court time.

Jason Kapono – Kapono has done nothing to deserve his starting role in Philly, but it is what it is. In last night’s upset win in Milwaukee, he recorded only 10 points in 23 minutes, but he is a phenomenal 3-point shooter and could get hot from long range just in time to help fantasy owners.

Trevor Ariza – Ariza’s field goal percentage (39%) has been an atrocity for much of the season, but he remains a solid fantasy performer. Last night he actually converted 8-of-14 from the floor and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc and finished with 20 points, two blocks and two steals.

Jeff Green – If he would only change his name to Jeffer Green a la Brigham Young sharpshooter Jimmer Fredette, he would be a lot more recognizable. As it is, Green has put up strong numbers of late, averaging 19.6 points and 1.4 steals over his last seven. Last night he totaled 19 points (8-11 fg), five rebounds, five assists and two rejects in the Thunder’s blowout win over the Rockets.

Lamar Odom – Now starting with Andrew Bynum again on the shelf, Mr. Kardashian tallied 19 points and yanked down 13 boards in a statement win at San Antonio. As I’ve always said, if he gets the minutes, Kardashian will deliver.

Ralph Willoughby – Was led to the court from Section 246 by Don Nelson prior to tipoff and delivered 22 points, six assists and three blocks for the Warriors. Keep an eye on Willoughby as he may have supplanted Corey Maggette as the starting small forward.

Reggie Williams – Played 29 minutes off the Golden St. bench and contributed 23 points (8-14 fg) and five rebounds. There is no such thing as a D-Leaguer in Nellie’s system.

Stephen Curry – I still have no idea if Curry is even any good as this system or lack thereof masks myriad offensive deficiencies. But man, owning Curry must be the equivalent of a five-year old walking into Dylan’s Candy Shop. Last night, he erupted for 30 points (12-19 fg), five rebounds, 11 assists and four steals in the easy win over the Grizzlies.

Only three games on the slate tonight, but Mavs at Blazers should be a doozy.


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