Saturday, January 12, 2008

Just Saturday

I'm not going to lie, I didn't watch any games tonight or during day (for NFL playoffs). Thus, I'm just going to note some things I saw that were noteworthy in box scores.

I'm going to start with football since this going to be one of three football days (or nights, however you want to look at it) left for the "2007 NFL season".

- If you're a Packer fan, which seems to be America's team right with Brett Favre, who might be the most loved quarterback of this generation, life is good. Even though Ryan Grant lost two fumbles, he finished with the Packer postseason record of 201 rushing yards and also had 3 TD's. The Packers dominated the Seahawks 42-20. I don't think Green Bay has anything to worry about with Favre leaning towards a return and their future ground game based around Grant, who's poised to become a stud.

- New England didn't cover the spread, Randy Moss had only one catch and it wasn't even a touchdown. Those are about the only negative things you could say about the Pats tonight. They won convincingly by 11 and Brady threw 3 touchdowns while extending his undefeated home record to 7-0 in the playoffs. The AFC is shaping up the way everyone thought... Indy @ New England in the Super Bowl, wait, AFC championship game. Who actually gives the NFC a chance?

Now onto basketball. There were 8 games tonight and LOTS of implications in those games.

- Boston lost another game and lost it in the fourth quarter, scoring only 13 pts in the frame. Rajon Rondo left Friday's game early, which somehow I missed, and missed this game entirely. He's not certain to return for the C's next game on Monday.

- Detroit pulled out a tight one in OT, while Charlotte lost its second consecutive heartbreaker. They've been awfully competitive lately even without Raymond Felton, who sprained his ankle the night before against the Cavs. Jeff McInnis also missed this game due to injury so the Bobcats were basically left without a PG. Matt Carroll and Jason Richardson started at the guard spots with Jared Dudley, the rookie out of Boston College, getting a start at the other forward spot opposite Gerald Wallace. I don't know how the Cats stuck with the Pistons, but some of it had to be because of Nazr Mohammed's continuing tear, as he put in 19 pts and 13 rebs with 3 blks.

- San Antonio dominated Minnesota and there's not much else to be said except for the Wolves continued lack of consistent rotations. Rashad McCants has been re-inserted into the starting lineup as he's been hot lately. Ryan Gomes and Al Jefferson were the forwards while Michael Doleac started at center for the Wolves. It's an interesting look as coach Randy Wittman looks to be experimenting a big lineup. I doubt it'll stick as the Wolves continue to lose and will keep losing all season. They really don't have an answer, so don't trust anyone in the lineup for fantasy outside of Jefferson since none of the players really have much security in terms of PT.

- Utah got a boost at home with Andrei Kirilenko returning to the starting lineup after missing a couple of games. He helped the Jazz beat the Magic at home, going for 16 pts, 7 rebs, 8 assts. The Jazz have proven they can score, but they allowed 115 pts in regulation. I'm sure Sloan isn't completely happy with his squad yet.

- Phoenix got a couple of starters on their way to beating Milwaukee at home. Shawn Marion and Steve Nash both returned in the win. Marion was a bit under the radar in this one, but Nash looked as though he hadn't missed a step en route to 35 pts, but only 7 assts. I suspected the Bucks would score a ton in this game so I made a spot start with Charlie Bell, who had 18 pts, 7 assts in 34 minutes. Mo Williams had a surprising struggling game in this one with only 7 pts in 30 minutes. This could be a bit of fatigue though. He's played over 40 minutes in each of his previous 4 games. Don't think too much about it and keep him in your lineup.

- Exciting news in the Kings loss at home against the visiting Pacers. Even though they lost the game, they got back some help with Kevin Martin. He looked good too, playing 28+ minutes while scoring 25 pts, 7-9 from the field. The Kings are expecting Mike Bibby within the next week likewise so they're getting healthy, which is bad for Beno Udrih, John Salmons and Francisco Garcia owners. Bibby has been the target of trade talks for the past 2 seasons, but he's still in Sac-town so until it's official, I don't want Udrih on my team. As for Martin, it's uncertain whose starting spot he'll be taking yet, whether it be Garcia or Salmons, but both players' owners will be less than pleased with Martin's return. He'll be taking on a lot of the scoring load from here on out.

- With players coming back, others will miss games. Josh Howard was one of those eye-openers tonight. He missed an exciting one between the Mavs and the Clips. This one came down to the last shot and Jerry Stackhouse provided the role of hero (or villain depending on which side you're one, but there can't honestly be that many Clipper fans out there) with a last second three to win the contest for the Mavericks. Tim Thomas was inserted back into the starting lineup for LA as he'd been coming off the bench recently after returning from injury. Thomas played well, scoring 21 pts on 10-17 shooting and dishing out 6 assists. An interesting and odd statistic in this game was that this proved the first game of the season in which the Clippers shot over 50% from the field out of 33 games, shooting 52% in this one.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Chris Bosh's Campaign

Chris Bosh's attempt to get more votes to start in the 2008 New Orleans All Star game. It's a pretty good one, but unfortunately Lebron James and Kevin Garnett are probably too far ahead to catch.

Friday's OT's and Blowouts

ESPN had two games on the night, Miami @ New Orleans and Milwaukee @ Los Angeles, neither of which made the top 5 games of the night. There were actually some great games tonight, but unless you have NBA League Pass, you missed out on all of them. Lebron showed why he is the face of the league, Boston bounced back from their surprising loss, Washington beat out Atlanta in OT in a battle of Southeastern teams and Denver pulled out the win what was IMHO the game of the night.

There were some great games and some blowouts. Since my father is Asian, I was forced to sit through the second half of the D-League game between the Rockets and the Timberwolves, which the Wolves won by 1 in the second half (the final score was 113-81, 65-33 at the half). And sitting through that "game" meant missing the end of two great finishes, one in Atlanta, the other in Cleveland...

Anyways, the first game of the night was a Bulls win on the road against a reeling Sixer team. Luol Deng missed this game after it was speculated he might play since the Bulls had 3 days in between games. I would suspect he will return for his next contest, but nothing is certain as it doesn't seem Deng will return until he feels that he's fine. Andres Nocioni had a huge game, starting in Deng's place with 26 pts, 7 rebs and 2 blks and Joe Smith had another solid performance, chipping in 19 pts, 6 rebs. He's been incredibly hot lately and while I don't expect him to keep it up all season, he shouldn't be available in any league as he will get the PT and start the rest of the season, since the Bulls have zero post offense without him. For the Sixers, Samuel Dalembert had a monster game with his first career 20-20 game (21 pts, 20 rebs) as the Sixers did all they could to comeback at the end. They lost by only 3 after trailing by 12 at the end of the 3rd.

The Bobcats and Cavaliers were the best game of the night as the Cats were coming off a huge upset win in Boston. This game went into 2 OT's and Lebron's line was simply ridiculous... 31 pts, 19 rebs, 8 assts, 4 stls, 3 blks, 2 threes on 10-20 FG shooting and 9-15 from the line. The free throw percentage was disappointing and 8 turnovers were a bummer also, but you got to take your downs with the huge ups Lebron gives you. The Bobcats put forth a valiant effort with Nazr Mohammed putting in another great game off the bench, 21 pts, 15 rebs, but Lebron and the Cavs were too much for the young squad. Anderson Varejao was also big in this one playing more minutes than both starters Zydrunas Ilgauskas' 25 minutes and Drew Gooden's 34 minutes with 41 minutes. He had 16 pts and 18 rebs in those minutes. I picked him up after this game since he helps you in multiple categories, you just have to hope he plays enough minutes.

Boston became the first team to 30 wins as they won in a low scoring contest in New Jersey. Jersey was sticking with the Celts for most the game, but Boston eventually pulled away and took the game. Sean Williams contributed very little again in this one because he was in foul trouble, a frequent problem for the rookie. Josh Boone was the better producer of the two, scoring 14 pts and grabbing 16 rebs while blocking 4 shots. He only had 3 fouls. Jason Kidd was an assist short of another triple double and seems to come close to a triple double every night. Ray Allen and Glen Davis both returned to play in this game after missing the last Celtics game. Allen is coming off an offseason with surgery on both ankles so keep an eye out on his durability as the season progresses. Glen Davis is a rookie who's getting inconsistent PT right now so I don't expect him to be owned except in the deepest of leagues. For those leagues, Davis returned to play 14 minutes and score 7 pts.

The second OT game was between 2nd and 3rd in the southwest division. Washington went into Atlanta and won in the extra session. Washington's bench outproduced Atlanta's non-factoring bench outside of Josh Childress, who had 11 pts. Josh Smith and Joe Johnson both played over 49 minutes in this one. Al Horford did happen to grab a career high 19 rebounds in this one. The bigger story preceding this game was Atlanta's loss of a win against Miami since Shaquille O'Neal was wrongly fouled out of that game. Due to this error, the two team will replay the last 51 seconds of that game when Atlanta led 114-111 in OT, which was when O'Neal was disqualified from that game, the game which Atlanta eventually "won" 117-111. That game happened on December 19th and the replay will occur before the team's next meeting on March 8th. I'm more interested in the fantasy implications from that game, but it shouldn't be an issue in such a short amount of time.

Toronto won in New York. Usually I would leave it at that when it comes to two teams I don't really care about. Toronto is in another country and New York is the laughing stock of professional sports, but this game did feature one bright spot. That being Chris Bosh and not about his ridiculous commercial to get votes for the All-Star game. He scored 40 points in this one and grabbed 11 boards, which is definitely notable enough for me to mention. While I am talking about this game, I'd also like to heed some advice to Jose Calderon owners, which is that this guy should be one of the most dealt players before TJ Ford returns from his spinal issues, which he will return before long. The reports might be saying that Ford is uncertain when his return will be, but if he is going to miss a prolonged period of time, I don't believe so many reports would be released concerning his return. Anyways, I believe he should be back just before the All-Star break, which is relatively soon (less than a month, February 15-17).

Finally, ESPN's first game of the night, Miami @ New Orleans. This game was awful from the very beginning. The Hornets completely dismantled this putrid Heat team. I'll just get to the stats... Bobby Jackson and the Hornets bench finally showed some signs of life, as he went for 25 pts on perfect shooting (9-9) and SEVEN threes. This came out of absolutely nowhere as the former sixth man of the year had been shooting under 30% from the field this season, but it may the start of something special for the Hornets because they need all the production they can get off the bench. Chris Paul was also perfect from the field, 7-7 and 2 threes, with 16 assists in limited minutes due to the blowout. Final Score: 114-88

The game that couldn't end quickly enough: T-Wolves @ Rockets. This game was honestly unwatchable, but I sat though an entire half of it. The top performers in this game were Ryan Gomes and Corey Brewer, who lost his starting spot recently, from Minnesota and Luis Scola and Carl Landry for the Rockets. Landry played a total of 17 minutes in 3 games before this game. Oh yeah, this was again without T-Mac and it is the Rockets' 5th straight win without McGrady.

The best per-game matchup of the night was in mile-high, where Orlando was the visitor. Maurice Evans started the game again for the Magic and scored 15 pts. Keith Bogans had 3 threes and 14 pts off the bench. I think Evans will remain starting unless he plays his way out of the lineup. I just picked him up so I'm hoping that doesn't happen. Denver played great at home, as they should as Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony led the way. Both finished with double-doubles. Iverson with 21 pts, 13 assts and Melo with 32 pts, 11 rebs. Anthony has always taken some criticism for not rebounding well at his size, but he's got 25 boards in his last 2 contests, so people can't really argue with that.

The home-town game was too good either. Golden State held a comfortable lead for most of the contest as they went on to beat Memphis. Pau Gasol was a monster and did everything he could (43 pts, 11 rebs), but his supporting cast was awful. The rest of the Grizzly starters had 24 total pts on 9-33 shooting. The Warriors, on the other hand, were clicking the whole night. Monta Ellis hit his first 12 shots and Baron Davis almost had his own 20-20 game, coming one assist shy. Andris Biedrins left this game early when he took a knee to the hamstring. His condition is not currently known yet, but he did not return to the game.

The Mavericks beat down the Sonics in Seattle tonight and theres not much to say about it. With the Sonics, PJ Carlesimo seems pretty content with his lineup for the time being. Jeff Green is playing through his struggles in the starting lineup, Earl Watson is starting at PG and Wally Szczerbiak is the 6th man scorer off the bench. The freak-out-of-nowhere game that Johan Petro had previously was just that, he finished with 2 pts in this game on 1-6 shooting.

In LA, the Bucks actually played the Lakers quite well on national TV. Kobe dominated the first quarter with 19 pts and 4 threes, but got into foul trouble early in the 2nd quarter. With that said, he got his 4th foul early in the 3rd quarter, but Phil Jackson left him in there. He wasn't really heard much from until it mattered in the fourth quarter. He hit big shots down the stretch and finished with 37 pts. Andrew Bynum was huge again scoring 25 pts and grabbing a career high 17 boards. For the Bucks, they got a boost from the return of all-star Michael Redd from the bench. He scored 22, 10-17 from the field, and looked good moving around the court playing 25 minutes. With Redd returning, most of the Bucks' swing players (Bobby Simmons, Charlie Bell, etc...) will be next to useless on fantasy teams since they were really only contributors in scoring. Redd will be re-taking his role in the Bucks offense of about 24 ppg. Mo Williams is the Buck on a hot streak tho, averaging 28 ppg over his last three games and scoring just that number in this game. Milwaukee was on a little road win streak of 3 games, but they couldn't stay with the Lakers, who look like one of the best teams out west and in the league.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thursday Night

As usual Thursday had a shortlist of games.

It started in San Antonio, where the Detroit Pistons were trying to avoid their 3rd straight loss. Detroit shut down Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and much of the Spurs perimeter offense as Tim Duncan couldn't carry the team by himself, although putting up huge numbers with 24 pts, 15 rebs, 5 assts while shooting 8-9 from the free throw line.

The non-TNT game happened in Sacramento, where Memphis outplayed the Kings down the stretch yet couldn't hit clutch free throws to clinch it. Memphis is a young team and they're players will learn with these type of games. Sacramento got a great win at home, with many veterans coming back soon, Bibby on the 16th and Martin on the 14th. Rudy Gay is quickly making a name for himself in Memphis as he is turning into the Grizzlies' goto guy in the clutch, but his turnover with under 10 seconds left clinched the game for the Kings. His line for the game was 31 pts, 7 rebs, shooting 9-13 from the field with 4 threes and 9-10 from the line. Kevin Martin is due back on Monday, but has began practicing with the team and doing contact drills. His return would probably mean the demotion of Francisco Garcia back to the bench and John Salmons would slide to the starting forward spot. Obviously, Garcia's value figures to take the biggest hit. Darko Milicic and Mike Conley continue to get the starts at center and point guard for the Grizzlies. Milicic was one of my recent pickups since he's got some potential. He put up some solid numbers, with 6 pts, 7 rebs, 2 stls and 3 blks. He's ownable as a 3rd center as long as he plays his 25-30+ mins/game.

Shawn Marion, Steve Nash and Grant Hill were all out tonight as the Suns played with a short roster of only 8 players at the Utah Jazz. Nash and Hill were expected to be out, Nash with the flu and Hill recovering from his appendectomy procedure, but Marion was a surprise scratch with a bruised elbow. Utah was without SF Andrei Kirilenko again and Matt Harpring off the bench with the birth of his child. Utah won this game easily at home surprisingly with little production from Boozer. Deron Williams, Mehmet Okur and Ronnie Brewer led the way for the Jazz. On Phoenix' side, Barbosa and Stoudemire tore it up and a couple of role players to look out for are DJ Strawberry, who was called up for this game and could see some minutes while Grant Hill misses time, and Marcus Banks who had been hot lately and started in place of Nash. Strawberry's a strong defensive player and averaged 31+ ppg in the D-League, but his role will be minimal if Marion returns soon, which is likely. Banks was hot and could have solidified a spot in the rotation, but he played an awful game in the place of Nash. After averaging 12 ppg in his past three games, he had 9 pts on 3-11 shooting. I plugged him in for a spot start, but dropped him halfway through the 3rd quarter since he was struggggLing for Marko Jaric. He's gotten his starting guard spot back and played well lately.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Suns' Injuries

Apparently Steve Nash left the game early due to some sort of stomach virus/problem. Barbosa filled in nicely though in the OT win. Grant Hill is due to miss 2-3 weeks, but it isn't really due to a durability issue. He underwent an appendectomy earlier and will miss time for that. Keep him on your bench. As for Nash, it is uncertain if he will miss any time.

Big Night Wednesday

11 games on the schedule Wednesday night and there were some exciting news and notes.

- Early on in the night, there were a couple of upsets. Atlanta beat Cleveland at home as Joe Johnson was clutch down the stretch with a total of 29 pts. Boston lost to Charlotte at home as Ray Allen missed this one with a pinched nerve. Tony Allen started in his place and was relatively unproductive. Jason Richardson kept up his hot streak burning the Celts with 34 pts and 9 rebounds. Nazr Mohammed seems to have figured it out off the bench, posting his second solid performance with 18 pts, 10 rebs.

- The Rockets won again without T-Mac, riding Yao Ming's season high 36 pts. T-Mac should be back soon though and Luther Head and Luis Scola figure to take the biggest hits in their stats.

- Toronto beat the Sixers as neither team is really struggling with injuries, but there were a couple of young players to take a look at. On the Raptors' side, Andrea Bargnani continues to start games and do nearly nothing. He's been in what seems like a season-long slump with a great shooting performance every blue moon. If you drafted him in the 6th or 7th round, which is where he went in most leagues, you can only be patient and keep him stashed on your bench until he starts producing or put him in a trade as a filler. Thaddeus Young, the Sixer rookie, has shown flashes of scoring talent with double digit scoring performances off Philly's bench. It's something to keep an eye on, but at this point he's not really a reliable fantasy option.

- The Nets beat the Supes at home. The main note of this game was Kevin Durant, he started and played 30+ minutes, posting 15 pts. He shot 5-14, but you can't really attribute that to his ankle as he's been shooting a bad percentage all season. Johan Petro, however, came out of nowhere to score 22 pts and grab 9 rebs off the bench for the young Sonics. I don't think he'll challenge for a starting spot yet, but this is definitely intriguing since the Sonics aren't contending for anything this season and they might check out some of their young bigs. Jeff Green has been awful from the field the last 3 games, going a combined 7-24. This angers me, but I will be patient with him. He is a rookie, but I believe he's a rookie who can play out of it. He just needs to focus on more than just shooting because he is an all-around player.

- The Lakers killed the Hornets in New Orleans after a long layoff for the home squad. Chris Paul was brilliant again and David West returned after missing just one game to injury. The Lakers are just on a roll and you really can't attribute their success to any one player, but the rest of the west needs to be watching as they've won their last 4 games by at least 16 pts after losing by 19 to the Celtics.

- Miami lost their 9th consecutive contest in Milwaukee. This is just ugly now. They now have to be in the category only Minnesota was associated with, which is WORST in the league. Dwyane Wade did everything he could with 34 pts, but Mo Williams was unstoppable down the stretch, hitting clutch shots from everywhere, whether 3's or free throws. Shaq is probably going to be absent until Miami's current road trip ends, which means Mark Blount may have a bit of scoring value at the center position. Michael Redd was absent again, with Royal Ivey starting in his place. Ivey's not going to be a fantasy contributor, but Charlie Bell could. He only had 11 pts in this one, but he posted 27 and 21 in back-to-back games. Also, although he only shot 5-15, Bobby Simmons could once again be a viable option since he rebounds pretty well for a G-F. Keep him on your watch list at the very least.

- In Dallas, Detroit got smacked after losing a close one to Boston over the weekend. This game might be a big loss too since the Pistons travel to San Antonio to take on the defending champs next. Both these teams and healthy and well so not much happened out of the ordinary fantasy-wise.

- Jermaine O'Neal missed the Pacer's game with a "painful left knee". I'm not sure what that means, but either way, Jermaine's been rather injury-prone the past few seasons and on top of those issues, has been a pretty big disappointment from what you would expect out of him. His 15-7 numbers are nowhere near the 20-10 you expected when drafting him. If you try to trade him, you could use him as a secondary piece, but if not, hope for the best in the second half of the season and that he stays healthy.

- This game was a great one. Phoenix pushed it into OT late without Steve Nash. He left the game in the second half and I'm not sure on his situation yet. Kareem Rush was inserted in the starting lineup at SG, which pushed Mike Dunleavy Jr. into the forward spot, opposite Danny Granger. Shawne Williams got extended minute off the bench and played well with 22 pts, although fouling out in overtime. Troy Murphy came off the bench in this one after starting the last few contests in favor of Jeff Foster. It's probably not a big deal, but against a Suns team, you would think O'Brien would start the 3 point threat, Murphy. Who knows though, monitor that situation.

- Scary Moment in the 2nd quarter of the Warrior/Blazer game when Brandon Roy went down in his 1st game back from the hip injury. He landed awkwardly on a drive right before the half. He returned in the 2nd half, however, so I guess he should be fine. Lots of disappointment on both sides, fantasy-wise, in this game since the Blazers had the game in hand before the fourth quarter even started. Not much can be taken from this game since much of the benches' production was during garbage-time.

- In the Magic/Clipper game, the Clippers lost again (shooting under 50%). It was close at the end, but Hedo Turkoglu has emerged as a great clutch player down the 4th quarter stretch for the Magic. Maurice Evans got the start over normal SG, Keith Bogans. Bogans was really only ownable for his ability to knock down threes, but if he's coming off the bench, he''s nearly useless to you. Evans has a better all-around game as a starter and can help in scoring and rebounding. He could be useful in deep leagues. Jameer Nelson got his starting job back, after Carlos Arroyo had been starting at PG lately even when Jameer first returned from injury. Arroyo struggle the past couple of games though so Nelson probably has his starting gig back. Al Thornton got the start again over Tim Thomas and played well, 4-8 for 11 pts, but so did Thomas, 8-12 and 20 pts. This will be an interesting battle, as Tim Thomas got the minutes toward the end of the game. Thomas is good for scoring and rebounding to a lesser degree, but if Thornton can win over the starting job, he's got a lot of potential with his scoring ability and athletic ability.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Tuesday's Injury Report

Tuesday was a relatively big night with 18 teams in action. As far as injuries went, there were some pre-game rumors, but not much changed.

- Michael Redd missed another game, but Milwaukee won their game against Philadelphia with Charlie Bell and Villenueva stepping up big off the bench. That makes two big games for Bell so go grab him if you need a spot start. I just did in one of my leagues, dropping Michael Finley.

- Seattle traveled to Cleveland and there was a slight scare late, with Durant turning his ankle off a jumper. He walked off the court looking fine though, so I wouldn't think it's anything worse than a mild ankle sprain.

- T-mac is due out for probably another week for the Rockets, but Luther Head was huge with 24 pts in their win over the Wizards. On the Wizards side, Gilbert Arenas has recently hinted towards missing the rest of the season. At this point there's reason to make a rash decision if you've not already cut Arenas from your team. He basically said if his team has a chance late to make the playoffs and he feels he can help, he'll play and if they're cruising or out of it, he'll shut it down until the '08-09 season. This does up Antonio Daniels value a bit though, as he could be a solid contributor for the rest of the season.

- Dwyane Wade started tonight, although initially hinting towards coming off the bench again. He had a solid line tonight so it's probably safe for now to keep him the your starting lineups. Miami as a unit however looks awful. They just lost against the worst team in the league, albeit on the road.

- Luol Deng was out again when the Bulls hosted the Knicks. Nocioni filled in and was underwhelming to say the least with 7 pts on 3-12 shooting. Deng's still considered day-to-day with the achilles tendon injury and Chicago hopes to have him for their next game on Friday, but at this point it's uncertain. I'd keep him benched unless you've got a free roster slot. He doesn't seem worth the risk right now. The Bulls could use him though because they just lost against the Knicks at home and the crowd wasn't too pleased with the fourth quarter effort.

- Jamaal Tinsley returned to play in the Pacers' loss @ Utah. He played 29 minutes, shooting 5-10 for 15 pts and 5 asts. It was a decent game, but what owners are looking for are his dish numbers. Tinsley should be fine moving forward. It was a blowout in the 4th quarter so Jim O'Brien was resting his starters. Andrei Kirilenko was out again for the Jazz.

- I thought Kevin Martin might have returned in this contest with the Magic visiting, but he was in street clothes again. He should be back soon from his groin injury, but it may be another week.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Monday 1/7

Only two games on the calendar tonight as college football plays its last game of the 2007-08 season, the national title between Ohio State and Louisiana State. If you're a college football fan, you might be looking towards next season already or towards the NFL draft. Well, there is some exciting news out of college football and the BCS as they will look at a +1 system for deciding a national champion. I personally have been rather indifferent over the system in place, but I can sympathize with the cons more than the pros. Before getting to basketball, I'll give some of my thoughts on this year's NFL Draft and how I expect the top of fantasy football to happen.

I'm not Mel Kiper Jr. but I know that Run DMC is a top prospect and I can't see Miami passing him up at number one even if they do have a great running back already in Ronnie Brown, but he's dealing with a pretty serious injury and it's going to take him a while to get back. Glenn Dorsey's the other guy. He is going to be a game-changer on defense with his size, speed and strength. If Miami passes on McFadden, they better take Dorsey. Bill Parcells is a smart guy, he'll do the right thing. Another thing about the draft is the QB's. Normally, there's always a top quarterback prospect that at least might go number one. That guy was supposed to be Brian Brohm preseason, but Louisville had a terribly disappointing season and now the top prospect is Matt Ryan out of Boston College. This might only be me, but I don't believe he's going to be enough of a wow-player to go number one.

As for fantasy, McFadden's got a shot to be a factor. He won't be Adrian Peterson, but he could rush for 1000 yards and get 5-6 TD's in limited starts. Anyways, my top five picks for next season would be:

1. LaDainian Tomlinson - He gets 15 TD's year in, year out. How can you possibly pass on him.

2. Adrian Peterson - He's amazing. I'm wowed by his raw ability, but if I get the second pick, I'd rather trade it. I just don't trust his durability.

3. Brian Westbrook - Not underrated anymore, although I disagree with what all the experts say. I never drafted him early because he's never stayed healthy, but he showed he could last season and was ridiculous.

4. Steven Jackson - He's almost like the Gilbert Arenas of the NFL. He loves to talk and set high expectations for himself. The second part is what's important, especially if all that talent arount him stays healthy.

5. Tom Brady - Randy Moss would probably be number 6 on my list, but both these guys move down if they split up, which is all up to Moss.

Honestly, even though quarterbacks and wide receivers were so productive this season, I'm going to go running back-running back next season in the first two rounds. People are going rank Tom Brady and Tony Romo 1-2 in the QB rankings and I won't get either of them, but if Peyton Manning or Carson Palmer drops to the third round, I'll have myself a sick team already. It is too early to speculate though because this NFL season isn't even over yet.

So I'll move onto Monday night's basketball games, Denver @ Phoenix and San Antonio @ Golden State:

The first game was DEN@PHX and honestly nothing was too new in this game. As expected, the game was ridiculously high scoring with Phoenix leading 46-34 after one and it was 106-90 after three. In the first half the story was Marion, who had five 3's and 23 pts, 9 rebs and AI who had 17 pts in the first quarter. I was going to drop Nene after this contest, but in garbage time, he upped his game numbers to 12-9, which is solid considering he's getting 20 min/game consistently right now. Not really anyone you could pick up from these two teams since most the important players should be owned.

The other game was THE game of the night. Golden State pulled out the narrow victory at home in OT against the San Antonio Spurs. Before getting to the fantasy aspect of this game, I got to say that Baron Davis went completely unconscious down the stretch in this game. He's big game and took it to another level when it counted. He made all the big plays for his team by passing and hitting shots late in the shot clock. San Antonio showed their poise, pushing the game to OT, but lost it late as they just couldn't keep up with the explosive Warrior team.

Finally, Tim Duncan started this game, which is good since he's been a bit injury-prone in his career. As for Finley, it's probably time to drop him. Manu's coming off the bench, but he's getting more minutes and more into the offense, which diminishes Finley's role. Finley will play his 25-30 minutes, but his production will be erratic so it's tough to say when to start him or not. He had a decent game with double digit scoring, but scoring is probably all he'll give you most nights. He's still a decent option, but if there's someone better on waivers, go ahead and use Finley as your drop. I will probably wait for a down night before I drop him though. Bench players on the GS provided a boost in this game, but none of those swingmen among Matt Barnes, Kelenna Azubuikke and Mickael Pietrus have been consistent enough to own except in the deepest leagues. If you're desperate for a SG/SF position player, look for the hottest of those three and grab him for a spot start, but don't expect him to be a long term option.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sunday 1/6

There were eight games on the schedule on the last night of the week for fantasy. Before I get to some of my points of the day, I just wanted to add another team to my list of teams already. This one is located on CBS's sports website.

The league settings are a bit different as it is a H2H league, but the scoring is more of an NFL format. Waivers are weekly and rosters are set for the entire week on Sunday nights or Monday mornings. The scoring is based upon eight categories, points (.25), total rebounds (.5), assists (.5), steals (.5), blocks (.5), turnovers (.5), double-doubles (2) and triple doubles (5). As ridiculous as my luck has been for draft position, I finally got a spot not in the 5-6 range. It's a twelve man league and I got that elusive 1st pick. This draft is midseason so IMHO the draft takes even more skill as you are trying to figure out how good players have been as to how you believe they will be for the rest of the season. A couple of notes before I reveal my team about the league. It only has three positions, guard, forward and center. There are 13 roster spots, but the draft was 14 rounds since we play with a Injury Spot, which Yahoo! should never have gotten rid of. Well, here's my team:

1. Lebron James (F - CLE) - Honestly, in a league without percentages and where triple doubles are worth so much, who else are you going to take. The man does it all.

2/3. Shawn Marion (F - PHX)/Al Jefferson (FC - MIN) - All the rest of my picks will be back-to-back with the exception of the last one. I was so happy Al fell to me because he's a great fantasy C with double-double potential every night and Marion is Marion no matter what format league you're in, he'll give you some of everything and not hurt you.

4/5. David West (F - NOH)/Kevin Martin (G - SAC) - David West is a beast and he's going to reach 20/10 by the end of this season. The injury does not seem too bad as Byron Scott has said he may return as soon as New Orleans' next game, which is Wednesday. Kevin Martin was the curious pick. Although I don't like one dimensional players that much and Martin is one-dimensional IMHO, he's worth taking here because of the emphasis on scoring in this league and a 24+ ppg scorer in the 5th round is huge and a guard was needed. He will also be returning either this or next week.

6/7. Stephen Jackson (GF - GSW)/Brad Miller (C - SAC) - Getting another guard was crucial and Jack is a legit 21-4-5 player who I believe will keep it up all season. Having Nellie as his coach has done him wonders. Miller is a good passing big who's having a solid comeback campaign and center is always a tough position to fill.

8/9. Leandro Barbosa (G - PHX)/Marvin Williams (F - ATL) - Wanted to get another guard and Barbosa's an explosive one. Marvin the next best player on the board as the other pick.

10/11. Samuel Dalembert (C - PHI)/Elton Brand (FC - LAC) - No clue how Dalembert fell into our laps here, but he did, which is ridiculous because he rebounds and blocks shots at a high clip and is a double-double threat every once in a while. With Brand, this was the home-run pick. By taking EB, I'm planning for the playoffs and winning the whole thing. He'll be stashed in the IR for a while.

12/13. Mike Conley Jr. (G - MEM)/Al Horford (FC - ATL) - Conley's a risky pick, but we needed another guard and if he stays healthy, I believe Marc Iavoroni will stick with him all season. He kind of has to now that he's already started the rookie. Benching him will only hurt Conley's progress in the long run. I'm not that high on Horford, but he has been the second most productive rookie so far, behind Kevin Durant, and he's another double-double threat on a good night.

14. Louis Williams - (G - PHI) - Lou's name here is just a formality. He was dropped right away because the pick was supposed to be Beno Udrih and the draft machine didn't draft correctly. Regardless of mistakes, Udrih is on the team now and will be for the next two weeks while Bibby is still out.

Honestly, I haven't been so confident in one of my teams since my 2005 team, "da king". That was a public league, but still... This team is absolutely ridiculous from top to bottom. I have double-doubles coming out of everywhere and any week Lebron decides to go off will just be painful for my opponent. Good luck to my opponents the rest of the season in weeks they aren't matched up against me.

Ok, this is a long blog post so I'm just going to note a few things I noticed tonight:

- Lebron one-upped Martell's performance last night with 25 points in the fourth quarter for the Cavs win over the Raps

- Washington completely dominated the Supes as Caron led the way and AD continued to show his capabilities as a PG filling in for Agent 0, who announced that he may be skipping the rest of this season to rest up for next season. Tough for owners who drafted Gil in the top 5 or at the least, top 10.

- The Spurs beat the Clips in Manu's return. Finley's scoring went down as expected, but he got his shots going just 1-10 for 3 points, but he did have 11 rebounds. Keep Finley for now since he does start, gets minutes and shoots well usually. Rookie Al Thornton had a good game, starting again even though Tim Thomas played in this one. Thornton had 17 pts, while Thomas had 7.

- Miami has the 2nd worst record in the league after losing at Memphis tonight. Wade returned from the bench, but it wasn't enough. Memphis won the game in the fourth quarter as Gasol and Rudy Gay led the way. Gay's becoming a great clutch player.

- Milwaukee beat Charlotte in Carolina. Charlie bell had the big game of 27 points, but you can't really take much out of this. It was a hot game off the bench. Nazr Mohammed had a decent game finally with 9 pts and 12 rebs off the bench. He played around 20 minutes, which probably doesn't mean much unless he can get more minutes again.

- In LaLa land, the Lakers put down the visiting Pacers. I paid more attention to Troy Murphy and Danny Granger since I just traded them away. Granger scared me in the first quarter with 11 pts and Murphy ended with 14 rebs so I'm not sure what to make of it yet. Dirk had 30 pts in his game earlier in the night. For the Lakers, it was all about the bench and the starters. The starters dominated the Pacers, while the bench was completely dominated by the Pacers. The starters were +27, the bench was -10. Bynum and Kobe dominated the inside and outside as both had big games. Kobe's statline wasn't amazing, 26 pts, but he was clutch and gave the Lakers a spark. Bynum was ridiculous with 23-13-3 blocks.