It's week seven of the Fantasy Basketball season, and owners are seeking replacements for injured players. Trade offers abound, and plenty of owners are filling my inbox and Twitter feed with questions, asking advice about what to do with their teams.
Tim Duncan was always a perennial first rounder or at the very least an early second round pick. He has been a mainstay at the PF/C position for as long as I can remember, and for this writer and Fantasy owner, he has played a major role in every FB championship team I've owned. The Big Fundamental was the man for so many seasons, so I was a bit surprised to get the following question:
"Is Tim Duncan still a valuable Fantasy Basketball Option?"
I'm sure upon reading that Spurs fans everywhere let out a collective gasp, muttered unspeakable things under their breaths, and probably laughed out loud thinking this owner must be a crackpot. But is it such an absurd question?
If we keep in mind that this is a Fantasy Basketball question where numbers mean wins, it might not be that absurd.
It's no secret that Duncan's stat line has decreased over the years. His minutes played have decreased, as have the amount of games played. He hasn't averaged a double double a season since the 2009-2010 campaign. ESPN Fantasy currently has Duncan rated #29 among power forward (stats) and #27 among centers (Stats), but is that enough to keep Duncan off a roster?
I can see why owners would ask the question and here's why:
In a 10-team head-to-head league (most owners are involved in that format, so I'll stick with this) usually owners will carry two power forwards and two centers. That's 20 players right there. Duncan isn't in the top 20 in either category, and with numbers being king, it only makes sense to look for a better option. Common sense should prevail here, right?
Not so fast.
Please have another look at those lists I cited again. There are names ahead of Duncan in the power forward position such as Marion, Bargnani, Young, Bass, Frye, Favors, and Henson that normally wouldn't be ahead of Duncan, but due to fast starts, injuries and such, these players have been given opportunities to shine. But will they be able to sustain this over the long haul as Duncan has for the past 17 seasons? Probably not.
If you look at the centers I think you will find the same thing as the power forwards. Players like Hawes, Bargnani, Delembert, Frye, Henson, and Varejoe have had terrific starts, but can they continue this pace over the long haul? I'm not all that sure that they can.
What we do know is that Duncan finished last season, at least as far as Fantasy Basketball is concerned, 3rd among power forward and 3rd among centers (Stats). While he may have been off to a slow start, which is probably why the question was asked in the first place, he's starting to produce Duncan-like fantasy numbers again. In the month of December, he's averaging 16.5 ppg and 13.5 rebounds per game, and there doesn't seem to be any signs of slowing down.
So, is Tim Duncan a valuable Fantasy Basketball option? Of course he is. He may not play the second game on back-to-backs, and he may lay the occasional stinker, like he did Saturday night against Indiana. But with his dual positions, Tim Duncan brings value to a fantasy lineup. If you have better options on your lineup card, then by all means go with what works, but use him whenever you can. Trading him is also an option because there are plenty of teams right now who would gladly take Duncan off of your hands - including mine!
My picks for the week include;
Taj Gibson PF: Gibson is extremely hot right now, and with all the injury issues the Bulls currently have, Gibson has stepped it up big time. Over the last seven days, Gibson is scoring (17.3 PPG) and rebounding (7.9 RPG) and blocking shots (1.1 BPG), but outside of that, he won't contribute much else. Chicago has four games this week (Milwaukee, New York, Milwaukee and Toronto), so Gibson will have plenty of opportunities to continue to light up the stat sheet. Gibson is currently owned in 44.6 % of ESPN leagues and 39% of Yahoo leagues, so he's available for the taking. (Stats)
Robin Lopez C: Lopez may not be the same scorer as his brother Brook, but he has been on somewhat of a tear over the last 15 days and is scoring (10.1 PPG) and rebounding (9.4 RPG) and blocking shots (1.8 BPG) well. An added bonus is his 50% from the floor and 94% from the charity stripe, which makes Lopez a viable fantasy option as he's scoring in five major categories. Portland has four games this week (Indiana, Oklahoma City, Utah and Dallas), and with Lopez being owned in just 41% of ESPN leagues and 64% of Yahoo Leagues, he is definitely worth a look this week. (Stats)
Reggie Jackson PG: Reggie Jackson may not ever get a candy bar named after him, but the guy has shown he is a valuable fantasy option. Over the last 15 days Jackson is scoring (14.1 PPG) rebounding (3.3 RPG) dropping dimes (3.3 APG), not to mention shooting 53% from the field and remaining perfect from the line. He's getting the minutes to do this, and with the Thunder playing four games this week (Atlanta, Memphis, LA Lakers and Orlando), he'll have the opportunities to continue doing his thing. Jackson is currently owned in 22% of ESPN leagues and in 21% of Yahoo leagues, so Mr. October just might be what you need. (Stats)
On today's Phil Naessens Show, Rotowire's Kyle McKeown and I discuss injuries as well as the Rudy Gay to Sacramento trade and the return of Kobe Bryant. Indy Cornrows Tom Lewis and I discuss the Indiana Pacers recent road trip, including their win over San Antonio, and Kevin Lipe joins me to talk all things Memphis Grizzlies. You can listen to it below or download it here.
PtR Fantasy League
Week 6 of the Pounding the Rock Fantasy Basketball League saw some teams making a move and several close matches were played. You can check out all the results at the link below.
Thanks fellow Pounders and guests for taking time to read and as always I'm looking forward to your input!