Love (by Kevin):
Kosta Koufos, C, Memphis Grizzlies – ORL, OKC, @NO, MIN
Koufos has been absolutely great in the absence of Marc Gasol, with averages of 11.0 points, 12.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. Dave Joerger has been showing him more and more trust on offense, as the pick-and-roll between Koufos and Mike Conley has been seeing more and more usage. He should absolutely be owned in all leagues now, but this week looks particularly great for him. The Timberwolves and the Thunder are bottom-10 in rebounds allowed, while the Pelicans are deploying a big man rotation that looks awfully exploitable without Anthony Davis. The Magic, while shooting the ball efficiently this season, don’t shape up as a particularly bad matchup either. Go grab Koufos now.
Jamal Crawford, SG, Los Angeles Clippers – @PHI, @BRK, @BOS, @WSH
With J.J. Redick out, Jamal Crawford has seen a modest uptick in playing time. While he hasn’t exactly been efficient or helpful in other categories, he’s still scoring the ball and making threes. If anyone needs that in their lineup this week, Crawford’s a good bet to go with. The 76ers, the Nets and the Wizards are all bottom-10 in opponent threes allowed per game, with the first of those two teams also being bottom-5 in points allowed per game. In daily lineups, you might want to sit Crawford against the Celtics (allowing the fewest threes per game and pretty decent defensively otherwise), but this week seems set up for Crawford to flourish otherwise.
Robin Lopez, C, Portland Trail Blazers – @UTA, HOU, @PHI, @DET
Four games against two teams that rank top 5 in pace (76ers, Rockets) and one against the Jazz, who play such bad defense that it negates the negative impact of their low pace on fantasy stats. (The Pistons generally hang around the league average in terms of their defensive rating and pace.) For Robin Lopez, this could be a great opportunity as he’s been hot over his past few games. He’s blocked a shot in all but four games this season (he’s played 21), and his rebounding is on the rise as he’s secured double-doubles in four of his past seven games. In the likely brickfests that will be the games against the 76ers and the Jazz, Lopez will have a great opportunity to rack up the boards again. Things might not be so easy against Dwight Howard and Andre Drummond, but there should still be plenty of opportunity for Lopez to net enough stats to make him a worthy start this week in fantasy.
Hate (by Kevin):
George Hill, PG/David West, PF/Lance Stephenson, SG, Indiana Pacers – MIA, CHA
The Pacers have been so good it’s hard to want to sit any of them, even in a two-game week. While talking yourself out of playing Paul George and Roy Hibbert might be impossible (and for a legitimate reason), you should go ahead and sit the rest of your Pacers. The Heat (who also play just two games this week, although you’re probably starting the Big Three and sitting everyone else like always) and the Bobcats represent two teams that really won’t allow their opponents to do much on offense, both of them top-10 in opponent field goal percentage per game. While Miami’s three-point defense does look a little out of shape to start of the season, there’s not enough upside there for players that are unlikely to give you much from the perimeter anyway.
Jordan Crawford, PG/SG, Boston Celtics – @BRK, LAC, NYK
Steez has made for a great stat-producer as the starting point guard for the Boston Celtics, but this is one week to sit him. Brooklyn and New York are both bottom-4 in pace, and he’ll get a matchup against Chris Paul that doesn’t sound particularly fun. There is upside in these matchups lying in how bad the Nets and the Knicks are, as well as the Clippers’ sometimes-suspect defense, but Steez and the Celtics probably aren’t the best options to be betting on. I’ll pass.
Andrew Bynum, C, Cleveland Cavaliers – NYK, @ORL, @MIA
This is another case of there not being enough upside to take the gamble with an even-more unreliable player. A Tyson Chandler-less New York and a Nikola Vucevic (great rebounder, but poor defender) matchup might sound like good times for Bynum, who’s coming off of a great week. However, he still only reached 30 minutes once in the past two weeks, and every single team he plays this week is top-10 in opponent rebounds allowed. The Knicks play really slow, and there just doesn’t feel like enough there to trust Bynum when there are better options out there.
Buy Low/Sell High (By Caleb)
Kyrie Irving, PG, Cleveland Cavaliers (Buy low!)
It has been a crazy season thus far for the Cleveland Cavaliers. It appears that has had an impact on Uncle Drew. Irving is one of the best point guards in the league, but has had an abysmal start to the season. He just can’t get anything going with his shot (39.4 percent). Most of his other averages have stayed the same, but with a decrease in points, shooting percentage, and free throw percentage, you may be able to get Irving on a Christmas deal.
Chris Bosh, PF/C, Miami Heat (Buy low!)
The Heat are good. So good that they don’t need too much production out of their second best player, apparently. Bosh is averaging just under 13.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks a game. Bosh Usage Rate, Total Rebound Rate, True Shooting Percentage, and Effective Field Goal Percentage have all stayed around the same as the last couple seasons; however, he isn’t getting the same amount of minutes. One good thing about Bosh this season has been his three point attempts. He’s making close to one a game, on 42.4 percent. See if you can get him for cheap.
Victor Oladipo, PG/SG, Orlando Magic (Sell high!)
After posting his first career triple-double, now would be the perfect time to sell high on the rookie out of Indiana. With Jameer Nelson out, Oladipo is going to have plenty of opportunities to put up big numbers. The numbers have been fantastic while Nelson has been out, but look for the numbers to go down a bit once he returns. I would sell high (unless in a dynasty league).
Trevor Ariza, SF, Washington Wizards (Sell high!)
The former Laker has been putting career high numbers up all over the place. He has doubled his three point attempts and makes (shooting at a 43.8 clip) from last season, is averaging 16.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.1 steals a game, and is shooting 47.9 percent from the field. Having John Wall finding him in the corner certainly helps, but these are some absurd numbers. Ariza hasn’t really come close to shooting this well before, so he is undeniably a good sell high player.
Waiver Wire (by Caleb):
Nate Robinson, PG/SG, Denver Nuggets (30.9% owned)
The fiery point guard has been a machine off the bench over the last couple weeks. If you’re in need of a guard who can supply points, three pointers, and a couple assists and rebounds Nate Robinson is your guy. The increase in minutes for Robinson has certainly helped his production.
Taj Gibson, PF, Chicago Bulls (44.6%)
The former USC Trojan has been on an absolute tear over the last week. Over his last five games, he has averaged 21.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks. He has also been shooting a fantastic 60.8 percent from the field. To make things even better, he started at Small Forward last night, with Luol Deng out due to a calf injury. If Gibson gets more time at the Small Forward position, he will be eligible for two positions. Gibson is a must add if you are looking for rebounds, blocks, and points.
Kirk Hinrich, PG/SG, Chicago Bulls (38.4%)
It has been a rough season for the Bulls this season. Injuries have played a huge role, so some players — Gibson and Hinrich — need to step up. Gibson certainly has, and it seems Hinrich is starting to, as well. Over his last five games, he has been averaging 10.8 points, 6.2 assists, 4.6 rebounds, 1.8 steals, and 1.4 threes a game. He has only been shooting 34.6 percent from the field, however. He’s putting up some good stats, so if you can take the field goal percentage hit, Hinrich is a good pickup.
If you have any questions regarding trades or who to start, feel free to send Kevin (@KevinHFY), or myself (Caleb_Cottrell). Good luck!
Topics: Andrew Bynum, Chris Bosh, David West, Fantasy Basketball, George Hill, Jamal Crawford, Jordan Crawford, Kirk Hinrich, Kosta Koufos, Kyrie Irving, Lance Stephenson, Los Angeles Lakers, Nate Robinson, Robin Lopez, Taj Gibson, Trevor Ariza, Victor Oladipo