Below is the top 40 fantasy players based on our projections for the rest of the season (Week 8 and beyond).
Movers & Shakers
Wally Szczerbiak -- Wally World has been on fire for the last month or so. Over the last 11 games, he's averaging 21.3 pts, 5.1 rbs, while shooting 57% from the field and 53% from the floor, numbers that would rank him 15th overall over that same time period. My advice would be to sell high on Wally, even though he seems to be finally fitting in well as second fiddle to KG, don't expect those shooting percentages to last. If you can get a top 40 player for Wally, pull the trigger (we currently have him 63rd overall, although I just bumped up his projections).
Andrei Kirilenko -- AK47 is finally rounding into form after an agonizingly slow recovery from a sprained ankle. He's back in the starting line-up and has had back-to-back huge games, including 22 pts, 16 rebs and 8 blks last night. There are still 2 concerns w/ Andrei. 1) Injury -- I think his helter-skelter style of play and rail-thin frame make him susceptible to missing games again and 2) Shooting percentages -- particularly his FT%, which is currently at 59%! He's a career 77% FT shooter, so I expect he'll improve over the course of the season. But if he's below 70% for the year, he probably falls out of the top 10 as a fantasy player. If you can still pick him up for cheap, go for it.
Marcus Camby -- After an unbelievable start, Camby has finally started to come down to earth a little bit. You might be able to pick him up for cheap from an owner starting to panic. I think Camby still has decent value since Denver has very little help in the frontcourt (Kenyon Martin is going to be in and out of the line-up all year). Be warned, however, you better have some intestinal fortitude if you own Camby. You'll cringe every time he runs, jumps, dribbles or shoots out of fear that he's going to spontaneously combust, but after every completed game in the boxscore you can breathe a big sigh of relief and count that day as a mini-win for your fantasy team.
Al Jefferson -- Al Jeff was one of our sleeper picks in the draft and we picked him late on nearly all of our teams. Unfortunately, he got off to a slow start and we had to cut him loose. It looks like he's starting to finally get some decent playing time. Keep a close watch on him. He might be worth stashing on your bench.
Torrey Ellis (aka Deron Williams) -- Torrey's probably my favorite player in the NBA right now, and he's probably one of the calmest, coolest dudes on the court, but he sure did show poor judgment the other night in Park City, UT. At least he picked a decent name for his alter ego (mine is Jason Jens). Deron, if you need some legal representation, let me know and I'll hook you up with my buddy Duker.
Fantasy Experts Corner
Somebody's got to hold these guys accountable, so I'm taking it upon myself to call these guys out when they completely lead their readers astray.
- Eddy Curry must be a favorite over at Mr. Talented Roto, since everybody over there keeps raving about him:
"If I needed a center and saw Curry available in my league, I would pick him up." -- Shawn Cwalinski, C-Dub's Basketball Pub
"My conclusion; grab Curry if he is there. " -- Sean Allen (I'll cut this guy some slack since he's a fantasy first timer)
I've already talked about Curry ad nauseum , so I won't belabor the point. Just don't listen to these guys. Channing Frye looks like the 2nd (and some would say 1st) option for the Knicks, and we have Curry rated 145th overall for the rest of the year.
- This one takes the cake. Based on one good outing, Brian Flood from CBS Sportsline made the following statement: "J.R. Smith scored 26 points, including four 3-pointers, 10 rebounds and was 10-of-10 from the charity stripe on Monday night. He'll be a great Fantasy player for the remainder of the season and now is the time to acquire him." Wow! JR did follow that game up with another strong performance, but this is a guy who's shooting 39% from the floor on the year (right on his numbers for last year). Can a top 80 fantasy guy (at best) make the leap to become a 'great' fantasy player. I don't think so.
This gets back to a bigger issue with some owners (and columnists) in fantasy hoops -- they overreact when a guy has one good (or bad) game. Case in point: Kendrick Perkins . Dude cracks the starting line-up w/ Boston and pulls down 19 boards in his first game. You should've seen the flurry of activity on the waiver wire trying to pick this guy up. His numbers since then: 15.5 min (still starting too), 2.5 pts, 6 reb, 29.4 FG%, 62.5 FT%.
Top 40 Projections, Week 8 & Beyond