Fantasy Sports Fantasy Basketball

20 Fantasy Basketball Players on Santa’s Nice List

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Fantasy Basketball 20 Best Value Picks and Sleepers

Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Successful fantasy basketball owners have a lot of factors contributing to their teams’ success. From players who have excelled in their favorable situations on their respective teams to sleepers who have panned out nicely for owners willing to take a risk on them by drafting them at various positions in the draft, players who overachieve and exceed their expected value are what fuel the best teams towards success.

With Christmas just around the corner, there are many basketball players that can be found on Santa’s Nice List this season. Given their respective scenarios, these players have been nice assets for fantasy teams and are very appreciative of the positive production they’ve had this season. These players can be viewed as successful sleepers, excellent free agent pickups and overachieving value players. As with any fantasy sport, making the best moves and decisions during a season are how owners improve their rosters.

While there are many players out there who could be deserving of this distinction, here are the top 20 fantasy basketball players on Santa’ Nice List so far this season.

* The players’ percentage owned numbers for Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Basketball leagues and player statistics are accurate as of Wednesday, December 19, 2012. MPG = Minutes Per Game, FG% = Field Goal Percentage, FT% = Free Throw Percentage, 3PTM = 3-Pointers Made, PTS = Points, REB = Rebounds, AST = Assists, STL = Steals, BLK = Blocks, TO = Turnovers.

Austin Chang is a featured columnist and fantasy sports expert at Rant Sports and you can follow him on Twitter @_austinchang.

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20. SG/SF Vince Carter, Dallas Mavericks

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20. SG/SF Vince Carter, Dallas Mavericks (44% owned)

Season averages: 23:50 MPG, .409 FG%, .783 FT%, 2.0 3PTM, 11.7 PTS, 3.5 REB, 1.9 AST, 0.8 ST, 0.6 BLK, 1.1 TO

Despite assuming a bench role this season, Carter has played well on a team currently without Dirk Nowitzki. A role player on the team, he has maintained most of his fantasy value despite having a new role on the Mavericks.

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19. PF/C Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls

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19. PF/C Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls (96% owned)

Season averages: 40:07 MPG, .486 FG%, .808 FT%, 0.0 3PTM, 13.6 PTS, 10.6 REB, 4.5 AST, 1.4 ST, 2.3 BLK, 3.0 TO

With Derrick Rose unavailable, Noah has taken his game to the next level and fills the stat sheet on a nightly basis. Growing increasingly as a top-flight fantasy option, he has certainly overachieved this season.

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18. SF Matt Barnes, Los Angeles Clippers

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18. SF Matt Barnes, Los Angeles Clippers (19% owned)

Season averages: 25:19 MPG, .495 FG%, .756 FT%, 1.0 3PTM, 10.3 PTS, 5.0 REB, 1.3 AST, 1.3 ST, 0.8 BLK, 1.3 TO

A key piece off the Clippers bench, Barnes has found his niche on the team despite entering the season with depth such as Chauncey Billups, Eric Bledsoe and Lamar Odom. Contributing in all categories, he has been a nice free agent pickup this season.

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17. PG/SG Jarrett Jack, Golden State Warriors

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17. PG/SG Jarrett Jack, Golden State Warriors (44% owned)

Season averages: 27:09 MPG, .477 FG%, .865 FT%, 1.0 3PTM, 11.5 PTS, 3.3 REB, 4.9 AST, 0.8 ST, 0.0 BLK, 1.8 TO

Brought in to serve as Stephen Curry’s backup, Jack has done more than serve as an important backup. From playing key minutes alongside Curry to serving as a solid scorer and passer, he has fit in exceptionally well with his new team and is in an excellent fantasy environment.

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16. PF/C Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic

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16. PF/C Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic (65% owned)

Season averages: 29:33 MPG, .485 FG%, .731 FT%, 0.0 3PTM, 10.0 PTS, 9.5 REB, 1.5 AST, 0.7 ST, 1.1 BLK, 1.8 TO

A major piece of the Dwight Howard trade, Vucevic entered a great situation to start the season as a player expected to play major minutes on a young team. As a nice late round draft pick or free agent pickup, he has been a very god center who has done well in his new environment.

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15. PF/C Ryan Anderson, New Orleans Hornets

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15. PF/C Ryan Anderson, New Orleans Hornets (98% owned)

Season averages: 33:24 MPG, .453 FG%, .895 FT%, 3.4 3PTM, 18.5 PTS, 7.2 REB, 1.3 AST, 0.5 ST, 0.3 BLK, 1.0 TO

Excelling as one of the league’s best long-range shooters, Anderson has really been an asset from 3-point range. Add his improved rebounding and he has become a more well-rounded fantasy option this season.

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14. PF/C Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets

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14. PF/C Anthony Davis, Hornets (98% owned)

Season averages: 30:30 MPG, .504 FG%, .836 FT%, 0.0 3PTM, 14.8 PTS, 7.9 REB, 0.8 AST, 1.3 ST, 1.9 BLK, 1.8 TO

Plagued with injuries in the early part of the season, he has looked very good in games he has been able to play in. Not only a force on defense, he has shown a good offensive game and has transitioned well to the professional level.

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13. C Robin Lopez, New Orleans Hornets

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13. C Robin Lopez, Hornets (44% owned)

Season averages: 25:52 MPG, .537 FG%, .780 FT%, 0.0 3PTM, 11.2 PTS, 5.4 REB, 0.9 AST, 0.6 ST, 2.0 BLK, 1.4 TO

The third-straight Hornet and frontcourt member of the team, Lopez has had a big year in his first season with New Orleans. When Davis was out, he stepped in and produced, particularly as a scorer. He’s made the most of his good opportunity and been good for owners thus far this season.

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12. C Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets

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12. C Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets (89% owned)

Season averages: 29:10 MPG, .513 FG%, .676 FT%, 0.0 3PTM, 17.7 PTS, 6.9 REB, 0.7 AST, 0.6 ST, 2.4 BLK, 1.4 TO

From one sibling to another, Lopez has certainly had a nice, healthy season after playing just five games last season. With his health intact for the most part, he’s put together one of the better fantasy seasons among centers this season.

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11. PG/SG Luke Ridnour, Minnesota Timberwolves

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11. PG/SG Luke Ridnour, Minnesota Timberwolves (51% owned)

Season averages: 31:28 MPG, .465 FG%, .788 FT%, 1.0 3PTM, 12.0 PTS, 2.8 REB, 4.5 AST, 1.3 ST, 0.2 BLK, 1.8 TO

In the absence of Ricky Rubio in this first part of the season, Ridnour has been in a nice position as a starting backcourt member for most of the season. Whether he’s serving more as a scoring at shooting guard or asked to be a main distributor as the starting point guard, he has continued to receive significant minutes and hold plenty of fantasy value on a talented team.

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10. PG Kemba Walker, Charlotte Bobcats

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10. PG Kemba Walker, Charlotte Bobcats (88% owned)

Season averages: 35:38 MPG, .439 FG%, .805 FT%, 1.1 3PTM, 18.8 PTS, 3.2 REB, 6.1 AST, 2.0 ST, 0.4 BLK, 2.2 TO

After an inconsistent rookie season, Walker has definitely improved in his second year with the Bobcats. Consistently performing at a higher level on an improved team, he has grown into a top fantasy starter.

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9. SF/PF Metta World Peace, Los Angeles Lakers

World Peace
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9. SF/PF Metta World Peace, Los Angeles Lakers (70% owned)

Season averages: 35:04 MPG, .423 FG%, .750 FT%, 2.2 3PTM, 13.5 PTS, 5.8 REB, 1.7 AST, 1.8 ST, 0.4 BLK, 1.7 TO

With so many stars on the Lakers, players like World Peace could have easily been lost amongst the main stars. Instead, he has put together one of his best seasons of his career and has thrived under new head coach Mike D’Antoni. Particularly excelling in the 3-pointers, rebounds and steals categories, he has become one of the great values of the season.

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8. SF/PF Chandler Parsons, Houston Rockets

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8. SF/PF Chandler Parsons, Houston Rockets (80% owned)

Season averages: 37:27 MPG, .448 FG%, .726 FT%, 2.0 3PTM, 15.0 PTS, 6.5 REB, 3.7 AST, 1.3 ST, 0.1 BLK, 2.0 TO

Few players have made a name for themselves this season than Parsons. Greatly improving from his rookie season, he has become a reliable all-around fantasy option who has grown as a member of the young Rockets roster.

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7. PF/C Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs

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7. PF/C Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs (97% owned)

Season averages: 30:39 MPG, .495 FG%, .800 FT%, 0.1 3PTM, 17.6 PTS, 10.4 REB, 2.5 AST, 0.9 ST, 2.6 BLK, 1.6 TO

Not getting any younger, Duncan is surely on the “nice list” given how well he’s played this season. Still playing at an elite level, he continues to be a must-start option who has put up elite numbers in almost all categories.

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6. PG Jose Calderon, Toronto Raptors

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6. PG Jose Calderon, Toronto Raptors (74% owned)

Season averages: 28:35 MPG, .436 FG%, .905 FT%, 1.7 3PTM, 10.5 PTS, 2.5 REB, 7.4 AST, 0.7 ST, 0.2 BLK, 1.9 TO

Kyle Lowry is the team’s starting point guard, yet injuries have helped Calderon’s stock. Putting up quality numbers as a starter, he has been able to maintain his fantasy value despite a return to the bench in the future.

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5. SG O.J. Mayo, Dallas Mavericks

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5. SG O.J. Mayo, Mavericks (93% owned)

Season averages: 35:48 MPG, .488 FG%, .854 FT%, 2.7 3PTM, 20.6 PTS, 4.0 REB, 3.7 AST, 1.0 ST, 0.2 BLK, 2.9 TO

Mayo has found a home in Dallas. With Nowitzki out, he’s been the team’s leading scorer and has put up career numbers in his first consistent starting role. This breakout season has certainly been a nice surprise for owners drafting him in the mid-to-late rounds.

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4. SF/PF Andrei Kirilenko, Minnesota Timberwolves

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4. SF/PF Andrei Kirilenko, Timberwolves (82% owned)

Season averages: 36:03 MPG, .521 FG%, .757 FT%, 0.6 3PTM, 13.9 PTS, 7.4 REB, 3.4 AST, 1.8 ST, 1.6 BLK, 2.4 TO

Returning to the NBA after a season in Russia, Kirilenko had a lot of suitors, making his decision on a team a difficult, yet important one. Now with the Timberwolves, he certainly made a great choice as he is flourishing as the team’s starting small forward and having everything go right in his return season.

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3. SG Kevin Martin, Oklahoma City Thunder

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3. SG Kevin Martin, Oklahoma City Thunder</strong> (91% owned)

Season averages: 29:40 MPG, .469 FG%, .935 FT%, 2.2 3PTM, 15.7 PTS, 2.4 REB, 1.5 AST, 1.0 ST, 0.1 BLK, 1.4 TO

Struggling in his time with the Rockets, Martin lucked out into a great scenario, for he took over James Harden’s role with the Thunder, the primary player he was ultimately traded for this offseason. Able to focus on his scoring, he had been instrumental in the continued success of Oklahoma City and fantasy owners alike.

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2. PG Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

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2. PG Stephen Curry, Warriors (99% owned)

Season averages: 37:48 MPG, .424 FG%, .900 FT%, 2.8 3PTM, 19.9 PTS, 4.2 REB, 6.3 AST, 1.6 ST, 0.1 BLK, 3.0 TO

Plagued with ankle issues throughout his career, Curry has been fortunate to stay healthy thus far. With excellent potential, impeccable accuracy and continued growth, he has been able to showcase his skills thanks to his good health, which was previously a major concern every minute he played.

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1. PF/C Anderson Varejao, Cleveland Cavaliers

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1. PF/C Anderson Varejao, Cleveland Cavaliers (94% owned)

Season averages: 36:02 MPG, .478 FG%, .755 FT%, 0.0 3PTM, 14.1 PTS, 14.4 REB, 3.4 AST, 1.5 ST, 0.6 BLK, 1.8 TO

Even with injuries to Kyrie Irving, Varejao has had little trouble performing at an elite level. Averaging nearly 15 rebounds a game, he’s been a rebounding machine all season long and is playing at an All-Star level. Never viewed as an elite fantasy option prior to this season, Varejao has certainly made huge strides this season.

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