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Fantasy Sports Fantasy Basketball

Fantasy Basketball: LeBron James and Other December 31 Studs

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Fantasy Basketball 2012: December 31 Best Performers

December 31
Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

From great scoring performances to solid showings on defense featuring plenty of steals and blocks, elite individual performances can help owners win categories in Week 10 matchups. On Sunday, December 30, PG/SG Monta Ellis, PF/C Al Jefferson and PG Isaiah Thomas made up the top three studs from yesterday. From Ellis’ efficient and well-rounded outing against the Detroit Pistons to Jefferson’s 30-point night against the Los Angeles Clippers, these players certainly provided great fantasy performances for their owners in Week 9.

With six games on Monday, December 31, 2012, fantasy squads had plenty of opportunities to improve their statistics in different categories. Who else provided fantasy owners with great numbers on this day of NBA action?

Monday, December 31, 2012 Honorable Mentions:

10. PF/C Al Horford – 18 points, 13 rebounds

9. SG/SF Arron Afflalo – 28 points (8-9 free throws, two made 3-pointers), four rebounds

8. PG Kemba Walker – 18 points (5-6 free throws), eight rebounds, six assists, four steals, two blocks

7. SF Luol Deng – 20 points, 12 rebounds, three steals

6. SF Kevin Durant – 30 points (8-8 free throws), two steals

* The players’ percentage owned numbers for Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Basketball leagues and player statistics are accurate as of Monday, December 31, 2012. Player ranks are determined according to ESPN’s Daily Leaders list. FGM-A = Field Goals Made-Attempted, FTM-A = Free Throws Made-Attempted, 3PM-A = 3-Pointers Made-Attempted, GP = Games Played, 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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5. SG/SF James Harden, Houston Rockets

Harden
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

5. SG/SF James Harden (vs. Atlanta Hawks, 100% owned)

Statistics: 34 minutes, 7-17 FGM-A, 12-13 FTM-A, 2-6 3PM-A, 28 PTS, 2 REB, 5 AST, 2 STL, 1 BLK, 1 TO

Season averages: 30 GP, .445 FG%, .861 FT%, 2.0 3PTM, 26.1 PTS, 4.4 REB, 5.2 AST, 1.8 ST, 0.5 BLK, 3.5 TO

Harden continues to play at a high level, as his most recent outing has upped his scoring average to 26.1 points per game. Also chipping in five assists and a pair of steals, he has scored 25 or more points in nine straight games, showcasing just how unstoppable he is as a threat on offense.

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4. PG Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

Westbrook
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4. PG Russell Westbrook (vs. Phoenix Suns, 100% owned)

Statistics: 33 minutes, 7-16 FGM-A, 9-11 FTM-A, 1-2 3PM-A, 24 PTS, 7 REB, 9 AST, 1 STL, 0 BLK, 1 TO

Season averages: 30 GP, .404 FG%, .792 FT%, 1.4 3PTM, 21.5 PTS, 5.3 REB, 8.7 AST, 2.1 ST, 0.3 BLK, 3.4 TO

Despite taking an elbow to the right eye that required stitches to repair, Westbrook returned in the third quarter and had no trouble contributing like his usual self. His injury was no trouble on his production and he should be fine moving forward for fantasy owners.

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3. SG/SF Carlos Delfino, Houston Rockets

Delfino
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

3. SG/SF Carlos Delfino (vs. Hawks, 8% owned)

Statistics: 30 minutes, 8-10 FGM-A, 0-0 FTM-A, 6-8 3PM-A, 22 PTS, 4 REB, 8 AST, 1 STL, 0 BLK, 0 TO

Season averages: 22 GP, .389 FG%, .727 FT%, 2.2 3PTM, 9.3 PTS, 3.6 REB, 2.4 AST, 0.9 ST, 0.1 BLK, 1.3 TO

After sitting out two games due to food sickness, Delfino came back in a big way with six 3-pointers in a win over the Hawks. Producing nicely in a backup role to Chandler Parsons, he should continue to be a nice value in deeper leagues.

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2. PF/C Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic

Vucevic
Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

2. PF/C Nikola Vucevic (vs. Miami Heat, 71% owned)

Statistics: 47 minutes, 9-17 FGM-A, 2-4 FTM-A, 0-0 3PM-A, 20 PTS, 29 REB, 2 AST, 3 STL, 2 BLK, 0 TO

Season averages: 31 GP, .503 FG%, .634 FT%, 0.0 3PTM, 10.8 PTS, 10.5 REB, 1.5 AST, 0.7 ST, 1.1 BLK, 1.6 TO

Vucevic had a monster game on Monday, as he absolutely dominated the Heat with 20 points and 29 rebounds. Playing heavy minutes in this game, his career-highs in both points and rebounds was needed given the injuries on the Orlando Magic. Vucevic has continued to grow as a player in his second season and has become a very good fantasy option.

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1. SF/PF LeBron James, Miami Heat

James
Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

1. SF/PF LeBron James (at Magic, 100% owned)

Statistics: 48 minutes, 10-22 FGM-A, 15-16 FTM-A, 1-6 3PM-A, 36 PTS, 8 REB, 11 AST, 1 STL, 0 BLK, 3 TO

Season averages: 29 GP, .544 FG%, .721 FT%, 1.4 3PTM, 26.3 PTS, 8.4 REB, 7.0 AST, 1.6 ST, 0.9 BLK, 2.8 TO

The Heat needed James’ big outing against the Magic, as his 36 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds helped Miami barely beat Orlando. His field goal percentage and rebounding, both career-highs, have brought his fantasy game to a new level and provided owners with valuable contributions.