Fantasy Basketball 2013: Who’s Hot, Who’s Not?
Upon writing this, it is Christmas evening. I had a terrific day with friends and family, but there’s just one problem.
Fantasy never sleeps.
But believe me, I don’t have a problem with it. I love it, embrace it. Especially in a game like fantasy hoops where you have to pay attention every night. A large part of that is tracking the hot players and the cold ones. With Week 9 about halfway through the books, let’s take a look at some guys who have been scorching for fantasy owners lately, as well as some who have fell flat.
Kemba Walker, Charlotte Bobcats: He may not soak up the headlines because of Charlotte’s lack of appeal, but you’d be hard-pressed to find many hotter guards in the league right now than Kemba. Over his last five games, he has been unstoppable, averaging 26.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.6 steals and 2.4 triples per contest. And in the month of December, he is sporting a season-best 22.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Remember, opportunity plus talent equals fantasy success, and Walker surely has plenty of both. In fact, he leads everyone in basketball in offensive touches (2,883), and only John Wall is averaging more touches per game than Walker’s 99.4. He has posted fewer than 41 DraftDay fantasy points just once over his last six games.
Nick Young, Los Angeles Lakers: Swaggy P, the same Swaggy that embarrassed himself with the greatest 720 layup attempt ever, is really heating up in fantasy land. Unfortunately, he isn’t doing much outside of scoring, but if you need someone to score points, Young has been great. Over his last five games, he’s averaging 20.4 points, attempting 15.6 shots per game. He’s also throwing up a healthy 6.2 three-pointers per game, sinking 2.6 of them. Without Kobe Bryant and half of the LA lineup healthy, Young is suddenly logging 32.2 minutes per game over his last five, and will continue to shoot the ball at will. The Lakers pace will provide him with plenty of scoring opportunities, especially from beyond the arc.
Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks: Of course, how could we forget Millsap? I mean, the guy has arguably been one of the best players in the month of December, averaging an awesome 18.4 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, one block and 1.5 steals. To add to his strengths on the glass and defensively, Millsap is finding a touch from beyond the ark, sinking 1.9 triples per contest this month. On the year, he is now hitting a career-high 1.1 threes per game. Can you imagine how dominant he will consistently be in fantasy if he continues to shoot efficiently from long range? The power forward is averaging a stellar 41 fantasy points per game in December and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic: The return of Jameer Nelson obviously kills the upside of Oladipo in fantasy, but the rookie really just hasn’t been playing all that great lately. Over his last five games, he’s averaging a pedestrian 8.2 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and less than a steal per game. He’s also shooting a poor .283% from the field during that span, which is likely while the Magic have been sliding Arron Afflalo to the shooting guard, sending Oladipo to the bench. He hasn’t posted 20 fantasy points or more since December 15th.
O.J. Mayo, Milwaukee Bucks: Many thought the move to Milwaukee would be good for Mayo’s fantasy prospects, allowing him to become the main source of offense. However, things just haven’t worked out all that well, especially in December. Mayo is struggling to find his shot lately, shooting just .319% from the field over his last five to go along with an ugly .288 in December. During this month, he has seven games with fewer than 20 fantasy points. He’s even moved to the bench for the Bucks, as younger guys around him are emerging.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.