This is the first of what I hope to be a weekly fantasy round up specific only to the Charlotte Bobcats. In this series I will be both reviewing the fantasy performances of our individual players as well as making predictions and recommendations for the coming week's games. In future editions, I will also be reviewing how my predictions lived up to reality. While I will attempt to make recommendations based on all types of fantasy leagues, I will only be speaking to what is known as "advanced scoring" when it comes to actual fantasy production as I find standard scoring and 9 Category leagues to be boring. I would love for this series to become an open dialogue among any and all fans of either the Bobcats or fantasy basketball (or both) and welcome any and all comments and questions. All that being said, let's dive into the performances of our squad so far this season and, more specifically, this past week.
The Cats only played 3 games this past week: The Mavericks on Tuesday, the 76ers on Friday and last night's game against the Warriors. A quick breakdown of our players:
Kemba Walker: averaged 45 fantasy points across those 3 games with his most impressive performance being his double-double against the 76ers who were without prized rookie Michael Carter Williams. In addition to his reliable production in scoring, assists and steals he has also managed to bring down at least 2 rebounds in every game this year. He currently sits as a top 12 fantasy point guard and is a strong play every night he's on the court but is heavily recommended against teams with weak defensive point guards.
Gerald Henderson: averaged 26 fantasy points across those 3 games with no real stand out performances. With Henderson you get reliability: he's scored single digit points only once this year, has managed at least one assist and 2 rebounds in every game this year, has only two games with zero steals and is a contributor from the 3 point line as well. A great player to own in deeper leagues, Hendo is also valued in smaller leagues because of his dual position functionality (most leagues have him listed as shooting guard and small forward eligible).
Michael Kidd Gilchrist: played only a portion of one of those games as he broke his hand in the game against the Mavericks. While MKG's on court performance has improved this year his fantasy production leaves a lot to be desired. Averaging only 18 fantasy points per game he was only desirable in deeper leagues.
Josh McRoberts: averaged 34 fantasy points across those 3 games with his best game coming against the Warriors last night which saw him score 11 points while pulling down 10 rebounds, a steal and a block. McBob has been an extremely underrated fantasy play this year and continues to be the model of consistency with averages of 9 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, a block and a steal per game. He is a strong play in any type of league, regardless of scoring, and has become quite popular even in 9 Category style leagues.
Al Jefferson: averaged 38 fantasy points across those 3 games with his best game coming against Dallas wherein he put up 19 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks. Jefferson owners have finally begun to see their patience pay off as his nagging ankle injury seems to be a thing of the past and he continues to get more integrated into the offense. While he is best known in fantasy circles for his scoring and rebounding prowess he has surprised owners a bit with averages of 2 assists, 2 blocks and a steal per game this season. He is a strong play in any league but is absolutely required to be in your starting lineup when playing weak defensive centers.
Jeff Taylor: played in only one of those games due to his heel injury but managed to put up 41 fantasy points against the 76ers in his spot start for MKG. He recorded 20 points, 8 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 assist and 1 block in 37 minutes. An intriguing fantasy play, Taylor has started to pick up some popularity on waiver wires everywhere. He has a reliable fantasy game that lends itself to all types of leagues but it remains to be seen how often he will be used and how his injury will effect his playing time going forward.
Ramon Sessions: averaged 19 fantasy points per game across those 3 games with his best game coming against the Warriors last night which saw him put up 13 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds and a steal. Not very popular in smaller leagues, Sessions is a deep league hero with his fantasy friendly game (averaging 11 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal per game) and his dual guard eligibility. He is a good spot start whenever the Bobcats are playing slower teams or teams that are weak defending the paint due to his basket attacking style of play.
Cody Zeller: averaged 10 fantasy points per game across those 3 games with his strongest performance coming against the 76ers which saw him put up 10 points and 5 rebounds. Zeller has fascinating potential with his size, ability to play different positions and his ability to score from anywhere on the court but his lack of defensive skills and the strong play of McRoberts has managed to limit his time on the court this season. Still, he will continue to get better as the season progresses and makes for a great stash in deep, keeper and dynasty leagues.
Bismack Biyombo: played only one complete game out of the 3 as he sprained his ankle early in the game against the 76ers. Al Jefferson's recovery from his own ankle injury has relegated Biyombo to the waiver wire in nearly all formats as he is seeing very little playing time and is not a reliable option for anything other than blocks and rebounds. He is completely ignored in smaller leagues and is only recommended in the deepest of leagues and only then when playing against strong centers when he is used to give Jefferson extra rest.
Anthony Tolliver: is not normally worth mentioning in fantasy conversations due to his inconsistent court time but in a spot start against the Warriors last night he managed to put up 21 fantasy points coming from 6 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block and 1 steal. He is an interesting player to keep an eye on, especially in 9 Category leagues, as he has a very fantasy friendly game. Keep an eye on him if, and only if, Jeff Taylor's heel injury keeps him sidelined for any considerable amount of time.
Jeff Adrien: has had no recent performance worth writing about and has been a maddening player to own, but the injuries to MKG and Taylor have opened the door for him to see more minutes. That being said, he only saw the court for 13 minutes against the Warriors last night but managed 2 points and 7 rebounds in that time. He is worth mentioning only as a potential add in deep leagues and only then based on what happens with the spare minutes at small forward caused by the MKG injury.
Looking ahead to the next week of games (Tues the 10th through Monday the 16th), here's some recommendations of who to get in your lineup:
1. Kemba Walker: a strong play in any type of league, Kemba is a must start player in this week's games against the Magic and Lakers, 2 teams traditionally very weak against opposing point guards. While he will also be a strong play against the Pacers I would recommend sitting him against their impressive perimeter defense if you have a better option.
2. Gerald Henderson: while the Lakers are ranked 28th against opposing shooting guards, the return of Kobe Bryant has me hesitant to recommend Hendo. I would also advise keeping him on your bench against the Pacers unless you are desperate for a starter. He will be a strong play against Orlando, however, and is a safe bet to put up some real fantasy numbers against them.
3. Josh McRoberts: while the Pacers are daunting on paper I expect Kemba and Jefferson to draw the bulk of their defensive attention so I think McRoberts will have a strong fantasy night against them. He is a wise start against the Magic as well but he is a must start player against the Lakers who boast the league's worst numbers against opposing power forwards in fantasy production.
4. Al Jefferson: a strong play in any league, Jefferson is hard to not recommend in any situation. He is an absolute must start against the Lakers and their terrible defense in the paint. And while the Magic and Pacers both boast solid defensive numbers against opposing centers, Al's recent return to health and his performance on the court makes it impossible for me to recommend sitting him at all this week.
5. While the current question marks at small forward leave it hard for me to recommend any other players as bona fide fantasy starters this week, I will take a stab at one more for any owner who is desperate for an extra starter: I fully expect Ramon Sessions to have a good game against the Pacers. While Walker, Jefferson and McRoberts are busy drawing all the defensive attention Sessions should be able to run and gun against the Pacers second unit, a squad that is fairly slow footed and weak against quick, slashing style guards. While it is always hard to recommend any but the best players against Indy's intimidating defense, give Sessions a look if you are an owner in need.
That's all for this week! I will (hopefully) be back next week to review the fantasy performances of our players, point out where my predictions went wrong and/or right and recommend some players for the next week's games. Until then, good luck, have fun and GO BOBCATS!