There's a prevailing thought in the fantasy world that the first couple weeks of the season were going to be a mess due to only have two preseason games. While that's certainly the case, the rotations are much murkier than conventional wisdom would have projected. A lot of teams have tinkered with their starting lineups, so we'll just take a look at the most recent changes that impacted Wednesday. We'll also preview Thursday's three-game slate which includes Dwyane Wade being out yet again.
Markieff Morris over Channing Frye (PHX)- This was one of the bigger news of the day yesterday even though it was hardly a shocker (I called it on Tuesday's PNR). Frye has looked like he is playing in those new Adidas adiFifty shoes with the way he moves around slowly on the court. He doesn't have much of a presence on defense and basketball fans of multiple years will remember what a disaster he was in Portland. He was a product of the Phoenix system and it looks like this system will have to adapt with Nash's future with the team in doubt as his contract ends after this season. This might sound like a ringing endorsement for Morris, but the Suns have Frye under contract until 2015 at about $6million per year in that span. It's obviously not a cap-friendly deal and if they completely decided to jettison Frye, it will likely be a costly move. Morris has huge upside with his peripheral stats, but I'd have a hard time imagining that he'll be grabbing 32 MPG without a major overhaul. Having said that, I have been pimpin' him all year and I still think Morris is worth owning in all competitive leagues. Rookies on bad teams have the best chance to break out in the fantasy playoffs.
Also Ronnie Price starting at the two was likely just an experiment. I don't think he'll be making a big impact (unless Nash goes down).
The rest of Wednesday rotation changes after the jump:
The NO Power Forward Mess:Jason Smith over Chris Kaman and Carl Landry- Chris Kaman not only looks like a caveman, but now his game hasn't exactly evolved this year. His shooting percent has plummeted two percentage points in each of the last three seasons to put him at 45.4 this season from his 52.8 back in 2009. His minutes have dropped to just 22 MPG over his last five and it's a fair assumption to say he won't be playing 30 MPG at any stretch (unless injuries strike the Hornets). As for Carl Landry, he hit rock bottom on Wednesday with just nine minutes. This was the third game in a row where he was below 13 minutes and his 35-minute, 17-point outing on the 11th seems like a month ago.
Jason Smith played in two of his last three games with 29 minutes and 27 minutes producing averages of 16 PPG and 8.0 RPG. He did have a dud sandwiched by those games, so it's not like he is a guy standard league owners should be looking to grab. He plays tonight and we should be able to solidify our stance on him to some degree.
DeShawn Stevenson over Anthony Morrow (NJN)- Well at least we have MarShon Brooks thing figured out. Brooks is logging 36 MPG in his last six and is putting up 17 PPG. I love MarShon so much that we were debating owning him over Raymond Felton last night on PNR. Enjoy the ride. As for the Stevenson-Morrow drama, this is probably just a temporary fix. Morrow still got 27 minutes last night and he is definitely a better fit for the team with his sharp-shooting skills to complement the slashing of Brooks and Deron Williams. Morrow is worth owning still, but I'd consider cutting him for a hot free agent like Tayshaun Prince or Trevor Ariza.
James Johnson over Rasual Buter (TOR)- James Johson returned from his ankle injury and was thrust into the starting lineup. He didn't really do much for the Raps with four points on 1-of-7 shooting in 25 minutes, but it's certainly a step in the right direction. Johnson is decent with the defensive stats and shoots the three to give him a nice celing. He was essentially useless before the injury and the wait-and-see approach seems like the prudent move in most leagues. What's more, offensive-minded Linas Kleiza has returned from his microfracture surgery and could be a factor for minutes at the three as well. Oh, I almost forgot to mention Rasual Butler. Yeah, he's shooting a wonderful 25.6 percent from the floor.
Jason Thompson over J.J. Hickson (SAC)- Hickson has been a huge liabilty for the Kings lately. J.J. Hickson is shooting 33 percent from the field in his last 11 games. Yes, bold. He justifiable played 11 minutes and the Casspi deal is looking a like lose-lose transaction for the Kings and the Cavs. Jason Thompson has not exactled set the world on fire either. He had nine points and nine board at half, but he failed to score in the second half. The bottom line is that Chuck Hayes should have no problem getting the bulk of the minutes next to Cousins once he returns. I'd suggest stashing him.
One other thing I really wanted to touch on is the emerging (again) Francisco Garcia. Cisco played a great game and finished with a team-high +19 in +/-. The Louisville Cardinal posted a line of 16 points, five boards, two steals, a block and two triples in 30 minutes. He is coming of a 12-point game out of the blue and the fact that Sacramento won this game doesn't hurt. John Salmons, his competition, has been struggling and has made just 33 percent from the field. I'd almost be surprised if Garcia can't take the starting gig from Salmons.
One other thing worth noting is that Isaiah Thomas straight up took Jimmer's minutes. What a jerk. Thomas was fantastic in the game even though his stats (eight points in 20 minutes) might not suggest so. He had a +/- of +17 and is likely the handcuff for Tyreke Evans.
I cover pretty much every rotatation at a superfluous level on Pick-N-Roll on every broadcast, so hopefully you guy tune in to as many shows as you can. Check out the show from this morning here. I also want to thank some of the new listeners out there and all the comlpliments mean a lot.
Believe it or not, I have received several questions about cutting Chandler Parsons for Trevor Ariza after last night's outburst. I obviously said Ariza based on his 40 minutes, 18 points, five boards, seven assists, four steals and a block. Ariza didn't even hit any threes and he still made the biggest splash of anyone by a wide margin (in my opinion).
I still like Parsons and he did play 31 minutes last time out. He is holding his value in deep leagues and we'll see how he handles Ariza -- a good defender-- tonight. Samuel Dalembert is on fire and there's no reason to think he won't keep it up (barring injury).
Derek Fisher has been useful to some degree in deeper leagues and I wouldn't mind spot-starting him in deep formats tonight. Matt Barnes has really cooled off, as expected, although he's still playing 27 MPG over his last five. Deep league owners could do worse, but I'd swap him out for my new boys Pietrus and Garcia for upside.
Miami is in a heap of trouble. Dwyane Wade is out and LeBron is dealing with the flu and will be a game-time call. I've stuck to my guns that Wade was going to miss a lot of time based on the angle in which his ankle sprained. Hopefully he can make it back next week. Mario Chalmers should be very good tonight and look for Norris Cole, Mike Miller (coming off a six-three game) and Shane Battier to pick up some offensive slack, too. Bosh should be a stud tonight and I'll project him to go for 27 points, eight boards, three assists, a steal and a block even against the tough LA front.
Dallas Mavericks at Utah Jazz
Delone West scored a bunch in the first half last night and really cooled off in the second as Jet Terry picked up the slack. West should be useful as a plug-n-play guy. Lamar Odom also should be picking up some of Vince Carter's minutes, but he's obviously far from must-own territory. Another situation to watch is how Ian Mahimni will do in the battle with Haywood. He is improving and is a decent bet to take the starting gig.
Derrick Favors will play tonight. He is not worth owning in most leagues since he doesn't get enough minutes. C.J. Miles is coming off a nice game, but his lack of consistency and lack of minutes prior to last night doesn't bode well for his value. Devin Harris' value is in the toilet and I'd suggest sending a low-ball offer out there.
Thanks for reading! Post your comments below.