Brooklyn Nets Point Guard Jeremy Lin is one of my favorite players to own in fantasy basketball this season. Each year a player needs to be evaluated off their situation. Lin wasn’t a franchise savior in Houston after coming over from the Knicks for the 2012-13 campaign. Lin put up decent numbers in Houston, but didn’t live up to the contract. Lin lost playing time in Houston in part to his defensive deficiencies. Also Lin didn’t complement James Harden as well as Patrick Beverley.
After two seasons Lin was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for a forgettable season. In Los Angeles Lin’s skill set did not complement Kobe Bryant. Head Coach Byron Scott also started using Jordan Clarkson more in the starting lineup since he was a future building block for the organization. Coming off the bench in Charlotte last season, Lin rehabbed his career coming off the bench behind Kemba Walker. His PER was a career low 13.8 with the Hornets last season, but I believe Lin played with more confidence in Charlotte. Lin is better suited to be a complimentary piece not a franchise building block for a winning team.
In Brooklyn Head Coach Kenny Atkinson will attempt to use Lin to his strong suits. Atkinson was an Assistant Coach with the Knicks during “Linsanity”. This situation in Brooklyn is perfect for fantasy owners because Lin has very little competition for shots. His usage rate of 28.1 during the breakout season with the Knicks is closer to what it should be this season than his career usage rate of 21.7. This season the Nets will be one of the worst teams in the NBA. Lin will play a lot of minutes and put together statistics that won’t equate to winning basketball. In categories leagues Lin can be downgraded a little bit due to percentages and turnovers. I spent $2.00 in a seasonal league with weekly scoring. I believe Lin will be one of the best values in that league. I received some teasing due to my purchase of Lin.
Sometimes fantasy owners overlook players on bad teams, I don’t care what their team does I’m just chasing statistics. I am a Fantasy Owner, not a real one. The fact of the matter is in Brooklyn; Lin should be able to surpass his career averages of 11.7 PPG, 4.4 APG, 2.8 RPG, 43% FG%, 35% 3-pt%, and 80% FT%. Lin may be better equipped to handle the pressure of being a focal point in Brooklyn after his experiences in Houston and Los Angeles. Owners need to evaluate Lin’s situation this season, instead of his career numbers. “Linsanity” won’t happen again, but a solid mid-round production very well could be in the cards.
Wizards power forward Markieff Morris is a player I will target in the later rounds of fantasy drafts this season. The jury is still out if the Wizards got fleeced giving away a first round pick for Morris. In 27 games 21 starts Morris averaged 12.4 points per game 5.9 rebounds per game, and 1.4 assists while his percentages improved from Phoenix to Washington across the board. The opportunity is there in DC for Morris to take another step forward. Morris struggles on the defensive end could lead to Johnny O’Bryant taking away some minutes. Andrew Nicholson is a decent shooter, but is more of a reserve. Morris is the type of stretch for that should be able to complement Marcin Gortat this season.
I believe the 2014-2015 statistics with the Suns are certainly attainable for Morris in which he averaged 15.3 points per game, 6.2 rebounds per game, 2.3 assists per game, 1.2 steals per game, and shot 32% from 3-point range. The Wizards have enough offensive weapons allowing Morris to slide in as the complimentary piece he is fit to be. Having a whole off-season been removed from Phoenix and the turmoil that was not been able to play with his twin brother anymore, Morris should be able to bounce back for the Wizards.
Fantasy owners that are investing in Morris are doing so because of the change of scenery and the progress that they saw at the end of last season. I view Morris as a late round lottery ticket because of the situation and upside. The previous knucklehead behavior makes me not want invest too heavily in Morris.
Categories league’s owners look at Morris as a power forward that can hit a three, get a steal, and shoot 76% from the free-throw line. Sometimes fantasy owners get caught up in what player did for them last year instead of what they feel like you’re going to do for them this year. Morris may provide some late round upside for those that evaluate on the situation this season.
New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount has been one of the more valuable players in fantasy football this season. With Tom Brady out the first four games with a suspension, Blount has been a monster rushing for 352 yards and four touchdowns. Blount has 22 or more rushing attempts in 3 of 4 contests this season. That high volume workload won’t continue all season, however the Patriots adjust their game plan to what is better suited to go against each week’s opponent. Tom Brady is the Patriots best talent and the passing game will return to being showcased each week. The popular viewpoint is that the Patriots will throw the ball a lot more and abandon the running game. I’m not buying into that school of thought.
Last season, Blount ran for 703 yards and 6 TD in 12 games. He was placed on IR with a hip injury in mid-December. In an earlier season matchup, which resulted in 30-24 Broncos win, Blount was a non-factor rushing 9 times for 27 yards. Tom Brady threw for 280 yards and 3 TD while getting sacked 3 times. The Patriots were exposed in the AFC championship game vs. the Broncos for their lack of a credible rushing attack. Tom Brady attempted 56 passes throwing for 310 yards a TD and 2 picks. The Broncos sacked Brady 4 times. The Patriots attempted 17 rushes for 44 yards to the tune of a paltry 2.59 yards-per -carry. In 2015, the Patriots ranked 30th in the NFL in rushing yards per game at 87.8 yards
I believe the Patriots learned from the 2015 season by upgrading their offensive line with better run blockers. Brady’s suspension necessitated featuring the rushing attack to start the season, but I believe it will carry over for the rest of the season. NFL history isn’t kind to 39-year-old Quarterbacks. Tom Brady is no ordinary 39-year-old Quarterback, but still could use more help from the running game.
I don’t believe the other Patriots running backs are truly a threat to Blount’s workload. Brandon Bolden is more of a special team’s player. DJ Foster is an experienced player that hasn’t taken any workload away yet. James White is third-down-back while Dion Lewis may be the one to take away some of Blount’s workload. Lewis is on the physically unable to perform list and could return anywhere from weeks seven to week nine depending on his health.
The NFL has shifted more towards committee backfields in the last few years. Fantasy players really need to focus on their league set up and scoring in evaluating players. Blount while not as valuable in a PPR league as in a standard scoring lead league still will carry a lot of value with Tom Brady’s return. I find it hard to believe that Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels will completely ignore how effective the running game has been the first four weeks of the season.
Point Guard Ty Lawson looks to get his career back on track in Sacramento. Lawson flamed out in Houston and Indiana last season with an offensive win share of 0.2 and a defensive win share of 0.7 for a total win share of 0.9. While two seasons ago his offensive win share was 6.0. Playing in Houston along with James Harden was a complete disaster. Lawson as a backup point guard was a misfit as his numbers dropped across the board. Lawson is the type of player that needs to have the ball in his hands to be successful. Lawson’s outside shot isn’t good enough to be successful playing off the ball. Lawson’s game is transition and setting up his teammates off dribble penetration.
This season Lawson will turn 29-years-old and still should be in the physical prime of his career. Lawson’s personal issues are well documented, but his conditioning looked to be a problem last season as well. The opportunity is there in Sacramento for Lawson to turn his career around. Darren Collison will miss the first few games of the season due to a suspension and there’s a decent chance that Lawson could take away the starting point guard job. Sacramento has weapons to complement Lawson’s drive and dish skills in DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Matt Barnes, and Aaron Afflalo.
I hold a bit more stock in his Denver seasons than I do last season in evaluating Lawson as a fantasy player. Kings head coach Dave Joerger may be better suited to you utilize Lawson’s talents than his last two stops. Collison and Lawson have been in the league the same amount of time and for their careers Lawson has been the more productive player. It would not surprise me in the least if Lawson was able to take the starting point guard job away from Collison this season in Sacramento.
Fantasy owners looking for a late round lottery ticket should consider Lawson. Training camp reports, while often of the glass half full approach, may be able to provide insight into Lawson’s role with the Kings. Fantasy owners that are targeting Lawson are not looking for percentages they’re looking for assists and points. The Kings were a good career rehab spot for Rajon Rondo and could also be one for Ty Lawson.