Fantasy Play

By Bryan Jeon

(Our very first fantasy sports post. Hopefully, many more posts to come regularly. All fantasy sports posts will be directly relevant to Yahoo! fantasy sports, which is seemingly the predominant choice among fantasy managers nationwide. (My apologies to those who play on Sportsline, Sandbox and other whack sites. Just kidding, but really.))

Who’s Hot:

Guard – Sam Cassell (PG), Los Angeles Clippers – The loss of an injured player opens the door for another to step in big fantasy-wise. Cassell (13.9ppg, 3.0rpg, 5.2apg in 26.8 min.), who split time with Shaun Livingston all season, finally can control the floor for the majority of games. Livingston has only missed 2 games all season and in his absence, Cassell is averaging 22.0ppg, 3.5rpg and 13.5apg in 37 min. Expect this 17-year veteran to help his team make a push for the playoffs the rest of the way.

Forward – Charlie Bell (PG, SG, SF), Milwaukee Bucks – This 6’3” cat has measly season averages of 13.0ppg, 2.9rpg and 2.8apg. However, he has improved in these three categories every month throughout the season and in February, is averaging 16.2ppg, 4.3rpg and 2.7apg. Bell is a hot pickup from the FA over the last week and is still only owned in 2/3 of leagues.

Center – Shaquille O’Neal (C), Miami Heat – With the loss of Dwyane Wade, O’Neal (14.8ppg, 6.7rpg, 53.8FG%) has stepped up his game offensively, being the center of the offense again as he was accustomed to throughout his career. In three games post-Wade, O’Neal has elevated his stats to 18.7ppg, 7.3rpg and is shooting 24-42 (57.1%) from the field. Look for The Big Diesel to play aggressively from here on out, as Wade decides whether to end his season with shoulder surgery by the end of this week.

Who’s Not:

Guard – Randy Foye (PG, SG), Minnesota Timberwolves – It appeared that with the eventual change of Foye replacing Mike James in the starting lineup by head coach, Randy Wittman, Foye (9.1ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.7apg) was primed to breakout finally. In 7 games as the starter, Foye has done nothing to help his team win (3-4 since starting) nor his stat line. He improved to a marginal 10.3ppg, 3.7rpg and 5.1apg in that span. The Villanova guard has yet to find consistency in his shots, as his comfort might not be found this season.

Forward – Tayshaun Prince (SF), Detroit Pistons – Overall, Prince is having one of his better years in the NBA at 14.3ppg, 5.5rpg and 2.9apg. But since the addition of Chris Webber, Prince has just been awful to his standards in his new, decreased role with the offense. In the month of February, Prince is averaging just 11.3ppg, 2.3apg and has shot a miserable 41.3% from the field with no signs of improvement.

Center – Boris Diaw (PF, C), Phoenix Suns – This 6’8” cat with center eligibility still provides an all-around game, as he did last year. Obviously, Diaw’s numbers (9.9ppg, 4.6rpg, 5.1rpg) fell accordingly with Amare Stoudamire’s return this year, but it’s just tough to like a guy who averages under 10ppg. Not to establish 10 points per game as a threshold of FA fodder, as he certainly is not at that point yet but with the recent return after missing 6 games due to back spasms, I’m not holding my breath for Diaw to return to form anytime soon.

Stay tuned for SportsCouch’s Big Board for fantasy baseball set to come out in a couple of weeks.

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