We’re five weeks into the NBA season and already we’ve been able to seen some players rise and fall in the fantasy ranks. There have been some strong performances and a few busts, and the fantasy stars are beginning to rise to the top.
As the season progresses it’s becoming more and more apparent which players are the strongest fantasy performers and which ones may be considered busts. Everyone knew this season would be different due to the lockout and the compressed schedule, and the fantasy world is no different. We are finally beginning to see which teams and players this is having an effect on.
Still, let’s take a look back at the last week and pick out some players to watch moving forward.
Fantasy Performance of the Week: Kemba Walker vs. Washington Wizards
The rookie guard out of UConn had himself the best game of his young career last week when the Charlotte Bobcats took on the Washington Wizards. Walker recorded his first career triple-double, and did it in impressive fashion. Walker, a late-round pick in almost all drafts, scored 20 points on 8-18 shooting, with 11 assists and 10 rebounds. He also added two blocks and a steal, making it one of the more impressive fantasy performances of the season thus far.
Fantasy Dud of the Week: Kyrie Irving vs. New York Knicks
After our fantasy star of the week was a rookie we decided to continue that theme with our dud. This week’s dud is Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Kyrie Irving. While Irving has actually had a very strong season thus far, and could be a shoe-in for the Rookie of the Year, he had a tough game on Jan. 25 against the New York Knicks. Irving scored just seven points on 1-7 shooting, although he did rack up seven assists in the process. Still, with just one rebound, one steal and no blocks, it wasn’t the performance we’ve come to expect from Irving.
Mo Williams: Los Angeles Clippers
Williams joined the Clippers last season in a trade that involved Baron Davis, but once the team brought in Chauncey Billups and Chris Paul it seemed that Williams’ days of decent production were over. However, that hasn’t been the case so far this season. Williams is averaging 19.3 points per game in his last 10 games, and is doing so on 55 percent shooting from the field. While he won’t fill up the box score in other statistical categories, as a reserve player he certainly has strong fantasy value.
Stephen Curry: Golden State Warriors
Curry has been limited so far this season due to an ankle injury, but he appears healthy and ready to go now. If that is indeed the case he should bring instant value to your fantasy roster. In his last four games, Curry has averaged 19.3 points and 5.3 assists per game, and is doing it in 32.5 minutes per game. As his ankle’s stability continues to increase, so will his minutes – and ultimately his numbers.
Shawn Marion: Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks have had to deal with a decent amount of injuries thus far this season, but with Dirk Nowitzki back in the lineup the value of Shawn Marion should increase. Marion has played well recently, averaging 15.4 points and 7.3 rebounds over his last 10 games. With Dirk back, Marion’s offensive chance might go down, but his rebounding numbers should increase, as well as his assists. And, when you consider that Marion has never been the type of player that has offensive sets devoted to him, his offense might not take too much of a hit with Dirk back after all.
Kris Humphries: New Jersey Nets
Things have gone from bad to worse for Humphries this season. After a poll was released declaring him the most hated player in the league, the struggles of the Nets certainly aren’t helping make things better. To top that off, Humphries is beginning to see his numbers slide. While he is still putting up decent numbers, 12.8 points and 10.6 rebounds, the Nets’ struggles are making things difficult for him. He isn’t getting as many touches as he would like, and will most likely see his numbers go down in the process.
Steve Nash, Grant Hill: Phoenix Suns
The shortened, condensed season has certainly begun to take it’s toll on the Suns. Hill and Nash are two players in their late thirties, and are beginning to see a decline in production due to the compressed schedule. Nash is currently dealing with a thigh injury that will keep him out of the lineup for at least one more game, and head coach Alvin Gentry has said that he will not play Nash or Hill on back-to-back-to-back occasions. Nash is also averaging just 14.7 points per game, the lowest mark since the 1999-00 season when he was with the Dallas Mavericks.
Joe Johnson: Atlanta Hawks
His numbers of 19.2 points and 2.1 three-point shots made per game looks impressive until you realize that Johnson brings nearly nothing else to the table statistically. Johnson is a great scorer and has done a good job leading the Hawks so far this season, but in terms of fantasy value he is very limited. Until Johnson begins proving he can produce in other areas on the floor besides scoring his fantasy value will continue to diminish.