Derrick Favors Moves Into The Starting Lineup

Derrick Favors ($5800) is starting at small forward for the Utah Jazz Saturday night in place of Marvin Williams.

Fantasy Analysis – It’s uncertain if this is a permanent move, but if it is then Favors is a must add if he’s still on your wire.  If you can make a trade offer for him, it’s also worth a shot to try and steal him from an inattentive owner.  Even if this move isn’t permanent, it’s clear that the Jazz are looking to get him more involved.  If Paul Millsap ($8200)  ever gets traded, Favors could be a fantasy monster.

As for Marvin Williams ($5200), he’s a dump to the wire if he was somehow on your fantasy team.  He barely had value as a starter and really holds no appeal as a reserve.

Brandon Rush Injured, Harrison Barnes and Jarrett Jack Could See Increased Value

Brandon Rush suffered a pretty serious looking knee injury and will get an MRI to determine the extent of the damage.  He could miss extended time.

Fantasy Analysis:  If Rush is out you’ll definitely want to grab Harrison Barnes, especially if you are in any kind of keeper league.   Barnes will start at SF and be backed up by Richard Jefferson.

The other player who could see a bump up in value is Jarrett Jack.  The Warriors could decide to go with a three guard set with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Jack.  Even if they stick with Curry, Thompson and Barnes, there should still be starters minutes for Jack backing up both guard spots.

Danny Granger Continues To Have Knee Issues

Danny Granger missed the first five preseason games and has been extremely limited in the remainder of preseason and things don’t look to be getting much better as the regular season is just days away.  Granger’s left knee, the same one he suffered through last season, is just not healing as expected and he could miss games throughout the season.  Reports seem to suggest that the knee can’t get any worse physically, but rather it’s the pain that is limiting Granger.  His draft rank and fantasy value is really sinking right now.

Fantasy Analysis – If Granger is forced to miss games, owners will need to pickup Gerald Green.  Green has seen just about all the action at Small Forward this season and makes a great late round gamble and a definite must grab handcuff for Granger.

Paul George also stands to benefit if Granger is shut down.  George is the next best perimeter scoring option for the Pacers and would see a bunch of extra looks that would normally go to Granger.

Position Battle: Milwaukee Bucks Small Forward

Fantasy players are always searching for new opportunities to pickup guys who are getting starters minutes and there’s a good situation to find a gem in Milwaukee.  The small forward spot is wide open in camp and the battle is between Mike Dunleavy, Tobias Harris, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Marquis Daniels.

As a fantasy owner, I’d love to see Tobias Harris win this spot.  Even if he doesn’t, he’s still an attractive keeper league target.  Harris didn’t get much of a chance to learn the game last season, as he missed most of camp with an illness and only managed about 11 minutes a game.  He did make a pretty good showing in that time though and ended up with solid per/36 minutes stats of 15.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.0 steal and .5 blocks.  Harris is a late round flier in keeper leagues and an attractive mid to late round option if he wins the starting spot.

The favorite to win the starting job is Mike Dunleavy, but Scott Skiles has said repeatedly that he wants to bring Dunleavy off the bench.  I’m not sure he’s going to have that luxury this season.  Dunleavy had a solid season in 2011-2012 posting 12.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.5 threes.  Dunleavy probably still gets the same amount of minutes even if he doesn’t win the starting job.  He’s a solid late round small forward option.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute will miss all of camp as he recovers from patella tendon surgery.  He’s primarily a defensive stopper and won’t hold much fantasy value even if he somehow wins the starting job.

The darkhorse in the race is 31 year old Marquis Daniels.  Daniels has been with the Celtics the last couple of years and only saw the court for about 13 minutes a game last season.  He’s got good defensive ability, but probably wouldn’t be called on to add much offensively.

The real hidden gem in this battle is Tobias Harris, so keep an eye on the battle as camp progresses and if it looks like Harris is going to get his shot, then be ready to bump him up the draft board and gamble on him, especially in keeper leagues.

NBA Rookie Draft Ranking and Fantasy Outlook: Harrison Barnes

The Golden State Warriors selected SF Harrison Barnes with the seventh pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.

Barnes’ career stats at North Carolina:

75 Games, 16.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, .9 steals, .4 blocks, 43.0 FG%, 73.5 FT%

Fantasy Advice:   The Warriors already have Dorell Wright and Richard Jefferson at small forward, but the lure of Harrison Barnes was just too much for Golden State to pass up at number seven.   There’s a good chance the Warriors will  probably trade Dorell Wright soon, so Barnes could luck into some decent minutes.

Barnes is a pure scorer with an excellent spot up perimeter shooting game.  I’ve seen people comparing his game to the type of games that Danny Granger and Rudy Gay play.   He took 5.3 threes a game in his freshman season, hitting 34.4 % of them and then followed that up with 3.6 attempts per game as a sophomore, converting 35.8% of them.  He’s not great driving to the basket, but he can do it.  With North Carolina’s huge frontcourt, he wasn’t asked to do much rebounding, so it remains to be seen how he’ll fare rebounding in the NBA.

He should provide solid defense from the small forward spot and grab a least a steal per game for fantasy owners.  His biggest fantasy benefit should be his scoring and three point ability.  However, the risk for Barnes is that his name is way more valuable to fantasy drafters than his actual game.  Barnes has been a star since high school and a name that most college basketball fans instantly recognize.  When determining his draft round, just be sure that you are drafting the actual player, not the name.