Saturday, February 2, 2013

Fantasy Basketball Second Half Sleepers

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
A lot of changes will arise in the fantasy basketball world Thursday night as the first major trade of the NBA season comes to fruition.
The Memphis Grizzlies, Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors completed a six-player deal that invoked questions regarding the rest-of-the-season value of Rudy Gay, Ed Davis, Tayshaun Prince, Jose Calderon, Kyle Lowry, Andrea Bargnani, DeMar Derozan, Jonas Valanciunas, Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight. All ten of those players will have adjusted fantasy situations arising as a result of the trade, but there is one other player who will have an opportunity to raise his fantasy stock that not many people are discussing.
Power forward Charlie Villanueva is averaging just 15:49 minutes per game on the season. His percentages are terrible, with a field goal percentage of 41.9%, and an embarrassing free throw percentage of 29.4%. He is averaging a career-high 38.8% from three-point range and an above average 1.5 three-pointers per game, but his overall numbers on the season have kept him completely off fantasy rosters. Averages of less than 7.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and under one block, steal and assist per game have him in the fantasy dog house.
However, during his last six games in December, Villanueva has averaged 12.8 points on 31-60 shooting, five rebounds, one assist and 0.7 steals per game. During the six-game outbreak, Villanueva received an average of approximately 23 minutes per game, which is about seven minutes more than he’s averaging on the season. As we saw earlier in his career with the Milwaukee Bucks, Villanueva can succeed when given the opportunity.
In the month of January, Villanueva has completely fallen off again and his minutes average for the month are under 14 per game. However, look for his minutes to increase with Detroit moving SF/PF Tayshaun Prince and SF/PF Austin Daye to Memphis, in order to obtain PG Jose Calderon from Toronto. The trade has opened a possible path for Villanueva to earn some time on the court and a chance to finally put up some numbers for fantasy owners.
SG/SF Kyle Singler is currently occupying the small forward spot in Detroit, but in 30 minutes last night, he only scored five total points on 2-6 shooting. Singler continues to under-produce  so it may only be a matter of time until Villanueva earns the spot as the starter.
Adding Charlie Villanueva to your fantasy team would still be ill-advised at this point. However, not adding Charlie V to your watch list would be a disservice to your team altogether. Villanueva has proven that with the minutes, he can perform. If coach Lawrence Frank lets him loose, Charlie V just may deliver for fantasy owners.

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