Note: This column originally appeared at ProFantasySports.com.
Whew! Finally, finals week is out of the way. No, not because college students (i.e. me) are done with finals, but because college basketball fans don’t have to live through another week of subpar games and weekday nights with only a handful of games. Luckily, it’s over and we can now return to flipping channels between different games each night, or simply settling down on one station and staying on that for about four hours per night.
In terms of fantasy college basketball, last week was a killer. Of course, some guys get lucky and somehow have 12 games from his six players, while others have seven players with zero games each and/or are forced to use players that average less than four points and four rebounds per game. Furthermore, there were not too many random noteworthy performances last week, although it gave me more time to find some players who are unexpectedly trending upwards as the holiday approaches. Will it last?
Trevor Booker, F/C, Clemson Tigers: It seems like we go through this every year: Clemson gets off to a great start then falters down the stretch and misses the NCAA Tournament. This year’s team is different, and Booker is a major reason why. He was a solid scorer and rebounder last year, but he has been an absolute monster on the glass this season. He is averaging 10.5 rebounds per game, but has reached at least 11 in five of the last six games. Booker’s scoring numbers are down to 8.5 per game, but he is a must-have if you need rebounds.
Gavin Grant, G/F, North Carolina State Wolfpack: Did you jump off the Gavin Grant bandwagon that was crowded in the preseason? If you did, it’s time to hop back on. Sure, his numbers are not as impressive as they were last year, but he is averaging 24 points and 6.5 rebounds in the past two games and he could be starting to heat up. His assist numbers are down, but so are his turnover numbers, and his shooting is up from both the field and beyond the arc. He’s a great buy-low candidate.
Jeff Allen, F, Virginia Tech Hokies: We took a look at Allen earlier in the season, but it’s time to revisit him. He started off the season very strong, had an up-and-down stretch, but has now put together three straight double-doubles. He is averaging 13 points and almost 13 rebounds per game during that stretch, and has become more aggressive offensively. The 6-7 freshman should be able to continually to produce solid numbers.
Lazar Hayward, F, Marquette Golden Eagles: The guards get all the publicity on the Golden Eagles, but if Tom Crean and co. are going to make it deep in the NCAA Tournament, Hayward is going to have to pull his weight down low. He has certainly done so lately, averaging 14 points and seven rebounds per game in his last five contests. He is an extremely efficient shooter and creates match-up problems – always a good combination to have.
Jordan Crawford, G, Indiana: Although the Hoosiers have a stockpile of perimeter players as well as a go-to-guy in the paint, Crawford has still been able to put up very good numbers lately. He started the season well, but then missed three games due to a suspension. However, in the two games since he returned, Crawford has put up a combined 39 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. If Indiana keeps scoring (and he stays out of Kelvin Sampson’s doghouse), so will Crawford.
Craig Moore, G, Northwestern: It’s certainly not sexy or chic to own a player from Northwestern on your team, but if you must, Moore is the way to go. He leads the Wildcats in scoring, rebounding, steals and is second in assists. Furthermore, over the past three games, he has boosted his averages to almost 19 points and four assists per game. He is also putting up close to four rebounds per game on the season.
Connor Atchley, F/C, Texas Longhorns: It seems like centers are in high-demand this season, mainly because there are not many players who produce on a consistent basis. That is the primary reason Atchley is on this list. He has improved in leaps and bounds since last season, and is averaging almost 13 points and six rebounds per game this season, and is also shooting an unbelievable 63 percent from three-point range. He is also putting up 21 points and 8 rebounds per game in his last two contests.
Aron Baynes, C, Washington State: Another player who will see a spike in ownership in the coming weeks due to the fact many owners need centers. Despite the fact he is playing less than 22 minutes per game, Baynes is averaging over 11 points and almost six rebounds a contest. He has reached double-figures in three straight games, and is averaging 18 points and eight rebounds in the past two games. He also shoots 67% from the field. Baynes is definitely a solid center for the next few weeks.
Jordan Hill, F, Arizona Wildcats: Talk about making a gigantic leap from year-to-year. Last season, Hill was a solid big man who provided good rebounding and defense. However, this year, he has become a go-to player in the post who can score very well and still rebound at a high level. Hill had an inconsistent first few games, but has hit his stride lately, averaging 17 points and more than nine rebounds and two blocks per game in his last three contests. He is certainly a rising star in the Pac-10.
Ryan Appleby, G, Washington Huskies: If you were one of the few owners who drafted Appleby in the preseason then watched as he missed the first seven games of the season due to injury, congratulations. Appleby has been on an absolute tear since he returned from injury, averaging 19 points per game in three contests. He won’t provide much in the way of rebounds and assists, but if he continues to hit 55% of three-pointers, it won’t matter. Keep an eye on him.
Sorry, no surprises this week.
Jeff Borzello, founder, editor and lone writer of March Madness All Season, also writes a weekly column for Pro Fantasy Sports.
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