Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Real Deal or Fluke?

Note: This column originally appeared at ProFantasySports.com.

As the calendar turns to 2008, it essentially marks the halfway point of both the real college basketball season as well as fantasy leagues across the country. For fantasy owners, it’s also time to evaluate your season and your roster. Of course, the evaluation process for a fantasy team is completely different than a real college hoops team. You have to see which players are performing consistently lately; just because you drafted someone in the second round (Brandon Costner, anyone?) doesn’t mean you have to keep starting him. Furthermore, look at the various categories your league has; see which ones you keep losing in and try to pick up players that fit it well. On the other hand, if you feel it is not worth it to ruin your dominance in other categories by helping a singular category, think about possibly “punting” that statistic and focusing on the ones – believe me, I’ve done it; you can still win a title using that strategy. No matter which route you decide to take, it never hurts to add players who help your team – so just read below and you’ll be set.


Uche Echefu, Florida State Seminoles:
Florida State has been known to be a perimeter-laden team this season, especially with the loss of Al Thornton last season and Alexander Johnson the year before. However, Echefu has given the Seminoles a solid inside presence lately, taking some of the pressure off the guards. He hasn’t put up mind-boggling numbers, but Echefu is averaging almost 13 points, nine rebounds and just over an assist per game. With the loss of freshmen Solomon Alabi (for the season) and Julian Vaughn (indefinitely), Echefu is going to be counted on even more.

Big East

Corey Chandler, G, Rutgers Scarlet Knights:
Although Rutgers is one of the worst major-conference teams in the country, it has a few quality performers, namely J.R. Inman and, now, Chandler. The 6-2 freshman started out well but really came on towards the early part of December, when he averaged 20.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and over one assist and one steal per game in a four-game stretch. However, Chandler hurt his ankle after the North Carolina game and has missed the past two; keep an eye on him.

Aaron Holmes, G, South Florida Bulls: Another week, another surprising South Florida player. Holmes is the newest addition to the Bulls’ roster, becoming eligible three games ago after transferring from Florida State. In his first game, he played just six minutes, but has played 17 and 19 minutes, respectively, in his last two, averaging 16.5 points, four rebounds and one assist per game. As he gets more comfortable with USF, expect his minutes – and numbers – to go up.

Dante Cunningham, F, Villanova Wildcats: If there is a 10-1 team that gets less attention than Villanova, please let me know. The Wildcats lost their only game by one to North Carolina State on a controversial foul call in the final seconds – yet no one seems to talk about them. Well, Cunningham and co. are trying to change that. He has tallied at least 12 rebounds in four of his past five games and has scored double-figures in five of the last seven. He also has nine steals and five blocks in his last five games. If you need rebounding and/or defensive help, make the move.

Big Ten

DeShawn Sims, F, Michigan Wolverines:
Despite the fact Michigan has lost six of seven and looks like one of the bottom-feeders of the Big Ten, Sims has blossomed into a bonafide scoring option at the forward spot. He had an inconsistent first five games of the season, sprinkling in horrendous games with solid games, but he has stepped up lately. In the aforementioned seven-game span, Sims averaged 15.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. He and Manny Harris are the only real options for John Beilein, so expect his scoring numbers to continue to stay in the mid-teens range.

Big 12

Tony Crocker, G, Oklahoma Sooners:
Another team to keep an eye on in the Midwest is the Oklahoma. After an embarrassing loss to Stephen F. Austin at home, the Sooners have knocked off Gonzaga, Arkansas and West Virginia in consecutive games, and Crocker is a major reason for the resurgence. He has been inconsistent at times throughout the season, but he’s good for two solid games between poor performances. He’s scored in double-figures and grabbed at least four rebounds nine times and dished out at least three assists six times this season.

John Roberson, G, Texas Tech Raiders: Bobby Knight’s teams are never high-scoring bunches, but he always seems to have two or three guys worth looking at for fantasy purposes. Roberson is the Red Raider du jour this week. The 5-11 freshman has had a nice four-game stretch lately, averaging 15.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and almost four assists per game, including a 28-point, 5-assist performance over the weekend. He’s also shooting 10-for-19 from three in that span. I don’t see him as a consistent enough player to keep on your roster, though.


Jerome Randle, G, California Golden Bears:
Speaking of inconsistency, here’s another guard to keep an eye on and even possibly pull the trigger on if you need a guard who can score in the mid-teens most nights but will throw in a poor game here and there. After a nice three-game stretch where he averaged 14 points per, he struggled, putting up six points in two games. Thankfully, though, he bounced back to average 23 points and four assists in the past two games. He’s a quick guard who can get to the hole and also shoot it.


Alex Gordon, G, Vanderbilt Commodores:
The undefeated Commodores have been one of the nation’s most surprising teams this season, bouncing back very strongly after losing SEC Player of the Year Derrick Byars. However, Shan Foster and super frosh A.J. Ogilvy are getting all the publicity, while Gordon has been very solid as well. He shoots and distributes the ball well and limits his turnovers. From a fantasy standpoint, his recent stretch of 13.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists in four games is worth watching.

Chris Johnson, C, LSU Tigers: As always, we try to find a center to put on the Power Conference Report, since there are so few of them out there worth keeping on your roster. Well, we’ve been watching Johnson for a few weeks and he finally put together enough good games to warrant a recommendation. Like half the Tigers’ roster, he is tall, athletic and long and can create match-up problems as a result. Earlier in the season, he had a seven-game span where he averaged almost 16 points and over five rebounds (and two blocks) per game, but then had only 10 and 10 in the next two games combined. However, a 19-point, nine-rebound performance against Washington on Saturday put him back on the map. If you need a big man, you can do much worse than Johnson.

Jeff Borzello, founder, editor and lone writer of March Madness All Season, also writes a weekly column for Pro Fantasy Sports.

No comments:

Post a Comment