Wednesday, October 27, 2010

First Impressions: Fantasy Highlights and Lowlights from the NBA Season-Opening Night, Featuring 3 Reasons why you CAN'T hate on Wade for his Performance

I know it's just the first games, but there were a lot of interesting things to watch from last night that may be very meaningful in the long-term for fantasy purposes.

LeBron James, SF (MIA) - Oh, it's not the last time you are going to hear those "Over-rated!!" chants from last night's game (I couldn't find video of it, but I assure you it was awesome). They're gonna be there everytime the Miami Heat finds themselves in a losing situation as a visiting team. But one chant you are definitely not going to hear (at least for awhile) will be "Side-kick!!".

After a very humbling first quarter, where the whole Miami Heat scored only 9 points, Lebron took the reins like they were last year's Cavs and looked his usual dominant self, ending up with a stat line that answered any questions about who's the the man in South Beach: 31 pts, 10-21 from the field (47.6% fg pct), 3-6 treys (50% 3pt percent), 4 rebs, 3 asts, 1 steal and 2 blocks. Sure, the night was not without it's flaws (8 turnovers, 66% ft percent), but keep in mind this was against the very defensive-minded Celtics. If you watched the game, you'd know this was Lebron's team, and it's probably going to be his for the rest of the season.

So, what about the other two?

Dwyane Wade, SG (MIA) - I stand by the idea that he's not going to deliver 1st round production for the total season. Now, having said that, despite everything you are gonna be hearing today from the media about how awful he played last night, that awfulness is going to be a little bit overstated. Yes, he ended up with only 13 points (bad if you picked him in the 1st round).Yes, he shot 4-16 for a 25% fg percentage. Yes, he had 6 turnovers. But I saw three things that may tell me that his better days are ahead of him:
  1. He displayed a lot of speed and defensive instinct (he had 3 steals), but offensively, he was a little bit out of rythm because he didn't played all but 2 minutes of the preseason due to his injured hammy. It's a little unrealistic to expect Wade to have a great game if he hasn't played more than 2 minutes with a starting five that's 40% new, and oh by the way, your first game will be against last year's championship runner-ups.
  2. That 4 of 16 field goal stat and the 6 turnovers doesn't tell the whole story. He missed at least three very easy layups that I can assure you he is not going to miss by the 10th game of this season. And two of those six turnovers were offensive fouls during shots that he made, and a late travel call was made on him as he was making a layup. In other words, his stat line could've easily looked something like this: 20 pts, 7-19 fg's and 3 turnovers.
  3. Not counting Lebron and Wade, the whole team made only 13 out of 37 field goal attempts. That's a 35.7% field goal percentage. And still, he somehow managed to distribute 6 assists. On nights where the team plays better, that number has a pretty good chance of going up.
That's as good as you are gonna see me write about Dwayne Wade. I still think he has "sell high" written all over him. He's not a great 3-point shooter and Lebron will hog that ball like Gollum to his "precious". I prefer Kobe, Granger, Deron and Gasol before him.

Chris Bosh, PF (MIA) - If the offensive scheme of the Heat doesn't change soon, it's going to be a really long season for Bosh.

He was looking this preseason like all that talk about his drop in production for teaming up with Wade and Lebron was a bunch of BS. I myself, got convinced of it. But what I saw last night was very discouraging for what I expected from him this season.

He looked overmatched. He had no help from his teammates on either side of the court. I mean, I was really surprised when I saw the boxscore and found out that Wade had 6 assists, because I could've swear there was no ball movement from that team whatsoever. And the most affected by it was Bosh, who as great a mid-range shooter as he is, he never got the ball passed under the basket, and had to set up each and every one of his own shots from the outside, resulting in literally, a bunch of missed jump shots (eight, to be exact), one dunk and one layup. C'mon!! That's your $110 million-dollar power forward right there!! Lend him a hand!! Set him a post-up, a pick-and-roll, something!! Don't just give him the ball by the three-point line and let him try to shake off his defender by himself EVERY FREAKIN TIME!!

If the Heat keep playing that style of offense, just like Wade, you can bet that Bosh will fail to deliver up to the position he's been drafted on average.

Rajon Rondo, PG (BOS) - Rondo looked way better on the game than what the boxscore shows, especially in the 1st quarter, where he worked Carlos Arroyo like a speed bag. He ended up with 17 eye-popping assists (you can watch them at, 2 steals, 5 rebounds (great amount for a point guard) and not much else. But man, was he flying up and down that court!! He even made Shaq look like a semi-decent pick for fantasy purposes (9 points, 7 rebounds and 1 block).

Paul Pierce, SF (BOS) - Count me up as someone who thought Pierce washed up and had absolutely nothing in the tank. I mean, have you heard the one when his knee pop open and started to squirt liquid all over the locker room? He had a really good outing last night, finishing with 19 points, including 9 rebounds, 3 treys and a perfect 8-out-of-8 from the free throw line. He also had 7 turnovers, but with a stat line like this, who really cares?

I'm still skeptic. He's a very old 33-year-old guy that's constantly asked to guard the other team's best scorer. Don't expect him to have many more outings like last night's. This is as high as you'll be able to sell him. It's downhill from this point on.

Kobe Bryant, SG (LAL) - When are we ever going to learn? Kobe is going nowhere!! For the past couple of seasons, he's been coming with all these warning signs about how injured is he and how much mileage he's already put on his knees, always landing him on the wrong side of 5 in draft picks. And yet, each and every year we act amazed as we see him play as good as the year before. If you didn't saw him last night, I'm going to let you in on a little secret: He's still the best player in the league.

If you want to prove me wrong, you'll quickly point out that he shot 40% from the field (8 out of 20). And that's when I'll counter by saying he scored 27 points. He shot 10 out of 12 from the free throw line. He had 5 rebounds. He had 7 assists. He had only one turnover. He looked fast. He looked leaner. He was quick on his feet. He barely looked bothered by his surgically repaired knee. He... He will be the first suspect if Sasha Vujacic ever gets murdered.

Pau Gasol, PF (LAL) - Mark my words: If Kevin Durant is not this year's MVP, it will be Gasol. He simply dominates. 29 points, 11 of 23 from the field, 7 of 9 from the free throw line, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks and one crappy song. What more can you ask from him?

Kevin Martin, SG (HOU) - Is this finally the year of the Kevin Martin revival? He's very talented, but he needs minutes in order to be a consistent 26 ppg player, and with Buddinger and Courtney Lee waiting in the bench, I hardly see him getting 30-plus minutes per game. I don't know, maybe I'm wrong. But if you ask me, he is sell-high material.

Aaron Brooks, PG (HOU) - I love Aaron Brooks for this season. Contract year. No competition at the point guard position. One of the prettiest jump shots in the league. Oh, and by the way, he had 24 points on 7-of-16 shooting, 4-of-6 from the three-point line, a perfect 6-for-6 on free throws and 9 assists. Yeah, I would rather have him than Wade. I have the fantasy cojones to do it, I can tell you that.

Robin Lopez, C (PHO) - Let's just put it this way: you drafted him, not for what you know he can do, but for what he was expected to do. Well, expectation's over. The result? 5 points, 5 rebounds and one block in 25 minutes. If there are other options in your league, like Varejao or Drew Gooden, I would go get them and drop Sideshow Bob until  he shows signs of that upside.

Steve Nash, PG (PHO) - Last night, Nash produced a mediocre (by Nash's standards) 6 assists, but scored 26 points on 10-of-19 shooting, including 4 out of 6 three point attempts. Guess who's missing Ama're? By the look of things, I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up this season as the team's leading scorer. He just doesn't trust his team that much.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Welcome to the Kitchen. We hope you like it.

Hello, boys and girls. This is Roto Kitchen. This blog is dedicated to the art of cooking the perfect recipe for fantasy domination. We'll talk about everything related to fantasy football, basketball and baseball, as well as any other random stuff that catches my taste.

Why I decided to make this blog? Well, it's not like the world is short of fantasy sports blogs, but as I've read many of them looking for suggestions on who should I sit, start, drop, pick, etc., I've found most of the writers never fully compromise on to what they really think about a certain player.

When a writer makes a statement on how a certain player might do in the future, it's usually a very safe and ambiguous analysis that doesn't help you much and sometimes even end up leaving you more confused. They tend to proverbially leave the door open, so that if the player ends up playing good from that point on, they can get the credit for telling you he was going to be good. But if the player ends up playing bad from that point on, you can't hold it against those writers because they told you to be cautious.

For example, here is what Tristan H. Cockroft of wrote about Dustin Keller after a 7 receptions, 115-yards-and-a-TD performance on week 2 of this season:
"Don't expect such outbursts every week, but if Keller can continue to get looks in red zone situations, as he did this week, he might be one of the more surprising outside-the-top-10 tight end picks from the preseason."
Whoa! Way to stick your head out there, Cockroft. That was a helpful advice, I guess?

Now, suppose you are a Brent Celek owner that just got murdered for the second week in a row and wants some advice on wether Keller is a good pick or not. How does Cockroft's opinion helps you decide if you should pick Keller or not? If you pick Keller and he ends up stinking on the following weeks, Cockroft was right because he told you to "not expect such outbursts every week", but if Keller ends up having good outings the following weeks (as we all know he's been doing, except for week 5), hey, he also told you  "he might be one of the more surprising outside-the-top-10 tight end picks", right?

You are not going to get anything like that from us. You see, here at the Roto Kitchen, we take the word "safe" and throw it down the sink, and then turn on the garbage disposal. Of course, we are not always going to be right about everything. After all, we are trying to predict the future, and believe it or not, it's not as easy as you think. But if you have a question, we'll sure give you the answer you are looking for. We'll give it to you straight, without hedging the outcome.

So without further ado, here's the weekly menu, hoping to serve you with information and analysis that you may find useful and entertaining.

Fantasy Football:
-Mondays: Sunday Scoop - A compilation of highlights, observations and random thoughts from all the games played on Sunday and the game to be played on Monday night.
-Tuesdays: The Market - A list of the hot pickups for the week. We'll tell you who's worth a look and who's not.
-Wednesday: The Sampler - A look around the web for football-related stories and other tasty appetizers.
-Friday: The Works - Who you should sit, who you should start, and who's on th injury report.

Fantasy Basketball:
-Sunday: Head-to-Head Week Planning - Intended to help those on head-to-head leagues. Which players are going top have a huge week and which don't based on their game schedule and other factors.
-Thursday: The Sampler - A look around the web for basketball-related stories and other tasty appetizers.
-Friday and every other random day: Think Outside the Boxscore - Checking out news around the league and those players whose stock is moving up and those players whose stock is going down.

So that's it for now. Enjoy the NBA regular season tip-off, which is tonight. Hope you come back soon.