Should Fantasy Owners Chase Chase Budinger?

Chase Budinger is getting all the playing time he needs in Minnesota

Chase Budinger is getting all the playing time he needs in Minnesota

Minnesota forward Chase Budinger has evolved into an overnight scorning machine, reaching double digits in each of his last 10 games. A giant window of opportunity opened up for the sharp-shooting forward due to a laundry list of injuries in Minnesota and he’s made the most of his extra playing time.

With Minnesota’s shocking abundance of injuries to its core assets of Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Martin, Ricky Rubio, Gary Neal, Kevin Garnett, Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad, Budinger has been left help fill some voids left in the team’s game plan. He’s averaging 32.5 minutes per game over his last ten, and his chances to put up solid numbers should not diminish so long as he remains so heavily involved in the rotation.

Chase Budinger can provide a spark with his newly consistent scoring production, specifically from the three point line. Over the last 10 games, Budinger is averaging 1.7 threes in addition to 15.1 points per contest. This recent hot streak is uncharacteristic for the 26-year-old swingman, as he has not cracked 10 points per game in any of his 6 NBA seasons thus far.

Minnesota Timberwolves Head Coach Flip Saunders’ praise of Budinger’s play should keep him heavily involved in the rotation for the last 8 games of the season, as he also won’t be rushing anyone back from injury due to them being eliminated from playoff contention. Though he may not be a guarantee to score tons of points on a nightly basis, his 3 point scoring potential should make him valuable enough to be a considered a solid option in standard fantasy formats.

Making a Case for Danilo Gallinari

The problem is that Denver misses a chance to rest Danilo Gallinari

The problem is that Denver NEVER misses a chance to rest Danilo Gallinari

By Ian Stone:

Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari’s recent spike in production has made him an intriguing option for fantasy owners looking for help in the playoffs. His recent hot streak has him surpassing his season averages significantly, and with consistency, Gallinari could put fantasy owners in contention to win their respective titles.

Gallinari’s strong play could be attributed to him inching closer to 100% healthy, as well as the firing of Head Coach Brian Shaw. Whatever the reason may be, fans will have to cross their fingers and hope the onslaught continues.

The 26-year-old Italian sharpshooter has overcome an injury-filled first half to this year and is finally coming around. Disregarding the 2 games he sat out for rest, Gallinari’s last 5 games have been superb, posting averages of 22.8 points, 2.6 threes, 5.2 boards, 3 assists and 1.2 steals per game (all above his averages for the season). This seems like the perfect opportunity to add a multi-faceted asset, but there’s one major issue.

The Nuggets seem to be resting Gallinari during the latter half of back-to-back games. Unfortunately, Denver has 3 more back-to-back sets, so owners will have to search elsewhere for production.

His daily league fantasy value is greater than his standard format value due to the sporadic DNP-CDs, but he is still worth an add. When active, Gallinari should be started and is a solid bet for points, threes and rebounds.

Can Swaggy P Find his A-Game for the Lakers?

Nick Young has a shot at becoming the man in Los Angeles

Nick Young has a shot at becoming the man in Los Angeles

By Ian Stone –

The season was already pretty much a loss for the Lakers even before Kobe Bryant was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff. With the Lakers closing in on the basement in the Western Conference, the team has no reason to risk aggravating Bryant’s shoulder injury. Bryant is the Lakers leading scorer and Nick Young will have to step up and lead that lackluster offense.

Los Angeles has now lost its second player to a season-ending injury (the first being rookie Julius Randle), and their depth across the board is non-existent. Every member of the rotation will see increased playing time in order to fill the void left by one of the greatest players of all time. The most suitable replacement has to be the brash Nick Young. He’s nicknamed Swaggy P and his ever-present in-your-face personality is always on display.

Young’s season hasn’t gone too well to this point. He’s averaging 14.5 points per game on about 39 percent shooting from the field. Young is known for being a volume scorer, but he’s yet to take more than 20 shots in any game this season. Expect that to change sooner rather than later. This is pure speculation, but Young could have been holding back in the games where Bryant was resting in order to keep the clearly defined roles in tact, but now that mentality has to be left behind. Young now has a chance to make the Lakers his team.

Though his shooting percentage still wasn’t great (44 percent) a year ago, he managed to put up 17.9 points and 2.1 3 pointers per contest, and he should be able to reach that level, if not higher. Last season, Young had Gasol to help him score, but now he has even more weight to carry on his shoulders. He should receive some contribution from role players like Carlos Boozer, Jeremy Lin, Wayne Ellington and Wes Johnson, but Young will be the major benefactor in terms of scoring and 3 pointers.

If he is available on the wire, pick up Young as soon as possible in what could be a very impressive end to the season for the scorer.

Hidden Gems in This Year’s NBA Rookie Class

Jusuf Nurkić is pure gold for the Denver Nuggets

Jusuf Nurkić is pure gold for the Denver Nuggets

By Ian Stone

This year’s rookie NBA class seemed to have only a few bright spots in Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins, but the overall talent level of the group seems to be ever increasing. Wiggins should be a lock for Rookie of the Year with Parker falling victim to a torn ACL, but there are some other players who have certainly had significant impacts on their respective squads.

Looking at big men, 20-year-old Jusuf Nurkic has really developed into a solid force for the Denver Nuggets. His role will only continue to grow with Timofey Mozgov now a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Though his 6.5 PPG and 5.5 RPG don’t jump out at you, one must take into consideration how much he has improved, and his potential to continue to grow and develop into something special. Nurkic has struggled very recently, failing to reach double digits in both scoring and rebounding because he keeps finding himself in foul trouble. Before the fouling issues began, he transforming into a dominant force down low right before our eyes. From late December to early January, he averaged 12.5 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.2 blocks over a six-game span. Look for Nurkic to get back on track as the starting center for the Nuggets, as he has little competition for minutes at the position. His potential ceiling is pretty high, especially in rebounds, blocks and field goal percentage.

Elfrid Payton is without a doubt the best passer out of the rookie class and is quickly becoming a game-changer for the Orlando Magic. He’s demonstrated the potential to spread the ball around earlier on this year, but has really played at a high level as of late. During his last four games, Payton has averaged 16.5 points, 7.8 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game. The only concerning statistic lies in turnovers, as the rookie point guard has also seen a rise in that area, turning the ball over 13 times in his last 3 games. Payton should see more action as he has shown flashes of greatness, as he looks to help lead this young Magic team to the playoffs (Magic are currently 3.5 games back from the 8 seed in the East). Payton should end the season leading all rookies in assists per game, and hopefully he can keep the turnovers down.

The appeal of Andrew Wiggins is very simple, he can do it all. He has proven his explosive 5-stat potential production and has current highs at 31 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks and 4 steals (personal records in scoring, assists and blocks completed in the same game). The number one overall pick has a unique set of skills, as he can score from anywhere on the floor, ranging from threes to driving to the hoop. Look for his scoring numbers to be consistently decent (around 18-20 points per game) as he gains confidence and becomes more acclimated to the NBA. He’s quick enough to beat his man with dribble penetration and if he and his teammates begin to build rapport, he should get assists when they make strategic cuts to the basket. His rebounding numbers may settle around 5-6 per game, especially with the eventual return of Nikola Pekovic, but his assists and steals should increase slightly in the latter half of the season.