Looking Ahead: NBA Fantasy Forethought Week 4 (Nov. 17-23)

I am officially heartbroken.

I came into my leagues ready for the draft and my cheat sheets on, fully aware how thin the wing positions are going to be. I knew all the mainstays at the SG and SF will be gone after the second round so I have to look elsewhere.

As far as I can remember, I had the chance to grab Gordon Hayward in every single one of my teams but I didn’t. I don’t know why but I just didn’t and that has got to be the worst decision I have ever made in all of my years playing fantasy basketball.

If you’re a Gordon Hayward owner, you must feel like celebrating right now.

The Utah Jazz swingman has FANTASY SUPERSTAR and BREAKOUT SEASON written all over him but for some reason, I couldn’t quite pull the trigger. Sometimes, I’m thinking the fantasy gods are punishing me but at the end of the day, I only have myself to blame.

Hayward is currently 5th in the Player Rater with lines of 19.2 PPG, 5.5 RPG. 4.8 APG, 1.3 SPG with 1.7 makes from downtown. That’s a first-round value from a presumably fifth-round talent (ADP:47)!

What has been impressive about Hayward’s play in the first 11 games is the efficiency– something that has been lacking in the 24-year-old’s first three years. He has been tearing it up with a 48.3% clip from the field and almost 90% at the charity stripe.

For someone barely shooting above 40% last year as the Jazz first perimeter option, will the former Butler U Bulldog sustain the hot streak?

From all indications, there are no reasons to believe he won’t. He is Utah’s unquestioned leader, so his minutes are going to be there, not to mention the shot attempts and a pretty high Usage Rate. Additionally, the Jazz hasn’t even sniffed enough of Salt Lake City the past few weeks and yet Hayward’s best games so far have been on the road! What could possibly happen if the schedule evens out with more home games soon?

That just made my heart ache some more.

Moving on, here are some players to watch out next week in the latest installment of Fantasy Forethought. And I don’t mean Gordon Hayward (sob).

Nate Robinson

Randy Foye is suffering from a minor knee injury and will be considered day-to-day until further notice. That means the other backcourt reserves will earn extra playing time and look for the diminutive but highly-explosive guard to get the lion’s share. We know how capable Robinson is if given minutes so expect something Chicago-esque (circa 2012) from his production.

Other options: Arron Afflalo has been dropped in over 20% of the leagues by virtue of his painfully slow start but he could pick things up next week with a relatively light schedule against an undermanned OKC Thunder and the owner of the league’s worst defense Los Angeles Lakers.

Anthony Morrow

Jeremy Lamb and Reggie Jackson have been taking the full load of backcourt responsibility for the Thunder but another contributor could be right in the mix. The three-point specialist Morrow has been averaging 16 points in the past three games (including a 28-pt outburst versus Boston last Nov 12) with over 2 makes from downtown. Minutes are going to be there for the veteran as long as their stars are in the hospital ward but Morrow’s emergence probably meant the end of Perry Jones‘ fantasy relevance.

Miles Plumlee/Alex Len

The starting center spot is pretty much Plumlee’s to lose but if he puts himself in foul trouble again, Alex Len‘s double-double against the Clippers is a reminder that he’s not the only center in Arizona. However, the duo is only a deep-league option and you can also look Gerald Green‘s way if you desperately need decent scoring and some 3s.

Manu Ginobili

Appearing here for the second week in a row, the Argentinian southpaw is still available in over half of ESPN and Yahoo leagues. He has done very well in the past three games with averages of 15.7 points, 6 assists, and 1.7 steals during that span, though his shot isn’t quite right yet (39% FG). The Spurs will play Philadelphia, Cleveland, Minnesota and Brooklyn next so it’s not like someone’s going to stop Manu from doing what he does best.

Devin Harris/Jameer Nelson

Very much like the Plumlee/Len situation in Phoenix but a lot tighter, the point guard combo of Harris/Nelson literally split their timeshare though the slight advantage in production goes to the former. Continue monitoring Rick Carlisle‘s preference next week but it’s a safe bet those two will put up pretty decent numbers with matchups against the Lakers and the fast-paced Rockets.

Other options: A very solid deep-league option for blocks is center Brandan Wright. The reed-thin big man is swatting 1.6 shots in only 18 MPG and currently leads the league in FG% at 77%.