Just call him Brandon Mvp

December, 19, 2008

Folks, Brandon Roy is on quite a run at the moment, and in fantasy terms, it's hard to imagine anyone playing better. Thursday night's 52-point explosion against the Suns (lately, it seems that if you're watching a player, particularly a guard, have a breakout performance, chances are it's happening against the Suns) puts Roy's numbers for the past five games at 36.4 points; 5.6 rebounds; 5.0 assists; 1.8 3-pointers; 1.4 blocks; 0.8 steals; and, remarkably, just 1.2 turnovers. Over that stretch, he is shooting 52 percent from the floor and 88 percent from the line. That last number looks even better when you see that he has attempted 65 free throws in those five games.

To put what he's doing in perspective, he's now sixth in the league overall in Player Efficiency Rating at 25.4 and is neck-and-neck with LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki for lowest turnover rate among any player in the top 15. What all this means, in the wake of the best game of Roy's career, is that we need to acknowledge that Roy is not only one of the best 10 fantasy players in the league, especially in leagues where turnovers count, but is also one of the 10 best players in the NBA. While Portland has a ton of talent right now, there's absolutely no question who the best player on that team is, and as the best player on one of the league's best teams, this 52-point demolition of the Suns should force Brandon Roy's name into the MVP discussion.

So, if you drafted him in the third, fourth or fifth round of your fantasy draft, which many of you likely did, you got a great value. However, there's a big reason Roy's average draft position was 47th: In two years in the league, he already has a bit of an injury history. He missed 25 games in his rookie season and eight games last season. If he does manage to stay healthy for this whole season, that rookie season will look like a fluke, and we'll expect him to play at least 70 or so games per season going forward. If he goes down for any extended stretch this season, he'll continue to be a player we end up undervaluing based on his talent in consideration of his proneness to injuries.

The reason I bring it up is that in these blogs we like to talk about value, and Roy's value will never be higher than it is right now. That means you have to at least consider what you could get in return for him. Kobe Bryant? Deron Williams? Roy is a great all-around contributor, but he's not overwhelmingly good in any single category besides free-throw shooting, so if you're falling behind somewhere, you may have to consider unloading him if you feel like the injury bug could bite him again. On talent, he's worth holding on to, but with his value likely inflated a bit at the moment, it's worth thinking about making a move.

Under the Boards

Fantastic fantasy line for Steve Blake, who played 38 minutes and had 22 points, 10 assists, four rebounds, four steals, and four 3-pointers. I guess that makes up for the fact that he had three terrible games out of the previous four. He's playing way, way over his head this season, and you get the feeling watching that the Blazers would be at least as well off with, say, Sergio Rodriguez running the show. As long as Blake is still the starter, he's going to be of some value in fantasy leagues, but he's throwing up a career high in every shooting category, so I'd expect him to come back to Earth a bit in the coming weeks. … Matt Barnes is having some similar luck for the Suns, shooting 49 percent from the floor and 44 percent on 3s for the season, and Thursday he had 22 points in 29 minutes off the bench. He's great only in the 3-pointers category and is not the force in steals and blocks that I thought he might be coming into the season, but he's owned in only 12 percent of leagues right now! Come on, folks, get on your waiver wire! … Against the Spurs, Jameer Nelson continued his remarkable ascendency into the elite point guard ranks with 24 points, seven assists and four rebounds to go along with 11-for-18 shooting from the floor. He is an absolute force right now in the percentage categories, and does enough other stuff to make him a great value going forward, considering you probably picked him toward the end of your draft.

Seth Landman

Fantasy Basketball
Seth Landman is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.



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