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January 22, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy NBA with Tom Carpenter

Tom Carpenter
  (10:59 AM)

I was recently take a trip down memory lane and remembered attending this game between the Bullets and Hawks: http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/199701240ATL.html with some friends. Check out the classic lineups with guys like CWebb, Juwan, Cheaney, Gheorghe, Strickland and Harvey Grant and Mookie, Deke and Smitty -- but it was journeyman Henry James bombing 8 treys for 26 points who stole the show. Some great fantasy sports studs in this game, and you had to love the tight rotations with just six guys on each team playing at least 19 minutes ... Anyway, let's get back into this millennium and on to your questions.

Ryan (Fla.)

Tom with speights being traded to Cavs what kind of value will he have in cat 9 daily? Will be be a good add or just average?

Tom Carpenter
  (11:03 AM)

Ryan, obviously this was just salary dump for the Grizzlies, but an OK player like Speights dumped onto a team that is light on talent makes him worth consideration -- especially in a frontcourt that will be sans Anderson Varejao the remainder of the season. Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller should be locked in as the starters ROS, but Speights could settle in as the first man off the bench. He has a low ceiling (maybe 8-8), but that's good enough to help teams in deep leagues.

Pekonator (Minn.)

Tom any word on when I might return and availability of C.Paul for this week? Thanks

Tom Carpenter
  (11:08 AM)

There Wolves haven't given any updates on Pek the past few days. Based on their initial timeline of 7-10 days, there's a chance he could play this weekend, though with back-to-back games Fri (WAS) and Sat (CHA), it's unlikely he would play both. Too bad, because they are both terrific matchups. CP3 is looking like a game-time call for tomorrow. He didn't look himself Monday, so I'm a bit concerned. Too bad, because the Clips play five games this week. Still, CP3's absence would mean more play for Eric Bledsoe.

Steve (Springfield, IL)

Nikola Pekovic has been a pleasant surprise for me, is the feeling he'll be 100% after the 7 - 10 excused period?

Tom Carpenter
  (11:09 AM)

Steve, bruised muscles (a quad in this case) can linger, but I suspect that he'll be full speed soon after he does return.

ladylove (SF)

h2h points league. time to drop rubio or IT2 for felton?

Tom Carpenter
  (11:11 AM)

I see no sense in holding onto Rubio at this time. With is atrocious FG% and single-digit scoring, the little bit we get from dimes and steals isn't worth it unless you are in a deep league. Felton should be back to action by next week, so go get him.

taking a risk (Massachusetts)

need big man stats, so considering dropping Rubio for Splitter. thoughts, please? thank you!

Tom Carpenter
  (11:13 AM)

Splitter has been solid and reliable, so he is a good play for the foreseeable future if you need big-man stats. I'd definitely rather have him than Rubio.

Steve (Springfield, IL)

The Washington Wizards were horrible to start the season, but the last week or two seem to have found something to spark them. What would that spark be? (and does the future look so grim?)

Tom Carpenter
  (11:16 AM)

Seems pretty simple, Steve: their best player is back. The question from a fantasy standpoint is how soon Wall will get back to form and back into the starting lineup. Working as a reserve, he's averaging 12 fewer minutes per game than last season at this point, though, to his credit, he is posting solid per-minute numbers. If you can handle his shaky FG% and turnovers, Wall still makes for a quality buy-low trade option if his current owner is nervous.

John Wall is Back! (DC)

H2H 9 cat league - would you trade Afflalo for Faried?

Tom Carpenter
  (11:19 AM)

That looks like a win-win trade to me, since they produce the opposite stats. A scorer (Afflalo) for a hustle guy (Faried), seems like an even deal.

Sid (Detroit)

Hey Tom,I currently have rubio and eric gordon. Is it better to drop one of them for Raymond felton or I is the upside for the both of them higher moving foward?

Tom Carpenter
  (11:22 AM)

Hey, Sid. Hope you're staying warm on this icy-cold SE Mich morning. I would definitely swap Rubio for Felton. I see little upside in Rubio until, maybe the waning weeks of the season. Felton should be his usual solid self soon after he returns. While I remain skeptical about Gordon's health, I do think he will be an excellent fantasy contributor when he is on the court. I would trade him before I drop him.

jerry (seattle, wa)

Rank these upside adds: Bledsoe, Seraphin, Bogut or Devin Harris?

Tom Carpenter
  (11:25 AM)

Bledsoe, Seraphin, Bogut, Harris. Even though the Clips appear unlikely to move Bledsoe before the deadline, that could change, which is why I put him at the top. If he lands a starting job, he'll see a huge bump in fantasy value. I like Seraphin a lot, too, but he needs to find steadier minutes. I don't see upside in Harris, even with a boost in minutes, so I'd rather roll the dice on Bogut somehow returning to action.

Doug (Cleveland)

What are your thoughts on Jarrett Jack's recent surge? Good idea to sell high or hold onto him for the upside if/when Curry's ankles give out?

Tom Carpenter
  (11:27 AM)

Good question, Doug. Unlike fantasy football, there aren't many simple handcuffs in hoops, but Jack and Curry are an exception. If you own Curry, you pretty much have to own Jack, who is capable of posting maybe 80 percent of Curry's stats when Curry is sidelined. In other words, I would hold Jack if you have Curry or try to sell Jack to the team holding Curry ... surely you should get good value for Jack in that situation.

Ben (New York)

Please rank these PGs for ROS: Wall, Dragic, Calderon. Thanks!

Tom Carpenter
  (11:29 AM)

Ben, I would go Wall (biggest upside), Calderon (he can't help but post good numbers) and Dragic (he has no one on his team to complete his passes). The risk of Calderon is that he gets traded to a team where he ends up with a reduced role.

John (Fl)

How well do you think Amare Stoudmire will do as the season progress? Will he come near to his 2013 projections of 23 points and 8 rebounds a game?

Tom Carpenter
  (11:33 AM)

Wow, much has changed since I made those projections. My thinking in August was that a healthy Amare who had worked all summer on his post game would create an interesting inside-out game with Melo and the two would find a way to flourish. Since then, Amare missed months, and Melo took over the team and won a bunch of games. In this current scenario, I think we have to accept that Amare is a distant second wheel to Melo and will not be much of a fantasy factor at all, esp coming off the bench. His fantasy value is all tied to volume (huge FGA and FTA totals to max out his excellent FG% and FT%) and he isn't going to get that anymore. I think 15-7 may be his max.

Ersanity Reboundova (Boston)

any chance that Ilyasova gains SF eligibility this year? thanks!

Tom Carpenter
  (11:36 AM)

He'll have to start at SF for a stretch or play a significant SF role for that to happen. Current make up of their roster seems to make that look unlikely to happen.

Silly About Illy (not Turkey, sadly)

expectations/thoughts on Ilyasova, please? thank you!

Tom Carpenter
  (11:38 AM)

Speaking of Illy ... I do think he's going to finish the season on a solid note and am riding it out for now. Hopefully his last game 27-14 and 3 3s is a sign of things to come.

Jake (LA)

So i have Jeremy Lin and im worried about his status atm since he losing minutes to Patrick Beverly. Do you think Lin will lose his starting job? btw, this chat is one of the reasons i love Espn fantasy sports!! thanks!

Tom Carpenter
  (11:42 AM)

Thanks, Jake ... glad you enjoy the chat! The issue here isn't Lin, so much as it is his coach. The fact is that McHale is one of those guys who believes that doghouses and head games are a crucial part of coaching. Some players don't respond well to this approach (Kevin Martin comes to mind), but I think Lin will. Hang onto Lin and expect him to step it up in the coming games.

Billy (NYC)

Singler worth a look in a 12man points league?

Tom Carpenter
  (11:44 AM)

I think that may be a stretch in points leagues, though in a 12-teamer, he may help you fill a hole for the short term. I like him better in roto where he can chip in from beyond the arc. I expect more inconsistency from the rookie ROS, so ride him while he's hot, then move along.

Scott (Austin)

Is Speights a lock for 25+ MPG in Cleveland?

Tom Carpenter
  (11:45 AM)

I wouldn't call it a lock, Scott, but that's right about where he should end up. The opportunity is certainly there.

Andrew (Hutto)

when are the kings going to dump the coach and save IT2 season?

Tom Carpenter
  (11:46 AM)

We'll have to see how this sale transition goes. Perhaps new ownership could grease the wheels on that move. At least Smart appears prepared to tighten his rotation up, which may help Thomas.

Erik (Columbus, OH)

Do you hold on to a guy like Andre Drummond? Do you think his minutes will increase to make him fantasy relevant?

Tom Carpenter
  (11:50 AM)

Absolutely, Erik. He's already an excellent fantasy contributor and can only get better. I haven't had a problem with coach Frank limiting his minutes, but I will if he doesn't give him a significant boost after the All-Star break -- I do think that will happen. For those of you who are ESPN Insiders, be sure to check out this great article from Tom Haberstroh, who shows some stats that compare Drummond to D12's rookie year and makes a case that he could be ROY this season: http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/page/PerDiem-130116/nba-case-andre-drummond-rookie-year

Gene (Baltimore)

Will the p.Gasol 6st man Clark starter continue as advertised and if so would you opt for Clark over Amir Johnson in cat 9 daily?

Tom Carpenter
  (11:54 AM)

That's like asking me whether I think the clown and monkey show will go on before the elephant dance at the circus ... who knows? The Lakers are a circus right now, and no one can predict what will come next. Realistically, since D'Antoni has crossed this bridge officially, I think we can expect Pau to come off the bench for a while now and that means Clark should be a solid play -- so I'd take his hotter hand over Amir. Just wait until you see Robert Sacre on the trapeze!

David (Orlando)

Tom when,and if,all injured players are back with Raptors whould i keep both Amir and E.Davis? If not who'd be the more expendable? Thanks

Tom Carpenter
  (11:57 AM)

Amir is a nice hustle guy. Love his energy and scrappy play. But the Raps see Davis as a guy who may be their long-term answer at power forward to pair up with Valanciunas (assuming they ditch Bargs at some point). I expect them to ride Davis as a starter ROS, so long as he doesn't regress ... and he is capable of producing quality stats in that role. Amir will be his usual role-player self.

Eric (Miami)

Is it worth adding Grainger right now? I would drop Zeller

Tom Carpenter
  (12:00 PM)

I have had extremely low expectations for Granger all season and, unfortunately, he has lived down to them. I thought Paul George would take over as their leading offensive weapon and he has done just that. So, that means a dinged up Granger will come back in a reduced role on offense limiting his fantasy impact. In other words, I still have low expectations for Granger going forward ... but I would consider adding him if you need scoring in case he surprises. I'd add him over guys like Rubio ... but I would hesitate at Tyler Zeller if you need his blocks ... Zeller should remain a solid play ROS with Varejao sidelined.

Big Al (NJ)

Is Derrick Williams worth owning when Pek comes back?

Tom Carpenter
  (12:04 PM)

The real question is whether Williams will be on the team when Pek comes back. the Wolves are openly shopping Williams and giving him extra play to boost his value. He's a good speculative add in case he gets traded to a team bereft of talent, like the Suns, where he could get enough minutes and shots to make an impact. The trouble with his fantasy game, though, is that he provides nothing else beyond scoring ability ... and even that comes with a shoddy FG%. I'd look elsewhere for help.

Tom Carpenter
  (12:05 PM)

Well, once again this has been the fastest hour of my week. Wish we could go on rapping for hours. Make sure to join me next week, same time, same place ... and follow me on Twitter @AtomicHarpua !