As week five in the NBA comes to a close players are showing their worth for your fantasy team. Not all are performing up to standard thus far. Now is the time to identify the dead weight on your fantasy roster and cut it lose.
If you were looking for a bargain in a salary cap league and you stuffed your roster with expensive players leaving only scraps left. These guys might have looked like a decent option; truth of the matter is there are many sleeper picks and players on the rise that can be had for cheap.
A six part series will look at each division and identify the fantasy duds. We are moving now onto the Southwest division where we have identified the following four players who are underperforming. If you drafted any of these guys and are relying on them for fantasy points; cut your losses now and move on.
Eldon Brand – Dallas Mavericks
Elton Brand’s first eight years in the league were defined by consistent double double nights of 20 + points and near double digit rebounds. His career averages are still impressive at 18.1 ppg and 9.3 rpg. Since that time however he has been in steady decline. Last season saw averages of only 11 ppg and 7.1 rpg. Thought was that a change of scenery might do some good and revitalize a career. Turns out that isn’t the case as Brand is struggling mightily in Dallas. Through 15 games, Brand is averaging 22 minutes a night a chipping in with only 6.2 ppg and 6 rpg. For a once feared power forward this is a far cry from acceptable. If Brand is still on your roster, don’t tolerate this production any longer for we are seeing a struggling player who has fallen from the ranks of a fantasy worthy player.
Royce White – Houston Rockets
To paraphrase and completely misappropriate the famous Crash Davis quote from the movie Bull Durham “Come on, Rook. Show us that million-dollar arm, 'cause I got a good idea about that five-cent head of yours”. It may not be sport specific but I think you get the idea. This kid has unreal natural talent but just can’t pull it together and make it happen at the NBA level. Royce White has yet to suit up in a regular season NBA game. He teased us all with his performance in NBA Summer League where he posted 8.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg and 3.6.
In a recent interview with Probasketballtalk, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey stated that it was still worth the Rockets drafting Royce White. While it may be years before we know if that statement will hold true, one thing is true right now; it sure isn’t worth drafting Royce White on your fantasy roster.
Austin Rivers – New Orleans Hornets
The much heralded and over-hyped arrival of Austin Rivers into the NBA after leaving Duke University as a freshman has been a let-down. The lack of court experience and body strength is evident as Rivers cannot compete physically at this level yet. Fortunately the New Orleans Hornets are such a young team with no real playoff expectations that Rivers is afforded some extreme generosity when it comes to his decision making and court time. Should Rivers be on most any other team in the league the playing leash would be a lot shorter for certain.
Through the Hornets first 12 games Rivers is getting over 28 minutes of time a night and only producing at a clip of 7.4 ppg, 2.3 rpg and 3.4 apg and to compound the problem Rivers is shooting a horrific .322 from the field. And a woeful .667 from the free throw line. If one is going to hold one-self out as a shooting guard, you’d think they could shoot. A lack of experience, confidence and physical strength are major hurdles here; he might figure it out by season end but why wait, dump him now and move on.
DeJaun Blair – San Antonio Spurs
DeJaun Blair is just flat out not playing up to expectations. He is inconsistent in his playing time and thusly inconsistent with his on-court production. He has really only had three games where his production has been worth mentioning and each of those games were blowout wins for the Spurs. Blair must produce in more than just garbage time for the Spurs to be successful long-term.
The Spurs have already been stricken by injury as Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Jackson and Manu Ginobili have all missed time already. One would have expected that DeJaun Blair would have seen an increase in court time and production given the shorter bench that coach Popovich is managing. Instead it seems that Tiago Splitter has stepped up and taken the minutes. Through 12 games Blair is averaging only 17 minutes per game, 6.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg and 1.2 apg; stats that are far too low to consider keeping Blair on your roster.