The Bigger They Are, The Harder They Fall: Fantasy Clicks
Yao Ming: AP
Yao Ming missed last night's game due to soreness in his left foot.
Yao was quoted in the Houston Chronicle saying he was "fine, so fine." And the Rockets said he was held out of the contest for "precautionary reasons."
Um, anyone buying that at face value? Me either.
This is the same foot that cost him the final 27 games of last season. And keep in mind that there was literally no sign of anything being wrong with Yao before they announced he was done for the season. Also keep in mind that he hasn't topped 57 games in a season since the '04-05 campaign. And that he's a freak in size at 7-foot-6, 310 pounds. That means that his abnormally large body is taking on an unbelievable amount of stress on his bones and ligaments.
If you drafted Yao, I'd recommend moving him quickly once he gets in a couple of big games upon his return before the big man falls hard on your fantasy campaign.
It's early in the fantasy hoops season, so don't overreact if things aren't going right for all of your players. I recommend waiting until the first four weeks have passed before you really start to assess your place in the standings, because taking any stretch of a week or two or out of the season doesn't give you a legitimate look at what your team is really doing. It doesn't account for the typical ups and downs.
However, when looking at the performances of individual players, you may be able to get a read on some elements early on.
For instance, you can consider some players who are shooting terribly from the field right now, like Hedo Turkoglu (38.3 percent) or Stephen Jackson (37.3 percent). You know that basically no NBA player will shoot that poorly for the season, so it's safe to assume their field-goal shooting will rise.
Turkoglu shot 45.6 percent from the field in his breakout season last year and has hit 43 percent for his career, so his average should rise significantly.
Jackson, on the other hand, hit just 40.5 percent of his shots last season and only 41.7 for his career, so you can expect his to rise some, but it's still going to be poor enough to drag your team's field-goal shooting down.
Bills receiver Lee Evans was one of the more reliable fantasy options in the first half of the season. He had at least 65 yards in each of his first seven games, topped 100 yards twice and had long receptions of at least 33 yards in all but one of those contests. Evans also had a three-game TD streak heading into week eight and caught 15 passes combined in Week 7 and Week 8.
Since then, he fell off the fantasy map. In Week 9, he caught four passes for 41 yards and no TDs; in Week 10, he had two for 22 and no scores; and last week, he hit rock bottom against a poor Browns D, when he failed to catch any passes.
There's a clear connection to Evans' downturn and the shaky play of his quarterback, Trent Edwards, who had three interceptions in his first seven games and seven interceptions in his past three games.
Edwards also hasn't been looking for Evans with the long ball, as Evans' long catches the past three games are just: 19 (Week 9), 15 (Week 10) and 0 (Week 11).
The good news is that the odds of Evans turning things around are solid, because the Bills' upcoming schedule includes some porous defenses (in order, beginning with this week): Chiefs, Niners, Dolphins, Jets, Broncos, and Pats.
Evans pulled in seven catches for 116 yards against the Dolphins in Week 8, and the other Ds leading up to the finale against New England are sketchy.
Look for Evans to rebound and finish the season strongly.
Anthony Morrow: Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Anthony Morrow, the Warriors' undrafted rookie from Georgia Tech, dropped 37 points on 15-of-20 shooting on the Clippers Saturday, then drilled the Blazers with another 25 points on 8-of-12 shooting Tuesday night. He also hit eight of 10 three-point tries in those two games.
The odds of him keeping up this pace or even his two-game starting job for long are slim at best. That's mostly because Don Nelson has no patience at all for young guns who aren't holding their own on the court, which means that he'll have a short leash when he hits the inevitable rookie bumps in the road.
On the other hand, any time a relative nobody puts up a couple of games like this on a run-and-gun team, you had better snag him off waivers and ride him while you can. The Warriors face sketchy defenses in the Bulls, Sixers and Wiz over their next three contests, so he could stay hot the rest of the week.
If he can do something against the Celtics next Wednesday and the Cavs next Friday, then you'll know he's legit.
Some $65 million reportedly went to bookies when the NFL officiating crew made the incorrect ruling on the final play of Sunday's Steelers-Chargers game. The Steelers would have picked up a touchdown on a turnover, which would have given them enough points to cover the spread. But, alas, they earned a win over the Chargers but didn't beat the spread.
Of course, all everybody talked about in the mainstream media were the bookies and degenerate gamblers who won or lost money.
But what about us? What about the degenerate fantasy junkies who won or lost games and maybe (at this late point of the season) a shot at the postseason with that call?
I have the Steelers in all of my fantasy leagues, so I was jumping up and down screaming in joy when they scored. I managed to not throw anything at the TV when the score mysteriously vanished as CBS cut to the 60 Minutes interview of President-Elect Barack Obama.
Luckily, I won all of my games anyway, but my heart goes out to those who took it on the chin.
The Steelers have a nice juicy matchup Thursday against the Bengals. Maybe they'll make up for it and get a TD this week.