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Saturday December 15, 2007 3:19 am

Beyond the Arc: Week 8

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So, yeah, this is the debut of this column.  I hope everyone likes it, as I’m filling in for Dennis Velasco and his “Fantasy Jump-Off,” because he has decided to take a leave of absence of sorts from the fantasy basketball world for bigger and better things.  Best of luck to Dennis, and a big thanks from me and anyone who has ever worked with the guy or read his stuff and used it.

The Fig Cap: Now that is a sweet ‘do.

But anyways, let’s get started.  Here is the team-by-team breakdown for the upcoming week (Dec. 17-23):

Four games: Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz
Three games: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Bobcats, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Hornets, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trailblazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Washington Wizards
Two games: Seattle Supersonics

So in short, LeBron James, Tracy McGrady, Yao Ming, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard good, Kevin Durant bad.  Avoid the rookie swingman and anyone else on that squad if at all possible this week.

Hot

Chris Paul is averaging just shy of 30 PPG in the month of December.  Add 9.5 dimes and a little over 4 rebounds a game, and what do we have?  A stud.  It looks like he’s been benefiting with Peja Stojakovic and Morris Peterson out.  The only drawback?  He plays one less game than, say, Baron Davis for this period.

Speaking of B-Diddy, how about the tear he’s been on?  He fell really far down in a lot of drafts for injury concerns, and granted it’s only December, but he’s healthy and kicking more tail than Chuck Norris in a bar fight.  His scoring is down this month, just under 20 a game, but keep in mind his favorable schedule this week.

Like the point guard theme?  So do I.  Let’s talk about Allen Iverson for a few.  Does anyone realize the year HE’S putting up?  Another guy that slipped, but looks like the best fantasy player on his team (which is saying a lot, mind you).  The Answer has been a dime-dishing machine lately, recording double-digit assist totals Thursday and Saturday, and still putting up 35 and 23 points respectively.  And that’s on the heels of a 51 point game (where he STILL had 8 assists).  Solid.

Now for a big guy, we go to Toronto.  He’s back people, and back in fashion.  Yes, Chris Bosh is on a torrid pace right now.  Since injury, 20.5 PPG, 11.5 RPG, 5 total blocks in two games.  That is what you drafted him in the second round for.  Be thankful he’s back.

And once again Chris Kaman makes a “who’s hot” list.  Dude is on fire, shooting over 51% on the month, while grabbing almost 15 rebounds a game.  And 24 blocks in December already.  Nuts.  Eat that up while Elton Brand is out, but think about dealing him soon at peak value.

Honorable mention for this section goes to Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, John Salmons, Josh Howard, and Brandon Roy.

Cold

After a hot start, Andrei Kirilenko has slipped back into that “I bet you’re glad you didn’t gamble on me” category.  We’re talking less than 10 points, 6 dimes, and 5 boards a game in recent weeks.  Yuck.

How about Eddy Curry?  In his three games prior to Wednesday, he’s scored a whopping total of 24 points with 10 rebounds.  And he’s 33% from the line.  Stud huh?  Another center is playing pretty crappy in the Bay Area.  Al Harrington has put up 24 points and 15 rebounds with no blocks and bad shooting in his last three contests.  Another big yuck.

To a lesser degree Ray Allen is also struggling in Beantown.  Although he will likely finish tops in threes made this year, he’s REALLY struggling from the field.  He’s shooting 38% in December, with virtually no assists and less than a steal a game.  He’s also slipped to 16.5 PPG for the month.  Of course you drafted him for threes (1.8 a game over that period) so who am I kidding.

One of the hottest pickups of a few weeks ago is officially droppable.  After a few hot weeks, Andray Blatche can be sent packing.  Outside his 19 points against Phoenix last week, he hasn’t reached 10 points since November 23.  I only mention him because I have heard of people who are still hanging on to the guy.  Don’t be one of them.  Drop him.

Injury Report

Of course you all saw the TJ Ford injury.  Hopefully everything there turns out ok after a scary moment.  He is out of the hospital and reportedly doing pretty well, but don’t count on a return in the next few days at least.

LaMarcus Aldridge has plantar fasciitis.  Not good.  It could be a couple days, a week, a couple weeks, we just don’t know.  The worst part is, it’s the lingering type of injury that could end up making him miss more time later on. 

Tim Duncan is still out.  He should be back any day though, so keep running him out there.  We expect this sort of thing from an aging big dude like the Big Fundamental though.

Mehmet Okur missed Wednesday’s game with a shoulder.  No word as of Wednesday night on the status of that.  Keep an eye on Paul Millsap for now though.

So there we have it.  Email me some hate (or love, that would be nice) and have a good week.

Brandon Haraway is a lead contributor for DroppingDimes.com and the owner of The Fantasy Lounge.  You can email him at Brandon.Haraway@fantasyloungesports.com.

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Comments:

New name, new writer, same good stuff!

That AI pick looks like it should be a movie poster.

The SuperMax redemption: starring Allen Iverson.

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