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Second Half Forecast: Can They Keep It Going? - Andrew Ericksen

Everyone loves a good sleeper, someone coming out of nowhere.  It's one of the best feelings when you either draft or pick up the key ingredient to a future playoff run.  Owners of these players have reaped the rewards of their statistical improvements this year, but should we expect these good times to continue?

Jeremy Lin
2010/11 – 2.6 ppg, 9 minutes per game, 1.5 assists, 1.1 steals
2011/12 – 14.4 ppg, 24 minutes per game, 5.8 assists, 1.5 steals

Since taking over the starting point guard spot, the increase in numbers has been even more drastic. Lin’s the biggest surprise story of the first half of the fantasy season, and the question on all Lin owners’ minds is whether or not the magic will continue.  In Carmelo’s first three games back, Lin put together two very solid fantasy outings and then got trounced by the Heat.  Miami put more pressure on Lin than he’s seen so far, and that could be a bad omen for things to come.  If teams take notes on how Miami constantly challenged Lin, the turnovers could keep increasing while the field goal percentage falls, but you’ve got to keep riding the Linsanity until this little theory proves valid. Don’t expect the “unreal” Lin of the first 7 games, but we’re buying in as a very solid #2 PG.

Nikola Pekovic

2010/11 – 5.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 51.7% FGs, 13 minutes per game
2011/12 – 12.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 58.3% FGs, 24 minutes per game

Since Darko went down, Pekovic has been a double-double machine with solid defensive numbers to round out his fantasy repertoire. In three seasons with the Timberwolves, Darko has failed to find any of the consistency; meanwhile Pekovic has showed within the last month and a half that he can be both a fantasy and real life force. Brad Miller is the only other viable center option on the roster, so be happy if you were smart enough to snag Nikola off the waiver wire, because it looks like Minnesota has found the right complement to K-Love up front – Nikola to the rescue!

Ryan Anderson
2010/11 – 10.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.1 threes, 22 minutes per game
2011/12 – 16.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.9 threes, 31 minutes per game

The threes just keep on coming, and there doesn’t seem to be any sign of Anderson’s 6.7 three point attempts per game shrinking at all.  The best news of all is probably that in a season where hard workers are continuously showing their wear and tear with inconsistent outings, all we really need from Anderson is that little flick-of-the-wrist to keep coming.  Sure the 7.3 rebounds are a nice addition, but as long as Anderson keeps jacking up those treys, all is fine.

Jeff Teague
2010/11 – 5.2 ppg, 2.0 assists, 0.6 steals, 13 minutes per game
2011/12 – 12.2 ppg, 4.4 assists, 1.7 steals, 31 minutes per game

Teague has fended off the first wave of veteran point guard Kirk Hinrich’s comeback from injury, but will the rested Hinrich see more of the floor as the Hawks make their playoff push? Teague has been solid, undoubtedly, but he hasn’t by any means won over the position outright. His 4.4 assists in 31 minutes are low for a point guard that doesn’t really take a great deal of shots (10 per game) and outside of his 1.7 steals in the first half of the 2012 campaign, there isn’t really anything to love about Teague so far. If he continues to hold down the starting job, he’s definitely a good player to have, but if he starts losing minutes to Hinrich – who has never been much of lauded fantasy option himself – then other point guard options may have to be found.  

Jarrett Jack
2010/11 – 8.9 ppg, 2.9 assists, 21 minutes per game
2011/12 – 15.1 ppg, 6.4 assists, 35 minutes per game

Jack had shown us before this season he could be an effective fantasy player in a starting point guard position – Portland, Indiana and Toronto – but never before have we seen numbers quite like these. Putting up career bests in points and assists so far this season, Jack has been a great mid-level point guard that does a bit of everything – the 0.8 threes and steals don’t blow you away, but don’t just write them off! Injuries have slowed down the former Yellow Jacket a bit within the past month, but he bounced back nicely despite coming off the bench for his past four games. Expect Jack to continue seeing about 35 minutes a night and keep doing what he’s been doing all season throughout the second half of the year. 

Marcin Gortat
2010/11 – 10.2 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 1.1 blocks, 25 minutes per game
2011/12 – 15.9 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 1.6 blocks, 34 minutes per game

Yep, he was ready for that bigger role.  Right when Gortat was moved to Phoenix a solid fantasy big man was born, but this season Gortat has taken his game to an even higher level.  As one of only four players averaging a double-double with at least 1.5 blocks this year (Howard, Bynum, Marc Gasol being the others), the 28-year-old Gortat has secured his place as a top level big man.  With an extremely thin frontcourt in Phoenix, there shouldn’t be any reason to suspect Gortat’s stellar numbers won’t continue.You’re looking an elite big man down the road.

Second Half Forecast: Will They Bounce Back?