Of all the factors that go into determining an NBA players' fantasy value, the identity of his coach may be most important. Don't believe me? Just look at Raymond Felton's numbers under Larry Brown… and under Mike D'Antoni.
That's an extreme example, but a particularly appropriate one this week, given the fact that Brown has once again worn out his welcome. He left the Bobcats last week and is being replaced on an interim basis by veteran coach Paul Silas.
Now, Silas isn't exactly D'Antoni or Don Nelson when it comes to offense, but he's been very clear about his plans - he's looking to up the Bobcats' tempo considerably. He's reportedly even using a 14-second shot clock in practice, to get his team used to the idea.
Obviously, the transition will take a little time. But Silas has another factor working in his favor; two key members of his rotation have more than a little experience in fast-paced attacks. Stephen Jackson (98% owned) was the heart of Don Nelson's offense in Golden State, and Boris Diaw (71%) was a do-everything pseudo-center for D'Antoni in Phoenix. In theory, their experience should help the team's transition to a faster-paced style.
That should, in turn, help boost the fantasy profiles of players like D.J. Augustin (76% owned) and Tyrus Thomas (76%), who seem well-suited to a transition-oriented style. And because the three-point shot is always a key component of faster-paced attacks, sniper Matt Carroll (0%) could get a boost as well.
Also worth noting - the Bobcats are expected to be active on the trade front between now and February's trade deadline. If Silas' offense does, in fact, start boosting fantasy values, you might want to keep an eye on players Michael Jordan looks to acquire. The biggest name that's come up so far is Baron Davis (82% owned), which makes some sense - Davis played for Silas as a Charlotte (and New Orleans) Hornet.
A note on position eligibility:
Last week, a reader noted that Taj Gibson isn't listed as a center in Yahoo! leagues, which makes him less viable as a replacement for Joakim Noah. Duly noted. But here's the thing to understand… Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball doesn't have a hard-and-fast rule about position eligibility like you'd see in, say, the average fantasy MLB league.
According to the Yahoo! fantasy basketball help files, "Updates are made during the regular season based on changes to the lineups and official team rosters. Players don't lose position eligibility when moving from one real-life position to another. So, if a forward starts to play regular shifts as a center, he's eligible for the remainder of the season as a forward and a center."
In other words, if Gibson does start in Noah's place as we expect, he should gain center eligibility pretty quickly.
Picks for the Week:
The first set of picks is for players in standard leagues - guys who may be available in your average 10 team/15 player roster league. The second group is for owners in very deep leagues, and will be based more on speculation than actual numbers.
All "percent owned" stats are taken from Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball - your mileage may vary.
Kris Humphries (54% owned) - The Nets have Troy Murphy and third-overall draft pick Derrick Favors on the roster - but Humphries has been their most productive forward this season - by far. And with Favors apparently in Avery Johnson's doghouse for not playing with sufficient energy, and Murphy constantly involved in trade rumors, it seems Humphries will continue to be the Nets' primary four.
DeMar DeRozan (46% owned) - Starting to see some consistency from DeRozan, who has posted double-digit scoring in seven straight games now and averaged over a steal per in that stretch.
Evan Turner (41% owned) - Turner hasn't been particularly impressive to date, but he could get an extended look soon; Andre Iguodala is dealing with Achilles' tendonitis and could miss a few games.
Francisco Garcia (24% owned) - Tyreke Evans could be out for a month, depending on how he decides to treat a recurring case of plantar fasciitis. Garcia would be the primary beneficiary of Evans misses significant time.
Eric Bledsoe (14% owned) - If you think there's any truth to the Baron Davis trade rumors, grab Bledsoe while you can.
Mickael Pietrus (6% owned) - It seems the Suns' new alignment is sorting itself out, with Pietrus winning an increasingly-important role at the expense of Josh Childress.
Andres Nocioni (3% owned) Evan Turner probably has more upside, but Nocioni is actually getting the call to start in Iguodala's place.
Weekend Waiver Deadline?
Don't forget to check the Rotosynthesis blog for updated waiver suggestions every weekend.
Follow Charlie on Twitter - @charliezegers