Commentary

Forecaster: Opportunity knocks for Foye

Updated: January 8, 2010, 3:44 PM ET
By Neil Tardy | Special to ESPN.com

Gilbert Arenas suspension, fantasy owners are taking another look at Randy Foye. In the Wizards' first game without Arenas, Foye played 29 minutes off the bench, scoring 18 points and hitting a couple of treys against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Jan. 6. That's encouraging enough, and Foye could end up claiming a sizable chunk of the available shots vacated by Arenas.

On the other hand, some factors are working against him here, starting with coach Flip Saunders' long-standing preference for playmaking point guards. There's also the distinct possibility that the Wizards' roster could be further transformed between now and the trade deadline. Finally, I share Adam Madison's fondness for Mike Miller. If he can ever stay healthy, Miller, who's available in about two-thirds of ESPN.com leagues, could really emerge as a strong fantasy factor.

So I'm lukewarm about Foye for the near term. But of course, the Fantasy Forecaster is really about the short term. And for Week 12, Foye looks like a promising addition to your lineup. More in a bit.

Week 12 at a Glance

While Martell Webster is available in more than 90 percent of ESPN.com leagues, a week ago he could be had in more than 99 percent of leagues. That's what three games totaling 67 points and 14 3-pointers will do for a player's fantasy relevance. But no way will Webster do that again in Week 12. And by that, I mean no way will he play in three games. The Portland Trail Blazers go just twice next week. The New Jersey Nets and fantasy bandwagon co-leader Yi Jianlian (who's currently the second-most popular add in ESPN.com leagues) are also looking at a two-game week. Meanwhile, 12 NBA teams play four games in Week 12, including the Detroit Pistons. In five games since his return from injury, Ben Gordon is just 6-of-23 from distance, but this could be the week that he truly gets well. His Pistons face three of the league's worst five teams at defending the 3.

The Forecast: It's Their Week

Rasual Butler, SG/SF, Los Angeles Clippers (@MEM, @NOR, @LAL, CLE): Butler has been in and out of the starting lineup in his first season in L.A., but his minutes and production are edging up, and he appears to fit well with the Clippers. Over his past six games (four starts), Butler is averaging 14.3 points, 2.5 3s and 1.2 blocks. While Lakers and Cavs opponents are 29th and 30th in shooting, if you play in a league of at least 12 teams and are seeking 3-point help, consider Butler's recent success and take the glass is half-full view here. Besides, Memphis Grizzlies opponents are second in shooting, while Hornets opponents are fourth in 3s.

Randy Foye, PG/SG, Washington Wizards (DET, @ATL, @CHI, SAC): During his brief career, Foye has teased fantasy owners with his ability to score points in bunches. If something like that is to happen in Week 12, it would most likely take place in Chicago. The Bulls have been brutalized from downtown in recent weeks, starting roughly on Dec. 17, when the New York Knicks attempted an NBA-record 47 3-pointers (making 16). In the nine games since, Bulls opponents have swished 77 from downtown, a jaw-dropping average of 8.6 per night. Bulls opponents also fare well in steals (ninth most), but, interestingly, are only 24th in shooting percentage. However, this is where the rest of the schedule could suit Foye. Kings, Pistons and Hawks opponents range from eighth to 11th in shooting. (Actually, shooting might not be the best word to use when discussing Wizards players these days.)

Thaddeus Young, SF, Philadelphia 76ers (NOR, NY, SAC): It's odd saying this about a team that heads into the weekend with a 10-24 record, but the Sixers' available talent apparently leaves little opportunity for Young to do much statwise. More simply put, with Andre Iguodala, Allen Iverson, Elton Brand and Lou Williams all healthy, Young will have to make do with 10 shots a night, at most. That arrangement isn't working for him at the moment, as Young is averaging just 7.2 points and 29.5 percent shooting (13-of-44) over his past five games. But if you're sticking with him, it could pay off here. Hornets, Knicks and Kings opponents are all in the top eight in field goal percentage.

The Forecast: They're Weak

Andris Biedrins, C, Golden State Warriors (CLE, MIA, MIL): After registering just a single block over his first four games back from injury, Biedrins swatted five away in only 23 minutes versus the Minnesota Timberwolves on Jan. 6. So it appears he's moving in the right direction (and if you're in one of the 15 percent of leagues where Biedrins is available, you should get moving yourself). Just keep in mind that Wolves opponents are fifth in blocks, whereas the Milwaukee Bucks are the only similarly inviting team on this schedule. Bucks opponents are seventh in blocks, but Miami Heat opponents are only 16th, and Cavs opponents are just 25th.

Devin Brown, SG, New Orleans Hornets (@PHI, LAC, @DET, @IND): While it seems unlikely that Brown will ever be a serious option in standard leagues, him raining 30 points and five triples on the Utah Jazz on Jan. 4 didn't seem very likely either. Given that he averaged 2.0 treys per game in December, Brown offers something in leagues of at least 12 teams. That said, those in weekly lineup leagues should pass here, even with the Sixers on the schedule. Clippers, Pistons and Indiana Pacers opponents range from 17th to 23rd in triples.

Andrei Kirilenko, SF/PF, Utah Jazz (MIA, CLE, MIL, @DEN): It was nice seeing Kirilenko fill up the hustle cats -- four steals and three blocks -- against the Grizzlies on Jan. 6. Really, Kirilenko was pretty productive in November (13.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 48.5 percent shooting, plus the requisite steal and block) until getting sidetracked by injuries. So he's a strong free-agent get, and yes, Kirilenko's availability has climbed past 20 percent in ESPN.com leagues. However, aside from the fact that it's four games, little stands out about this schedule. As you might expect, Cavs opponents (28th in steals, 25h in blocks) are particularly feeble in the hustle categories. Bucks opponents are seventh in blocks though.

Neil Tardy is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.

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Fantasy Basketball
Neil Tardy is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com