- Seth Landman, Fantasy Basketball
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It has been, needless to say, a big week for Vince Carter. He has struggled for much of the season, including a completely horrendous month of January, in which he failed to average double figures in scoring and shot worse than 30 percent from the floor. In his past four games, however, Carter is averaging 26.5 points and 5.5 rebounds, and he's garnering some major fantasy buzz as a result.
That's all well and good, but if you are reevaluating your stance of Carter's future prospects based on one four-game stretch (in which he really had only one truly great performance), I'm here to tell you that you might be making a mistake. This season has been a wildly disappointing one for Carter, who, by the way, just turned 33 years old in January. Overall, he's still in the midst of a huge decline in every important statistical category besides turnovers.
The fact Carter is ranked 88th on the Player Rater based on his per-game averages is no fluke, but if you own Carter in a fantasy league, take heart. His perceived value will not be higher at any point this season than it is right now following his 48-point explosion against the Hornets. Sure, Vince might have a few more great games this season, but based on all the information, it seems to me that you'd be much better off with other shooting guards like Jason Terry, Jamal Crawford, or even the underachieving Eric Gordon than you are with Carter.
We already talked about Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and a few others last week. This week, we'll look at some other players who might be worth selling high on before their fortunes dip. Each player's season ranking, based on per-game averages, is in parentheses.
Nate Robinson, PG/SG, New York Knicks (100): Undoubtedly, Robinson has looked a lot better of late since coach Mike D'Antoni inserted him into the starting lineup for the Knicks. He's scoring, making 3s, racking up plenty of assists and getting some steals, too. Still, Robinson is a player who has definitely had some trouble staying healthy (as well as staying in the good graces of his coach), and now, though he's listed as probable, he's dealing with a pulled groin. Add to that the fact he's possibly trade bait for the Knicks and wouldn't have nearly as much value on any other team, and it probably makes sense to deal him now if there are any takers. Possible targets at Robinson's position include Jose Calderon, Brandon Jennings and Lou Williams, depending on which stats you are looking for.
Antawn Jamison, PF, Washington Wizards (76): Forget the fact Jamison is struggling of late, is declining a bit overall and turns 34 this offseason, and just consider what will happen if he gets traded. Jamison's a fantastic player, and if the Wizards trade him I have no doubt that he'll be a valuable contributor wherever he goes, but he's not going to be the best player on his team anymore, and for a guy who depends on a lot of shots to score his 20 points per game, that will be a major negative. Remember, even when he was in his prime and having a great season as a sixth man with the Mavericks back in 2003-04, 30 minutes per game was not enough to make him a very valuable fantasy contributor. Take into consideration the fact Jamison is ranked only 76th as it is, so even if he doesn't get traded, he has not been the player you drafted. Now, after a month of January in which he played huge minutes and put up big numbers, is probably your best chance to deal him for some value. Possible targets at Jamison's position include Jeff Green, Carl Landry, Al Jefferson and Andrei Kirilenko.
Darren Collison, PG, New Orleans Hornets (194): OK, forget about that ranking right away; we all know at this point, even just a couple of weeks into Collison being handed the point guard reins in New Orleans in the wake of Chris Paul's injury, that Collison is a really good point guard. He's ranked in the top 20 during the past week, and has been a great source of points and assists even when we take into consideration the amazing amount of minutes he's been racking up. I'm not advising you to drop Collison, or even to trade him unnecessarily. I just want to point out that Collison is not a very good 3-point shooter, and until playing 47 minutes in a fast-paced game against the Magic on Monday he wasn't very good at getting steals, either. Collison, it's important to remember, is a good player who is getting a huge chance to show what he can do. What he's not, however, is a historically great rookie point guard, which is what he would be if the numbers he was throwing up right now were totally legit. So even though Paul may miss more time than people think, if I could get a guy like Brandon Jennings, Russell Westbrook, Raymond Felton or even Rodney Stuckey for Collison during this hot streak, I'd pull the trigger.
Paul Millsap, PF, Jazz (96): Millsap, like Collison, isn't ranked very high overall this season, and for good reason; he plays the exact same position as Carlos Boozer, who is having a fantastic season despite missing some time here and there. Unfortunately for Millsap, his strengths are pretty much the same as Boozer's -- rebounding, scoring and shooting a high percentage from the floor. Now, with Boozer back in the lineup, Millsap is going to see far fewer minutes (26 on Saturday against the Nuggets and 21 on Tuesday against the Clippers). Fortunately, Millsap's production isn't going to go in the tank. He's capable of throwing up a double-double even in extremely limited minutes. I just think that with the Jazz finally playing really well as a team, it's hard to see them dealing Boozer's expiring contract. As such, I have a feeling that Millsap's going to struggle to be a top-100 player the rest of the way, and if you can deal him for someone who won't (say, Elton Brand, Lamar Odom or Michael Beasley, for example), you may want to go ahead and do so.
Seth Landman is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.
Seth Landman provides a list of players to sell high on now, before performance dips or trades occur.