As the fantasy NBA basketball season progresses, it seems like my coaching skills are getting worse, not better. Of course, during this time of lower than normal scoring, I find myself going for the slam dunk. In other words, I am looking for the sleeper that will score five or six times more than their values, in the hope that they push me into the big buck scoring range. Unfortunately, even when I have correctly selected those value players, my studs have been letting me down. Last night was no exception and I only managed to score 227.6 fantasy points.

To the contrary, the winning team last for December 19, 2014 had a very strong 387.7 fantasy points. As such, a huge congrats is due to be given to “vegasiscon” and his or her victory, netting a healthy first place prize of $4,000.

$50K Fri NBA Swat Winning Lineup

The Winning Lineup of "vegasiscon"

Point Guard # 1: D. Lillard – This Portland point guard was absolutely huge in his team’s 127 to 119 victory over Sacramento. I have been keen on D. Lillard for most of the year but do not seem to correctly time his scoring outbursts. Last night was one such night and on his way to contributing 57.6 fantasy points, Lillard scored 43 points. The basket must have felt like it was twice the size it normally is as he simply could not miss, even from beyond the three-point line. Lillard also had 6 assists, 2 steals, 3 rebounds, and 1 block, while only committing 4 turnovers. Like he has been virtually all year, Lillard was worth his $8,700 salary.

Point Guard # 2: C. Joseph – C. Joseph has been the primary benefactor of increased playing time when his team’s studs take a night off, whether for rest or due to an injury. Unfortunately, he has not been able to take full advantage of the opportunity and typically only lands 15 to 20 points. On this occasion, however, Joseph stepped up a bit and knocked down an impressive 29.1 points for the winning team. That fantasy score consisted of 7 assists, 10 points, 8 rebounds, and only 1 turnover. Certainly not bad on his lower than average salary of $4,800.

Shooting Guard # 1: J. Johnson – J. Johnson was another reason for vegasicon’s huge night. On his salary of $6,500, Johnson contributed huge fantasy points, almost breaking 40 at 39.3. In doing so, Johnson has 26 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block. Of course, he would have had over 40 fantasy points but for his five turnovers. With that said, five turnovers are tolerable as long as his production is at such a high level.

Shooting Guard # 2: A. Bradley – With his or her choice of A. Brady, vegasicon showed exactly what is needed to take home first place. Indeed, despite Bradley’s cheap salary of $4,400, he had 38.5 points, including 14 points, 7 assists, 3 steals, 5 rebounds, and 1 block. Making the night even better, Bradley did not commit any turnovers. Bradley’s performance certainly merits further looks in the future, especially since Rondo has been traded.

Small Forward # 1: S. Muhammad – S. Muhammad is no longer a secret in fantasy coach circuits. In fact, Muhammad was owned by 26.9% of coaches last night, despite the fact that there were a whole slew of games to choose from. That kind of percentage owned is typically reserved for the league studs during favorable matchups. Muhammad made it all worthwhile scoring 37.5 fantasy points, including 26 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds, while only being guilty of 2 turnovers.

Small Forward # 2: R. Covington – R. Covington is also no longer a secret and was owned by 26.4% of the coaches. Like Muhammad, Covington paid dividends, albeit he was not as profitable. In fact, based on his $5,300 salary, Covington was the only real dud on the winning team last night. He scored 22.9 fantasy points, knocking down 19 points, 2 blocks, 2 rebounds, and 1 assist. Covington had 4 turnovers.

Power Forward # 1: L. Aldridge – L. Aldridge is an out and out stud. He plays at such a high level on a regular basis, it is amazing that more fantasy coaches do not start him, despite his healthy salary of $9,700. Last night, of course, that salary was a bargain as Aldridge contributed 62.2 fantasy points. Aldridge had a double double with 32 points and 16 rebounds. He also had 5 steals, and 2 blocks, while only committing 3 turnover.

Power Forward # 2: T. Duncan – Fantasy coaches have been waiting all year for Tim Duncan to start playing like everyone knows he is capable. Duncan certainly delivered last night and if it was not for the turnover he committed, Duncan would have scored over 60 fantasy points. Instead, he “only” scored 59.5 points, including 32 points, 10 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Congrats on the double double Mr. Duncan! Let’s see more soon!

Center: K. Olynyk – Rounding off the winning team for December 19, 2014 is K. Olynyk. While he was benched earlier in the year for his poor performance, he has been contributing nicely of late, including last night’s score of 37.1. That fantasy output included 21 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 block.

My December 19, 2014 NBA Swat Lineup

Point Guard # 1: R. Westbrook ($10,800) – 53. My only player that showed up.

Point Guard # 2: J. Wall ($10,100) – 34.2. Disappointing.

Shooting Guard # 1: A. Afflalo ($5,500) – 21.4.

Shooting Guard # 2: B. Beal ($6,600) – 29.4.

Small Forward # 1: B. Bogdanovic ($3,500) – 1.2. Seriously? With a score like that, Bogdanovic may earn a spot on my “never start” list.

Small Forward # 2: S. Muhammad ($5,500) – 37.5. My only player from the winning team.

Power Forward # 1: K. Humphries ($5,100) – 6.9. Ugh.

Power Forward # 2: U. Haslem ($3,500) – 18.8. Wow…

Center: A. Drummond ($8,900) – Only 25.2. This center is typically good for a bunch of points. Of course, with the way my team performed last night, this low score make perfect sense!