Fratello’s Fantasy Pick: Brandon Bass

When Orlando signed high-energy forward Brandon Bass last year, they were hoping to gain another athletic body to bolster their front line, help them on the glass and add depth to their bench.

Unfortunately the highly sought-after free agent wound up sitting at the end of the bench at first because he didn’t fit into the offensive mold that head coach Stan Van Gundy was using. Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis could stretch defenses with their 3-point shooting ability, but Bass doesn’t have that kind of range.

Bass worked hard to polish up his offensive game and, with Turkoglu gone, Stan gave him some chances to prove himself as the season progressed. Bass performed well and earned Stan’s trust over time, along with more minutes. A consistent mid-range shooter and a solid defender, Bass has become a valuable part of Orlando’s rotation.

Last week a virulent case of the flu wiped out a third of the Magic’s roster including Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson, JJ Redick and Mickael Pietrus. Bass came off the bench and scored 17 points in the Magic’s win over Chicago. He followed up with an impressive effort against Detroit on Friday, hitting 11-of-12 shots for a career-high 27 points to go along with 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block.

It’s taken Brandon Bass a little while to fit in, but he’s playing well of late and his numbers are on the rise. Bass is averaging 10.7 points and 5 rebounds per game so far this season. He is logging about 21 minutes per game on average and will earn more court time if he continues to contribute. Tonight Orlando kicks off a four-game week against the Hawks at home before heading out West for a road stretch.

Fratello’s Fantasy Pick: Thabo Sefolosha

Born in Vevey, Switzerland, Thabo Sefolosha fits right in with his fellow cast of characters on the Oklahoma City Thunder, whose athleticism and ability to run have enabled their young squad to rank among the best in the competitive West.

A role player who has been key to the Thunder’s success, Sefolosha joined superstar Kevin Durant and starting center Nenad Krstic on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s 2010-11 NBA Preview. He’s a long, athletic player who prides himself on playing aggressive team D. Sefolosha hustles, gets stops and rebounds the ball, doing his part to refute foreign players’ reputations for being soft on defense.

Now entering his fifth NBA season, his third with OKC, we may not have seen how complete a player he is yet. Sefolosha is a raw talent who, depending on how hard he works, could develop into something interesting as he matures and gets more experience in the league. He will continue to get better as he rounds out his game.

Sefolosha posted double-doubles in two of his past four contests – going for 13 points and 11 rebounds against the Wolves followed by 13 points and 10 rebounds against the Pacers last week.

A multiple-position player, Sefolosha is averaging about 6 points and 5 rebounds in 30 minutes per game. He’ll get you a couple assists, a steal and even the occasional block. He’s available in most fantasy leagues, and Oklahoma City plays 4 games this week.

Fratello’s Fantasy Pick: Kris Humphries

One of four players to return from last season’s roster, seventh-year power forward Kris Humphries has worked his way into the starting rotation for the Nets. A good compliment to Brook Lopez, Humphries brings physicality and toughness to the Nets’ front line.

Coach Avery Johnson has done a very good job of communicating to Humphries what he wants out of him and how he can contribute to help his team get wins. Humphries has followed his new coach’s instructions to a T and executed what he’s been asked to do, making a difference on both offense and defense.

Having matured as an offensive player, Humphries has shown patience this season in waiting for high-percentage shots. On Friday he scored a team-high 18 points against the Kings, going 9-for-12 from the field.

Humphries has also been effective in the paint on D. He adds a solid presence to the interior of the Nets’ defense and has done a good job guarding his opponents’ front-line scorers. Moreover he’s been a force on the glass for New Jersey, rebounding the ball on both ends of the floor. Earlier this season Humphries helped snap a five-game losing streak with 13 points and a career-high-tying 18 rebounds against the Cavaliers.

Humphries is averaging 8 points and 7 rebounds per game and is available in around 70% of fantasy leagues. The Nets kick off a four-game week against the Hawks at home on Tuesday night.

Fratello’s Fantasy Pick: Toney Douglas

Fantasy news travels fast, so many owners made moves following Toney Douglas’s fireworks display against the Bulls on Thursday. Douglas helped lead New York to a 120-112 win over Chicago with his 30-point performance, going 5 of 9 from 3-PT range in 31 minutes. Douglas followed up with two more solid showings, racking up 19 points and a career-high 10 rebounds against the Wizards on Friday and 17 points against the Sixers on Sunday.

The Florida State graduate was drafted 29th overall by the Lakers in 2009. After acquiring Douglas from LA, the Knicks had the patience to develop the young rookie and it looks like their investment is starting to pay off already. Up to this point in his sophomore effort Douglas has shown a consistent scoring touch and steady improvement in his shot-making ability. Maybe the greatest news for the Knicks is that Douglas talks about wanting to be the best defensive player on the team.

Douglas does a little bit of everything and is averaging 16.5 PPG, 4.2 RPG and 2.2 APG in 27.7 minutes. Though he comes off the bench, he’s logging starter minutes (first-string SG Landry Fields is averaging 8.7 PPG in 25 MPG). So it may only be a matter of time before he moves into the starting lineup. The Knicks play four games this week, giving Douglas ample opportunity to add value to your roster.

Fratello’s Fantasy Pick: James Jones

If you’re on the market for a long distance shooter, eight-year veteran James Jones fits the bill. That’s his job – to hit threes.

Jones went on a shooting spree in Philadelphia and sank six of nine from behind the arc en route to 20 points in Miami’s win over the Sixers last week.

Though he will not put up double digits on a consistent basis, Jones ranks high in three-pointers attempted and made. The tall, athletic forward will also get you a couple rebounds and an assist here and there.

Jones possesses a rare ability to come off the bench and get into the flow of the game and hit shots right away.

Filling in for Mike Miller, who recently underwent thumb surgery to repair a torn ligament and fracture, Jones is going to get a lot of open looks compliments of D-Wade and LeBron driving to the basket and kicking out.

As long as Jones keeps knocking down shots his minutes will continue to increase. But bear in mind that Mike Miller is due back at the beginning of January, so coach Erik Spoelstra will have to decide which of his shooters will keep getting court time.