Nuggets guard Chucky Atkins
is making his return from a sports hernia look like Child's Play. Here are his averages in the past two games, along with those of Anthony Carter
—18 points on 60% shooting, 5 three-pointers, 4.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 0.5 steals.Anthony Carter
—10 points on 58% shooting, 1.5 three-pointers, 1.5 rebounds, four assists and 2.5 steals.
Carter, the incumbent starter, is comfortably settled in the land of mediocrity. Owners know what to expect from him, though now that Atkins is healthy they should lower those expectations—Carter hasn't played more than 25 minutes in a game since Atkins' return.
Chucky has some fantasy momentum after his impressive play last week, but will need more playing time if he is to make an impact in average leagues. He's a low-risk source of threes and assists and is at least worth keeping an eye on, given Denver's high-scoring ways (when you score 168 points, everyone gets their share).Charlotte fever—Gerald Wallace
's return is a good thing, right? Well, it is if you own him, but for all the other Bobcats his return has had a concussive impact. He will steal shot attempts from Jason Richardson
, but most damaging is the 38 minutes that he plays per game. Suddenly Matt Carroll
is a non-factor (averaging four points in the four games since Wallace's return) and you can hardly even consider Jared Dudley
any more (averaging less then 8 points and 4 boards post-Wallace). All this despite Wallace slowly working himself into the lineup, averaging just 27 minutes since his return.
The fact that Wallace isn't playing power forward should help the fantasy value of Emeka Okafor
and Nazr Mohammed
, but so far their production has been stagnant. Unfortunately, it will take more than a few extra minutes per game for Mohammed to have value in average leagues.The Bulls—
I admit to being wrong about Drew Gooden
. I argued a few weeks ago that his production in Chicago would be virtually identical to his production in Cleveland, on account of his blue-collar basketball skills. What I apparently overlooked is that having LeBron James
as a teammate was stifling Gooden's game. His first year in Cleveland, Gooden played just 30 minutes per game but managed to set or tie career-highs in points (14.4), rebounds (9.2), free throws made (3.1), free throw percentage (81%), steals (0.9) and blocks (0.9). Those numbers dropped across the board once LeBron arrived in Cleveland.
Now the good news: in his 12 games since joining the Bulls, Gooden has improved his season averages in every single category
, including turnovers. What's most appealing is his versatility—he's snagging 0.7 steals but has raised his blocks to 1.4 per game while shooting 47% from the field, 77% from the line and turning the ball over just 1.3 times per game. Throw in an automatic double-double and he deserves a serious look in deep leagues.
Outside of Gooden, however, the Bulls are a fantasy nightmare. Witness Ben Gordon
log a season low 14 minutes one night, followed by a 31-point performance in the very next game. Andres Nocioni
went from averaging 21 minutes per game since March 1st to a season-low five minutes in the Bulls last game. Kirk Hinrich
has seen his playing time dwindle and was flat-out embarrassed by Chris Paul
in the Hornets recent comeback win in Chicago. He scored zero points in that game and has double-digit points in only one of his last six games. Ugly and uglier.
The Bulls young big men aren't faring much better. Joakim Noah
is averaging 28 minutes per game in March, but hasn't cracked seven rebounds since his 20-board explosion on March 6th. He's easily the Bulls best option at center (I'm not counting Aaron Gray
, since he's playing nine minutes per game in his rookie campaign) and should see close to 30 minutes for the rest of the season. In spite of his short-comings, I still think he should be watched very closely in most leagues.Tyrus Thomas
is similarly disappointing—he recently skipped a practice to have some Chinese food and is obviously upset with his minute role (no pun intended) in the Bulls frontcourt. In sharply descending order, Ben Gordon
, Larry Hughes
and Thabo Sefolosha
all have value, but the Bulls crowded backcourt necessitates a minute-share that fluctuates and is unfriendly for fantasy purposes. Owners have to steer very wide to avoid the train wreck in Chicago.