C.J. Miles Jazz
Miles scored 20 points to go along with a couple steals and a 3-pointer on Saturday night, but that's only half the story. Starting small forward Raja Bell left with a groin injury and wasn't able to return to the game. Bell's hold on the starting job was sketchy to begin with, and groin injuries are usually bad news in the NBA. With Josh Howard struggling to return from a quad injury of his own, Miles appears to be the best (and only) option to take over for Bell, assuming he's going to miss time. Miles was already playing pretty well off the bench, hitting doulbe digits in six of his last eight games, and while he won't produce in a ton of categories, could certainly give your team a boost in scoring, while also helping in steals and threes.
James Johnson Raptors
I think we’ve covered this guy pretty heavily, but he’s still available in many leagues. In summary, his season highs are as follows:
While he’s been a bit hit and miss all year, Bargnani’s absence is going to work in JJ’s favor, although he was already starting for the Raptors, and getting heavy minutes. Find a way to get him on your team, unless you already struggle to score points. He’s averaging just six points thus far.
Nicolas Batum Blazers
Batum has put up monster numbers when he gets minutes and been a bit disappointing when he is limited to about 20 mpg. But he is blocking shots, stealing the ball, knocking down threes and rebounding, making him a potential fantasy beast. He becomes more of a must-own player when Marcus Camby is hurt, but as long as Camby is healthy, Batum has trouble getting enough minutes. He’s still a guy worth stashing if you have room.
Chandler Parsons Rockets
Parsons was on his way to being dropped in many leagues before Wednesday’s big line of 16 points, seven boards, five assists, two steals and two blocks. He didn’t hit a three that night, but has 10 of them on the season. He’s not a must-own player, but is averaging eight points, six boards with a steal, a block and an occasional 3-pointer, which might be enough to help your team.
Derrick Brown Bobcats
Brown is a default starter for the Bobcats right now and had 10 points and five rebounds on Wednesday. If he stays in the starting unit, and he could, he could end up averaging 12 points and six rebounds, so just keep an eye on him if you need a forward.
Austin Daye Pistons
Daye scored 18 points - in the second quarter! He finished with a career-high 28 points and four 3-pointers, along with six rebounds, but got the extra minutes because Tayshaun Prince and Ben Gordon were out. Maybe this will change the mind of Pistons' coach Lawrence Frank, but Prince will be back for the next game and should remain the starter. I'm going to predict that this is Daye's highlight of the season, and while I don't think he's a must-add except in deeper leagues, he's at least worth keeping a close eye on going forward. He was getting just 12 minutes and three points a game, so I doubt Larry is ready to bench Prince and turn Daye loose. I'd love to see it happen, but I am guessing Daye is fool's gold right now.
Tyrus Thomas Bobcats
Thomas exploded for 13 points, nine rebounds, four steals and nine blocks on Wednesday. I've been preaching for owners to hang onto Thomas specifically for a night like this. The problem is that he does this a couple times a year, gets everyone worked up and then ends up being a monumental disappointment the rest of the way. There's a good chance that could happen again, but he's healthy and getting a ton of minutes for Charlotte. It could end up being another false alarm, but Thomas should be grabbed in all leagues at this point.
Carl Landry Hornets
Landry has suddenly become the top power forward option in New Orleans, as Chris Kaman has been put on the bench, in the doghouse, or whatever else you want to call his disappearing act. Landry is not a great rebounder and doesn’t block shots, but has scored between 15 & 19 points in his last three games. Jason Smith is the starter, but Landry’s the guy to own.
Ersan Ilyasova Bucks
Ilyasova exploded for seven points and 19 rebounds on Wednesday and is averaging 11 points and nine boards over his last five games. And when you add in the fact that Andrew Bogut will miss eight to 12 weeks with a broken ankle, EI looks like a must-own player, along with Drew Gooden (see centers).
Amir Johnson Raptors
Johnson should see a boost in minutes for as long as Andrea Bargnani is out. He’d fallen out of favor lately and saw a drop in minutes, but could be ready to turn it on again with the Raptors thin up front. He can score, board and block shots, and while I like Kleiza, Gooden and Ilyasova more, Johnson could end up being the sleeper of the bunch.
Gustavo Ayon Hornets
Maybe you’ve never heard of him, but Ayon had 16 points, three steals and a block in 17 minutes on Wednesday. He’s had a few nice games this season, but is far from reliable. But if you’re in a very deep league, he could be worth a look now that he’s getting some of Chris Kaman’s minutes.
Drew Gooden Bucks
Gooden posted big numbers the last time Bogut was out, but is only averaging eight points and five boards on the season. He had 11 points, two board, three steals and a block on Wednesday, when Bogut went down, and played 28 minutes in that one. If he starts at center, he should be able to average 15 points and nine rebounds, which is what he’s averaging for the season when starting at center. He’s a must-own player in my book.
Tiago Splitter Spurs
Splitter is hot for the Spurs despite coming off the bench. He had 16 points, eight boards and a block on Wednesday and has hit double figures in five straight games. He also scored 25 points last Saturday, and while I don’t really trust him or Gregg Popovich, Splitter can be grabbed in almost any league for now.
Chuck Hayes Kings
Hayes is due back on Saturday for the Kings, but will join a crowded front court. He averaged about six points and eight rebounds before going down with a shoulder injury and should be able to do so again. He’s not a must-own player, but if you need big-man help, he should offer it.
Derrick Favors Jazz
Favors started for Al Jefferson, who could miss time with ankle tendinitis. Favors had 16 points, 12 boards and a block on Wednesday, but if Jefferson plays on Friday night, Favors should go back to being a forgotten man on the Jazz bench.
Bismack Biyombo Bobcats
Biyombo is flirting with having value right now and has blocked 29 shots this season. Scoring and minutes have been wildly inconsistent, but if you need blocks, he might be the best thing available on your waiver wire. And if/when the Bobcats fall out of the playoff hunt, they simply have to turn Biyombo loose.