Houston, we have a (major) problem
Kevin McHale is getting all kinds of props for guiding the Rockets to a 16-11record and three straight wins, the last two coming back-to-back and on the road at Portland and Phoenix. In reality, this is all good, but in fantasy, he’s causing some major headaches due to his random rotations and his love of his bench.
Kevin Martin has been put into the doghouse, and played just 15 & 13 minutes in his last two games. I have no idea if or when Martin is going to return to form, but McHale has said he’s going to reward the guys who actually earn minutes, and don’t just show up for work. Apparently Kev-Mart falls into the “just showing up” group, along with Samuel Dalembert. Heck, even Luis Scola got just 23 minutes on Thursday, less than five guys who came off the bench. And the fact they’re winning isn’t helping our cause. Kyle Lowry, Scola, Goran Dragic, Chase Budinger, Courtney Lee, Jordan Hill and Patrick Patterson are McHale’s guys right now, while Martin, Dalembert, and to some extent Chandler Parsons are struggling. I guess you have to bench Martin and Dalembert until they get back in McHale’s good graces again, while rolling the dice on the bench brigade will be tricky. Good luck, if you own any of these guys. And as tempting as it might be to cut Martin, you just can’t do it. Dalembert’s another story though, and has been slumping for nearly two weeks. If you can drop him for Chris Kaman, it makes sense.
Milwaukee, we have a logjam
Carlos Delfino blew up for 25 points, nine boards, four steals and six 3-pointers on Wednesday, while Stephen Jackson and Mike Dunleavy also played more than 30 minutes and posted solid numbers. I have no idea how Skiles will be able to continue to play them all 30 minutes a night, and the fact that he’s trying is likely the reason for Brandon Jennings’ slump. I’m fine with using any of these four players in fantasy right now, but just know that someone is going to take a serious hit soon. We just don’t know who it will be. Let’s see what happens on Friday night at Cleveland, but right now Jennings is a must-start, Delfino should be ridden while he’s hot, and Dunleavy and Jackson could also be solid options in most leagues. Just know that at least one of them is going to start struggling, and Scott Skiles won’t hesitate to ride the hot hands, whichever bodies they happen to be attached to.
Jason Kidd Mavs – I am not a Kidd fan, and am not rushing out to pick him up, but he’s available in nearly 60 percent of all leagues and is due back any day. If you need threes, steals and assists, go for it. Just be prepared for him to rarely score more than five points in a game, as well as be a serious injury risk. He can still play, but there’s a reason (or several of them) that he’s probably available in your league.
Ramon Sessions Cavs – Kyrie Irving’s concussion will keep him out over the weekend and leave his status in some doubt for next week, but Sessions is clearly a short-term add. He went off for 24 points and 13 dimes on Wednesday, and is owned in less than 20 percent of fantasy leagues. And if he happens to get traded to the Lakers or Miami, look out.
Goran Dragic Rockets – Dragic initially looked like a bust for those of us who picked him up and put him in lineups for Thursday’s game, as Kyle Lowry was able to play through his elbow injury. But Kevin McHale’s rotation and lineup, as documented above, is a train wreck, and Dragic came through with 11 points, four boards, 11 assists, two steals and a three last night, and could continue to get plenty of run regardless of the health of Lowry. And yes, this is bad news for Lowry, in case you were wondering.
Greivis Vasquez Hornets – I will be the first to admit that I dropped Vasquez in several leagues after Wednesday’s dud, when Jarrett Jack returned and pulled the sheet from under Vasquez and the roll he was on. But it was one game and he didn’t play well, hitting just 2-of-7 shots for five points and four dimes in 20 minutes. But there’s still a possibility of a timeshare here, and the Hornets just didn’t look great with Jack running the show coming off a knee injury. I still think Jack is the guy to own here, but if you’ve got Vasquez, or want to pick him up, it might be a good idea to sit on him for a few more games and see how this plays out. Coach Monty Williams isn’t exactly running a stable rotation in New Orleans, so anything’s possible. Update: Late news on Friday broke that Jarrett Jack is out, meaning Vasquez will start. The run is clearly not over.
Jameer Nelson Magic – Nelson is owned in less than 40 percent of ESPN leagues, but has scored 15 & 12 points in his two games since returning from a concussion. He also had 12 dimes in one of those games, and zero in the other. Yes, he has struggled this season, but you know he’s going to be out there with Dwight Howard every night and could finally be ready to get it going.
Devin Harris & Earl Watson Jazz – The point guard situation in Utah has been a mess all year, but both of these guys should be watched closely from night-to-night, and I have still not given up on Harris, despite his awful season.
Steve Blake Lakers – He’s back from his rib injury and played 32 minutes on Thursday. He struggled, but once he’s back up to speed, could be a sneaky addition in deeper leagues if the minutes stick - and they should.