Randy Foye Clippers – Foye started on Wednesday and had 15 points, two assists, a steal and a 3-pointer in the loss. That’s a pretty good start though, and it looks like he could keep the job all season, especially after reading this nonsense from Mo Williams (great column). Remarkably, Foye is still only owned in 11 percent of ESPN leagues, while Mo’s available in zero leagues.
MarShon Brooks Nets – Brooks could play on Friday night after missing seven straight games with a fractured toe and Achilles problem. He’s only owned in 20 percent of leagues out there right now, and looks like a must-add player to me. He’s averaging 15 points, four boards, a 3-pointer and a steal, and should move right back into the starting lineup upon his return.
Iman Shumpert & Landry Fields Knicks – Fields is probably owned in your league, but Shumpert may not be. Both are spending time at shooting guard and small forward with the loss of Carmelo Anthony, who should be out at least another week. It’s just one game, but Fields had 16 points and eight boards in Wednesday’s win at Washington, while Shumpert had 17 points, four rebounds, three steals and a 3-pointer. Shumpert wasn’t great at point guard for the Knicks, but could be a much better fantasy option coming off the bench and playing off the ball at several positions.
J.R. Smith (and Wilson Chandler) – News is breaking on Friday afternoon that Chandler’s Chinese team eliminated Smith’s from the playoffs, meaning Smith could be here shortly after his season ends on Feb. 15. The Knicks, Lakers, Clippers, Thunder and Timberwolves have all been mentioned as possible destinations, but it’s hard to tell fact from fiction right now. But it sounds like Smith will be here a lot sooner than Chandler will be, as he’ll have to stick around for the playoffs. Just like every other year at this time, Smith will be a hot pickup, play inconsistently with some massive lines mixed in, end up in his coach’s doghouse, and then start the cycle all over again. If you’re desperate for a 3-point shooter, go ahead and stash him now. Chandler is expected to sign with the Nuggets as a restricted free agent, but it could get complicated with FIBA, his free agency status and the new CBA. Stay tuned.
Ben Gordon Pistons – Gordon quietly returned from a 10-game absence due to a shoulder injury and hit 6-of-7 shots for 14 points (no threes) on Wednesday. I don’t trust Gordon, but he was heating up just before going down and is worth a close eye in all leagues as he gets back into a flow. In the five games just before he went down, Gordon scored 14, 15, 18, 18 and 10 points, with eight threes and six steals to boot.
Kyle Korver Bulls – Worth a look if you need threes for as long as Richard Hamilton is out.
Daniel Gibson Cavs – Started on Wednesday, but Anthony Parker on his way back.
Tony Allen Grizzlies – Dealing with hip/knee issues, missed Wednesday, but was playing well.
Jose Juan Barea Wolves – Coming on as Luke Ridnour starting to struggle. Watch closely.
Michael Redd Suns – Has scored in double figures in four straight, but I still don’t trust him.
Eric Gordon Hornets – Maybe a week away from starting real workouts? Who knows on return date?
Hedo Turkoglu Magic –Turkoglu has been dropped by many owners during the horrendous slump he’s staggering through right now, but is still owned in eight out of 10 leagues. He’ll break out of the funk and go back to scoring, boarding, assisting and hitting threes, so just make sure he wasn’t dumped in your league.
Linas Kleiza (and Leandro Barbosa) Raptors - Jerryd Bayless is down after aggravating his constantly injured left ankle and could miss Friday’s game. And since it’s still not fully healed, it could be a problem all season. In addition to Jose Calderon getting a boost, Kleiza and Barbosa will see extra touches and minutes. Kleiza had 30 points and a fat line on Monday and backed it up with 12 points and eight boards on Wednesday. He’s heating up and worth a look in all leagues. Barbosa is coming off a bout with the flu and has lost some of his mojo, but is worth keeping an eye on if Bayless is going to miss time.
Steve Novak Knicks – Like Jeremy Lin (and so unlike him), Novak has exploded on the scene for the Knicks, scoring 19 points in two straight games, shooting lights out, and canning 10-of-17 3-pointers in them. Carmelo Anthony is likely going to miss another week and if you’re team is struggling from downtown, Novak could be the answer. He’s still available in almost all leagues, mainly because there’s no way he’ll continue to shoot it this well, and the fact that he is Steve Novak, but taking a flier on him makes sense in the right situation.
Reggie Williams & Corey Maggette Bobcats – Maggette is expected to get some minutes on Friday as he works his way back from a hamstring injury, which could be a real buzzkill for the new owners of Williams. Williams has scored 21 in two straight starts, averaging 5.0 boards, 5.5 assists and 2.0 3-pointers in them. I don’t expect Maggette to stay healthy for long, and am not rushing to pick him up. I suspect he’ll come off the bench, but he’s at least worth keeping an eye on once he’s back. And if you own Williams, or want to pick him up, it still makes sense for as long as Gerald Henderson is out (which is at least a couple more weeks).
Grant Hill Suns – I don’t really trust Hill and the fact his game schedule is nuts for the next 10 days could mean he’ll miss a couple. The Suns play on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, Monday and Wednesday starting this Monday, which means Hill has a five-game week. He’s averaging 12 points, five boards, 4.5 assists and a steal over his last two games, but was struggling before that with a sore knee. If he can somehow make it through those five games in the upcoming week he could make for a nice add in deeper leagues.