Last week was one of the craziest, most exciting NBA weeks I’ve ever experienced. I’m not sure what this week holds in store, but here is what we do know in the wee hours of Monday morning.
Atlanta 3 games: Jeff Teague is slumping since the return of Kirk Hinrich, which isn’t fun. Especially since Hinrich hasn’t done enough to be owned in most leagues. He’s just hurting Teague. I still think Teague’s value will swing back up, so I’d rather see owners bench him than cut him, unless we’re talking about a 10-team league, or smaller. And how fun is Josh Smith right now? The All-Start snub didn’t hurt, either.
Boston 3: Brandon Bass is out for a couple weeks and Jermaine O’Neal is hurting again (shocker), which forces both Chris Wilcox and JaJuan Johnson into action. Wilcox looks like the better option, but keep in mind he’s not a shot blocker. Kevin Garnett also gets a boost, while Rajon Rondo gets props for his 32-10-15 trip-dub on Sunday.
Charlotte 4: Corey Maggette replaced Tyrus Thomas in the starting lineup, meaning another apparent Fail for Thomas in fantasy. Reggie Williams also disappeared and the Bobcats are just terrible. Maggette’s worth a flier until he gets hurt again, and Kemba Walker’s nice to own, but the rest of this team, Bismack Biyombo included, is just tough to own. D.J. Augustin (toe) is targeting Wednesday, but is not guaranteed for that one, and Gerald Henderson remains out for at least another week or two with his hamstring injury.
Chicago 3: Luol Deng was 3-of-12 on Sunday with a big wrap on his wrist, and could struggle with it the rest of the way, but at least he’s playing. Derrick Rose, on the other hand, was out again on Sunday and will see a specialist on Monday for his sore back. Not great news, and we’ll have to hope for more information prior to lineup deadlines tonight. I’d bench him in weekly leagues for now, if you have another decent option. Richard Hamilton could be out through the All-Star break with his groin injury.
Cleveland 3: Anderson Varejao suffered a fractured wrist and is out indefinitely, and will be re-examined in a week. If you can hang on until the exam happens, do so. It's a real shame, as he was having an All-Star type of season. Semih Erden will likely start in his place, while Tristan Thompson will also see a boost. Neither one of them are guaranteed to be of huge help to fantasy owners, while Alonzo Gee is playing well (17 points Saturday) and could end up being a better pickup than either of them. Kyrie Irving is hoping to return on Wednesday from a concussion, which will ruin Ramon Sessions, who owners either need to drop or pray he gets traded to the Heat or Lakers. Daniel Gibson has been starting at shooting guard, but it remains to be seen if he can hold Anthony Parker off once he returns from a back injury, but no one is sure when that will happen.
Dallas 4: Jason Kidd is back from a calf injury and is probably worth grabbing if he was dumped in your league, while Dirk Nowitzki is finally playing like Dirk Nowitzki again.
Denver 4: Nene is set to miss a few games with a strained left calf, so bench him for now. Rudy Fernandez, Corey Brewer and Kenneth Faried are all worth a look in many leagues right now, while Arron Afflalo has finally turned it around over his last two games. Danilo Gallinari is out for another month with his sprained ankle, so keep him benched, or drop him if you must.
Detroit 4: Brandon Knight is struggling with consistency, so weigh options carefully before starting him. Rodney Stuckey is finally healthy and playing well enough to be used in most leagues, while Jason Maxiell is still starting over Jonas Jerebko. I still think Jerebko is a better play in all leagues, but it would be nice if he were starting. Ben Gordon is back and had 14 points on Friday, but hit 2-of-9 shots on Sunday, when the Pistons looked terrible against the Wizards. At least Greg Monroe is reliable.
Golden State 4: Klay Thompson and Brandon Rush are worth keeping an eye on in most leagues, but Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, David Lee and Dorell Wright are the guys you want in your lineups, despite Wright’s disappearance on Sunday. Ekpe Udoh is worth a look if you’re desperate for blocks, but simply won’t score.
Houston 4: Kevin Martin finally bounced out of the doghouse and had 28 points on Sunday, while Samuel Dalembert had five points, seven boards and three blocks in 21 minutes. Both can be put back into starting lineups, but come with no guarantees. Goran Dragic fell back to earth, along with Chase Budinger, and it looks like Dragic’s only hope is an injury to Kyle Lowry on most nights.
Indiana 4: Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert, Paul George, Darren Collison and David West remain solid starts for the Pacers, although only Granger and Hibbert have been fully reliable nightly.
Clippers 4: Mo Williams has been quiet since the loss of Chauncey Billups and played Saturday despite attending a funeral prior to the game. He should start playing better than he has. Randy Foye is coming through for his new owners as a starter, while DeAndre Jordan bounced back on Saturday. Foye, Jordan, Chris Paul, Caron Butler and Blake Griffin are all must-starts with four games this week. J.R. Smith will likely sign with someone this week now that his China run is over, and the Clippers would be a nice place for him to land, although it would obviously hurt Foye.
Lakers 3: Kobe Bryant hit a game-winner on Sunday, while Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum remain the other two must-starts for L.A., despite the three-game week. Keep an eye on Steve Blake, who is going to rack up solid minutes as Derek Fisher continues to be Derek Fisher. And after watching Ron Artest continue to struggle, it looks like there’s no hope of him being relevant in fantasy this season. Do you think Kobe knows who Jeremy Lin is now? Gilbert Arenas worked out for the Lakers on Sunday, but I’m not convinced he’s going to suddenly return to form. However, given the Lakers’ limited options at point guard, Arenas will probably be worth a pickup if he signs.
Memphis 4: Tony Allen is back from hip/knee issues and played well Sunday, while O.J. Mayo is in a shooting slump, hitting 9-of-37 in his last four games. Both players are worth a look with four games, as is Marreese Speights (19 & 9 Friday, 7 & 11 Sunday), while Rudy Gay, Mike Conley and Marc Gasol are must-starts. Zach Randolph is getting closer, but still may not play until after the All-Star break.
Miami 4: Mario Chalmers has been struggling through a hand injury, but played better on Sunday, when he had 15 points and two 3-pointers. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh should all have big weeks with four games, but Chalmers is the only other player I’d consider starting in weekly leagues.