I received word Sunday that I have press credentials for All-Star Weekend, which should mean plenty of live Tweeting while standing right next to the game’s biggest stars, as well as plenty of war stories from the whirlwind adventure I’m about to embark on. I’m not sure if I’m more excited about the action, or meeting some of the guys in the media I’ve developed relationships with over the last 10 years, yet never met face-to-face. It’s going to be fun and I’m pretty pumped about it. With that said, here’s what’s happening around the league, including another heroic performance from the human TO machine known as Jeremy Lin, and a slew of stunning fantasy lines from Sunday night.
Atlanta Week 9/10 3-3 – Tracy McGrady is ticked off about playing time, not that it matters in fantasyland. Josh Smith continues to roll along at an All-Star level, while Zaza Pachulia is now worth a look in most leagues if you’re hurting at center. He’s averaging eight points, eight boards, two steals and a block over his last five games. Jeff Teague has cooled off, but is still worth using in most leagues, especially with three games in Week 9. Joe Johnson’s dealing with knee tendinitis, but has played through it.
Boston 2-4 – Kevin Garnett missed Sunday’s game and is doubtful for Monday, making him unplayable in most weekly leagues. Rajon Rondo got the first ejection of his career for arguing on Sunday, while Chris Wilcox had 14 points and six rebounds in place of Garnett. Deep leaguers need to give Wilcox a look, while Rondo, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and possibly Jermaine O’Neal are worth a look in weekly leagues.
Charlotte 1-3 – With one game this week the entire Bobcats’ roster should be benched in fantasy, and probably in reality as well. Bismack Biyombo continues to mix in huge lines with small ones, Reggie Williams and Corey Maggette are intriguing, and D.J. Augustin looks like a must-own player. But this team is a mess, and I’m not going to pretend to have them figured out under Paul Silas and Michael Jordan.
Chicago 2-4 – Derrick Rose is still iffy for Monday with his back spasms and has now missed five straight, and 10 games on the season. I’m benching him in weekly leagues unless we get better information on Monday. Richard Hamilton remains out with a thigh injury and has missed 11 straight and 12 of his last 13 games. Joakim Noah stumbled with zero points and six rebounds Saturday as his season of inconsistency rolls on. If Rose is out, C.J. Watson should continue to play well for the Bulls.
Cleveland 2-4 – Tristan Thompson finally had the breakout we were waiting for with 15 points, 12 boards and three blocks on Sunday, and should continue to play well with Anderson Varejao injured for the Cavs. Ramon Sessions remains relevant off the bench with Anthony Parker and Daniel Gibson gimpy, while Antawn Jamison remains a strong play. Alonzo Gee continues to start at shooting guard due to injuries, and is worth a deep-league flier, depending on options. Kyrie Irving remains a must-start guard in most leagues.
Dallas 2-4 – Dirk Nowitzki is officially back and rolling, so get him in your lineup. Jason Terry returned on Sunday and had 13 points and a full stat line, so get him back in your lineup. Roddy Beaubois is likely out until the break, meaning Jason Kidd should be a safe play – especially with Delonte West out indefinitely with a broken finger. Dominique Jones is worth a deep-league look off the bench, while Shawn Marion and Vince Carter are also worth using in many leagues.
Denver 3-3 – With three games, Ty Lawson and Arron Afflalo are must-starts, while Andre Miller bounced back on Sunday with a strong line. Al Harrington, Timofey Mozgov, and Chris Andersen all played well on Sunday, and Kosta Koufos had a big game, but will be inconsistent now that Mozgov is back and starting again. Wilson Chandler will be in town on Monday to discuss a return to the Nuggets, which should render a hot Corey Brewer useless, eventually.
Detroit 2-3 – With two games, Rodney Stuckey, Greg Monroe, Tayshaun Prince, Ben Gordon and Brandon Knight all deserve consideration. Jason Maxiell and Jonas Jerebko are also worth a look in deep leagues.
Golden State 2-4 – Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry blew up on Sunday, while Dorell Wright laid an egg. I still think owners should hang in there with Wright, but if you have a more reliable starter on your bench, make the move.
Houston 2-4 – Kyle Lowry (seven 3-pointers, 32 points) and Luis Scola went off on Sunday, while Samuel Dalembert was benched due to missing the team’s walkthrough. This team is a mess and with just two games in All-Star week, Lowry and Scola are the only sure bets in Houston.
Indiana 2-2 – The Pacers rolled the Bobcats on Sunday and Darren Collison, Paul George, Danny Granger, David West and Roy Hibbert are all solid options with two games, but you might be able to find a 3-game option that looks better in a weekly league.
Clippers 2-4 – Blake Griffin had his first 20-20 game with 22 points and 20 rebounds on Saturday, and could be a sell-high candidate if the free throws are hurting you. Randy Foye had a season-high 21 points in that one, which probably stopped all the talk about dropping him. DeAndre Jordan is still suffering a minutes hit after the arrival of Kenyon Martin, but is still too good to drop, while Caron Butler and Chris Paul remain solid fantasy starters.
Lakers 3-3 – The Lakers got thumped by the Suns on Sunday, but Kobe Bryant is beasting again for the Lakers. Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum are must-starts, but I wouldn’t touch any other Laker in fantasy right now. Gasol is unhappy about ongoing trade rumors, but you have to keep playing him if you own him.
Memphis 2-3 – Marreese Speights is feeling it and has played well in seven straight games, and should be owned now in most leagues. Rudy Gay and Marc Gasol are playing like All-Stars, Mike Conley and Tony Allen are solid, and O.J. Mayo had 18 points on Saturday. Zach Randolph probably won’t be back until March from his knee injury, giving some more life to Speights.