The All-Star break is over and we’re heading into the stretch drive just before the fantasy playoffs start. If it feels like this season is flying by, it’s not your imagination. We’ll be wrapping things up before you know it and you’ll be dialed into your fantasy baseball teams in a few weeks (got your Draft Guide yet?). But until then, there’s still time for you to make moves and force your way into the playoffs in your hoops league. Here are some guys who can help make it happen. And if you haven't done so, check me out on Twitter.
Jordan Crawford Wizards – Crawford is owned in 84 percent of ESPN leagues, but that also means he’s still available in 16 percent of them. He’s not only starting over Nick Young (at least for the moment), but is averaging 22 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.8 steals, 2.2 3-pointers and shooting over 50 percent over his last five games.
Devin Harris Jazz – Harris is finally showing signs of life after being a serious first-half bust. He’s owned in 62 percent of leagues, and is averaging 14 points, 5.2 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.4 3-pointers over his last five games. He’s also scored in double digits in four straight games and should be fine, despite leaving his last game due to nausea.
Jason Richardson Magic - Richardson is averaging 12 points, four boards, two assists, a steal and two 3-pointers in his three games since returning from a chest virus and is available in about 30 percent of fantasy leagues. If he can stay healthy, he could have a big second half for the Magic.
Anthony Morrow Nets – Morrow, owned in about 45 percent of leagues, is averaging just nine points over his last five games and has been inconsistent coming off the bench. He has big-game potential and has scored 17 and 15 points in two of those five games, but had just two, four and nine points in the other three. He’s at 1.4 steals and 1.2 3-pointers over that stretch. Morrow isn’t a must-own player due to his inconsistency, but if your team needs a boost in 3-point shooting, he should be able to help.
Leandro Barbosa Raptors - Barbosa has hit double digits in scoring in four straight games and is averaging 13 points, two rebounds, two assists, nearly a steal and nearly a 3-pointer per game over his last five. He’s available in about 90 percent of fantasy leagues out there and appears to be heating up.
Others to Consider
Greivis Vasquez Hornets – He’s starting over Jarrett Jack and should continue to do so, although Jack will likely average more minutes per game than Vasquez. He’s available in about half the leagues out there and should be a serviceable starting point guard in deeper leagues. And if Jack is traded or injured, Vasquez becomes a must-own player.
Roddy Beaubois Mavericks – Roddy Buckets has played well over his last couple games and could be poised for a nice second half. Jason Kidd and Vince Carter are the starting guards for Dallas, but Beaubois should see a lot of minutes going forward, and should be considered a second-half sleeper. UPDATE: Roddy started over Vinsanity on Friday and if the move sticks, it will bump Beaubois into must-own territory pretty quickly.
Richard Hamilton Bulls – Hamilton is working his way back from a groin injury and the Bulls are going to baby him along. He’s not worth using in fantasy leagues right now, but if he fully heals and gets rolling, he’ll become a hot pickup.
Gary Neal Spurs – The clock might be ticking on Neal, who had a big game on Wednesday, but until Manu Ginobili is back, he looks like the safest bet of the guards in San Antonio.
Hedo Turkoglu Magic - Turkoglu isn’t available in many leagues, but could be in yours. I dropped him in a league over the last couple weeks during his slump, which could come back to bite me at some point. He’s scored 11 points in three straight games and is averaging that number over his last five. He’s also at nearly four boards, four assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers over that stretch, and has hit 8-of-15 shots over his last two. His shooting is the wild card, but if he gets hot, and he might be doing so as we speak, he could put up some monster numbers.
Carlos Delfino Bucks - Delfino is still available in 30 percent of ESPN leagues and that number could be climbing if he doesn’t break out of the miserable shooting slump he’s in right now. He’s hit just 17-of-57 shots over his last five games, averaging a meager nine points. But he’s also averaging five rebounds, 4.4 assists, 2.6 steals, 0.4 blocks and 1.8 3-pointers over that stretch. In other words, if he keeps getting 30-plus minutes from Scott Skiles and ever breaks out of the shooting slump, he could be a real beast.
Corey Maggette Bobcats – Maggette is still available in about 65 percent of the leagues out there, despite starting for Charlotte and averaging 16 points, three rebounds, an assist and 0.6 3-pointers over his last five games. He’s an injury waiting to happen and is constantly struggling with his legs, but plugging him into your lineup and riding him until he breaks isn’t a bad idea.
Josh Howard Jazz - Howard was only owned in three percent of fantasy leagues on Friday morning, despite starting several games in a row and playing well for the Jazz. It looks like he’s locked and loaded as the starting small forward in Utah and has scored between 12 and 19 points in each of his last four games. He’s also averaging nearly seven rebounds, two assists, more than a steal and 0.5 3-pointers over that stretch. Like Maggette, he’s an injury in waiting to happen, but I kind of like the idea of rolling with Howard right now.
Linas Kleiza Raptors – Kleiza, who is only owned in about seven percent of ESPN leagues, blew up for 21 points, four rebounds and five 3-pointers in his last game and now appears to be over the knee injury that kept him out for three games. He was really heating up prior to the injury and should be ready to pick up where he left off. He’ll be inconsistent coming off the bench, but should be a good source of three and boards going forward.
Steve Novak Knicks - Novak is on fire, hitting 20-of-36 3-pointers over his last five games, good for an average of four per contest, and is averaging nearly 14 points per game over that stretch. He’s a one-trick pony and will have to eventually cool off, but is currently one of the top 3-point shooters in the world. He’s also available in almost all leagues right now.
Wilson Chandler – We still don’t know when or where Chandler is going to show up, although Denver seems like the most probable choice. It’s going to be crowded there with guys like Arron Afflalo, Danilo Gallinari and Andre Miller around, but Chandler has the skill set to produce, even in limited minutes. While I don’t consider him a must-own player, he might be worth stashing in a deep league.