Jared Dudley Suns – Owned in 55 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Dudley has started in four straight games in place of Michael Beasley and is averaging 14 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.6 3-pointers over his last five. As long as he continues to start he should be a relatively safe fantasy starter. He had a season-high 22 points, four boards, five assists, three steals and two 3-pointers on Friday, and the Suns play four times in Week 8.
Gordon Hayward Jazz – Owned in 65 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Hayward is finally starting to play better, sparked by Marvin Williams’ recent absence due to a concussion. Williams is back and starting, but it’s Hayward who is playing well off the bench, averaging nearly 13 points, 2.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.4 3-pointers over his last five, and has scored in double figures in eight of his last 10 games. I’d like him a lot more if he was starting over Williams, but he’s starting to come on, despite coming off the bench. Give him a look if he was dropped in your league.
C.J. Miles Cavaliers – Owned in 19 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Miles entered the starting lineup for an injured Dion Waiters four games ago and has scored 17 or 28 points in each of those four games, and has scored in double figures in seven straight. He’s averaging 21 points, 4.2 rebounds, a steal and 3.6 3-pointers over his last five, and while Waiters will possibly return on Tuesday to hurt Miles, he looks like a must-own player for now. Especially if he holds the starting job once Waiters is back.
Matt Barnes Clippers – Owned in 11 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Barnes is averaging 25.6 minutes over his last five games along with 15 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.2 blocks and 1.4 3-pointers while shooting nearly 61 percent from the field. He’s also shooting it well from the free throw line, and while he’ll have some off nights, is doing enough in most categories to warrant owning in most leagues right now.
Corey Brewer Nuggets – Owned in 19 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Brewer saw his streak of scoring in double figures stopped at six games when he scored just nine points on Friday against the Grizzlies. He’s averaging nearly 15 points and 1.4 3-pointers over his last five, although he’s not doing a lot more than scoring and hitting threes. Wilson Chandler looks like he’s headed for a lost season and Brewer should continue to see solid minutes off the bench for the Nuggets.
Linas Kleiza Raptors – Owned in 4 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Kleiza missed a couple games recently with a knee injury but blew up for 20 points, five rebounds and five 3-pointers in 30 minutes of Friday’s win over the Mavericks. He also had 17 points, five 3-pointers, a steal and a block on Sunday, before missing a couple games with the knee injury. This means he’s averaging 18.5 points and five 3-pointers in 30 minutes over his last two games, and while he’s not the most reliable fantasy option while coming off the bench, he should see enough minutes to make a difference as long as he can stay healthy.
Others to consider: Shawn Marion, Devin Ebanks.
Ed Davis Raptors – Owned in 31 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Davis made a quick splash in his first start for injured Andrea Bargnani on Wednesday, going off for 24 points, 12 rebounds and three steals on 11-of-13 shooting in 45 minutes. However, he split minutes with Amir Johnson and Linas Kleiza on Friday, finishing with six points and eight rebounds in just 23 minutes. He should continue to start for Bargnani and I expect him to fall somewhere in between those two lines over the next several weeks, while Kleiza won’t be as hot as he was on Friday going forward. Johnson is also worth a look, but I’d rather own Davis.
Derrick Favors Jazz – Owned in 62 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Favors is back from a battle with plantar fasciitis but hasn’t exactly been killing it in his three games since returning to action. He’s averaging just seven points, 4.7 rebounds, a steal and 0.7 blocks, but should continue to get better as he plays through his feet problems. Favors is not a must-start player right now, but is still worth owning in most leagues.
Jason Maxiell Pistons – Owned in 15 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Maxiell’s recent tear came to an end on Saturday when he failed to score or block a shot in 25 minutes, but he was hot prior to that one. He was averaging eight points, six boards and more than two blocks per game in his previous four games, highlighted by 18 points, six rebounds and six blocks on Tuesday against the Nuggets. His scoring will be an issue, while Andre Drummond seeing an increase in minutes going forward is also a concern. But Maxiell appears to be focused on rebounding and blocking shots, and is worth a close look for as long as he’s starting for the Pistons.
Andray Blatche Nets – Owned in 45 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Blatche was very fun to own while Brook Lopez was out with his foot injury, but has now come off the bench in two straight games behind Reggie Evans. Blatche has averaged 12.5 points, four rebounds, 2.5 steals and a block in 23 minutes over those two games. As long as he continues to get more than 20 minutes a night, he’ll be worth a look in deeper leagues, even off the bench.
Andrew Nicholson Magic – Owned in 4 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Nicholson is quietly heating up, averaging nearly 13 points, 6.6 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 0.8 blocks in 23 minutes over his last five games. He played just 16 minutes on Saturday after getting in some foul trouble, but is worth keeping a close eye on in deep leagues.
Others to consider: Ersan Ilyasova, Kevin Seraphin, Jason Thompson, Greg Smith.
J.J. Hickson Blazers – Owned in 70 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Hickson is averaging 11.4 points and 10.2 rebounds on the season and has double-doubled in four straight games for the Blazers. I still don’t understand why he’s available in 30 percent of fantasy leagues, and he should be picked up if he’s available in yours.
Nikola Pekovic Wolves – Owned in 70 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Pekovic is turning it on lately, scoring between 21 and 31 points (career high) over his last three games, and averaging 24 points and eight rebounds over that stretch for the Wolves. He’s hit 31-of-49 shots over that stretch and should be owned in all leagues until further notice. He’s got some foot and ankle issues, but they don’t look like a problem right now.
Larry Sanders Bucks – Owned in 64 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Sanders has cooled off a bit and missed Wednesday’s game with the flu, and is averaging seven points, seven boards, 0.8 steals and 3.3 blocks over his last four. His next shot-blocking explosion should be right around the corner, but Scott Skiles played him just 17 minutes in Saturday’s loss to the Clippers. I still don’t trust Skiles, but Sanders should be owned in all leagues until he completely falls out of the rotation, which could happen under the hand of Skiles at any time.
Bismack Biyombo Bobcats – Owned in 19 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Biyombo has been starting for the Bobcats and is averaging 6.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks over his last five games. He played 40 minutes on Saturday, when he had eight points, nine boards and three blocks against the Magic, so he is trending up for now. Just don’t expect him to score a lot of points, or rack up many double-doubles in Charlotte.
Andre Drummond Pistons – Owned in 13 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Drummond’s season of inconsistency continues, but he’s coming off a loss to the Pacers when he hit 5-of-7 shots for 11 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, and is averaging seven points, 6.4 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 2.0 blocks over his last five games. I still contend that Lawrence Frank will have to give in and turn him loose at some point, and sitting on him now could pay big dividends down the road.
Others to consider: Nikola Vucevic, Spencer Hawes, Tyler Zeller.