Jeff Green 15% & Brandon Bass 42% Celtics
In the two games played since Jared Sullinger’s season was cut short due to back surgery, Bass has started and averaged 9.0 points, 5.5 boards and 1.5 steals, but Green is the player I would rather own at this point. Before Sunday’s game (in progress) Green had scored in double figures in four straight, averaging 14 points, nearly four boards, one block and 0.5 3-pointers, while hitting 22-of-41 shots. He can play both forward positions and looks like a much more versatile athlete than Bass. If Green is available in your league, pick him up.
Michael Beasley Suns 65% owned
Beasley is suddenly feeling it for new coach Lindsey Hunter and despite a bad game on Friday, when he hit just 2-of-13 shots for four points and six boards, he’s been on fire. Including Friday’s dud, he’s averaging 18.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 0.8 3-pointers on 48 percent shooting over his last five games. No, I don’t fully trust him, but with four games this week and Beasley starting to feel it, I have no problem rolling the dice on him right now. He’s scored between 24 and 27 in three of his last five games, so the upside is there.
Byron Mullens Bobcats 23% owned
Mullens has been a hit-or-miss player all season and will continue to be going forward. He’s been out since Dec. 22 with a severe ankle injury, but is nearing a return. The bottom line is that the Bobcats desperately need him at power forward, and he is averaging 11.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 0.9 steals, 0.9 blocks and 1.4 3-pointers on the season. He’s shooting just 37 percent, but could easily play better in the second half of the season. He’ll hurt your fantasy team at times with the poor shooting, but my guess is he’ll do more to help you on most nights. I just cut an injured Carlos Delfino for him, and I expect him to play on Monday against the Heat.
Taj Gibson Bulls 18% owned
Gibson is on fire right now with Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah both injured for the Bulls. He’s averaging 16 points, 12 rebounds and more than two blocks per game over his last three, and has hit 24-of-41 shots over that stretch. He’ll take a hit once his two teammates are healthy, and while Boozer appears to be nearing a return, Noah is out indefinitely with plantar fasciitis. Gibson only has three games this week, but will be a must-own player as long as Noah is out.
Harrison Barnes Warriors 44% owned
Barnes’ slump appears to be over and he’s averaging nearly 16 points and six boards on 19–of-32 shooting in his last three games. He’ll share time with Carl Landry, who is also worth a look, but Barnes looks like a safe player to get back on your roster after his recent slump.
Kyle Singler Pistons 17% owned
Singler is starting at small forward for the Pistons these days, but I don’t really trust him. However, he did have 20 points, eight boards, two steals, three blocks and a 3-pointer on Friday, and is having a nice game on Sunday. He’s worth keeping a close eye on as the Pistons await the arrival of new point guard Jose Calderon.
Moe Harkless Magic 2% owned
Harkless had 19 points, 14 rebounds, four steals and a block in 42 minutes on Saturday, and is averaging 10 points, seven boards and 2.2 steals over his last five games. Hedo Turkoglu is still struggling and Glen Davis is out for the season due to foot surgery. Harkless isn’t a must-own, must-start player just yet, but he could be both by the end of this week. Al Harrington is nearing a return from knee surgery and will at least be worth keeping an eye on going forward, as well.
Antawn Jamison Lakers 25% owned
Jamison is benefitting from the absence of Dwight Howard and had scored in double figures in four straight games entering Sunday’s contest. He came into Sunday averaging 15 points, five rebounds and 1.25 3-pointers over his last four games, and while he’ll take a hit once Howard is back, as I stated above, Howard’s season may be ending sooner than later.
Tiago Splitter 42% & Boris Diaw Spurs 6% Spurs
Tim Duncan returned from a knee injury on Saturday, but went down with new injuries to his knee and ankle. The Spurs are rolling and there’s no reason to rush Duncan back. Splitter was already a must-own player in my book, averaging 15.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 0.4 blocks over his last five games, while shooting 65 percent from the floor and 76 percent from the line during that stretch. Boris Diaw looks like he could be the primary beneficiary from the absence of Duncan, while DeJuan Blair will also have some good nights mixed in with bad ones. Diaw is averaging 7.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.8 3-pointers over his last five games, and is worth a look in deeper leagues.
Earl Clark Lakers 27%
Like Jamison, Clark is an excellent option any time Howard is out, and is also worth using on most nights when Howard is playing. He came into Sunday averaging 11.2 points, 8.0 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 1.6 3-pointers over his last five games while shooting 49 percent from the floor. Simply put, he should be owned in more leagues, especially with Howard’s shoulder injury set to linger all season. Sunday’s game is still in progress, but Clark is beasting again against the Pistons.
Andre Drummond Pistons 44%
Drummond had zero points and four rebounds last Sunday before blowing up for 18 points, 18 rebounds, two steals and a block on 9-of-15 shooting on Tuesday. He then had four points, 14 rebounds, two steals and three blocks on Wednesday, but hit just 2-of-10 free throws in that one. He then played just 18 minutes on Friday and hit all four of his shots to finish with nine points, five rebounds and a block, but hit 1-of-5 free throws in that one. We’ve been running a #FreeDrummond campaign for a month now, but he’s still having trouble getting consistent playing time from coach Lawrence Frank. He’ll hurt your free throw percentage, but he has extreme upside and we still think he should be owned in all leagues.
Spencer Hawes Sixers 49%
Hawes is now the starting center for the Sixers and is averaging 11 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 33 minutes over his last five games. He had just one rebound on Friday and scored just eight and four points on Saturday and Monday of last week, but the minutes are there, the starting job is his and he should be primed for a solid second half as long as he can stay healthy.
Marreese Speights Cavaliers 15%
Despite Tyler Zeller (C) and Tristan Thompson (PF) starting for the Cavs, Speights has really been coming on off the bench since being traded by Memphis, and is threatening to steal Zeller’s starting job. He blew up for 21 points and 10 rebounds on 10-of-15 shooting on Saturday and is averaging 15.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, 0.6 steals and 0.8 blocks in 26 minutes over his last five, all off the bench. He’s heating up and will become a must-own player if he ends up stealing Zeller’s job, and might already have reached must-own status after Saturday’s explosion.
I’ll be watching the Super Bowl with my buddies Steve and Rita on Sunday, pulling for the Niners, eating pizza and drinking cheap beer at Johnny B’s. See you there?