Towards the end of the season it can be hard to get quality fantasy play out of the guys you have relied on all year.
Coaches of the NBA's elite teams will sit their stars to save them for the playoffs, while the NBA's bottom feeders will reduce the minutes of their stars who have been bumped and bruised throughout the season.
Who is a fantasy owner to rely on so they can thrive at the end?
Whether you play head to head, rotisserie or cumulative fantasy basketball, here is a list of teams and players that will play hard until the 82nd game.
The Bucks are missing their Olympians, Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut, but they are currently projected to make the playoffs.
Now the Bucks are led by Richard Jefferson and Charlie Villanueva. The dynamic forwards have really stepped their games up.
Jefferson has not scored under 15 points in his last 15 games and, during that time, he has broke his season average of 18.5 points per game 11 times. February was by far his most productive month of the season and he's started March in even better form.
The same could be said for Villanueva who averaged 21.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 2.2 threes per game in February.
Due to the injuries in Milwaukee both are playing more minutes and they are having increased roles in the offense.
Other Bucks who are thriving are point guard Ramon Sessions and wing man Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.
Sessions has spotty production but is one of the best set-up men in the NBA. Mbah a Moute isn't much of a scorer but will rack up rebounds, steals, and blocks quietly.
The Elton Brand Project didn't work in Philly and now the team is doing what worked for them last season.
Throughout 2009 Andre Iguodala has been averaging over 40 minutes per game, much like he did in March and April of last year. The increased time has allowed AI to rack up a career high 6.0 rebounds per game and an impressive 5.4 assists.
It hasn't been a one man show in Philadelphia, however.
Center Samuel Dalembert, who has been sent to the waiver wire this season, posted 9.2 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game in February. In 2008 he averaged over 11 rebounds and two blocks per game in March and April.
Andre Miller and Thaddeus Young are both playing great too. Miller's scoring and assists are up recently, as the team makes every game count. Young's production goes up and down but he's one of the budding post-forwards in the NBA.
The Bobcats are a few games out of the playoffs but the franchise is extremely hungry for their first-ever playoff birth.
If you can get your hands on Gerald Wallace at this point in the season I highly recommend it.
No player has faced more adversity this season and, since coming back from his lung and rib injury, Wallace has posted three double-doubles in nine games, including a high of 27 points.
Emeka Okafor and Raymond Felton have been the two constants for the Bobcats and they will lead the team down the stretch.
Okafor is one of the few double-double guys in the NBA and he plays great defense, racking up both steals and blocks. February was Felton's best month (14.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 7.4 APG) and he's the teams man for the big shot.
Mid-season addition Boris Diaw has doubled his production since joining the team. Other additions Raja Bell and Vladimir Radmonovic won't blow you away, but they have respectable product and are effective three point shooters.
Other teams playing for the playoffs are the Miami Heat, Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls, New Jersey Netsand Indiana Pacers in the East.
Out West the Phoenix Suns are the outsiders chasing the Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, and Houston Rockets.
All of these teams have players who are playing a little bit harder than the rest of the league in an attempt to avoid summer vacation.
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