10 Can't Miss Fantasy Basketball Studs for Season's Second Half
In seeking to win a fantasy basketball championship, a timely addition during the season's second half is almost always a necessity.
Who should be targeted as a "can't miss" stud for the upcoming months?
The need to acquire such players is pivotal, namely because the typical fantasy monsters occasionally slow down as the season progresses or receive some rest as the playoffs near.
Therefore, luring some talent such as Tobias Harris and Jared Sullinger, who should emerge as worthwhile contributors late in the season, is a wise maneuver.
Let's break down who should not merely be on your radar screen in the coming weeks, but who should be added to your roster, if possible, at the earliest convenience.
*Players that are 100-percent owned in ESPN's fantasy server are not included in this slideshow. For example, while players like DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall will likely produce effectively, they aren't listed here because they're presumably unavailable in your league.
Kris Humphries, Boston Celtics (Last 30 days statistics: 10.5 PPG (points per game), 7.5 RPG (rebounds per game), 1.5 BPG (blocks per game), 52.0 FG %, 89.7 FT %): Humphries is quietly emerging as a solid producer of rebounds and is a potential double threat. Plus, you have to like what he compiles in terms of percentages. He remains just 14.0 percent owned in ESPN leagues.
Terrence Ross, Toronto Raptors (Last 30 days statistics: 11.0 PPG, 2.7 3PM (three-pointers made per game), 1.0 SPG (steals per game), 41.6 FG %, 91.7 FT %): Since the Rudy Gay trade, Ross is receiving regular minutes, and he's more than capable of piecing together quality scoring nights featuring numerous threes. However, you'll only want to snag him if your league is deep, since some off nights are to be expected from the youngster.
Glen Davis, Orlando Magic (Last 30 days statistics: 14.6 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 0.9 SPG, 44.7 FG %, 67.9 FT %): Davis can be a good source of points and rebounds if you need them in your frontcourt. Keep in mind, though, that he shoots poor percentages and won't generate many blocks for you. With that said, he should have ample opportunities to showcase his skills for the lowly Magic.
Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls (Season statistics: 12.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.1 3PM, 1.8 SPG, 0.7 BPG, 38.4 FG %, 77.6 FT %): Butler will log hefty minutes for Chicago as long as he's healthy (recently notched 60—yes, 60—in a triple-overtime victory against Orlando). His value is seen in his ability to provide defensive numbers, as well as 10-plus PPG on the offensive end. Unfortunately, you'll have to live with an ugly field-goal percentage.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks (Last 30 days statistics: 8.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 2.5 APG (assists per game), 0.9 SPG, 0.9 BPG, 42.7 FG %, 79.5 FT %): The "Greek Freak" could be an absolute monster in a couple years, and he's still worth monitoring in the here and now. He's worth attention primarily because he's a guard who can nab you decent rebounds as well as nearly a steal and a block per game. Plus, the Bucks should be content to give the rookie sufficient playing time since they're not in the playoff hunt.
John Henson, Milwaukee Bucks
- 12.1 PPG
- 8.0 RPG
- 0.7 SPG
- 2.3 BPG
- 52.4 FG %
- 61.6 FT %
Due to injuries that depleted the Milwaukee Bucks' frontcourt during the season's early stages, John Henson notched heavy minutes and didn't disappoint. He quickly emerged as a double-double threat and an outstanding source of blocks.
Unfortunately, after an ankle injury, his role was in question both in regards to the timetable of his comeback, as well as the returns of frontcourt teammates Larry Sanders and Ersan Ilyasova. Henson's place in Milwaukee's shuffle suddenly looked iffy.
However, Henson has now returned and looks to be as productive as he was earlier in the season. Even if his minutes are under 30, he's still worth a roster spot because of his top-notch shot-blocking ability.
What's more, if his minutes exceed 30 consistently, then he should instantly become a stud in the frontcourt.
As of now, he's just 63.1 percent owned in ESPN leagues. He's definitely worth searching for on your waiver wire because he could be a difference-maker as your playoffs near.
Tobias Harris, Orlando Magic
- 12.0 PPG
- 7.2 RPG
- 0.6 SPG
- 0.6 3PM
- 42.0 FG %
- 74.1 FT %
Tobias Harris missed an early chunk of the season, but he's now rounding into form for Orlando. Keep in mind what he tallied with the Magic during 2012-13 after he was traded to them from Milwaukee: 17.3 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 1.4 BPG, 0.9 SPG, 1.0 3PM and a 45.3 percent field-goal percentage.
This is why he has scary potential for the remainder of the 2014 campaign, and he could still be available in your league.
What's extremely promising about Harris is that he seems to be finding a groove as of late, averaging 16.2 PPG and 9.2 RPG in his last five contests.
He should continue building confidence for a Magic team that should be looking to mature its young talent, including him and Victor Oladipo.
Harris could hit his fantasy peak at just the right time, becoming a potent weapon for the stretch run. Pick him up immediately if he remains a free agent.
Terrence Jones, Houston Rockets
- 10.8 PPG
- 7.5 RPG
- 1.5 BPG
- 0.6 SPG
- 49.3 FG %
- 59.3 FT %
Terrence Jones has become a nice frontcourt complement to Dwight Howard, tallying points, boards and blocks regularly.
On a team with other fantasy stars like Howard, James Harden and Chandler Parsons, Jones will certainly have nights in which he's rather quiet.
However, he has proven that more often than not he can be a contributor in various ways. He has even displayed some rather eye-popping outings as of late, such as a recent 19-point, 17-rebound and three-block outburst.
For a while, it was easy to wonder if Jones' initial success would fade, but it really hasn't, evidenced by these numbers in the past 15 days: 13.8 PPG, 11.2 RPG and 2.0 BPG.
He should be a fantasy factor for the remainder of the season, and he's worth nabbing in any format due to his well-rounded efforts.
D.J. Augustin, Chicago Bulls
Last 30 Days Statistics:
- 11.8 PPG
- 6.6 APG
- 1.7 3PM
- 1.4 SPG
- 40.6 FG %
- 91.7 FT %
At the season's outset, no one would've predicted D.J. Augustin to have any sort of fantasy relevance. Yet, this is the beauty of fantasy sports. You never know who will arise.
After being let go by the Toronto Raptors early in the season, the Chicago Bulls inked him, and he's filling a clear void in their arsenal.
Chicago is a lacking offensive team, and Augustin has been given the reins to instigate offense, both for himself and others. He's averaging 10.8 PPG and 6.4 APG since joining the Bulls, and he figures to keep chipping in at such a rate, even though he's currently coming off the bench.
In shallow leagues, he may not be worth adding. Quite frankly, it's a stretch to label Augustin a fantasy "stud," but he certainly should be considered in deeper ones.
He should be a consistent source of assists while also providing respectable contributions elsewhere, and he's just 14.0 percent owned as of now.
Kendall Marshall, Los Angeles Lakers
Last 15 Days Statistics:
- 12.6 PPG
- 12.1 APG
- 2.0 3PM
- 41.0 FG %
- 85.7 FT %
Kendall Marshall's emergence with the Los Angeles Lakers has been beyond eye-opening. The digits he's accumulating at least gives Lakers fans reason for excitement in what has been an otherwise depressing year.
The likelihood is that you're late to the fantasy hype surrounding Marshall. He busted onto the scene quickly, and shrewd owners have already found him. If he's still lingering in your waiver wire, grab him before you even read the next sentence.
If Marshall continues to earn 30-plus minutes per game, then he should keep piling up the assists at a rather remarkable clip. He has also shown the ability to score and knock down the long-range ball.
The concern with Marshall is what will happen to his playing time once the Lakers' injured point guards (Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar) return. Because of Marshall's exceptional play, it's hard to foresee him being relegated to a little-used bench role. However, his minutes should decrease in some capacity as the Lakers work their other floor generals back into the rotation.
With that said, as the season progresses and the Lakers look less and less like a threat in the Western Conference, won't they at some point allow Marshall the freedom to develop? You'd think this would happen, and it's likely that Marshall will have fantasy impact for the season's remaining months.
J.J. Hickson, Denver Nuggets
- 11.5 PPG
- 9.1 RPG
- 0.7 SPG
- 0.8 BPG
- 50.3 FG %
- 57.4 FT %
J.J. Hickson has been ramping up his play lately, compiling double-doubles in his last three games, including a 13-point, 24-rebound effort against the Golden State Warriors.
He should continue to see significant minutes and is a reliable option at the power forward or center slot. Hickson has specifically shown the ability to be a rebounding machine while also revealing a steady offensive output.
He doesn't block many shots, nor does he shoot well from the free-throw line. If you can live with those weaknesses, there isn't much else to complain about concerning Hickson's arsenal.
If JaVale McGee returns, then Hickson's role could be tinkered with a bit. However, it's doubtful that McGee, recovering from a broken tibia, will gobble up excessive minutes after such an injury. Hickson should thus possess a prominent role throughout the campaign.
Hickson's unavailable in most leagues, but if he's still resting on your waivers, you should net him promptly.
Gerald Green, Phoenix Suns
Last 30 Days Statistics:
- 15.1 PPG
- 3.7 RPG
- 2.7 3PM
- 1.3 SPG
- 0.8 BPG
- 44.1 FG %
- 90.5 FT %
Gerald Green is having a breakout season, and his past 30 days have been particularly convincing.
He has flashed the ability to score in various manners, particularly from distance where he's cashing treys frequently.
What's more, he's a sneaky source of both steals and blocks, which is especially hard to find from a perimeter player.
Green should continue to excel with the Phoenix Suns, where it appears he has found a home in which his game is thriving.
Plus, with Suns guard Eric Bledsoe now sidelined, Green could shoulder an even heavier offensive load and start piecing together even more impressive stat lines.
There's no reason why he should remain available in any league. He has fantasy significance in any format.
James Johnson, Memphis Grizzlies
- 8.4 PPG
- 4.6 RPG
- 1.4 SPG
- 1.7 BPG
- 0.7 3PM
- 46.3 FG %
- 88.2 FT %
James Johnson is most definitely an under-the-radar name in the fantasy spectrum. While he's only 9.2 percent owned, owners should strongly consider adding him because of his versatility.
Check out his line from his most recent game: 15 points, six rebounds, five assists, two steals and six blocks.
Johnson was called up from the D-League around a month ago, and he has already earned regular playing time in the Memphis Grizzlies' rotation.
Johnson's chief value is what he contributes in the defensive categories. There are very few players who accumulate such an amount of both steals and blocks.
Plus, while Johnson doesn't provide much in other areas, he isn't a liability anywhere either. Often times, a defensive specialist comes with an undeniable downside like a poor free-throw percentage. This isn't the case with Johnson.
Lastly, his versatile ways even extend to his positioning, as he can be inserted as either a small forward or power forward.
Johnson is ultimately the kind of guy who can fill in the gaps in your approach. Even in shallow leagues, Johnson could still be a fantasy spark in the season's upcoming stages.
Wilson Chandler, Denver Nuggets
Last 30 Days Statistics:
- 15.2 PPG
- 5.1 RPG
- 2.2 3PM
- 1.0 SPG
- 0.8 BPG
- 38.7 FG %
- 74.4 FT %
When Wilson Chandler is healthy, he's capable of being an elite fantasy shooting guard/small forward. Aside from a subpar field-goal percentage, he can be a factor across the board.
Chandler recently missed two games with a hip injury but has now returned and has looked effective. If he can keep producing like he has been for the past 30 days, then his efforts could go a long way in helping you win a fantasy title.
What's surprising is that Chandler is still unowned in approximately 25 percent of ESPN's leagues. He's a guy who can enhance your team in five categories. Such players are hard to find, and if he's still sitting on your free-agent list, add him ASAP.
Chandler should see 30-plus minutes for the remainder of the year, and if he stays on the hardwood, he could be a top-tier wing down the stretch.
Jared Sullinger, Boston Celtics
- 13.2 PPG
- 7.8 RPG
- 0.7 3PM
- 43.9 FG %
- 75.7 FT %
Jared Sullinger is highly comparable to Glen Davis, but Sullinger has a higher upside for the season's second half because the return of Rajon Rondo should improve his production.
Throughout the Boston Celtics' 2013-14 campaign, they've truly lacked a legitimate point guard. Rondo's return will surely be a breath of fresh air for the C's.
Sullinger, in particular, should benefit from playing alongside Rondo, as he should suddenly find plenty of open looks.
The timing of this is also intriguing since Sullinger has been gaining momentum lately. He has three double-doubles in his last four games, including a 25-point, 20-rebound showing against Toronto.
The potential for Sullinger to be a 16-and-10 guy for the remainder of the year is definitely there. He's unowned in approximately half of ESPN's leagues, and he's worth taking a look at sooner rather than later.
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