Normal Sized Leagues
I guess the definition of a normal-sized league, at least in my mind, is one consisting of ten to 12 teams with rosters somewhere around 12-15 players. That should cover a majority of the fantasy hoops leagues in existence. If your league is any smaller than that, the waiver options are endless and it's just too difficult to try to figure out whether you should pick up Kevin Garnett, Luol Deng or Jason Richardson. While it's nice to have those kinds of options available, it can drive you nuts on a daily basis trying to figure out if you should change your roster, so I'd suggest adding a few teams to your league next year.
Darren Collison PG, Hornets – Chris Paul went down in a heap on Friday, allowing Collison to take over at point guard to finish with 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting to go along with two assists and two steals. Paul could be out anywhere from one week to a month, so Collison looks like a must-add in most leagues. The only problem is the Hornets play just two games in weeks five, six and nine.
Mike Bibby PG, Hawks - Yes, this is the same guy I've suggested is done, due to the arrival of Jamal Crawford, but he's been getting late run over Marvin Williams. He's scored between 11 and 19 points in three straight games and hit eight three-pointers over that stretch. He's still bound to have one really bad game per week, but it looks like Mike Woodson is going to continue to use him in a three-guard set, with Marvin taking the biggest hit in playing time. Want to cut Marvin for Bibby? Sounds good.
J.R. Smith SG, Nuggets – Smith should not be available in any leagues now that his suspension is over. But if he is available, grab him for the points and threes he will be posting in large quantities.
Ben Wallace PF/C, Pistons – Big Ben is a huge scoring liability, but he's averaging 9.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks to go along with 3.1 points per game. Make sure you can take the scoring hit if you add him.
Kelenna Azubuike G/F, Anthony Morrow G, Anthony Randolph F/C, Warriors – These three players are a complete crapshoot, but Azubuike is by far the most reliable, currently starting, scoring and playing well. Morrow and Randolph are worth owning, but are very risky starts every night as long as Don Nelson is their coach.
Carl Landry PF, Rockets – Landry had just two points, three boards and a block in Friday's loss to the Kings, but had been playing well, averaging 20 points, six boards and 1.5 blocks in his four previous games. I think Friday was a fluke, and still think he should be owned in most leagues.
Shane Battier G/F, Rockets – If you own Battier and actually started him Friday, you owe me some thanks, as I recently cut him across the board, allowing him to break loose for 23 points, four three-pointers, a steal and two blocks. This is the type of line I was expecting from Battier once or twice a week this season, so maybe he'll be ready to perform the rest of the way now that the seal has been broken. Just beware that I picked him back up in a couple leagues late Friday.
A l Thornton F, Clippers – Thornton isn't going to dazzle you with his numbers, but should be a solid source of points for as long as Eric Gordon (groin) is out. And he'll also have some rebounds, steals and blocks.
Quentin Richardson G/F, Heat – I cut Q-Rich in most leagues after he failed to score in his previous two games, so he should be ready to get back on track over the weekend. He was on fire entering the week, and as long as he's starting, he should bounce back to put up some points, threes and boards.
Michael Beasle y F, Heat – Beasley is averaging 14 points and 5.6 boards per game and had 24 points, six boards, two steals, two three-pointers and a block on Thursday. He should not be available in most leagues, but he should improve with each week. Grab him.
Toney Douglas G, Knicks – Douglas had 15 points, three boards, three assists and a steal on Friday—despite battling an illness—and is averaging about 19 points over his last four games. There's no telling how long he keeps it up, but I can't see anything stopping the Knicks from going with a youth movement going forward. Make sure he's not available in you league.
Nate Robinson G, Knicks – Robinson finally returned to the Knicks from an ankle injury on Friday and had nine points, four assists and one three-pointer in the loss. He should be a decent source of each of those going forward, but it's possible that Douglas could out-perform him this year.
Matt Barnes G/F, Magic – With news that Rashard Lewis will start at power forward upon his return, Barnes could start for some time. He has been playing well and had 15 points, four assists, two steals, a block and two threes on Friday, and is averaging 10 points, seven boards, and close to a steal, block and three per game thus far. Mickael Pietrus is also worth a look in deeper leagues, but it looks like Barnes has won the starting job.
Marreese Speights F/C, Sixers – Speights was awful on Friday, going for just four points and four boards in 24 minutes. But he's actually been outplaying Elton Brand all season, averaging 14 points, seven boards and a block per game in 24 minutes. I'm not telling you to cut Brand for Speights. But the bottom line is that Speights is generally playing well enough to be owned in nearly all leagues. He just had an off night on Friday. Of course, Brand did too, finishing with 11 points, two boards and no blocks. I'd rather own Speights than Brand, who just doesn't seem to be in the plans for the Sixers.
Thaddeus Young F, Sixers – Young has played well in the last two games, averaging 18.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.5 threes over the pair. Unlike Brand, he can run with his mates and looks like a nice pickup right now.
Beno Udrih PG, Kings – I've been telling you to pick up Beno for a week now and he blew up on Friday with 22 points, three boards, four assists and four three in the win. If he's available in your league you could cut Mike Conley to pick him up.
Andres Nocioni F, Kings – Nocioni is starting and hitting threes for the Kings. He had 15 points, seven boards, two steals and two threes on Friday and is averaging close to 14 points, five boards, 1.5 threes and 1.0 steals per game in his five starts this year—and those starts have all come in his last five games.
Paul Millsap PF, Jazz – Millsap has played well in the last two but remains in shadow of Carlos Boozer. He's averaging 12 points and ten boards over his last two, and while he'll be inconsistent behind Boozer, is still probably worth owning for stretches when he gets hot.
Others worth a look - Raja Bell, Tyson Chandler, John Salmons (must-own if he was dropped due to his terrible shooting), Anthony Parker, Erick Dampier (dud since I picked him up), Trevor Ariza (a must-own player), Dahntay Jones, Rasual Butler, Ryan Gomes, Jonny Flynn, Kevin Love (injured), Hakim Warrick, Terrence Williams, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Courtney Lee (injured), Rafer Alston (triple-double Friday), Devin Brown, Danilo Gallinari (19 pts, ten boards, four threes Friday), Nenad Krstic, Mickael Pietrus, Ryan Anderson, Leandro Barbosa (dud thus far), Spencer Hawes (struggling), Andrei Kirilenko (playing well, but off bench Friday), Brendan Haywood (could take a hit with return of Jamison).
Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings and Blake Griffin should be owned in almost all leagues, while Ty Lawson, Jonny Flynn, Terrence Williams, James Harden and DeJuan Blair are worthy in deeper ones. Stephen Curry has been benched (yes, he's cuttable), while Hasheem Thabeet's lack of offense should keep him off fantasy rosters right now.
Deeper leagues are generally going to have 14 to 16 teams and go deep enough that most starters are not available on waivers. These players may not even be available in all deep leagues, but are generally available in many normal-sized leagues.
Tnaj Gibson PF, Bulls – Gibson has played well lately but will take a hit when Tyrus Thomas returns. He's averaged 14 points, 4.5 boards, 2.5 steals and 1.5 blocks over his last two games.
Chris Andersen PF, Nuggets – Andersen is starting to come on and is averaging five points, nine boards and more than a block in his last four games. The lack of scoring is an obvious turnoff.
Kyle Lowry PG, Rockets – Lowry is starting to get some run as a backup to Aaron Brooks and is averaging nine points, six assists and more than a steal per game over his last three.
Brandon Rush SG, Pacers – Rush was an early bust and is still struggling, but is starting to play better. He had 12 points, ten boards and two threes, and 11 points, seven boards and two threes in two of his last three games, making him worth a look.
Tyler Hansbrough PF, Pacers – Hansbrough is still on a minutes count after his shin injury, but is playing well. He's not shooting it well, but is averaging 12.5 points and 6.5 boards in his two games this season—in just 15 minutes.
Earl Watson PG, Pacers – If T.J. Ford's back injury is serious (and it may or may not be), Watson is worth a pickup. He had 16 points, six boards, three assists, three steals and three three-pointers in Wednesday's game, when Ford was injured. I picked him up in several leagues, just in case.
Marcus Thornton SG, Hornets – Thornton is finally getting some run in New Orleans and had 20 points and two threes on 8-of-15 shooting on Friday. With Paul out for several games, MT should continue to get around 25 minutes per game.
Jared Dudley F, Suns - Dudley is not a must-own player, but in deeper leagues he might have a ton of value. He had 14 points, six boards and four three-pointers Thursday, which was not a blowout fluke. He's hit 15 three-pointers in his last six games and has scored in double figures in five of his last six. To me, that's enough consistency that if you're holding a guy you want to cut, you can make the move and see what happens with Dudley. Especially if you're hurting in three-pointers.
Joel Przybilla C, Blazers – Przybilla isn't glamorous, but is still rebounding and blocking shots, even with Greg Oden playing well. He's averaging 6.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks over his last two games, and is at four points, eight boards and 1.5 blocks on the season.
Extremely Deep Leagues
Shelden Williams PF, Celtics – Williams is suddenly valuable in deeper leagues for the Celtics. He's averaging six points and five boards, and would have some real value if Kevin Garnett were to suffer an injury before Glen Davis comes back in a few weeks.
J.J. Hickson PF, Cavaliers – Hickson has started three straight games and had a career-high 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting in Thursday's win over the Heat. He also had four boards, a steal and a block, and could stick in the starting five given his agility and scoring abilities. He's not an automatic pickup at this point, but is certainly worth a watchful eye in most leagues.
Will Bynum SG, Pistons – Bynum's going to be inconsistent, but is averaging around 11.5 points, three boards and four assists per game on the season.
Chase Budinger F, Rockets – Budinger has scored between 11 and 17 points in four of his eight games, hitting a total of ten threes in his four good games. The only problem is he's been useless in the other four. But if you're in a deep league and need threes, he could help.
Josh Boone PF, Nets – Boone has a chance to start at power forward while Yi Jianlian is out (for several more weeks) and has done so for the past three games. He averaged seven points, eight boards and 1.5 blocks in the first two, but only played five minutes on Friday. We still don't know why, but should have an update over the weekend.
C.J. Watson PG, Warriors – Watson somehow got 27 minutes while Stephen Curry sat on the bench Friday, finishing with seven-of-eight shooting, 19 points, three assists, two steals, a block and two three-pointers. Nellie could be ready to shelve Curry, meaning Watson could continue to get run. And like every other Warrior, Watson is a risky play from night to night.
Goran Dragic PG, Suns – Dragic and the rest of his teammates were generally awful on Thursday, but the Suns are bent on keeping Steve Nash's minutes down this year. Enter Dragic, who has had some very nice games and is becoming a garbage-time mini-monster. He had 14 points, seven boards, seven assists, a steal and three three-pointers on Tuesday, and will be a nice deep-league option on nights when the Suns are up (or down) big.
Nazr Mohammed C, Bobcats – Mohammed has gotten some run in the last two games, averaging 12 points, 6.5 boards and 1.5 blocks in 16 minutes. He's the clear choice to backup Tyson Chandler, and could be a nice deep-league sleeper.
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