With the news that Portland star swing man Brandon Roy will be out indefinitely with both knees being scoped, fantasy owners need to look for full-time replacements. That, and you need to just keep a general eye on rising talent, altogether.
With injuries always having an effect, it’s extremely important to stay updated on player stock. Check out these guys on the rise and decline, as we take our weekly look at the NBA fantasy basketball risers and fallers for Week 13:
Greg Monroe, F/C, Detroit Pistons
The No. 7 pick in last year’s draft has quietly put up a double-double in four consecutive games, playing 30 minutes in all four games after not reaching that mark since the beginning of December.
With Ben Wallace sidelined on Wednesday, Monroe earned his first start since Dec. 17 and tallied 14 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals and a block while shooting 5-of-7 from the floor and 4-of-6 from the free throw line. He’s averaging 13.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.3 steals during his recent hot streak.
The Pistons are struggling and giving more playing time to young, developing guys like Monroe should be a priority in the second half of the season. Unfortunately predicting Detroit’s lineups on a night-to-night basis is pretty much a toss-up (they’ve used 10 different starting fives this season), but fantasy owners should ride Monroe now while he’s hot.
Marcus Thornton, SG, New Orleans Hornets
Thornton had by far his best night of the season on Wednesday, playing nearly 32 minutes off the bench and scoring 22 points (including two three-pointers), grabbing nine rebounds and also recording a steal and a block.
The biggest reason for a possible increase in playing time for the second-year player out of LSU is a sprained ankle to starter Marco Belinelli. Thornton has struggled to find consistent minutes all season but if Belinelli is forced to miss an extended period of time then Monty Williams has almost no choice but to play Marcus.
Thornton has been a big disappointment this season—he struggled at the start of the season and every time he’s put up a decent night, he’s followed it up with a couple clunkers. Still, now is as good a time as any for him to find his role in the Hornets system and get on the floor to become a legitimate scorer on the wing.
J.J. Hickson, F/C, Cleveland Cavaliers
Starting center Anderson Varejao is out for the season with a torn tendon in his ankle and Hickson will fill in that role in the foreseeable future.
He had a breakout performance on Sunday against Phoenix, with 23 points, 17 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a block. But he followed that up with a dismal 5 point, 4 rebound effort in Cleveland’s humiliating 55-point defeat in Los Angeles.
The pros and cons to Hickson starting at center pretty much even out. He’s forced to play inside, meaning he should grab more rebounds than his sub-par 5.5 average for the season and will more than likely stop taking so many jump shots (he connects on just 32.3 percent yet over 60 percent of his shot attempts have been jumpers). But he’s undersized and underdeveloped so when Cleveland plays teams with large frontcourts (like the Lakers on Tuesday) he could easily struggle to put up numbers.
Even though the Cavaliers mustered just 57 points as a team in their last outing, Hickson’s worth a look and within a week or two owners should have a solid idea of what to expect out of him.
Tracy McGrady, G/F, Detroit Pistons
Similar to Greg Monroe, predicting McGrady’s minutes and spot in Detroit’s rotation is essentially a shot in the dark.
However, T-Mac has started five of the Pistons last seven games and his numbers almost double when in the starting lineup—11.9 points, 5.0 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals compared to 6.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists and .7 steals.
In a small sample as a starter since Dec. 29, McGrady is at 13.8 points, 6.2 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals. As long as he’s a starter he remains a viable fantasy option. Just how long he’ll remain a starter is in question.
Leandro Barbosa, G, Toronto Raptors
Barbosa had his best game of the season Wednesday vs. Atlanta, with 26 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, and a three-pointer in about 30 minutes off the bench.
He’s etched his role as Toronto’s bench spark, providing instant offense off the bench and scoring in double-digits in 15 of his last 16 games. Since Jan. 1 he’s averaging 17.3 points, 3.5 assists, 2.1 rebounds, 2.0 three-pointers and 1.8 steals.
The only caveats with Barbosa are he doesn’t contribute much outside of scoring and the occasional big steals game and he’s currently nursing a sore wrist, which will eventually require surgery. But if he’s playing and you need points, scoop him up.
Charlie Villanueva, F/C, Detroit Pistons
After starting 10 consecutive games from mid-December to the beginning of January, Villanueva moved back to the bench in Wednesday’s loss to Memphis.
He ripped off nine straight games of double-digit scoring (averaged over 17 points during that span), last night was his high point total since Jan. 3, and he had just eight points. In his last four games he’s averaging just 5.5 points and 4.3 rebounds while shooting less than 35%.
As long as Greg Monroe’s stock is on the rise, Villanueva’s is more than likely falling.
Richard Hamilton, G/F, Detroit Pistons
Notice the trend with the Pistons yet? Since they have so many similar players, when one player’s stock is up the other is crashing.
Hamilton earned a DNP-CD on Wednesday night, his first in that department for his entire career that didn’t involve rest for the playoffs late in the season. It’s just another example of the constant lineup changes going on in Detroit, as coach John Kuester said they were “searching to find a group that can get the minutes and get the job done.”
The subject of constant trade rumors, owners should stay away from Hamilton until his future is settled.
Grant Hill, SF, Phoenix Suns
Hill played just four minutes in Sunday’s win over Cleveland before spraining his ankle. He didn’t return and missed the last two games trying to get back to full-strength.
The injury isn’t considered serious but with Jared Dudley playing well and Vince Carter starting to find his niche in Phoenix, Hill’s minutes may be somewhat limited on his return and it’s doubtful he’ll continue his torrid pace from December.
Andris Biedrins, F/C, Golden State Warriors
Biedrins missed nine games from mid-December to January with an ankle injury and his return to the court hasn’t been a smooth transition.
He’s started all four games since he was cleared to play but has yet to crack 26 minutes. He was beaten around by Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum inside last night, scoring 2 points and grabbing only 3 rebounds.
Since his return he’s at just 2.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game. It could just be rust, trying to shake off any lingering effects from his injury, but he hasn’t been anywhere close to the contributor he was in the beginning of December.
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