Significant injuries continue to be a storyline in the NBA as Andrew Bogut goes down and will be out two to three months, rendering him just about useless in this shortened fantasy basketball season. Feel free to drop him in rotisserie leagues and consider doing the same in head-to-head leagues.
So, who should you pick up? Check out the first name on the list below who just might be available in your league, but do it quick. A ton of names to follow afterward.
Waiver Wire Considerations
Drew Gooden, PF/C, Milwaukee Bucks (51% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
If you owned Andrew Bogut, first off, my apologies. Second, I hope you picked up Gooden before anyone else in your league did. Since taking over for the injured Bogut two games ago, Drew’s put up consecutive 23-point efforts on 15-for-29 shooting combined. He’s also averaged 11.5 rebounds in those two games in about 36 minutes of play. In his career as a starter, Gooden averages 12.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, while shooting 47.5 percent from the field and as recent as the 2009-10 season, averaged a double-double (13.7 points; 10.1 rebounds) and shot 48.3 percent from the floor as a starter in 33 games. It’s not out of the question that Gooden produces his career averages as a starter moving forward this season.
Luke Ridnour, PG/SG, Minnesota Timberwolves (44%)
Ridnour isn’t the slightest bit fancy like his backcourt mate, Ricky Rubio, but he doesn’t need to be. Ridnour is getting the minutes (32.0) in Minny and retains starter status — only now at off-guard — despite Rubio dazzling as the starter at point for the T-Wolves. Honestly, the 44 percent ownership seems high to me, but it’s probably a matter of the potential of minutes converting into production. In the past week (three games), Ridnour averaged 8.7 points, 5.0 dimes, a couple of ball swipes and 85.7 percent from the charity stripe. However, he also shot 37.0 percent from the field, which is obviously bad but not Rubio-bad who shot 29.4 percent in the past week. But again, Ridnour did average 9.0 attempts on the floor. Again, it’s the potential/production principle. I’d consider Ridnour in standard leagues and if he’s available in deep leagues, go for it.
Tiago Splitter, PF/C, San Antonio Spurs (39%)
Splitter is a big part of the future for the franchise and he’s been showing excellent progress towards fulfilling his promise. In the past week (four games), Splitter averaged 12.0 points on 60.0 percent shooting from the field, 7.0 rebounds and 0.8 steals and blocks in only half a game’s worth of playing time. He’s having a strong month averaging 9.8 points while shooting 65.0 percent from the floor and 5.1 rebounds in about 21 minutes. He’s a solid keeper-league grab, deep league add, and standard league consideration, especially with all of the injuries to big men this season.
Rodrigue Beaubois, PG/SG, Dallas Mavericks (31%)
News flash: Jason Kidd is getting old and this season he’s finally showing it. It was inevitable. In the Mavericks’ last two games, Beaubois has taken the reins for an injured Kidd, averaging 18.0 points while shooting 16-for-31 from the floor, 7.0 dimes, 4.5 boards and 1.5 bombs from downtown in about 36 minutes of action. More importantly, the Mavs had two big wins over conference foes (Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs). If Beaubois continues to play well, it’s possible that the starter switch could become permanent, or at the very least, we could Beaubois getting more time on the deck than Kidd.
Rudy Fernandez, SG, Denver Nuggets (23%)
Fernandez is getting some burn with Ty Lawson being hurt and he’s taking advantage of the opportunity, averaging 17.5 points on 73.7 percent shooting, 3.5 boards, 3.5 triples and 1.5 steals in 32 minutes of play. Of course, Rodolfo will not continue to be that hot in regards to his shooting and time on the court, so take advantage while you can if you’re in need of threes. Keep an eye out on the Lawson injury (sprained ankle) and cut Fernandez when Lawson returns. In deep leagues, Fernandez is a consideration to keep depending on your needs.
Austin Daye, SF/PF, Detroit Pistons (18%)
Daye is bursting with potential and that’s all you can really say about him at this point in his career, but he does show flashes. In the last week (four games), Daye averaged 15.3 points on 46.8 percent shooting from the field and 90.0 percent from the foul line, 4.7 boards, a couple of dishes and treys in only 26 minutes of play, which includes a 28-point outburst versus the mighty Miami Heat on January 25th. He’s been one of the first players off the Pistons pine, but struggling to get consistent minutes this season. He’s a definite deep-league consideration if you have the spot available, as well as in keeper leagues. Daye is only 23 years old and has excellent size for a three.
Nikola Pekovic, C, Minnesota Timberwolves (2%)
First off, props due to @nickhansenMN who needed to drop a guard in his league in order to get more boards. He came to me about which guard to drop and then later let me know whom he picked up for boards. Pekovic has started in Darko Milicic’s place the past two games, but in the past three games, Pekovic has gotten a little more time on the hardwood than usual. He averaged 13.3 points on 16-for-26 shooting (61.5 percent) from the floor and 8-for-10 (80.0 percent) from the line and 8.7 boards in about 24.5 minutes. Add him in deep leagues if you need points, boards, and a high field goal percentage.
Isaiah Thomas, PG, Sacramento Kings (1%)
The Kings have a lot of guards on their roster and it’s easy for a 5-foot-9 player to get lost in the sea of Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, Jimmer Fredette and Francisco Garcia. But Thomas has been floating above the tide recently with Thornton’s recent thigh injury. In three games in the past week, Isaiah “Extra A” Thomas averaged 13.3 points, 4.7 dimes, and a duo of threes in about 26 minutes of burn. He’s a deep league consideration, especially with Garcia often getting hurt and the possibility of Fredette fizzling at some point (although Jimmer has played well lately also). The little man is doing some big things when given the rock, so track Thornton’s injury.
Better Than Previously Advertised
A couple of weeks ago, I took a look at players that have disappointed and not lived up to the hype for the season thus far. This week, I’ll go the reverse route and look at players exceeding their preseason value, first noting their Yahoo! O-Rank (overall rank based on current season and previous seasons) and current Rank. If you own any of the following players, you can probably thank them for keeping your team in contention.
- Marc Gasol (53/6) is making the most of Zach Randolph’s absence, really putting up the numbers in the boards column (10.4), as well as in blocked shots (2.3). The 3.1 assists per contest is a big plus coming out of the five spot.
- Danilo Gallinari (51/7) is making it really easy for the Nuggets and their fans to forget about their former small forward, Carmelo Anthony. Gallo has been very efficient (20.6 PER) this season and it’s showing up in his fantasy production as well — 17.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.5 steals, 46.1 FG% and 88.4 FT%.
- Ryan Anderson (103/11) is showing to be the perfect stretch four, especially for Dwight Howard. Anderson leads the league in 3PTM (3.1 per game) and averaging 16.3 points and 6.5 rebounds while shooting 88.2 percent from the line.
- Brandon Jennings (98/13) always had that 20-point potential from the point guard spot because he has that mentality to score, as well as the propensity of putting up shots. The major difference this season is taking about 2.5 more shots per game than his two previous seasons and shooting a lot better this season from the floor (44.1 percent) compared to his previous campaigns (37.1 percent and 39.0 percent, respectively).
- Tyson Chandler (91/18) must like playing for New York, but he’s pretty much been the only consistently bright spot for an underperforming Knicks squad. Chandler is averaging a double-double (10.6 points, 10.2 rebounds) and shooting an incredible 69.6 percent from the floor. He currently averages 3.2 FGM per game, which doesn’t qualify him for the leaderboard where you need to average at least 3.7 FGM. But, fantasy-wise, you’ll take the percentage anyway.
- Andrea Bargnani (71/19) is currently out indefinitely, but before leaving the Raptors’ line-up, Bargs was doing work! He’s averaging 23.5 points and shooting a career-best 47.6 percent from the field. Hopefully, he gets back on the court soon.
- James Harden (62/24) is averaging career-highs in several categories: points (16.9), field-goal percentage (48.4 pecent), free throw shooting (88.0 percent), 3PTM (1.7), rebounds (4.1) and assists (3.2). Yeah, that’s the Sixth Man of the Year right there.
- Spencer Hawes (123/25) is currently suffering an Achilles strain, but was putting up impressive numbers beforehand. He averages 10.4 points, 58.8 percent from the field, 8.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. Hawes is day-to-day and is only 60 percent owned right now. If you have a spot, why not take the risk if it looks like he’s coming back in the next week or so.
- Samuel Dalembert (112/27) is doing relatively great as the Rockets’ center, considering he wasn’t the center the team envisioned before the season (Pau Gasol). However, 9.0 points, 54.5 FG%, 86.8 FT% and 2.2 blocks are nothing to sneeze at.
- Mo Williams (131/34) is doing well as a back-up (14.7 points, 52.6 FG%, 85.7 FT%, 1.4 3PTM, 3.5 assists, 1.3 steals) and is only owned in 63 percent of leagues. He’s a player to consider if you need guard help.
- Ricky Rubio (115/38) is leaving no doubt that he can play at the NBA level (11.1 points, 8.8 dimes, 2.3 rock rips), although he’s also proving that perceptions about his shooting (37.1 FG%) are on point. No pun intended.
- Al Harrington (154/57) is loving the mile high weather, averaging 14.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 triples. It helps that players such as Wilson Chandler, Kenyon Martin, and J.R. Smith aren’t with the Nuggs this season, but Harrington is taking full advantage of any and all opportunities.
- Mario Chalmers (173/58) is often the forgotten man amongst the Big Three in Miami and even moreso with the shine that rookie Norris Cole has gotten. But you can’t sleep on Chalmers’ 11.0 points, 1.8 3PTM, 4.0 assists and 1.4 steals.
- Andre Miller (125/69) had to have had some major reservations coming into Denver, and playing backup to the young and up-and-coming Ty Lawson, but things have worked out fine for the veteran. He’s averaging 10.8 points, 7.2 assists and 1.3 steals.
- MarShon Brooks (209/76) is doing excellent for a 25th overall pick in his rookie season. Brooks has shown great maturity and is one of the bright spots for the Nets. His 14.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.1 3PTM, 1.1 steals makes Swag one of the top rookies in the league. Of course, he just fractured his toe and is out indefinitely. Did I say “bright spots” and “Nets” in the same sentence?
- Luke Ridnour (216/85), we talked about him above, but coming into the season, many people probably thought Rubio would start from the get-go, or at least get most of the point guard minutes. Ridnour has proven otherwise and is getting the time on the court to make a fantasy difference.
- James Johnson (188/88) gets his props from Yahoo! for his defensive efforts (1.3 steals and 1.8 blocks). If you need to rack up those numbers for your team, at only 40 percent owned, take the chance on Johnson.
Fantasy Thoughts to Jump Off From
- OK, a bit of showing off for me here, but you have no idea how tough this 30-man league is! Currently, I’m repping The Basketball Jones with the best record in the league and as long as my core players — Steve Nash, Marc Gasol, Anthony Morrow, Caron Butler, Glen Davis and Gerald Henderson — don’t suffer significant injury, I’ll continue to do pretty well. Of course, as we’ve learned thus far, having healthy players that make a significant fantasy impact is a luxury. Of course, I probably just jinxed myself now.
Number of Team Games in Week 6
Five Games: DET, MEM
Four Games: BOS, CHI, DAL, DEN, HOU, IND, LAC, MIA, MIL, MIN, NJN, NOR, NYK, OKC, ORL, PHI, PHO, POR, SAS, TOR, UTA, WAS
Three Games: ATL, CHA, CLE, GSW, LAL, SAC
Follow me on Twitter (@dv140) and feel free to ask me any question about fantasy hoops. Feel free to also e-mail me at dennis DOT velasco AT gmail DOT com. And check out the new NBA blog I founded, NBARooks.com and follow us on Twitter as well (@nbarooks). Paz, fantasy heads!