Fantasy basketball just finished its first month of play. The toll of the season is starting to show its ugly face. A few major injuries occurred last week with Marc Gasol and Derrick Rose both suffering significant injuries.
Sports is all about opportunity and ‘the next guy up’, so Memphis and Chicago will look to the bench. Which players will benefit the most and receive more playing time?
On the other side, there are a few guys returning from injuries (Trevor Ariza & Tobias Harris). Which players on Washington and Orlando will they replace in the lineup?
Most of these players are owned in less than 50% of leagues (and some are owned in less than 10%). You should pick these guys up or at least keep a close eye on them.
- Trevor Ariza – SF (Washington Wizards) – Ariza is due to return on Tuesday from a hamstring injury. Martell Webster filled in admirably, but it’s time to pick up Ariza again. I expect Ariza to put up similar numbers he had at the start of the season. I would still keep Webster if you have the roster space.
- Kirk Hinrich PG (Chicago Bulls) – Derrick Rose was officially ruled out for the rest of the season, so someone has to play point guard for the Bulls. Hinrich isn’t the ideal candidate, but the Bulls didn’t make it a priority to sign a new backup point guard. He’ll get minutes and will accumulate assists and low double-digit points.
- Tobias Harris – SF/PF (Orlando Magic) – Harris made his season debut late last week. He won’t get a full load of minutes right away, but he’ll be Orlando’s everyday starter by the end of the month. He was dropped in many leagues at the start of the season, so go pick him up. Maurice Harkless will see less minutes, but he’s not owned in many fantasy leagues.
- Rodney Stuckey – SG (Detroit Pistons) – I’ve been waiting for Stuckey’s stats to fall, but it hasn’t happened yet. He’s not starting, but he’s the best sixth man in the league right now. He’ll get you plenty of points and help you in rebounds and assists for the shooting guard position.
- Jared Sullinger – PF (Boston Celtics) – Sullinger is becoming a double-double machine. Brandon Bass looked like the better power forward the first two weeks, but Sullinger surpassed him. His looks 100% after back surgery.
- Marvin Williams – SF (Utah Jazz) – Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin is experimenting with a smaller lineup in Utah. Williams replaced Enes Kanter in the starting lineup last week and he put up nice numbers. I don’t know how many times Corbin will do this, but if the Jazz win games, it could become more regular. This is a deep league add, but could be a nice stash candidate. His numbers aren’t consistent enough to start at the moment.
- Nick Young – SG (Los Angeles Lakers) – Need 3-pointer help with upside? Young is your guy. He will get plenty of long-range attempts and has the ability to drive to the hoop. He won’t help you in any other category, but he’s a nice player to fill one specific need.
- Corey Brewer – SF (Minnesota Timberwolves) – I mentioned Brewer a few weeks ago and he’s still stealing the ball at a high rate. I suggest picking him up, since there aren’t many other players on the waiver wire that can help you this much in steals.
- Kosta Koufos – PF/C (Memphis Grizzlies) – Marc Gasol injured his MCL last week and will not return for a long time. Koufos is the most likely candidate to start in his place. He was a sparkplug in Denver last year and I expect him to help you in rebounds and blocks. He will average in the low double-digits as a starter. He’s only owned in 2% of leagues right now, but that will change very soon.
- Amir Johnson – PF/C (Toronto Raptors) – Fantasy owners gave up too soon on Johnson. He’s a double-double guy and an excellent shot blocker. He’s has a few rough games and is currently dealing with the flu. If he’s available in your league, pick him up now. You will thank me next month.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.