By Shannon McKeown
RotoWire Staff Writer
Around the League
Every week, we'll use this space to track players whose fantasy value is improving, declining or uncertain. We're not particularly concerned with hot or cold streaks - all players toss up a 2-for-10 every now and again - unless they're extreme or seem to indicate an underlying problem or injury. Instead, we'll be looking at changes in playing time or role or skill level.
Jermaine Taylor, G, HOU - Recalled from the Developmental League last week, Taylor is now making a name for himself in the NBA. The rookie out of Central Florida was a surprise addition to the Rockets starting lineup over the weekend, as Kevin Martin was sidelined with a shoulder injury. Taylor seized the opportunity, scoring 15 points and hitting three treys in 30 minutes of action. Martin has already been ruled out of Tuesday's game against the Wizards, so Taylor is in line for at least one more start. The Rockets are out of the playoff picture, so don't be surprised if Martin continues to rest his shoulder, and Taylor reaps the benefits.
Rodrigue Beaubois, G, DAL - "Roddy Buckets" exploded against the Warriors on Saturday, pouring in 40 points while hitting nine three pointers. He followed up that performance with a five-point stinker on Monday, but the rookie Frenchman is still an intriguing addition to fantasy squads for the stretch run. Beaubois put together seven consecutive double-digit scoring efforts in early March, and as the Mavericks rest their regulars for the playoffs, Mr. Buckets' playing time should increase.
Shaun Livingston, G, WAS - Livingston is set for a bump in value following the news that Randy Foye (see below) will likely miss the remainder of the season because of a wrist injury. With Foye out of the picture, Livingston is all but guaranteed to hold the starting point guard job for the rest of the year, and his minutes should see an uptick, too. The lanky floor general is averaging 11.2 points and 6.4 assists per 36 minutes this season, and now that his actual playing time will be closer to that, he should be looked at as an option in most formats.
Will Bynum, G, DET - Bynum took over starting point guard duties when Rodney Stuckey collapsed in Cleveland on March 5. Even with Stuckey now back in action, Bynum has held on to the gig, and that doesn't look to change anytime soon. The Pistons relied on Bynum heavily at the end of last season, and it looks like they will again this year. He won't be a nightly fixture in fantasy lineups, but Bynum will be a decent plug-and-play option for daily leagues during the fantasy playoffs despite his sub par production the past few games.
Channing Frye, C, PHO - The early-season favorite for Surprise Fantasy Player of the Year is back at it. Robin Lopez is on the shelf with a back injury for at least the next two weeks, resulting in more playing time for Frye off the bench. Frye played over 30 minutes in the first game Lopez missed, finishing with 17 points and five three-pointers. Owners searching for help from downtown should look Frye's direction.
Leandro Barbosa, G, PHO - Another Sun making a splash recently is Barbosa. The "Brazilian Blur" returned from wrist surgery on March 16. It took Barbosa a few games to get back into the flow of things, but he's shown signs of catching on with efforts of 16 and 18 points in his past two outings. His season has been mired by injuries, but owners shouldn't be shy about adding him for their late season push.
Ronny Turiaf, C, GS - Turiaf returned from a knee injury on Saturday and was immediately re-inserted into the Warriors starting lineup. His first game back was a stinker, but the big man out of Gonzaga bounced back with 13 points, eight rebounds and two blocks the next night. He has never been a consistent scorer or rebounder, but Turiaf can block shots with the best of them when given playing time. If you need help with blocks, Turiaf is your man.
Vince Carter, G, ORL - Carter sustained a sprained right big toe in Sunday's win over the Nuggets. He left the floor less than two minutes into the game and wasn't able to return. His status for Thursday's game against the Mavericks won't be known until the morning shootaround, so make sure to check in on him before re-inserting him into your lineup.
Jermaine O'Neal, C, MIA - O'Neal sat out Sunday's game against the Raptors after suffering a knee injury on Friday. His status for the Heat's upcoming three-game road trip is still uncertain, so owners will want to keep a close eye on the situation.
Richard Hamilton, G, DET - Rip sustained an ankle injury late in Sunday's loss to the Bulls, and his status going forward is uncertain. Hamilton has dealt with numerous injuries this season, but he has still been an effective scorer when on the court. The final verdict on his status for Wednesday night probably won't surface until after that morning's shootaround.
Emmanuel Ginobili, G, SAN - Ginobili sat out Monday's loss to the Nets with back spasms. The injury isn't thought to be serious, and it's possible Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was only resting Manu because a weak opponent was on the schedule - which, of course, means the Nets won. Owners will probably have Ginobili back on the hardwood for the Spurs' next game on Wednesday, but make sure to check his status before activating him.
Baron Davis, G, LAC - Davis has been ruled out of the Clippers' upcoming three-game road trip due to back spasms. That puts him on the sidelines until Sunday, at the earliest. This is devastating news for Davis owners who were relying on him for production in the fantasy playoffs. Steve Blake will take over at point guard in Davis' absence.
Kevin Martin, G, HOU - Martin has missed back-to-back games with a sore left shoulder. He was hoping to return in time for Tuesday's game against the Wizards, but he has already been ruled out of that contest as well. The high-scoring shooting guard said his shoulder is still very sore, and with the Rockets now out of the playoff picture there's little reason for Martin to rush back. Owners shouldn't drop him yet, but it wouldn't hurt to consider alternate options.
Randy Foye, G, WAS - As previously mentioned, Foye isn't expected to return this season. He underwent an MRI on Monday that revealed a sprained left wrist. He could be ready to return in seven to 10 days, but there's little incentive for the Wizards to rush Foye and his expiring contract back into action.
Peja Stojakovic, F, NOR - Stojakovic (low abdominal strain) is hoping to return this season, but the fact he hasn't been cleared even to run yet makes that unlikely. The Hornets are out of the playoff picture, so it makes more sense for the team to give extra playing time to their youngsters rather than rush Stojakovic back to action. Feel free to dump him for a replacement.
Article first appeared on 3/30/10