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 game every now and then - unless they are extreme or seem to indicate an underlying problem or injury. Instead, we'll be looking at changes in playing time, rotation role, or performance.
Jose Calderon, G, TOR – Following the trade of Jarrett Jack to New Orleans, Calderon has taken over as the Raptors’ starting point guard. Calderon’s production dipped last year and early this season as he lost playing time to Jack, but now it looks like Calderon will be a lock for 30+ minutes per game. His scoring numbers don’t jump out of the box score, but solid percentages and assist numbers make Calderon a must-own as long as he is the starter.
Darko Milicic, C, MIN – Milicic has flipped a switch the past four games, averaging 17.0 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 4.0 blocks in 36 minutes per contest. This was easily the most productive stretch of Milicic’s career. Its unlikely Milicic will continue to produce at this rate, but it is possible the 25-year-old is starting to turn the corner towards being a productive NBA player.
Erick Dampier, C, MIA – After losing Udonis Haslem to a foot injury, the Heat signed Dampier to a one-year contract. The seven-foot veteran hasn’t played yet this season, so he might take some time to get into game shape; but he could end up seeing significant playing time as the Heat’s center. If Dampier can earn 25+ minutes per night, he’ll be a factor in the rebounding and block categories.
Sonny Weems, G/F, TOR – Weems has turned into one of the more consistent performers on the Raptors this season. The 24-year-old swingman has reached double digits in scoring in eight consecutive games and appears to be locked into the Raptors starting lineup now. With a scoring average of 16.5 points in six starts, Weems is now a relevant option in most formats.
JaVale McGee, F/C, WAS – The third-year center has exploded his past two games, averaging 22.0 points, 17.0 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks. The biggest reason for McGee’s jump in production has been his ability to avoid foul trouble the past two games and play over 40 minutes in each contest. Owners shouldn’t expect 20-10 production from McGee, but he has made significant strides and should remain a nightly double-double threat while being among the league’s top shot blockers.
Kris Humphries, F, NJ – With Troy Murphy (foot) sidelined, Humphries has become a nightly double-double threat as the Nets starting power forward. In seven starts, Humphries has averaged 11.1 points, 12.0 rebounds, as well as 1.3 blocks. Murphy isn’t a lock to return to the starting lineup upon his return, so Humphries is a must-add in nearly all formats.
Shannon Brown, G, LAL – Brown has thrown his hat into early Sixth Man of the Year discussions. The Lakers reserve guard is averaging 15.0 points and 2.4 threes over his past seven games. He’s only seeing about 20 minutes per game, but Brown is an explosive enough scorer to put up decent stats in a limited role. He’s worth a look in most deep leagues.
Mehmet Okur, F/C, UTA – Okur (Achilles) returned to full practice and participated in five-on-five scrimmages Tuesday. Unfortunately the Jazz still don't have any kind of timetable for Okur's return, but this was obviously a step in the right direction. While he might not start upon his return, Okur will still be worth a look in most formats. Continue to monitor his rehab closely.
Vince Carter, G, ORL – Carter suffered a sprained left knee in Monday’s loss to the Spurs. He missed Wednesday’s game against the Heat but could return Friday against the Cavaliers. J.J. Redick will start at shooting guard in any further games Carter misses.
David Lee, C, GS – Lee is eyeing a return from an infected elbow early next week. The tentative timetable has Lee returning Tuesday against the Spurs. His role is expected to be limited in his first couple games back, so owners in weekly leagues might want to hold him out of the lineup next week.
Brandon Roy, G, POR – Roy has missed three consecutive games with a sore left knee. He had a good workout Wednesday and is optimistic he can return to action Friday against the Hornets. Double check his status after Friday morning’s shootaround.
Aaron Brooks, G, HOU – Brooks (sprained left ankle) hopes to return to the hardwood on December 4. The speedy guard was originally expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks, so a return next week would put him at the short end of that timetable. Get your buy-low offers in quickly.
Udonis Haslem, F/C, MIA – Haslem suffered a torn ligament in his left foot in last weekend’s loss to the Grizzlies. He underwent successful surgery Tuesday and may miss the remainder of the regular season. His absence will open up more playing time for Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Erick Dampier.
Austin Daye, F, DET – After starting the first nine games of the season, Daye has been stuck on the bench in three of the past five games. Pistons coach John Kuester likes to insert Jason Maxiell into the starting lineup when the team faces big opposing frontcourts, and in those instances Daye has been stuck on the bench. Shallow leagues should look for a player who is guaranteed playing time every night, but Daye's upside makes him worth holding onto in deeper formats.
Jarrett Jack, G, NO – Jack’s move from Toronto to New Orleans means he’ll go from starter to reserve. With Chris Paul seeing significant run as the Hornet’s starting point guard, Jack will struggle to see enough playing time to make an impact in most formats.
Tim Duncan, F/C, SAN – The greatest power forward of all time is finally starting to show his age. Duncan is averaging career lows in scoring (13.8), rebounding (9.2), and minutes (29). While still nearly averaging a double-double, Duncan isn’t even sniffing the 20/10 averages we have been accustomed to seeing from him. The Spurs are winning despite limiting his playing time, so look for that trend to continue.
Terrence Williams, G/F, NJ – Williams was suspended by the Nets for Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s games for repeatedly breaking team rules. The team had already fined the sophomore swingman a couple times for repeated violations of team rules before handing out this two-game benching. Williams had already gotten off to a slow start this season because of injuries, so this news is sure to test the patience of fantasy owners.
Beno Udrih, G, SAC – Constant lineup juggling in Sacramento has resulted in Udrih being pushed to the bench. The 28-year-old guard has been deployed as a reserve each of the past four games and has averaged 9.8 points and 2.5 assists in those contests. There’s no telling when Kings coach Paul Westphal will decide to switch things up again, but Udrih’s value will be negatively impacted while he is stuck in a backup role.