This week there seems to be more players available among each of the subjects I address. Some of these players are recycled from previous columns, yet they're mentioned again because of changing circumstances. Without further adieu, this week's Under the Radar.
Each week we'll look at players who have received increased minutes. An uptick in minutes doesn't always translate into improved fantasy stats but at the very least offers some players to put on the radar.
Ty Lawson, G, DEN – With the news that Chauncey Billups will miss the next week with a wrist injury, Lawson will be the hot pickup this week. Lawson's an excellent fantasy start when he gets minutes. He's shooting more than 49 percent from the field this season and has nine games with 14 or more points. If you have a decent-sized bench he should be stashed anyway; he's bound to make a permanent move into the starting lineup once the Nuggets starting trading some of their starters.
Nick Young, G, WAS – I used to think Young was a streaky player who at times could light up the scoreboard and then contribute little the next night. I'm beginning to think this is wrong; he's an extremely talented scorer who just needs consistent minutes. Young averaged 19.8 points in eight games when receiving at least 29 minutes. Of course, the nights he isn't shooting well he probably isn't getting as many minutes. Unfortunately, it seems like the only time he picks up extra minutes is when his teammates, John Wall and Andray Blatche, are out. Both have been banged up lately, which is why Young has received extra minutes and averaged 17.5 points over his last four games. Keep an eye on the health status of the Wizards as Young, who is a good shot-blocker for a guard, can help with threes and scoring.
Semih Erden, C, BOS – Here's the darkhorse pick of the week, in case that wasn't clear just by reading his name. The truth is Erden has been a useful cog at center for the Celtics with the O'Neal brothers – Shaq and Jermaine – fighting their respective aches and pains. A member of the Turkish National team, Erden can block shots, if nothing else. He will get some run as long as the Celtics big men are sidelined, as his 41 minutes Saturday against Charlotte indicate. At least put him on your radar and check him out the next time you watch a Celtics game.
Travis Outlaw, F, NJ – A couple of fortuitous happenings occurred for Outlaw on Tuesday. First, Terrence Williams was traded from the Nets and then Anthony Morrow left Tuesday's game after feeling something wrong with his hamstring. Both moves should help Outlaw's minutes in the interim, the question is: will he capitalize on this opportunity? Keep an eye on his production the next few games (and any further trades) before jumping on the bandwagon.
Each week we'll look at certain players who can help your fantasy team in the nine categories most leagues use. Remember, while each player highlighted can help in a certain category, there's no guarantee they will contribute in other areas.
Blocks and Rebounds
DeAndre Jordan, C, LAC – We've seen flashes of potential at times from Jordan the last two years. He's a solid shot-blocker and can hit the boards when he needed. With Chris Kaman suffering from a bone bruise in his ankle, Jordan should see significant minutes the next few weeks. Jordan lacks a mid-range jumper, which hurts his scoring but helps his percentage as his points mainly come from within five feet. Here's your "big man stats" pickup of the week if you need them.
C.J. Miles, F, UTA – Miles has been a streaky player this year but lately seems to have settled into coming off the bench. He's averaged 16.8 points over his last five games and appears to be the focal point when he's on the floor. These numbers are even more impressive considering he's only getting mid-20s minutes each game. Should injury open up 30-plus minutes a night for Miles, he'd be a must-add in all formats. As he's playing now, he's still a good pickup in deeper leagues.
Ron Artest, F, LAL – It's a bit worrisome when you hear a player in an interview admit he doesn't fully understand the offense his team runs. Artest recently said this in an interview in an attempt to shed some light as to why he's struggled so much this season. One of his problems is that he's on pace to shoot a career-low 36.8 percent from the floor, explaining his 7.5 points per game average. Keep in mind this is the same player (albeit on another team) who averaged 20.5 points per game three years ago. Over his last three games he's only 4-for-23 (17.3 percent), but he has eight steals. He's still averaging 1.7 steals per game for the season despite averaging six minutes less per contest. Artest may have been dropped in deep leagues. If so, look his way. Even if he doesn't understand the offense, the hoop is still only 10 feet high. Eventually his shot will return.
Thaddeus Young, F, PHI – There's so much potential for Young, who's still only 22 and adjusting to the game. He's come out on fire this season, shooting 58.5 percent from the floor, a huge stat for a small forward. While that number is bound to decline, Young has always shot a decent percentage from the floor. Young doesn't take many threes, yet he's been scoring at a stellar clip despite lacking the big minutes. Watch the 76ers as many of the starters have been the subject of trade rumors, which could open more playing time for Young.
Always check your league's eligibility rules to make sure a player qualifies there.
Raymond Felton, NY – Now eligible at shooting guard
Tyrus Thomas, CHA – Now eligible at center
Ed Davis, TOR – Now eligible at center