-- In a few of my leagues where I'm lacking in assists, I've reached out to Rajon Rondo's owner while his value is likely the lowest it will be all season. You're not going to get a ridiculously big discount on him, but his owner likely has a comfortable lead in assists and could be getting impatient with Rondo injured. Be sure to throw in a note on his free-throw percentage, even though that has no where to go but up. ...
-- Count me in as someone who talked up J.J. Hickson this preseason, owns a pretty big stake in him and couldn't be more disappointed. The talent and physical presence is there; unfortunately the will and intelligence to capitalize on it is not. Hickson doesn't realize that his jumper is not good enough to shoot it as often as he does. Opposing teams are more than willing to give him that shot whenever he wants. As a result, he's shooting almost 11 percentage points lower from the floor this year than last year. I've obviously dropped him in my standard leagues, but it wouldn't surprise me to see him have value again at some point this season. He'll have a lot of time on the bench to gain some motivation, and an Antawn Jamison trade/injury would instantly give him more minutes. ...
-- I'm starting to think Kevin Love is a good basketball player. Seriously, if you were redrafting tomorrow for this season, would you consider him a top-5 pick? More blocks and steals would be nice, as those are his two biggest weaknesses from a fantasy standpoint. You might point a skeptical finger at his 45.5 field-goal percentage, but that's improved since he's been getting consistent minutes, as his 48.5 percentage in December indicates. Speaking of the "minutes limit" (which was crazy), here are his averages since his 28-minute game on Nov. 10:
22.7 points, 16.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.6 threes made, 48 percent from the floor and 88 percent from the line. To put that in perspective, high picks Gerald Wallace, Josh Smith, Chris Bosh and Dirk Nowitzki average less than half of that rebounding total for the season. ...
-- I've discussed Ty Lawson at length in this column this season and for good reason. With Chauncey Billups out, he averaged 18 points, 7.3 assists, 3.3 rebounds, one three-pointer made and a steal through three games. Billups is not a spring chicken at 34 and Carmelo Anthony is likely to be moved, so Lawson should be in line for decent minutes. Billups should be back this week, which might send Lawson to your waiver wire. Stash him on your bench if you can. ...
-- The Miami Heat are 16-2 against opponents with a losing record while only 5-7 against opponents with a winning record. That's not a good recipe for a team with high expectations. They're on a good run, but perhaps they need to consider a trade to shore up their defense in the paint. Not sure how much they have to offer, but a deal for a big man would help improve their chances against the Magic, Celtics, Hawks and Bulls come playoff time. ...
-- The Washington Wizards are winless (0-13) on the road. Not sure what they did to upset the schedule makers but Minnesota has played a league-high 18 games (1-17) on the road so far this season vs. only 11 at home.
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.
Ben Gordon, G, DET – I typically highlight players who are likely to be available on the waiver-wire in the majority of leagues. However, I was found Gordon available in two of my six public leagues late Tuesday. With the news that Gordon will remain the starter at shooting guard for the Pistons, he'll continue to see significant minutes each game. He can be a prolific scorer at times with great range and shoots a solid percentage from the charity stripe. If by chance he's still available in your league, get him.
Rudy Fernandez, G, POR – It seems like it's only going to be a matter of time before Brandon Roy is shut down for good with a troublesome left knee. Fernandez has been filling the stat sheet in his absence, averaging 19.3 points, 6.3 assists, 2.6 threes and two steals over the last three games. The high assist mark is especially impressive and rare for a shooting guard. The latest news has Roy out for the upcoming road trip, so Fernandez instantly becomes a decent starter for the short term. Grab him immediately, especially if you're a Roy owner.
Mike Miller, G, MIA – Miller made an unspectacular return to the court Monday, missing all four attempts (all three-pointers) and played only four minutes. The two positive notes to take away here are that he returned and got four rebounds in the process. While he is looked at for his perimeter shooting, there's enough talent and opportunity for him to put up career numbers in categories outside of threes and scoring. Grab him if you need guard help; just wait to start him until he settles into the offense.
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.
Keyon Dooling, G, MIL – Dooling will see a big boost in minutes following the broken foot suffered by Brandon Jennings. He won't be a significant fantasy force the next 4-6 weeks, but players who get consistent assists are hard to come by. Grab Dooling if you need dimes, and be thankful if he contributes modestly in the other roto categories.
Rebounds and Blocks
Marcin Gortat, C, PHO – I found it interesting that the Magic traded Gortat after matching Dallas' offer to him this offseason. Of course they may have felt in hindsight that was not a good decision given his role and are happy to have his contract off their hands. Either way, Gortat heads into a much better fantasy situation, with only Robin Lopez to compete with for playing time. With the talented point guard play of Steve Nash, Gortat come become relevant if he finds the minutes in Phoenix. For now, consider the Polish National Team member a speculative add until his role is more clearly defined.
Always check your league's eligibility rules to make sure a player qualifies.
Kevin Seraphin, WAS – Now eligible at center