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.
Derrick Favors, F, NJ – After weeks of teasing, Nets coach Avery Johnson finally relented and inserted Favors into the starting lineup Wednesday night. However, as has been his theme, the rookie out of Georgia Tech battled foul trouble in his first career start and finished with seven points, five rebounds and one block in just nine minutes. Favors has averaged an astounding 3.4 fouls per game this season despite playing fewer than 20 minutes per night, so his playing time will continue to be limited until he learns how to keep his hands to himself. Still, once Favors learns to limit his fouls he will be a nightly double-double threat. With the starting gig now in hand, Favors is worth grabbing in mid-to-deep sized leagues, foul trouble or not.
Shawn Marion, F, DAL – In the wake of Caron Butler’s season-ending knee injury (see Stock Down), Marion moved into the Mavericks’ starting lineup. In two games since his promotion, Marion has averaged 15.0 points and 7.0 rebounds. He doesn’t help in three-pointers, steals and blocks like he did in his prime, but Marion still has the ability to be a steady producer when playing over 30 minutes per game, which he will routinely see with Butler on the shelf.
DeShawn Stevenson, G, DAL – Stevenson is the Maverick that has benefited most from Butler’s absence. Taking it upon himself to help replace Butler’s scoring, Stevenson hoisted up 25 shots and averaged 19.5 points and 4.5 treys in the first two games Butler missed. The Mavericks were also without Dirk Nowitzki (knee) in those two games, so it’s highly unlikely Stevenson continues to shoulder that kind of scoring load over the long term. However, he is still worth a short-term add for those in need of double-digit scoring and three-point help.
Hidayet Turkoglu, F, ORL – We’ve touched on Turkoglu numerous times since his trade back to Orlando, but he gets another mention this week after posting the third triple-double of his career Monday against the Warriors. Turkoglu looks like a completely different player than the one we saw during his stops in Toronto and Phoenix. He is averaging 12.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.2 assists and 1.9 threes since rejoining the Magic, but his overall averages for the year remain low enough that you still may be able to get him at a discount from an unsuspecting owner. Act now if you are going to.
Tracy McGrady, G/F. DET – McGrady was inserted into the Pistons’ starting lineup on December 29 to take over the point guard duties for Rodney Stuckey, who was suffering from a virus. In his four starts since, McGrady has averaged 13.3 points, 6.8 assists, 4.8 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.0 threes. Stuckey was able to return to action Monday night against the Jazz, but Pistons coach John Kuester stuck with McGrady as his starting point guard. It’s still unclear how long McGeady will remain in the starting lineup, and he’s always an injury risk, but as long as he’s getting the minutes, the former All-Star is worth a look in most formats.
DeAndre Jordan, C, LAC – Jordan was a popular pickup after Chris Kaman went down with an ankle injury earlier this season, but the young big man didn’t initially take advantage of the expanded role and was likely dumped in shallower formats. Well, it’s time to go get Jordan back on your roster. Since December 20, Jordan has averaged 10.6 points, 10.9 rebounds and 3.0 blocks in seven games (including 19 in his last three games). Kaman probably won’t be ready for at least another couple weeks, so Jordan will have an opportunity to keep up his recent hot streak.
Gerald Wallace, F, CHA – Wallace has missed back-to-back games with an ankle injury he suffered in practice last weekend. Bobcats coach Paul Silas said he expects Wallace to be sidelined for at least a few games, so owners will likely have to get by without the energetic forward for the remainder of the week. Gerald Henderson will continue to start in Wallace’s absence.
Aaron Brooks, G, HOU – Brooks re-injured his left ankle Monday night, forcing him to sit out Wednesday’s loss to the Blazers. The speedy guard has now missed 22 games because of this ailment and never really looked at full strength in the games he did manage to play. The Rockets plan to rest him for a few days to see if that does the trick, but there’s currently no specific timetable for his return. Keep Brooks on your bench and be on the lookout for status updates.
Andre Iguodala, G/F, PHI – After battling an Achilles problem nearly all season, the Sixers decided to sit Iguodala for five games, beginning with their New Year’s Eve tilt against the Lakers. Iggy will return to basketball activities on Jan. 10, and if all goes well, he will be back in the lineup the following evening against the Pacers. Philadelphia only has two games next week, so owners should keep Iguodala on the bench for this upcoming period. Keep an eye on him going forward.
Joakim Noah, C, CHI – Noah, who has been sidelined since undergoing thumb surgery on December 16, has been cleared to work out and is scheduled to have his cast removed next week. The Bulls are still putting Noah’s timetable for a return in late February or early March, but there is some hope he will be able to return sooner than the original 8-to-10 week expected recovery.
Caron Butler, G/F, DAL – The aforementioned Butler is set to miss the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery on a ruptured right patellar tendon. Butler should have already been dropped in all one-year formats, and those in keeper leagues shouldn’t be shy about parting ways with him either if there are quality options on the waiver wire.
Rodney Stuckey, G, DET – Stuckey’s status as the Pistons; starting point guard is in doubt after Tracy McGrady’s steady play this past week. The 23-year-old guard returned to action after missing two games with an illness, but he has averaged just 13 minutes per game while coming off the bench. Stuckey has admitted to not being completely recovered from the virus that ailed him last weekend, but it’s still uncertain if he will be reinserted into the starting five once he is at full strength. Stuckey should be held onto in most formats until we see how the situation plays out, but owners in shallow leagues will want to at least plan for other options in case Stuckey remains in a limited role long term.
Danilo Gallinari, F, NY – Gallinari is expected to miss the next 2-to-3 weeks with a sprained left knee. Owners won’t be without the three-point shooter for long, so this is just a temporary dip in his overall value.
Robin Lopez, C, PHO – The Suns’ acquisition of Marcin Gortat has squashed any value Lopez held earlier in the season. Lopez is still the starter at center, but that is by name only. Over his past five games, Lopez has averaged just 4.0 points and 2.0 rebounds in 12 minutes per game. Gortat is now seeing most of the minutes at pivot for the Suns, so feel free to drop Lopez for someone with more playing time.