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.
Grant Hill, F, PHO – Hill has turned back the clock since returning from a two-game absence due to ankle and knee problems, averaging 24.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.3 treys. The 38-year-old veteran has scored 20 or more points in three straight games -- his longest such stretch since his final season with the Magic in 2006-07. At his age, We’re not sure Hill can continue to carry this heavy of a load for the remainder of the season, but with Jason Richardson and Hidayet Turkoglu now heaving up shots in Orlando, the opportunity is there.
Ryan Anderson, F/C, ORL –As part of the Magic’s big trade with the Suns in December, Marcin Gortat was shipped to the desert. Gortat’s exit left the Magic with a shallow frontcourt and opened up more minutes for Anderson. So far, the three-point shooting big man has taken advantage of that opportunity. Since finding his way back into the rotation, Anderson is averaging 12.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.5 threes. As long as the Magic don’t add another big man to their rotation, Anderson will get every opportunity to continue posting strong lines.
Amir Johnson, F, TOR – Like many of his teammates, Johnson has been a fantasy tease for most of the season, but he finally appears to be turning a corner. His playing time has crept up near 30 minutes per game in January, leading to season-best averages of 10.3 points and 7.6 rebounds while shooting 61.6 percent from the floor. The Raptors handed out a five-year contract to Johnson this past offseason, so his role should only continue to grow down the stretch.
Corey Maggette, G/F, MIL – Bucks coach Scott Skiles has turned to Maggette to spark his team’s offense, inserting the 31-year-old vet into the starting five earlier this week. In his two starts, Maggette has averaged 23.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists while hitting all eight of his free-throw attempts. Maggette has struggled in his first season with the Bucks, but he has proven numerous times in the past to be a 20-point scorer when given a significant role in the offense. He doesn’t help out much outside of scoring and percentages, but Maggette will be a big enough boon in those areas to help in most shallow leagues.
Joel Przybilla, C, POR – With Marcus Camby (knee) expected to miss at least the next month, Przybilla has become a fantasy option again. The Vanilla Gorilla has absolutely no offensive game to speak of, but he has provided solid rebounding and block totals in the past. Przybilla is the only legit center on the Blazers' roster who’s healthy, so there will be plenty of playing time handed to the big man over the next month or so. Feel free to give him a look if you need help with rebounding and/or blocks.
Ramon Sessions, G, CLE – Sessions is another player who has seen an uptick in value after a rash of injuries hit his teammates. In nine games this month, Sessions has averaged 14.4 points, 6.3 assists and 1.2 steals. With Maurice Williams (hip) expected to miss the next couple weeks, Sessions will continue to see an increase in playing time and might even start at point guard for the duration of Williams' absence. Session is already worth a short-term look in shallow formats, but he could turn into a nice long-term investment if Williams’ injury proves more serious than originally expected.
Carlos Boozer, F, CHI – Boozer has been sidelined for the past two games with a sprained left ankle. He’s listed as questionable and will be a game-time decision for Thursday’s tilt against Dallas, but after missing the morning shootaround he’s probably closer to doubtful. If Boozer sits on Thursday, his next chance to return to the lineup would be Saturday against the Cavaliers. Taj Gibson will be worth a look if Boozer misses any more action.
Carlos Delfino, G/F, MIL – After dealing with post-concussion symptoms for over two months, Delfino finally appears to be nearing a return. The Argentine swingman was a full participant in Thursday’s practice and could suit up for Friday’s tilt against the Cavs. Delfino has been a good source of points and threes since joining the Bucks, making him worth a look once he proves he can handle significant playing time.
Chris Bosh, F, MIA – Bosh sat out Tuesday’s loss to the Hawks after suffering a sprained left ankle in his previous outing. Early indications are the injury isn’t serious, but like LeBron James’ recent ankle injury, the Heat will likely err on the side of caution and rest Bosh until he’s back to full strength.
Al Horford, F/C, ATL – Horford’s status for the next couple games is unclear after the young big man suffered a twisted right ankle Tuesday night. Hawks vice president of public relations Arthur Triche said Horford would miss at least two games, but conflicting reports surfaced soon after with Horford listed as questionable for Friday’s game against the Hornets. Keep close tabs on this one going forward and be sure to have a replacement in case Horford is indeed sidelined.
Maurice Williams, G, CLE – The aforementioned Williams is once again on the sidelines with a hip flexor injury that has lingered for most of the season. Williams received a cortisone shot Wednesday and plans to shut things down for a “couple weeks.” Given the struggles of the Cavs this season and the lingering nature of Williams’ injury, it wouldn’t surprise us if this situation ended with Williams on the sidelines for a long stretch. He shouldn’t be tossed to the scrap heap immediately, but owners shouldn’t be shy about shopping him around or at least planning an exit strategy.
Marcus Camby, C, POR – Camby became the fifth Blazer to undergo knee surgery this season after going under the knife to repair a partial tear in his meniscus this week. Conflicting reports have Camby missing anywhere from three to five weeks. Przybilla and Dante Cunningham will eat up most of the minutes at center while Camby is sidelined.
Jeff Green, F, OKC – Green has been one of the bigger disappointments in fantasy all season and things don’t appear to be getting any better. The fourth-year forward’s averages have dipped to 11.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.0 three-pointers through eight games this month. His role with the team is similar to past years, but he’s shooting a career-worst 41.8 percent from the floor. At this point of the season, it’s hard to brush this off as a mere shooting slump. Green was drafted in the fifth or sixth round of most drafts with his upside in mind, but it’s become clear that we shouldn’t expect much more from Green than his averages of the past few seasons.
DeShawn Stevenson, G/F, DAL – Stevenson was a hot pickup in fantasy leagues after erupting for 87 points and 22 three-pointers over a five-game stretch earlier this month. Since that stretch, Stevenson has averaged just 2.0 points while shooting 1-of-13 from beyond the arc. He hit a hot streak when the Mavericks were looking for someone to step up on offense to help offset injuries to Caron Butler and Dirk Nowitzki. Stevenson’s streak is clearly over and the Mavs have Nowitzki back to carry their offense. Feel free to look elsewhere for a three-point shooter.
Richard Hamilton, G, DET – Hamilton’s value has been dipping all season, but it hit a low point Wednesday when Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov announced his team would back off from trying to acquire Carmelo Anthony. In the proposed three-team deal, Hamilton would have been shipped to New Jersey. Rip would have likely started at shooting guard for the Nets, but now he’s stuck on the end of the Pistons’ bench. Detroit will have a hard time finding another suitor for the two years and $25 million remaining on Hamilton’s contract after this season, so he could end up rotting away on the pine for the remainder of the year.