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.
C.J. Miles, G/F, UTA – Since taking over for Jerry Sloan last week, the most significant change new Jazz coach Ty Corbin has made was inserting Miles into the starting five. The move was partially forced by a calf injury to Raja Bell, but this also looks to be Corbin’s way of putting his stamp on the team. Miles has responded with averages of 19.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 treys in his three starts. While those numbers are slightly inflated, Miles will score consistently and hit enough threes to be considered in almost any format.
Sam Young, G/F, MEM – After a slow start to his run as the Grizzlies’ starting shooting guard, Young has found his groove this month. In eight games, the second-year swingman has averaged 14.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals. The Grizzlies have sported an impressive 14-5 record since Young joined the starting five, so owners shouldn’t be worried about O.J. Mayo challenging for the starting spot once he returns from his 10-game suspension; and, since Rudy Gay (shoulder) is expected to at least four weeks, Young may play an even bigger role over the next month. Young doesn’t offer much help outside of points and steals, but he has been consistent enough in those two categories this month to warrant a look.
Shaun Livingston, G, CHA – Thanks to a string of impressive performances off the bench, Livingston is in a position to steal the Bobcats’ starting point guard gig from D.J. Augustin. Livingston has averaged 14.7 points and 4.3 assists over the past three games. More importantly, he’s seeing 26 minutes per game over that stretch. He has absolutely no outside game and doesn’t provide much in the defensive categories, but Livingston can provide a spark in scoring and assists if he continues to see the majority of playing time at point guard for the Bobcats.
Rodrigue Beaubois, G, DAL – Beaubois (broken foot) returned to action Wednesday and made his season debut against the Kings. In nearly 21 minutes, the speedy French guard totaled 13 points, six assists, and three steals. He’ll have to battle Jose Barea for minutes off the bench, but as evident from his 40-point outburst against the Warriors last season, Beaubois is clearly the player with more upside. His playing time will likely be too sporadic to help in shallower formats, but those in deeper leagues that value bench players should consider snatching Beaubois off the waiver wire.
Jordan Hill, F/C, HOU – Less than a month ago, Hill appeared to have lost most of his fantasy value. The 2009 first-round pick was leapfrogged in the rotation by rookie Patrick Patterson, which resulted in a diminished role off the bench. Well, things are looking much brighter for Hill now after he returned from a four-game absence due to an ankle injury. In his first two games back, Hill assumed the role of first big man off the bench for the Rockets. He averaged 10.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.0 blocks while seeing 23 minutes per game in those two contests. He did not play much Wednesday, but no Rocket bench player saw more than 18 minutes in the game. Patterson is now the odd man out and Hill has begun eating into starter Chuck Hayes’ playing time as well. If Hill sees about 20 minutes per night going forward, he will be a decent source of rebounds and blocks in deeper formats.
Michael Redd, G, MIL – Redd, who has been sidelined all season while recovering from knee surgery, is scheduled to rejoin the Bucks on Monday. The former All-Star has been working out at Ohio State University, but he’ll have plenty of rehab remaining with the Bucks before seeing any game action. The Bucks are expected to move him along slowly, beginning with individual skill work and progressing to scrimmages, so owners in deep leagues looking to scoop him up shouldn’t expect his addition to reap immediate dividends.
Daniel Gibson, G, CLE – Gibson is once again dealing with quad issues. The 24-year-old guard left Sunday’s loss to the Wizards after aggravating the strained left quad injury that sidelined him for three games earlier this month. He was able to practice Tuesday and play Wednesday, but he was not very effective in 22 minutes against the Lakers. Hopefully the All-Star break provides Gibson enough time to rest so he does not miss any additional games.
Tyreke Evans, G, SAC – Evans (plantar fasciitis) sat out Tuesday’s loss to the Thunder and did not play in Wednesday’s tilt against the Mavericks. The 2009-10 ROY has been dealing with plantar fasciitis all season and was even debating surgery to correct the matter earlier in the year. Hopefully the extra rest he’ll receive over the All-Star break won’t have him reconsidering that option. Monitor this situation closely.
Mike Miller, G/F, MIA – Miller was taken to the hospital for observation after receiving a blow to the head during Tuesday’s win over the Pacers. He did not play in Wednesday’s game against Toronto, but he might be able to return after the All-Star break. The veteran swingman has a history of concussion problems, so owners will want to keep a close eye on things during the break. James Jones will play a bigger role off the bench if Miller remains sidelined.
Rudy Gay, F, MEM – Gay suffered a partially separated left shoulder during Monday’s win over the Sixers and will be at least four weeks. The injury is a bad break for both Gay and fantasy owners, who were reaping the benefits of his career year. With Gay out, expect Tony Allen, and perhaps O.J. Mayo, to see a bump in minutes.
D.J. Augustin, G, CHA – Following a stretch of poor play, Augustin’s status as the Bobcats’ starting point guard appears to be in jeopardy. The speedy guard has struggled this month, averaging 8.7 points and 4.6 assists while shooting just 30.8 percent from the floor in nine games. Over that stretch, Augustin has seen his playing time dip to just 27 minutes per game. Bobcats coach Paul Silas has given Livingston a steady dose of playing time over the past week, often playing him more than Augustin, so don’t be surprised to see Silas switch up his starting five if Augustin doesn’t turn things around soon.
Brandon Roy, G/F, POR – Roy is actually due an upgrade in one-year formats, as he appears to be nearing an early return from knee surgery, but his long-term outlook doesn’t look so good. An unnamed “consulting surgeon” for the three-time All-Star recently revealed that he believes Roy only has one or two seasons left in his career. The doctor believes the Blazers should take a cautious approach with Roy, limiting his practice reps to "virtually nothing," while targeting 65-75 games per season. Injuries like this aren’t fun to deal with in keeper leagues, especially when you’re dealing with a player who likely has a high salary or cost you a lofty draft pick. It’s looking more and more likely that Roy’s best days are behind him, so don’t be shy about looking for a replacement keeper.
Chuck Hayes, F/C, HOU – After averaging over 39 minutes per game through the first five games of the month, Hayes has seen averaged just 21 in his past three. This drop in playing time is a result of the aforementioned Hill grabbing a larger role in the Rockets’ rotation. Hayes remains the Rockets starting center, but it’s hard to imagine he’ll continue to post double-doubles like we saw from him in late January and early February now that his minutes have nearly been cut in half. Hayes will still hold value in some deep formats, but shallower leagues should look elsewhere for big man production.
Randy Foye, G, LAC – Foye’s steady production over the past few weeks is about to take a hit. He has averaged 16.1 points, 1.9 threes and 1.5 steals while filling in as the starting shooting guard, but with Eric Gordon (wrist) expected to make a return shortly after the All-Star break, Foye will be headed back to a reserve role soon. The 27-year-old guard has seen just 13 minutes per game off the bench this season, so do your best to shop him around to unsuspecting owners before Gordon returns.
Vince Carter, G/F, PHO – Carter got off to a decent start after being traded to the Suns in late December, but his production has tailed off lately. Following a 33-point eruption against the Thunder on Feb. 2, Carter has averaged just 7.8 points over the past five games. During that stretch, Carter has seen his playing time dip to under 22 minutes per game. Carter doesn’t factor into the Suns’ long-term plans, so those extra minutes will likely continue being handed to the likes of Mickael Pietrus and Jared Dudley. Try capitalizing on Carter’s name value in the trade market, as he’s unlikely to perform close to the levels we’ve been accustomed to throughout his career.