Around the League
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.
Andrew Bogut, C, MIL - Bogut made a surprise return to the Bucks lineup on Monday. He was originally expected to miss up to four weeks with a leg injury, but the big Australian was able to return after missing just six games. The seven-footer put together one of his best games of the season in his return, totaling 22 points, 15 rebounds, three steals and four blocks. He's averaging a career-high 16.7 points for the season and is quietly developing into one of the better fantasy options at center when healthy.
Mike Dunleavy, Jr., IND - It's taken Dunleavy just two games to fit comfortably into the Pacers' rotation. Missing the first 13 games of the season as he recovered from knee surgery, Dunleavy has returned to average 17.5 points in just 19 minutes per game. He's coming off the bench right now, but he appears more than comfortable as an offensive sparkplug with the second unit. If he's still floating around on waivers, go grab him.
Jamaal Tinsley, G, MEM - The Grizzlies signed Tinsley to takeover as backup point guard after letting Allen Iverson walk away. Tinsley is averaging 12 points and 5.3 assists in the past four games and was recently bumped to the starting lineup following a Mike Conley, Jr. shoulder injury. Memphis hasn't shown much confidence in Conley this season, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see Tinsley continue getting plenty of run.
Nate Robinson, G, NY - Robinson was slow to gain his footing when he returned from injury on Nov. 13, but he's finally playing like the high-scoring sixth man we all expected. In his past five games, Robinson is averaging 18.8 points and 2.8 treys. His overall production still looks pedestrian, so now's the time to try and buy low.
Sergio Rodriguez, G, SAC - Rodriguez was limited to mop-up duty through the first 12 games of the season, but he finally appears to have cracked the rotation. He's averaging 15.3 points, 4.8 assists and 1.3 treys in the past four games. He's still behind Tyreke Evans and Beno Udrih on the depth chart and will take a further hit in playing time when Kevin Martin (wrist) returns from injury, but he could be a decent short-term play in deep leagues.
Tyrus Thomas, F, CHI - Thomas has been sidelined since Nov. 7 after breaking a bone in his left arm. At that point, he was probably dumped in many standard leagues. Well, he's only about a week away from returning, so feel free to grab and stash him if he's available in your league.
Ben Gordon, G, DET - Gordon has missed the past two games with a sprained right ankle, but he's nearing a return. He's listed as questionable for Wednesday's game against the Bulls, but the Pistons expect him to return by Friday at the latest.
Charlie Villanueva, F, DET - Villanueva was the latest Piston to fall to injury when he face planted on teammate Ben Wallace's hip. While Big Ben was able to walk away, the collision resulted in a broken nose for Villanueva. He already had surgery and is being fitted for a mask, but his status for Wednesday's tilt against the Bulls is in question.
Kirk Hinrich, G, CHI - The Bulls announced on Monday that Hinrich would miss one to two weeks with a sprained thumb. An MRI showed no tear, so owners don't have to worry about a long-term injury, but Hinrich should be moved to the bench for the time being.
Anthony Randolph, F, GS - As if Randolph owners didn't already had a headache over coach Don Nelson's frustrating rotation, now they have to worry about an injury, too. Randolph suffered a sprained left ankle in Monday's win over the Pacers. The severity of the injury is still unknown, but Randolph has already been ruled out of Tuesday's game against the Nuggets.
Leandro Barbosa, G, PHO - Barbosa was just starting to hit his stride when he suffered a sprained left ankle in Sunday's win over the Raptors. He has already been ruled out of the next two games, but could miss up to four weeks. The Suns training staff will try to work its magic over the next few days, so keep tabs on the situation before making a final decision on dropping or stashing Barbosa.
Rasheed Wallace, F/C, BOS - This isn't the 'Sheed of old. Through his 17 games as a Celtic, Wallace is averaging career lows in field-goal percentage (37.7), points (9.0), rebounds (4.1) and blocks (0.6). With plenty of other weapons at Boston's disposal, Wallace hasn't been asked to do much besides play defense and launch low-percentage bombs from downtown. Unless you're in a deep league that heavily rewards three-pointers, there's little reason to roster Wallace.
Jose Calderon, G, TOR - Calderon has been a bit disappointing all season but his latest three-game stretch (5.7 ppg, 6.3 apg) is cause for further concern. He hasn't meshed well with new teammates Jarrett Jack and Hidayet Turkoglu through the first 18 games, and there's little indication that the team is on its way to jelling.
Louis Williams, G, PHI - Williams suffered a broken jaw last week and will miss up to two months. The fifth-year guard was putting together a breakout performance with averages of 17.4 points, 5.1 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.3 three pointers before the injury. He's still worth stashing in rotisserie leagues, but keep an eye on the Allen Iverson situation, as a return to Philly for AI could negatively impact Williams after he recovers from injury.
D.J. Augustin, G, CHA - Augustin was a sleeper pick entering drafts as many pundits expected him to break out in his second season, but that hasn't even been close to the case. He's averaging just 5.9 points while playing under 20 minutes per game. His situation has only worsened since Stephen Jackson came to town, making Augustin little more than a player to keep an eye on in keeper leagues because he probably won't do much this year.
Mike Conley, Jr., G, MEM - As previously mentioned, Conley is sidelined with a shoulder injury. The injury doesn't appear to be of the long-term variety, but Conley was already losing playing time to Tinsley prior to getting hurt. Until the Grizzlies consistently give Conley over 30 minutes of run per game, it'll be difficult for him to live up to his fantasy potential.
Article first appeared on 12/1/09