How good has Greg Monroe been?
The second-year pro out of Georgetown hasn't just been good, he's been fantastic. He leads the Pistons in points per game (16.3), rebounds per game (9.2), field goal percentage (55.2) and steals per game (0.9). His 3.1 assists per game are impressive for a center, and he's improved his free-throw percentage from 62.5 percent last season to 83.6 percent this season. And considering he's attempting about four free throws a game, that 83.6 percent is significant, especially compared to other centers in the league. The only stat somewhat disappointing is his blocks per game (0.6), a number that should improve with experience and working with Ben Wallace.
Why should we have been bullish on Monroe entering the season? He's the typical player who had a monster second half after getting inconsistent playing time to start last season. The Pistons were in disarray for much of last year (remember the Coup D'Etat attempted on John Kuester), and it wasn't until January that Monroe was given a permanent starting spot in the lineup. He then showed the upside that made him the seventh overall pick in the 2010 draft. After the All-Star break, Monroe averaged 13.7 points, 10.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.6 steals while shooting 58.0 percent from the floor. Basically, he was your typical young player who should have been evaluated for this year's drafts based on what he did over the final months of last season, not what he did over the course of the whole season. His owners' likely realized that, and based on his ADP of 71 (thanks Mock Draft Central), they'll be more than happy on the return they get from him this season.
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 it at least offers some players to put on the radar.
J.J. Redick, G, ORL - For me there isn't a comparison between Jason Richardson and Redick; I'd still start Redick over J-Rich even after the latter returns. For now Redick gets the nod and has shown the same shooting ability that made him a start at Duke. His last three games he averaged 17 points, 2.3 three-pointers made, 3.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists. Those are reasonable numbers to expect if he continues to get about 30 minutes a night, which should happen as long as Richardson is out. If the Magic struggle once Richardson returns, don't be surprised if Stan Van Gundy turns to Redick as the permanent starter.
Chandler Parsons, F, HOU - It appears that Parsons has passed Chase Budinger on the Rockets depth chart after the former Gator played at least 29 minutes in five of his six last games. Last year's SEC Player of the Year, Parsons has the skill set at 6-foot-10 to play as a taller small forward who can shoot from the outside. Parson averaged 8.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.8 steals and one block in his last six games. He's not assured to retain the majority of minutes for Houston, but his ability to put up stats across the board makes him an intriguing add.
C.J. Watson, G, CHI - At the very least if you have a deep bench and own Derrick Rose, you should handcuff your stud with Watson, who is next on the depth chart. Watson started both Monday and Tuesday's games and appears to be ahead of John Lucas as Rose's backup. While Rose's toe injury is not considered serious, he has missed three of the Bulls last five games and will probably miss more by season's end. This gives Watson some value, especially in leagues that allow daily lineup changes.
Each week we'll look at players who can help your fantasy team in the standard nine categories. Remember, while each player highlighted can help in a certain category, there's no guarantee he will contribute in other areas.
Leandro Barbosa, G, TOR - Barbosa has picked up the scoring slack north of the border with Andrea Bargnani and his 16.5 shots per game on the mend. His last four games he averaged 20.3 points while attempting 17.5 shots per contest. He's not been shy to take his shot with Bargs out, and there's no indication he's going to slow down until Bargnani returns. Throw in he's a solid free-throw shooter who will help other categories by just being on the floor 30 minutes a night and you have a decent guard pickup.
Rebounds and Blocks
Ed Davis, F, TOR - Davis has assumed Andrea Bargnani's role in the starting lineup while the Italian is on the shelf with a calf strain. Davis, as a result, played at least 30 minutes in two of the Raptors last three games. In those two games he had 21 rebounds and five blocks, showing his defensive prowess. Keep in mind his scoring won't be an asset to your team, and Bargnani isn't expected to be out too much longer, but Davis can be a nice short-term pickup if you need big-man help.
Michael Redd, G, PHO - The darkhorse of the week, Redd would have been a sure-fire early round pick only a few years ago. Starting with the good news, Redd is back on the court for the Suns, and after his first game there was even talk of moving him into the starting lineup. He had modest minutes in his first three game, likely a precaution given his injury history the last three years. It's hard to imagine him getting significant minutes or even staying healthy the whole season, but if he found his way to 24 minutes a game he would help your team in this category. It won't hurt to play with Steve Nash, and the Suns aren't close to the offensive force they once were, which should provide Redd with an opportunity for more playing time.
Always check your league's eligibility rules to make sure a player qualifies.
Kevin Garnett, BOS - Now eligible at center
Ben Gordon, DET - Now eligible at point guard
Luke Ridnour, MIN - Now eligible at shooting guard
MarShon Brooks, NJ - Now eligible at small forward