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.
Wilson Chandler, F, DEN - While the Nuggets didn't realize it at the time, the signing of Chandler could prove to be critical as they make a push for the playoffs. Starter Danilo Gallinari fractured his thumb Monday night and has no timetable for a return. That could mean Chandler is a lock for 30-plus minutes for Denver. He came off a successful, but fine-filled, campaign in China and is capable of producing numbers across the board. He could come close to his averages from a season ago for the stretch run: 16.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.7 threes made, 1.4 blocks and .7 steals. For a small forward, the 1.4 blocks per game is the stat that most sticks out. Chandler has the potential to make an impact for the stretch run in many fantasy formats.
Tristan Thompson, F, CLE - Thompson is a repeat offender in this column and likely caught the attention of fantasy owners after scoring 27 points with 12 rebounds Monday. The important story here is Thompson's move into the starting lineup, which resulted in the Cavaliers waiving Ryan Hollins on Tuesday. While he's a power forward, Thompson has started the last two games for the Cavaliers at center playing alongside Antawn Jamison. Jamison, shooting a career-low 41.2 percent from the field is putting up respectable numbers but is headed toward the twilight of his career. Thompson is primed to eventually take over the starting four role for Cleveland unless the experiment of him at center ends up working out. With Cleveland likely on the outside looking in for the playoffs, it makes a lot of sense to give Thompson as much experience as possible between now and the end of the season.
Richard Jefferson, F, GS - I really didn't think I'd ever be talking about Jefferson at any point this season unless the stars aligned perfectly. That's exactly what happened when San Antonio shipped him and a first-round pick to Golden State for Stephen Jackson. While Jefferson likely isn't in their future plans, the first-round pick could prove to be fruitful, and it is not like Jackson has a ton of upside at this point in his career. However, Jefferson has been given an opportunity in his short stint with the Warriors, playing 38 and 29 minutes over his first two contests with the team. There aren't a lot of great scoring options outside of David Lee and Klay Thompson, so obviously Jefferson will have a lot more fantasy relevance than he did in San Antonio. Jefferson has the ability to add scoring and rebounds to fantasy teams, given that he should see plenty of court time.
Gordon Hayward, F, UTA - Hayward has been on and off my radar throughout the season as he battled bouts of inconsistency. As a result, he's been shuffled in and out of the starting lineup and hasn't quite gotten to the level of being a recommendation. That is, at least until now. With Josh Howard likely out for the season, Hayward has the opportunity to take some of the minutes he leaves behind. Until a clunker Sunday, Hayward had double-digit scoring games in four of his previous five contests and a handful of rebounds and assists. There are other options in Utah but Hayward (who just missed a national championship at Butler) has the ability to play the two and three, which can only help his playing time.
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.
Jordan Crawford, G, WAS - It was telling when the Wizards dealt Nick Young that Crawford was going to be their man at the two spot for the rest of the season. Crawford has gone on to post at least 15 points in four of his last five contests and while averaging more than 30 minutes the last week. One weakness to his game is his lack of contribution outside of scoring; his rebound, assist and steal totals are modest at best. Still, there's definitely some upside from the 23-year-old who was a late first-round pick and will be given the time to improve his game.
Derrick Favors, F, UTA - Here's a good news/bad news situation for a player. Favors has averaged 13 points and 14.3 rebounds his last three games, a product of an increase in playing time. Unfortunately, that increase in playing time was a result of the absence of star center Al Jefferson. Jefferson missed two games due to a death in the family but returned Tuesday night. As a result, it likely means fewer minutes for Favors. On the other hand, it's possible he's earned more minutes with his recent play, and his 16-rebound performance came three games ago with Jefferson on the court. Keep in mind Favors was a former No. 3 overall pick who still isn't old enough to legally drink.
Kenneth Faried, F, DEN - Faried's 18-point, 16-rebound effort on St. Patrick's Day may have led to a speculation add by another owner in your league depending on the league's depth and the desperation of other owners. Faried followed that with a nine-point, five-rebound game, showing that Saturday was an anomaly. The truth is Faried's average stat line is probably around 8-10 points per game with about the same amount of rebounds. While he's been the starter since Nene Hilario left, JaVale McGee will slide into a starting role at some point. At this point, sending Timofey Mozgov to the bench would make the most sense, giving Faried 24-28 minutes per contest. That should be enough time for him to help your team if you need rebounding.
Always check your league's eligibility rules to make sure a player qualifies.
Tyreke Evans, SAC - Now eligible at small forward
Kenyon Martin, LAC - Now eligible at center
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