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.
Lester Hudson, G, CLE – The recent D-League call-up has been on a tear for the Cavaliers over the past three games. Hudson has averaged 20.8 points, 5.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 2.0 treys and 1.5 steals during that stretch. Although he’s coming off the bench, he has become the team’s primary backcourt scorer with Kyrie Irving (shoulder) sidelined. Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said Irving is expected to sit out at least another four or five days, so Hudson will continue to see significant run for a couple more games. Given that Hudson is best suited as a shooting guard, he could continue to play an important role for the Cavs when Irving returns. Go grab the 27-year-old if you need help in your backcourt.
Greivis Vasquez, G, NOH – With Jarrett Jack (ankle) out for the remainder of the season, Vasquez is cemented as the Hornets’ starting point guard. Vasquez has been solid as the starter this season, averaging 12.1 points, 6.8 assists, 2.9 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 0.9 three-pointers in 18 starts. His play has been even better of late, seeing as he has racked up three double-doubles in the past four games. Hornets coach Monty Williams has already stated a desire to give his young players a longer look down the stretch, so look for Vasquez’s new role as one of the team’s featured players, to stick.
George Hill, G, IND – Hill made his first start of the season Monday subbing in for Darren Collison, who was sidelined with a groin injury. The fourth-year pro finished with 18 points, seven rebounds, four assists, a steal and a trey in nearly 36 minutes. Collison is listed as day-to-day and could make a quick return. Even so, going forward Hill will be worth a look in any games the regular starter sits.
Kevin Seraphin, F/C, WAS – Seraphin has been a monster in the paint for the Wizards since Nene Hilario went down with plantar fasciitis. In seven starts this month, Seraphin has averaged 16.3 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks. He shoots a solid percentage from the floor (54.0 FG) and doesn’t hurt you as much from the charity stripe (67.3 FT) as some other big men. The Wizards could actually play Seraphin and Nene together in the frontcourt, so Seraphin has a better chance to sustain his value than some other injury replacements.
Carmelo Anthony, F, NY – Overall, Anthony has had one of the worst seasons of his career, but fantasy owners who didn’t sell-low on the Knicks superstar are now reaping the benefits of their patience. In four April contests, Melo has averaged 32.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.0 treys and 1.8 steals. With Amar’e Stoudemire (back) and Jeremy Lin (knee) both sidelined, Anthony has been put in position to carry the team as they make a playoff push. Lin isn’t coming back and Stoudemire’s return is still up in the air, so Melo will need to continue to carry the load for the Knicks.
Devin Harris, G, UTA – Like Anthony, Harris is another player who has struggled for most of the year but has come on strong of late. Over the past three games, Harris has averaged 23.7 points, 5.7 assists, 3.0 rebounds, 3.7 treys and 1.3 steals in 36 minutes per game. Harris has been on fire from downtown (11-of-22 3Pt), but the main reason for his jump in production is the extra playing time he has seen in those three games. Heavily used backup, Earl Watson, will likely miss the remainder of the season with a torn meniscus, so Harris’ boost in playing time should stick. Make sure he’s in your lineup.
Dwight Howard, C, ORL – Howard has missed four of the past six games with back spasms. He has made steady progress over the past few days and probably could have played Tuesday, but the Magic opted to err on the side of caution and give their star center an additional day to heal. Orlando is hoping Howard will be back in the lineup and at full strength for Friday’s tilt against the Hawks. Glen Davis, who has been great as an injury fill-in these past two weeks, will see a drop in value once Howard returns.
Darren Collison, G, IND – The aforementioned Collison missed his first game of the season Monday with a groin injury. He sat out Tuesday’s practice as well, but remains hopeful to be back in the lineup for Wednesday’s contest against the Cavaliers. His day-to-day status is indicative that the injury is minor, but owners will want to keep a close eye on him in the short term.
Derrick Rose, G, CHI – Just one game after returning from a 12-game absence due to a groin injury, Rose was back on the shelf with an ankle injury Tuesday against the Knicks. He returned to practice Wednesday and is listed as a game-time decision for Thursday’s tilt, so it doesn’t look like owners will have to be without the star point guard for an extended period this time around.
Kobe Bryant, G, LAL – Bryant will miss his third consecutive game with a shin injury Wednesday. He has been progressing in his rehab, but there’s still too much pain in his lower left leg to play. Lakers coach Mike Brown has been preaching patience in Kobe’s recovery, so the superstar could sit out a couple more games. Devin Ebanks has taken over at shooting guard and will continue to receive starts while Bryant is on the shelf.
LaMarcus Aldridge, F, POR – An MRI on Aldridge’s injured hip revealed an “abnormality.” The Blazers haven’t released any other details about the injury yet, but there’s a good chance Aldridge gets shut down. The Blazers currently sit 4.5 games out of the playoffs, so the team has little reason to risk their star big man’s health. If Aldridge does get shutdown, we could see Portland give Hasheem Thabeet a look down the stretch.
Jarrett Jack, G, NOH – Jack will miss the remainder of the season with a stress fracture in his right foot. The 28-year-old forward put together the best season of his career, finishing with career-highs in scoring (15.6) and assists (6.3). He’s under contract for next season, but the Hornets are rebuilding and could opt to go with a younger player at point guard.
Trevor Ariza, G/F, NOH – Ariza was a “Coach’s Decision – DNP” for Monday’s loss to the Lakers. Hornets coach Monty Williams said he plans to give his young players and veterans who are playing for a new contract, extra run down the stretch. That means Ariza, who’s locked up for over $7 million next year, could see more healthy scratches in his future.
Corey Maggette, F, CHA – Maggette has labored through numerous injuries this season, appearing in just 28 of 56 games. He’s currently dealing with an Achilles injury that has limited him to 20 mpg over the past three contests. While it’s nice to see Maggette play in three consecutive games, Bobcats coach Paul Silas has said the small forward will basically be a game-time decision for the foreseeable future. Look for a healthier, more reliable option for the time being
Evan Turner, G/F, PHI – After an 18-game stretch as a member of the starting lineup, Turner was demoted back to a bench role Tuesday. He was impressive as a starter initially; but his play became inconsistent and the Sixers started losing, so coach Doug Collins opted to make some tweaks. The second-year swing man managed just 19 minutes of playing time in his return to the bench while the Sixers ended a four-game skid. Philadelphia is trying to secure one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, so look for Turner to continue to play a limited role off the bench for as long as the Sixers are winning.