The final week of the regular season is upon us. For fantasy owners, this time of the year is usually chaotic. Due to the condensed schedule and lingering injuries to an assortment of fantasy stalwarts, roster management down the stretch has even more of a hassle than usual.
If you’re hanging on to any players who are dealing with injuries, now is the time to cut bait. Teams that are locked into a playoff spot will do anything in their power to ensure their lineups are healthy for the postseason, which will lead to many star players getting random nights off to rest minor bumps and bruises. Non-contenders might opt to rest some of their star players, too, as these squads will be looking to give young players a look while also (intentionally, or not) improving their lottery positioning.
As we enter the final week of play in the regular season, we’re going to take a different approach with the Barometer. Instead of looking at the typical “Stock Up” and “Stock Down” options, we’ll run down unheralded players who can help you out during the stretch run.
Metta World Peace, F, LAL – Of all the players on the Lakers who have stepped up in Kobe Bryant’s (shin) absence, World Peace may be the most surprising. While he has had the occasional solid showing this season, the only thing World Peace was consistent at prior to Bryant’s injury was being mediocre. In Bryant’s six-game absence, World Peace has averaged 16.0 points, 4.5. rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.7 treys. He’ll remain a solid option as long as Bryant stays on the shelf.
MarShon Brooks, G, NJ – Brooks has picked up his production over the past three games, averaging 19.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.0 threes and 1.0 steals in 36 minutes per game. He did much of the ball-handling Monday night while Deron Williams was sidelined with a calf injury. Williams has already been ruled out of Wednesday’s game against the Knicks and could miss additional action, so the Nets offense should continue to flow through Brooks in the short term.
Gerald Green, G/F, NJ – Green’s uptick in value has been discussed previously. His improbable breakout has continued, leading to averages of 17.7 points and 3.3 treys over the past three games. He was recently promoted to the Nets' starting lineup and should continue to be a featured option with the aforementioned Williams and Gerald Wallace (hamstring) dealing with injuries.
Earl Clark, F, ORL – Injuries to Dwight Howard (back) and Glen Davis (knee) has opened up playing time for Clark. The 24-year-old forward has averaged 13.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks over the past two games. He’s risky and will likely be inconsistent, but Clark is a decent streaming option to target if you need blocks.
Kevin Seraphin, F/C, WAS – Seraphin is another player we’ve highlighted recently, but his continued dominance deserves another look. Since rejoining the starting lineup on April 1, Seraphin has averaged 16.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 10 contests. The Wizards still haven’t released a timetable for Nene Hilario, who could very well get shutdown for the remainder of the season with plantar fasciitis. Don’t pass up the opportunity to add Seraphin for the stretch run, regardless of your league size.
George Hill, G, IND – His run as the Pacers starting point guard appeared to be nearing an end when Darren Collison returned from a groin injury Monday night, but after Collison aggravated the injury, Hill’s stint as Indiana’s undisputed floor general was extended. Hill has averaged 16.3 points, 5.0 assists and 1.7 threes in six starts. He’ll remain a solid option while Collison recovers.
Jonny Flynn, G, POR – Flynn has quietly worked his way into the Blazers rotation since being traded to Portland at the deadline. On Monday, he made his first start, finishing with four points and six assists in 24 minutes. His value is directly tied to Raymond Felton’s (Achilles) health, but Flynn could be a decent source of assists for the final four games of the season.
Luke Babbitt, F, POR – Babbitt is another unexpected player to step up for the Blazers down the stretch. He was inserted into the starting five Monday, finishing with 18 points (7-of-17 FG, 4-of-9 3Pt) and five rebounds while filling in for Nicolas Batum (quad). The 22-year-old has now hit 12 three-pointers in his past six games. He’s a solid addition for deep fantasy squads looking for some extra long-range help in the final week.
Charlie Villanueva, F, DET – After missing most of the season with ankle injuries, Villanueva has finally found himself back in Detroit’s rotation. The 27-year-old big man will serve as the team’s backup power forward for the last handful of games. He has averaged 11.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.0 treys over the past two games.
Anthony Randolph, F/C, MIN – Randolph broke out last week, but he has struggled since rejoining the Timberwolves’ starting lineup for the past two games. After averaging 22.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.0 blocks in his previous three games, Randolph has averaged just 5.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in back-to-back starts. The inconsistent play makes him risky, but with Kevin Love (concussion) out Randolph will continue to see the opportunity to log heavy minutes.
Derrick Williams, F, MIN – Like Randolph, Williams has the opportunity to see more run with Love on the shelf. Unfortunately Williams has been inconsistent, too, posting a double-double one night and playing just seven minutes the next. He’s another risky option, but Williams has the upside to post all-around production on any given night.
Ivan Johnson, F, ATL – A foot injury to Zaza Pachulia (foot) has forced the Hawks to go small, which has opened the door for Johnson. Over the past two games, Johnson has averaged 17.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals. Pachulia could end up missing the rest of the regular season, so Johnson should continue to see extra playing time off the bench.
Ben Uzoh, G, TOR – Uzoh has started three consecutive games for the Raptors, averaging 7.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.3 assists while filling in for Jose Calderon, who’s dealing with an eye injury. While Uzoh’s not much of a scorer, he does offer great rebounding numbers for a point guard and can hold his own in the assist category. His value is directly tied to Calderon missing further action, so only make a move on Uzoh if Calderon has been ruled out.
Jordan Williams, F/C, NJ – A monster 12-point, 14-rebound effort against the Celtics on Saturday led to Williams being promoted to the Nets’ starting lineup for Monday’s tilt against the Heat. Williams struggled in his first start of the season (two points and four rebounds), but he still managed to log a career-high 32 minutes of run. As a rookie, you should expect inconsistency from Williams, but he’s worth a look for as long as he sticks in the starting five.
Jeremy Tyler, F, GS – Tyler has been a member of the Warriors’ starting lineup since March 21, but he’s just now starting to see the type of run typically associated with being a member of the starting five. He played a career-high 33 minutes in Monday’s loss to the Spurs, finishing with 11 points and 10 rebounds. With David Lee (groin), Andrew Bogut (ankle) and Andris Biedrins (concussion) all out, the Warriors will continue to give Tyler extended playing time.
Luke Harangody, F, CLE – The Cavaliers recalled Harangody from the NBA Developmental League on Wednesday. During his one-game promotion last week, Harangody managed 16 points and 10 rebounds in 37 minutes of action. Antawn Jamison sat out that game and is now healthy, so Harangody isn’t expected to play such a prominent role this time around, but it’s worth keeping an eye on him down the stretch.