Box Score Breakdown
Bradley Beal (Y! = 68%; ESPN = 92%)
Beal is the 24th ranked player in fantasy over the last two weeks. Through the six games he's played over that stretch, Beal has averaged 20.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.2 three-pointers, 1.2 steals, and 0.8 blocks in 36 minutes per game. He shot 49% from the floor and 83% from the line during the surge, and we're of the opinion that these are very much in line with what should be expected of Beal in the NBA. Coach Randy Wittman is finally giving Beal the consistent minutes he should have had from jump street. Beal's detractors will blast his efficient shooting of late and say that it's bound to come down, but I don't see any reason to think most of Beal's stats shouldn't stay at their current level.
Beal isn't just worth picking up right now; he's worth trading for, too. Whether you're in a keeper league or a one-year league, Beal has great value going forward. The Wizards have 13 games during the traditional fantasy playoff schedule that runs the last three and a half weeks of the NBA's regular season.
Gordon Hayward (Y! = 60%; ESPN = 90%)
Hayward returned from a shoulder injury a week ago, and over the three games since his return, he's averaged 22.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.0 three-pointers, and 1.0 block in 32 mpg. The Jazz only won one of the three games, so coach Ty Corbin may not be tied to running Hayward big minutes every night going forward. If he does decided\ to continue playing the third-year guard/forward big minutes, though, then Hayward could definitely keep up this production. Hayward was the 28th best fantasy player over the last week and should be owned in virtually all leagues at this time.
Martell Webster (Y! = 24%; ESPN = 19.6%)
Thanks to the absurd rotations Wittman was running in Washington earlier this season, legit players like Webster were spending a lot of time on the bench and getting their minutes poached by fantasy trash like Trevor Ariza. Thankfully, on Jan. 21, Wittman came to his senses and started giving Webster big minutes on a nightly basis. Since that time, Webster has averaged 13.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 2.6 three-pointers on 53% shooting from the field in 32 mpg. That production helped make him the 72nd best player during that stretch.
If you have some injured guys eating up a roster spot in a daily lineup league and are struggling to wiggle into the playoff picture, Webster is a sneaky player to add and get consistent stats from for the final couple weeks to try and help you squeak into the playoffs.
Trevor Ariza (Y! = 39%; ESPN = 12%)
Despite my personal feelings about Ariza being a general drag on fantasy teams the last few seasons, he's been surprisingly efficient over the last month. Since Jan. 26, he's averaged 10.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.4 three-pointers, and 1.2 steals in 28 mpg game. He shot 48% from the field over that stretch, which is a considerable improvement over the 40% he's averaged over the last four seasons. Ariza has had efficient seasons in the past, but it always came on teams where his shots were limited, and he wasn't asked to do too much on offense. It appears the addition of a healthy John Wall to the Wizards has put Ariza in the proper frame he needs to be in to play the role he should. There's always the danger of Ariza pretending he's Michael Jordan and chucking up a bunch of ill-advised shots on a given night, but he's been the 104th best fantasy player over the last month and deserves a spot on rosters as long as he continues to be efficient with his shot.
Alec Burks (Y! = 2%; ESPN = 1%)
Burks has been the 107th best fantasy player since he started getting regular big minutes on Feb. 4, and his growth this season is certifiable. His game has been compared to Dwyane Wade's, and that combo-guard label was one of the reasons it'd been hard for him to carve out a big role on the Jazz until recently. Over his last nine games, he's averaged 11.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.1 three-pointers, and 0.9 steals in 29 mpg on 50% shooting from the field. Though he could see a significant dip in playing time when Mo Williams (thumb) returns, keeper league managers will want to pursue Burks if for no other reason than his potential going into next season. As things stand right now, Burks is worth owning in most leagues and remains unowned in most.
Emeka Okafor (Y! = 65%; ESPN = 72%)
Okafor was a steady shot blocker through his first seven years in the NBA, but he's become mediocre over the last two years. It's hard to know exactly why his blocks have fallen to about 1.0 per game over the last two seasons, but the convenient argument is to blame his age for the decline, so we'll ride that one out. Wittman was giving Okafor sporadic minutes through the first two months of the season, but since the beginning of January, Okafor has averaged 11.2 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks in 28 mpg. Those stats have made him the 124th best fantasy player during that time. That makes him a fringe player in 10-team leagues but a legit contributor in 12-team leagues.
Jeff Green (Y! = 43%; ESPN = 84%)
Green isn't a revelation. He's an average NBA player. That means he'll always be an average fantasy player. Green needs huge minutes to be worth a darn, and the Celtics aren't going to be able to give him the minutes he'd need to be worth owning in most leagues this season. The funny thing about Green's recent good surge is the trend of him having good games when the Celtics have a strong lead or are losing the game. It's not often that Green is both a great fantasy player and a large contributor to a close Celtics' win. I know a lot of you will disagree with me based on his February stats, but he's played over his head recently and will falter sooner than later. It's worth riding out the hot streak, but don't be surprised if he goes out and shoots 40% from the field over the next month.
Andrea Bargnani (Y! = 61%; ESPN = 53%)
I'm not telling you to pick this sack of meat up. I'm more or less putting Bargnani so far down on the totem pole to stress how useless he's been recently. Over his last six games, Bargnani has averaged 3.8 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 0.2 three-pointers in 19 mpg.
The Raptors have him coming off the bench and plan to use him in that role for the foreseeable future. Until Bargnani gets back into the starting lineup or starts getting more than 28 mpg, he won't be worth using this season. Where I think a savvy owner could take advantage of this downturn is in deep keeper leagues. If you can take on Bargnani with an eye toward next season, and are comfortable having him sit on your bench this season, there's a great chance he'll be traded in the offseason and could end up in a better situation for his fantasy value.
Devin Harris (Y! = 16%; ESPN = 1%)
It's hard to want to write about a player like Harris because he once showed so much promise, and he's been so average the last few seasons. He was traded to the Hawks this offseason in a move that was made with the 2013 offseason in sight. The Hawks wanted Harris' expiring contract more than they wanted him to have a spot on the team. As such, he's been relegated to a mix-and-match role all season. Against smaller lineups, the team has asked Harris to step into the starting lineup and play a significant role. Against bigger lineups, the Hawks have used him sparingly off the bench. Couple his mercurial rotation role with his typical injury issues, and you have a player caught in a kaleidoscope of inconsistency. On a given day, Harris has been a decent play, but unless you have unlimited roster moves and the patience to play matchups in basketball, Harris has been largely unrosterable in anything but the deepest of leagues this season. Even in deep leagues, I typically like to leave my end of the bench open to take fliers on players with more upside than Harris, so I don't think there's a single team I've had him on for an extended period this season. I'd much rather have an interesting player like Alec Burks on my roster right now.
Rodney Stuckey (Y! = 24%; ESPN = 31%)
Stuckey scored 22 points Monday night, and I'm sure his performance sent plenty of people running to their waiver wire to claim him, but the reality of the situation is that Brandon Knight (knee) was sitting out a third straight game. Not to mention the fact that the Pistons are on a three-game losing streak since Stuckey was pushed into the starting lineup as Knight's injury replacement. Though he has a decent set of skills, athleticism, and strength, Stuckey has failed to put the package together to become a consistent player. It might take a move to another team for Stuckey to ever become a relevant player in any standard sized fantasy leagues. At this point, he's only of use in the absolute deepest of leagues. Don't bother grabbing him unless the Pistons have a change in their philosophy or suffer a rash of injuries.
Jonas Jerebko (Y! = 1%; ESPN = 0%)
Jerebko posted 21 points, six rebounds, three assists, a steal, and a three-pointer in 24 minutes off the bench Monday. Coach Lawrence Frank seems to be giving up on the Charlie Villanueva experiment of the last month and is going to get a look at some of his other perimeter players to see if any of them are worth a damn. Most of Jerebko's minutes are coming at power forward, and with Andre Drummond (back) set to return next week, there won't be many minutes left in the frontcourt for Jerebko or anyone else. He might be a decent add for the next couple games, but unless the Pistons start looking at Jerebko at small forward, it's unlikely he has many more opportunities to put up stats like he did Monday.
Haterade, or the why this player sucks to own in fantasy portion of our program
DeMar DeRozan (Y! = 83%; ESPN = 100%)
In DeMar's defense, he's a pretty good scorer. He's averaging 17.5 points (43% FG / 84% FT), 4.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.0 steal in 37 mpg this season. You have to love the big minutes he gets, but the fact that he's so darn average at everything makes him one of the dullest players to own in fantasy. Advanced stats followers should hate the kid for shooting so many two-point field goals while being such a poor three-point shooter. As a basketball fan, I love that DeRozan has the ability to get to the rack and draw fouls to go to the free-throw line, but he does it so inconsistently that it keeps his scoring at an average level. Based on the fact that he's the 21st player in playing time in the league, it's absurd how mediocre DeRozan's contributions in fantasy are.
He's just the 94th best fantasy player this season despite being given the minutes to be so much more. Eric Bledsoe has averaged 15 less mpg than DeRozan this season and is the 95th best fantasy player. His durability and consistency can be very valuable in rotisserie leagues and deep head-to-head leagues, but the fact that DeRozan's ceiling and floor are so close together means that there's little hope of him improving. Until he proves that he can hit three-pointers with consistency or starts using his athleticism to collect steals and blocks, DeRozan will remain a dull tool that I'd rather have on the shelf in favor of a more diverse player.
Paul Pierce has averaged 6.8 assists per game since Rajon Rondo (knee) went out for the season.
Jordan Crawford is delusional about where he stands in the NBA, and fantasy players shouldn't buy his fool's gold. The Celtics won't tolerate him chucking up a bunch of poor shots, so don't be surprised if he sees marginal playing time the rest of this season.
Andre Drummond is expected to make an early return from his back injury and could be back in the Pistons' lineup as early as next week. The team was reportedly on the verge of putting him into the starting lineup before he suffered the injury, so it's possible he could be returning to an increased role. Don't wait to make your move. If Drummond sees his role extend soon, he could help carry teams down the stretch.
Danilo Gallinari sat out Monday's game with a thigh bruise, and Wilson Chandler put up a nice 23 points in 25 minutes. Just be aware that Chandler should move back to the bench in a game or two.
Earl Clark must have ridden that Russian comet down to Earth because he's been playing less minutes and producing less over the last week. There aren't many threats to his playing time on the Lakers' bench, but it might be worth trying to make him someone elses problem in case the team decides to keep shaving his minutes.
Kyle McKeown (@RotoWireKyleNBA) is the managing editor of RotoWire's NBA content, and he sometimes pretends to be a writer and podcaster. He also hates that JaVale McGee is still coming off the bench this season. Holler if you hear me.