This article is part of our Category Strategy series.
Each week, this article highlights players who are widely available in standard leagues who can help in specific roto categories. While each player highlighted can help in a specific category, there's no guarantee for production in other areas.
C.J. Miles, SG, Pacers
Miles was moved over to shooting guard in the Pacers' last game with Rodney Stuckey going to the bench, and he poured in 26 points on 8-of-16 shooting with four three-pointers. He had also been in double figures in the two games prior and is averaging 19.3 points per game over his last three. The Pacers wanted to get Solomon Hill in the lineup to cover LeBron James, and the fact that Indiana chose to move Stuckey – and not Miles – to the bench speaks to the pecking order on the wing. There have been some lean patches in Miles' game log, but when he sees around 30 minutes, he almost always scores in double figures, and now is one of those stretches where his usage is really leading to fantasy production.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Hornets
Kidd-Gilchrist has been mentioned here before, but he remains owned in just 25 percent of Yahoo leagues. He has 32 rebounds in his last three games, a total that's impressive for a power forward, not to mention a small forward like Kidd-Gilchrist. On the season he is averaging 7.3 rebounds per game and shooting 45.1 percent from the field, and while his free-throw percentage is below 70 percent (67.1 percent), it's not going to sink a fantasy team. MKG is averaging almost two more rebounds per game than LeBron James, and he leads all small forwards in rebounds per game this season, so he should probably be owned almost universally in category leagues.
Marcus Smart, PG, Celtics
The Celtics were hesitant to turn the point guard duties over to Smart earlier this season as he worked his way back from injury, but lately he seems to have taken a firm hold on the starting job. In three games since entering the starting lineup, Smart is averaging seven rebounds and 6.3 assists per game. He is also shooting just 28.6 percent from the field in those three games, but more importantly, the Celtics are 3-0 with Smart starting and playing more than 36 minutes per night. A big reason for the success is Smart's defensive intensity (2.3 steals per game over his last three), which, along with his rebounding and playmaking ability, makes up for the fact that he has a long way to go as a shooter.
P.J. Tucker, SF, Suns
Tucker has five steals in each of his last two road games (losses to Golden State and Portland) and has emerged over the past two seasons as one of the more underrated defenders in the league. He can guard threes and some twos and fours, given his thick frame. Tucker is only averaging 1.4 steals per game on the season, so his recent excellence is obviously unsustainable, but he won't do any harm in other categories, making him someone to consider in deeper leagues.
Jusuf Nurkic, C, Nuggets
Nurkic has gradually seen his minutes tick up this season, and he is now seeing over 20 minutes per game on a regular basis. While Nurkic is not an elite rim protector, he does have some chops in that department and will give owners more than a block per game with the potential for even more if his minutes continue to trend up. He has nine blocks in his last four games, but unfortunately his offensive efficiency has really taken a dip. Nurkic was 1-for-10 from the field Friday, which is pretty difficult to do for a 6-foot-11 center, so hopefully he is allowed to play through his struggles on that end of the court. John Henson is the preferable choice here, but he is likely owned in most serious leagues.
Hollis Thompson, SG, Sixers
While Thompson probably shouldn't be seeing big minutes in the NBA, the Sixers are not a traditional NBA team in the sense that talent is not paramount to being on the roster or on the court. He has seen 30-plus minutes in his last two games, and is averaging three treys per game over his last five contests. This season Thompson is shooting 36.3 percent from downtown compared to 62.5 percent over his last five games, so this is absolutely not sustainable, but he has emerged as a legitimate option for 1.5-2.5 three-pointers per game in deeper leagues.