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Category Strategy: Parker's Paying Off

Kevin Payne

Kevin has worked for Rotowire just under a decade and has covered basketball, baseball and football. A glutton for punishment, he roots for his hometown Bills, Sabres and the New York Yankees. He hosts the RotoWire SiriusXM show every Wednesday and Friday and you can follow him on Twitter @KCPayne26.

How good has Tony Parker been lately?

After a nine-point and five-point effort to end January, the Spurs point guard has been one of the better players in the league during February. Parker has averaged 25.5 points, 8.2 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 10 games in February. For comparison, Chris Paul (19.0 points, 8.2 assists), Russell Westbrook (26.0 points, 5.0 assists) and Jeremy Lin (22.5 points, 8.5 assists) haven't been as good (by a small margin) during the month as Parker. Not coincidentally, the Spurs won 11 in a row until Tuesday night, and Parker obviously had a lot to do with that. Overall Parker's 19.5 points per game is the second highest of his career, and his 7.9 assists per game is a career high. The assists are especially impressive given his supporting cast, as he's turned what was a fantasy weakness into a strength this season. The Spurs likely aren't a huge threat in the West with Tim Duncan on the downside of a brilliant career and Manu Ginobli seemingly never healthy this season. However, that doesn't mean that Parker might not help your team to a championship, given that he was a mid-round fantasy pick.


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.

Isaiah Thomas, G, SAC -
In leagues that allow daily transactions, chances are Thomas is already gone. However, if you have a FAAB system that runs toward the end of the week there's a good chance you can still grab Thomas. The rookie out of Washington missed a triple-double by two rebounds Sunday, finishing with 23 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds and a block in 43 minutes. That game marked his second consecutive start and was the third game in a row he scored in double digits. The Kings would be wise to give him run at the point and see if teammate Tyreke Evans can adjust to playing the three spot in the starting lineup. If you missed out on the Jeremy Lin lottery, Thomas might turn out to be a nice consolation prize.

Wilson Chandler, F, FA -
I'm starting to think the next time a lockout occurs in the NBA, players will think twice about heading to China. With both J.R. Smith and Keynon Martin stateside it appears Chandler's return could be imminent. With all the injuries suffered by the Nuggets it's hard to imagine them letting Chandler sign with another team. Not surprisingly, Chandler was one of the better players in China and his averages from last season in the NBA - 16.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.7 threes and 1.4 blocks - can help a lot of fantasy teams even if he only has 80-90 percent of that production.

Alonzo Gee, G, CLE -
Gee settled nicely into his new starting role with both Daniel Gibson and Anthony Parker on the mend. Gee scored at least seven points in his last 11 games and averaged 12.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.5 steals during that time span. Gibson returned Tuesday night, but it appears Gee has done enough to carve out significant minutes. The undrafted player out of Alabama makes for a good pickup if you need more rebounding out of your guard spot from a player who can consistently put up decent scoring numbers as well.


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.


Marco Belinelli, G, NO -
A streaky shooter, Belinelli has been hot lately, scoring double-digits in seven consecutive games. During that run, he's averaged 15 points per game, including 2.1 three-pointers made per contest. Before Monday night's game in Oklahoma City, Belinelli had played at least 31 minutes in six straight games and should continue to log big minutes with many of his teammates injured. Don't expect much in the way of assists or rebounds, but Belinelli is capable of putting up points as long as he gets playing time.


Ekpe Udoh, F, GS -
An illness to Andris Biedrins gave Udoh the starting nod Monday night and the former No. 6 overall pick made the most of his opportunity. In 38 minutes he finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. While his offensive game is still developing, Udoh is a solid shot blocker averaging 1.7 blocks per game despite playing only 20 minutes a night. The unfortunate part to Udoh is that he banged his knee Monday night and is considered day-to-day. If he is able to suit up, Monday night's performance may have helped him leapfrog Biedrins and pick up the lion's share of minutes between the two. Keep an eye on his status and see if he's able to come close to duplicating Monday's numbers before using a flier on him.


Tristan Thompson, F, CLE -
Thompson has seen his playing time increase in part due to the injury to Anderson Varejao. The fourth overall pick in last year's draft has been able to post stellar fantasy numbers when he's been able to stay out of foul trouble and get minutes in the mid-20s. He's averaged 12.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks over the six games in which he's played at least 20 minutes this season. If he can learn to keep his fouls in check, he could be a solid "big man" play for the home stretch. Just keep in mind that the Canadian has never shot more than 50 percent from the charity stripe in college or the pros.


Always check your league's eligibility rules to make sure a player qualifies.

Kosta Koufos, DEN -
Now eligible at power forward

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