February 21, 2010
Setting the stage for Week 18 of the fantasy basketball season.
Five-game teams: MIL
Four-game teams: ATL, CHI, DAL, DET, IND, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIN, NOR, NYK, OKC, PHO, POR, UTH, WAS
Three-game teams: BOS, CHA, CLE, DEN, GSW, HOU, MIA, NJN, ORL, PHI, SAC, SAS, TOR
Pickups/Plug-ins – Players owned in fewer than 40% of Yahoo! leagues
• Francisco Garcia(notes) - Garcia has immediately stepped into the hole at shooting guard that Kevin Martin's(notes) departure created. He's clearly not yet 100 percent, as he's just returned from four months of rehab following wrist surgery, but Paul Westphal likes his versatility and the matchup problems he creates alongside Tyreke Evans(notes). In 73 career starts, he's averaged 13.8 points, 1.3 threes, 4.3 boards, 1.4 steals, and 1 block in 35 minutes. Week 18: DET, UTH, LAC
• Taj Gibson(notes) - Gibson has been huge during the Bulls' four-game winning streak, averaging 13.5 points on 63-percent shooting, 12 boards, 1 steal, and 2.3 blocks in 31 minutes, and the Tyrus Thomas(notes) trade gives him complete ownership of the power forward position. He'll lose some of those boards when/if Joakim Noah(notes) gets back to full strength, but there's plenty to like here - in 16 games where he's seen at least 30 minutes of playing time on the season, he's averaged 12.1 points on 52-percent shooting, 10 boards, 0.8 steals, and 1.9 blocks. Week 18: @WAS, IND, POR, IND
• George Hill(notes) - Hill hasn't been huge, but he's been steady since joining the Spurs' starting five. Over the past 14 games, he's averaged 15.5 points on 48-percent shooting, 1.1 threes, 3 assists, 1.6 turnovers, and 0.7 steals in 34 minutes. Tony Parker's(notes) continued struggles with nagging injuries and the demotion of Richard Jefferson(notes) to the bench only serve to lock in Hill's production moving forward. Week 18: OKC, @HOU, PHO
• Sergio Rodriguez(notes) - T-Mac's Knicks debut got the publicity, but what was also quite notable for fantasy purposes was that Rodriguez is already playing more minutes than Chris Duhon(notes) (26 to 21). He was Duhon-like from the field (2 of 8 FG) but also logged three boards, six assists, two turnovers, and one steal. He's a much more dynamic player than Duhon and could be the team's starting point guard in very short order, although his game is not without question marks - consider an add here if you need assists or simply have a roster spot available for speculation. Week 18: MIL, @BOS, @WAS, MEM
• Rasual Butler(notes) - Butler has been on fire from outside in February, averaging 14.5 points, 2.8 threes, and 0.9 blocks in 34 minutes. That said, he's been a useful fantasy player for some time now. Over the past 33 games, he's averaged 13.2 points, 2 threes, and 0.8 blocks in 33 minutes per game. Week 18: CHA, DET, @PHO, @SAC
• JaVale McGee(notes) - The Wizards' roster overhaul has resulted in McGee being the team's starting center, and he's averaged 11 points on 52-percent shooting, 7.3 boards, 0.7 steals, and 2.7 blocks in 23 minutes over the past three games. He's still a raw player and probably won't see starter's minutes, but the boards and blocks will be there as long as he's out there for 25ish minutes every night. Week 18: CHI, MEM, NYK, @NJN
• DeAndre Jordan(notes) - Marcus Camby's(notes) departure has opened up some playing time for Jordan. His starting at power forward was a short-lived experiment, but he'll still be a primary big for this team on most nights. Over his past five games, he's averaged 7 points on 59-percent shooting, 7.4 boards, and 1.8 blocks in 24 minutes. Deep-leaguers just need to be aware of his free-throw shooting - he's made 34 percent of his attempts on the season and is a career 37-percent shooter. Week 18: CHA, DET, @PHO, @SAC
• David Andersen(notes) - The T-Mac trade has left Andersen as the primary big off the bench for the Rockets, and he does have some skills of interest for deep-leaguers, as evidenced by his 18 points, three treys, seven boards, and two steals against the Jazz this past Tuesday. He's averaged 10.3 points, 1 three, 7 boards, 1 steal, and 0.7 blocks in 22 minutes over the past three games and could build on those numbers as he adjusts to some new-found consistency of minutes. Week 18: ORL, SAS, @UTH
• Ronnie Brewer(notes) - Brewer will miss at least three weeks because of a partially torn right hamstring. His fantasy value was falling fast in Utah, took another hit with the trade to Memphis, and now he's universally droppable in the wake of this injury.
• Tyson Chandler(notes) - Chandler played 40 minutes in three games before returning to the Bobcats' inactive list because of ankle and foot issues. He's missed the past two games and is very likely to miss at least a few more.
• Erick Dampier(notes) - Damp is out indefinitely following surgery to close an open dislocation of his right middle finger. Couple the injury with Brendan Haywood's(notes) arrival, and his fantasy season is done for all intents and purposes.
• Yi Jianlian(notes) - Yi did not participate in Saturday's practice because of shoulder and back issues, but doesn't think he'll need to miss games. Yi has made 31 percent of his shot attempts during the month of February.
• Corey Maggette(notes) - Maggette's hamstring strain will keep him out Sunday and possibly beyond. Don Nelson said that he'd get "some time off probably" because "he really can't run or jump very much" at this point.
• Steve Nash(notes) - Nash continues to deal with back and abdominal issues that have limited him to 8.5 points on 33-percent shooting over the past four games. He said he felt a "shearing pain" early in Friday's game (27 minutes, 6 points, 3-of-10 FG, 6 assists, 6 turnovers), did not practice Saturday, and is questionable for Sunday.
• Joakim Noah - Noah returned to the Bulls' active roster Saturday, after having missed seven games because of plantar fasciitis. He played just seven minutes, as the team still held him out for the most part because it was in a blowout win. His foot is still not 100 percent, so he won't be back to starter's minutes right away, but he's at least feeling good enough to give it a go.
• Tony Parker - Parker is still limited by a sore left hip flexor, an injury that was supposed to go away during the All-Star break, as evidenced by his two points on 1-of-9 shooting in 27 minutes Friday. Parker has also dealt with ankle issues and a bout of plantar fasciitis in his left foot, so he may be looking at down time in the not-too-distant future. He was a light participant in practice Saturday was not in the lineup on Sunday.
• Chris Paul(notes) - Paul had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee on February 4 and is expected to miss between four and six weeks of action. He's no longer using crutches and there have been no reports of set-backs to this point.
• Brandon Roy(notes) - Roy will continue to play with pain in his hamstring until either it subsides or forces him to sit again. He spent a long day in the gym Saturday working on his conditioning and jumpshot and will be in the lineup Sunday.
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