By Matt Buser
October 18, 2005
More Division Sleepers: Central | Atlantic | Southeast | Pacific
Dallas — GF Josh Howard
Doug Christie's signing affected two potential sleepers on the Mavericks' roster: Marquis Daniels' fantasy stock has plummeted, and Howard's has taken a bump up. While Christie starting at shooting guard will help the Dallas defense, it won't do much to help them score points of their own. Howard will be needed to score a few more each night as a result, so he could top 15 points while maintaining solid averages in steals and rebounds.
Houston — FC Stromile Swift
Swift isn't a sleeper in the strictest sense of the word, but if he puts up numbers with ample playing time in Houston relative to what he has done with minimal time in Memphis, he will be a fantasy stud. No offense to veteran Juwan Howard, but the starting power forward spot in Houston is Swift's to lose. If he can prove that he can handle the expanded role in the early going, conservative estimates of 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks put him just on the fringe of the second tier of center-eligible players.
Memphis — C Lorenzen Wright
Swift's departure from Memphis could be almost as good for Wright as it is for Swift. Jake Tsakalidis and Kimani Ffriend won't exactly be challenging for playing time, so Wright could see over 30 minutes for just the second time in his career. In the never-ending search for legitimate fantasy centers, you could do a lot worse than 12 points, 9 rebounds, and a block from Wright as your No. 3.
New Orleans — G Arvydas Macijauskas
Macijauskas, like fellow Lithuanian Sarunas Jasikevicius, is a talented combo guard who was a lights-out shooter in Euroleague play for many years. And also like Jasikevicius, he could play himself into steady minutes in his team's rotation very quickly. The Hornets will desperately need scoring, and Macijauskas can give them just that. At this point he looks to be backing up J.R. Smith, but with so little proven talent on the Hornets' roster, the rotation at shooting guard and small forward could change in his favor in the early going.
San Antonio — C Nazr Mohammed
Mohammad played two distinctly different halves of a season last year. In the first 44 games, he posted averages of 11.9 points and 8.8 rebounds. Over the rest of the season those averages fell to 6.3 and 6.0 respectively, as he fell out of favor with the Knicks, was dealt to the Spurs, and used primarily as a backup. Mohammad has already been announced as the starter at center for the Spurs, however, and there is potential for him to establish and maintain an early pace like last year's for the entirety of the season.
Matt Buser is a Yahoo! Sports fantasy expert. Follow him on Twitter. Send Matt a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated on Tuesday, Oct 18, 2005 1:36 pm, EDT
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