Setting the stage for Week 14 of the fantasy basketball season.
Four-game teams: ATL, BOS, CHA, CLE, DEN, GSW, HOU, IND, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIA, MON, NOR, NYK, ORL, PHI, PHO, POR, SAS
Three-game teams: CHI, DAL, DET, MIL, NJN, OKC, SAC, TOR, UTH, WAS
Pickups/Plug-ins – Players owned in fewer than 40% of Yahoo! leagues
• Goran Dragic(notes) - Leandro Barbosa's(notes) wrist surgery [see below] presents Dragic with a great opportunity for more consistent playing time at both guard positions for the Suns. Case-in-point: Saturday's win over the Warriors, during which he scored 20 points and added three treys, four steals, and a block in 26 minutes. While the matchup clearly couldn't have been better, his production was still part of a trend. In games where he's seen at least 20 minutes of action (15), Dragic has averaged 11.1 points, 1.7 threes, 3.1 boards, 3.5 assists, 2.3 turnovers, and 1 steal. Jason Richardson(notes) returned to the starting lineup Saturday, but played 27 minutes and is averaging a career-low 30 on the season. Factor in Jared Dudley's(notes) continued shooting woes (34% FG, 29% 3PT in January), and Dragic's prospects improve that much further. Week 14: NOR, UTH, @HOU, @DAL
• Matt Barnes(notes) - Stan Van Gundy couldn't be happier with the way that Barnes has performed as a starter, although he said "you never know" when it comes to adjusting player roles over the season's second half. Barnes should be getting run in most formats while he is starting - in 13 January games, he's averaged 13 points on 53-percent shooting, 1.4 threes, 7.3 boards, and 1.3 steals-plus-blocks in 31 minutes. Week 14: @MEM, BOS, ATL, @DET
• Brandon Rush(notes) - Rush is back in the Pacers' starting five and has averaged 12.7 points on 63-percent shooting, 2 threes, 3.8 boards, 2 assists, 0.5 turnovers, and 1.2 steals-plus-blocks in 30 minutes over the past six games. He's in a great position to succeed and the team would like nothing more than for him to take ownership of the shooting guard position. His horrific start to the season turned off a lot of fantasy owners, but he's got plenty of time left to impact the fantasy season. Week 14: @PHI, LAL, CLE, @TOR
• Drew Gooden(notes) - Gooden started for the injured Erick Dampier(notes) Sunday and was huge against the Knicks (34 minutes, 15 points, 18 boards, 1 steal, 2 blocks). Gooden has been a fantastic per-minute producer over the past month (23 minutes, 10.1 points, 50% FG, 8.7 boards, 1 steal, 1 block) and doesn't have significant downside in terms of playing time behind the gimpy Dampier. Week 14: MIL, @PHO, POR
• Rasual Butler(notes) - Butler has been in and out of the Clippers' starting five all season but overall has had a steady role over the past six weeks or so. Over his past 21 games, he's averaged 13.3 points, 1.9 threes, 1.3 steals-plus-blocks, and 0.8 turnovers in 33 minutes. Week 14: @BOS, @NJN, @MIN, @CLE
• George Hill(notes) - Hill has moved ahead of middling options like Keith Bogans(notes) and Roger Mason(notes) as the Spurs' starting shooting guard and has averaged 15.7 points and 2.3 threes over the past three games. There isn't always a ton of usage available after the team's big three, but Hill has a good all-around game and Tony Parker's(notes) plantar fasciitis should mean that he's utilized fairly regularly within the Spurs' gameplan. He's worth a look in most formats with 30-plus minutes. Week 14: CHI, ATL, MEM, DEN
• Arron Afflalo(notes) - Afflalo has been a very steady player for the Nuggets, and his role has been expanding in recent weeks. He's scored in double figures in nine of the past 11 games, averaging 11.8 points on 52-percent shooting, 2.1 threes, and 1.3 steals-plus-blocks in 28 minutes over that stretch. There is only so much usage available here, but his defense has been solid, he's making good use of his offensive opportunities (48% FG, 42% 3PT on the season), and could be in line for even more. Week 14: @UTH, CHA, DAL, @HOU
• Francisco Garcia(notes) - Garcia remains an intriguing roster add (particularly in roto leagues) for the same reasons that I mentioned last week, and he's seven days closer to returning at this point.
• Anthony Tolliver(notes) - Tolliver has been pressed into duty for the short-handed Warriors and has averaged 15.5 points, 1 three, and 10.5 boards in 39 minutes over the past two games. He should see consistent run for at least a few more weeks, as neither Vladimir Radmanovic(notes) nor Anthony Randolph(notes) are set to return any time soon. Week 14: @SAC, NOR, CHA, @OKC
• Carlos Delfino(notes) - Defino's inconsistent production is currently on the upswing - he's been in the starting five for the Bucks' past three games (in place of Ersan Ilyasova(notes)) and has averaged 17.7 points on 52-percent shooting, 3 threes, 8 boards, 3.2 assists, 1.8 turnovers, and 1.7 steals in 36 minutes over the past six games. He's worth the add while his minutes are up if you've got a roster spot that you regularly turn over, but he's not heading for a breakout at age 28 - keep expectations in check. Week 14: @DAL, PHI, MIA
• Daniel Gibson(notes) - Gibsonwill start at point guard for as long as Delonte West(notes) is out and warrants a deep-league add for those with a roster spot in play, as his role was already set to increase in the wake of the Mo Williams(notes) injury. Gibson has made 47 percent of his threes this season and has averaged 11.2 points, 2.2 threes, 2.5 assists, and 0.7 steals in 43 career starts. Week 14: @MIA, MIN, @IND, LAC
• Kris Humphries(notes) - Humphries has seen at least 22 minutes of playing time in each of the past five games, averaging 12.8 points on 52-percent shooting, 6.4 boards, and 1.2 steals-plus-blocks in 25 minutes. His role should stay steady as the primary backup big for the Nets, and the potential for expanded minutes is there behind the injury-prone Yi Jianlian(notes). Week 14: LAC, WAS, PHI
• C.J. Watson(notes) - Watson returned from his hand injury ahead of schedule Saturday (25 minutes, 11 points, 1 steal) and at least makes sense as a short-term add in deep leagues with Monta Ellis(notes) and Anthony Morrow(notes) currently dealing with injuries. Week 14: @SAC, NOR, CHA, @OKC
• A.J. Price(notes) - While the Pacers have technically been satisfied with Earl Watson's(notes) play as the starter, his fairly low ceiling is well-established and leaves room for Price to see playing time. The rookie has averaged 10.6 points, 1.5 threes, 2.9 assists, 1.9 turnovers, and 0.9 steals in 21 minutes over the past 13 games, numbers that play in deep leagues (his current ownership level is 2%). Week 14: @PHI, LAL, CLE, @TOR
• Craig Smith(notes) - Smith's recent run has put him on deep-league radars, as he's averaged 14.2 points on 61-percent shooting, 5.3 boards, and 1 steal-plus-block in 22 minutes over the past six games. He's emerging as the primary backup big for the Clippers and has posted per-25 minute averages of 11.9 points, 5.5 boards, and 1.2 steals-plus-blocks on the season. Week 14: @BOS, @NJN, @MIN, @CLE
• Leandro Barbosa - Barbosa and the Suns have been left with no choice but surgery to address his nagging right wrist injury, suffered during international play over the summer. He's quietly played through pain for the past few months, but an ever-present cyst has become too problematic (35% FG in January), and he's expected to miss the next month of action. Jason Richardson is back as the starter at shooting guard for the Suns, while Gordan Dragic and Jared Dudley will also get some of Barbosa's minutes.
• Erick Dampier - Damp sat out Sunday's game with the Knicks because of continuing problems with his left knee. His knee was recently thought to be improving, so he may have just gotten the day off because of matchup considerations, but we should know more in the coming days. Drew Gooden got the start Sunday (34 minutes, 15 points, 18 boards, 2 blocks) and gains plenty of relevance any time Damp is sidelined.
• Monta Ellis - Ellis missed Saturday's game because of a sprained right ankle. X-rays taken Friday were negative but his status for Tuesday's game remains up in the air.
• Francisco Garcia - Garcia has been practicing with the Kings for just over three weeks and should be back in the team's active rotation sometime after February 1.
• Eric Gordon(notes) - Gordon has missed the Clippers' past two games with a sprained left big toe. While he's officially listed as day-to-day, Gordon himself admitted that he's concerned about the potential for the injury to stick with him. Rasual Butler and Ricky Davis(notes) will see extra minutes for as long as Gordon is limited.
• Ben Gordon(notes) – Gordon remains out with a groin injury that has taken much longer to heal than was originally expected. He's missed seven straight games and is currently questionable for Wednesday.
• Devin Harris(notes) - Harris did not play Saturday because of a right wrist sprain. He's set for a Sunday MRI, after which his availability for the Nets' three-game week should be established.Keyon Dooling(notes) got the start Saturday but had just three points on 1-of-7 shooting in 19 minutes of a 116-83 loss.
• Anthony Morrow – Morrow (knee) is expected to be sidelined for another week to 10 days because of a sprained right MCL.
• Joakim Noah(notes) - A bout with plantar fasciitis finally cost Noah a game Sunday. He's essentially game-to-game at this point, saying that he'll just have to stretch, treat, and "stay on top of it." Brad Miller(notes) got the start Sunday and scored a season-high 25 points in 26 minutes, and he's the beneficiary if Noah can't get right and misses more games.
• Anthony Randolph - Randolph's multiple left ankle injuries are expected to sideline him for about two months, a timeframe Don Nelson called "pretty close" to season-ending.
• Brandon Roy(notes) - Roy has undergone an unconventional procedure to treat his strained right hamstring and is expected to miss most of Week 14. Current targets for a return are January 29 or February 1.
• Delonte West - West missed Saturday's game because of a broken left ring finger and his short-term availability will determined after a re-evaluation, which should take place within the next day or two. He'll get the starts at point guard, in place of the injured Mo Williams, once he's able to return to the lineup.
• Mo Williams - Williams will miss four to six weeks with a left shoulder strain, suffered Tuesday against the Raptors. He'll be re-evaluated in roughly 10 days, at which point we should have a more precise timeframe for his return.
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