Pau Gasol: After a couple of down years during his last two seasons in Los Angeles, he’s bounced back in a big way in Chicago. Gasol’s 20.1 ppg is the third highest of his career, while his 11.9 rpg is his most ever. Over the last six games, he’s averaged 22.0 points and 14.7 boards. The Bulls are known for their defense, but the team also has a top-10 PACE this season, and Gasol’s Rebound Rate (18.6) is the best of his career. He’s been the No. 11 fantasy player so far, which makes him easily one of the best draft day bargains, although he was posterized by Cody Zeller last week.
Kyle Lowry: He shot just 3-of-13 from the field Monday but added 13 assists and is sporting career highs in ppg (20.7), rpg (4.9) and FG% (45.0) this season. It’s not a shock Lowry has been a top-20 fantasy player after finishing No. 17 in 2013/14, but his stock will jump even higher with DeMar DeRozan expected to miss the next month or so. Lowry’s Usage Rate (25.9) is a career high, but DeRozan’s has actually been higher (26.7), so the point guard leading a Toronto team with the second-best Offensive Efficiency in the NBA should continue to be a fantasy monster.
Tyler Zeller: He had a modest performance Monday but realize only one starter played more than 24 minutes during a game that featured Boston’s bench making a big comeback. Before this oddity, Zeller had averaged 10.7 rebounds over the previous three games while taking over the role as Boston’s starting center. He’s also the rare big man who shoots free throws well (he’s shot 83.3 percent from the line this season). Zeller has been the No. 53 ranked fantasy player over the past two weeks and shouldn’t be available on any waiver wires.
Ty Lawson: He’s been on quite a run lately, averaging 11.9 assists (he ranks only behind Rajon Rondo in the category this season) and 1.8 steals over his past 12 games. Lawson got off to a bit of a slow start this year but has clearly turned it around, as his Assist Ratio (35.4) is easily a career high (his previous best was 31.4 last year). Moreover, after shooting 35.6 percent or better from beyond the arc during all previous seasons of his career, his current 26.8 mark can safely be expected to improve moving forward.
Kris Humphries: He’s averaged 12.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.0 blocks over the past four games. Humphries’ fantasy value is reliant upon Nene Hilario’s health, but the latter continues to battle injury issues, putting the former firmly on the radar.
Here’s Kemba Walker crossing over Nikola Mirotic in a brutal way. Walker had a highlight reel week, as he also recovered for this swat and hit this game-winner at the buzzer.
Derrick Rose: I’m rooting for Rose, as him being a star makes the NBA better, but it’s hard to defend him right now (as a writer, not an NBA defender). Forget the continued missed games, as he’s also been a major disappointment when on the court. Over the last four contests, he’s shot 32.7 percent from the field (32 of his 55 field goal attempts have come from downtown over this span) while sporting a 23:15 AST:TO ratio. Rose is averaging a career low 12.8 FGA this year and a career high 5.8 3PA (he’s a career 31.1 percent shooter from beyond the arc). The former MVP hasn’t recorded a steal in any of his past six games. Rose has been the No. 209 fantasy player this year (and No. 272 over the past two weeks) on a per-game basis.
Jeremy Lin: He’s shot 6-of-23 from the field over the past three games, including an 0-for-10 outing against Washington last week. He also sports an 11:7 AST:TO ratio over that span and as a result has been benched by coach Byron Scott in favor of the immortal Ronnie Price. Lin is better than he’s played so far this season and should re-join the starting lineup eventually, but he’s been frustrating, especially on a Lakers team with so few options. Carlos Boozer has also been moved out of the starting five for Ed Davis, as it’s been a total disaster in Los Angeles.
Nikola Mirotic: I’m a fan of his game, and he’s coming off a four-game stretch in which he averaged 12.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.3 blocks while shooting 55.6 percent from the floor. But during Taj Gibson’s return Sunday, Mirotic was held scoreless in fewer than eight minutes of playing time. He’s a terrific “handcuff,” but it’s going to take an injury to the Bulls frontcourt (hardly an unlikely event) for him to regain value.
DeMarcus Cousins: We try to stay away from downgrading players based on injuries, but it sounds like an “illness” is going to possibly cost Cousins a significant amount of time, as he may not return this month while suffering from a serious viral infection. It’s too bad, since he was the No. 7 fantasy player and in the MVP conversation before going down. The original outlook seemed like a day-to-day type proposition. Fantasy owners desperate for rebounds should look into Reggie Evans as a result.
Andrew Wiggins: The No. 1 overall pick continues to get a bunch of minutes on a Minnesota team that ranks fifth in PACE this season while also missing Kevin Martin and Ricky Rubio (as well as Nikola Pekovic and Mo Williams). But over the last dozen games, the rookie has shot 34.7 percent from the field (52-of-150) while committing 26 turnovers compared to 18 assists. He’s also hit just 67.6 percent of his free throws this year. There have been more than 300 players who’ve had more fantasy value than Wiggins over the past month.