It feels like the same record every week, but injuries really are bogging your fantasy basketball roster down these days. Whether it be season-ending injuries like Caron Butler sustained recently, or losing a big man like Andrew Bogut for the night yesterday with a flu bug, it’s never good to have a negative hit on the health of your lineup.
It’s also never good to miss the deadline for getting your lineup set and locked, while it’s equally as important to get some solid fantasy basketball advice so your lineup isn’t trash.
We’ve got five guys who have been playing well or are seeing a new role and deserve a starting nod, while there’s five bigger names who aren’t playing up to expectations. Check’em out:
Luke Ridnour, PG, Minnesota Timberwolves
With no one else firmly taking the starting point guard duties away from him, Ridnour is quietly having a solid season in Minnesota. He’s topped 10 points in eight of his last 10 contests, while continuously offering solid assists numbers and percentages. He’s also usually good for about a steal per game. He’s not the biggest name, but if you’re hurting at point guard, Ridnour can help you for a week.
Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG, Milwaukee Bucks
It could be short-lived, but with Brandon Jennings out and Keyon Dooling not taking over as Milwaukee had hoped, CDR has ripped off two stellar outings in a row. He’s topped 35 minutes and at least 24 points in each of his last two games, while also finding time to contribute in other areas. The Bucks are hard up for some reliable offensive production these days, so bank on Scott Skiles and co. leaning on Douglas-Roberts and seeing if he can keep this up. With his talent and role, we’re thinking he can.
Hedo Turkoglu, G/F, Orlando Magic
You could say we’re riding high off of Turk’s ridiculous 17 assists in his last contest, but with over 12 points and five assists per game since he re-joined the Magic, we also have a lot more to like. Orlando is riding a nine-game winning streak, and Turkoglu has been a huge part of it. With five straight games in double figures for scoring, combined with his versatile games, Turkoglu is once again becoming a reliable fantasy play.
DeMar DeRozan, G/F, Toronto Raptors
This is probably where we should be telling you that Shawn Marion has looked good in place of Dirk Nowitzki. While that’s true (and you should use him while you can), we can’t let DeRozan slip off your radar. He doesn’t have a great shooting touch, but he’s finding ways to get the ball in the basket, as he’s becoming a very solid and reliable scorer. With four games of 20+ points in his last six, he’s safe to start.
J.J. Hickson, PF, Cleveland Cavaliers
We’ll openly admit it’s hard to trust any Cavalier player this season, and almost even harder to trust Hickson, who has seen his role and minutes fluctuate all season. However, he’s logged two straight games with at least 32 minutes and 17 points, and is fresh off of an extremely impressive 23-point and 17-rebound performance. He’s back in the starting lineup, as well, so ride him while he’s getting the minutes and producing like this.
Andre Miller, PG, Portland Trail Blazers
We’re sure there’s plenty of under-performing point guards in fantasy leagues that deserve the sit nod, but considering Brandon Roy is out, we’re fairly disappointed in Miller’s pedestrian numbers. With over 11 points scoring in just two of his past five games, he’s not reliable enough to plug in your lineup if you have other guys who might have a little more potential.
O.J. Mayo, SG, Memphis Grizzlies
Despite putting up 17-18 points per game through his first two seasons, Mayo has dropped down considerably, only averaging 13 points per game on the year. On top of that, Mayo just isn’t getting it done as a passer and rebounder. He used to be a fairly reliable scorer, but now hasn’t topped 20 points in a game since December 21st. He has that explosive potential, but without helping greatly in other areas, he’s currently not worth the risk.
Ben Gordon, SG, Detroit Pistons
Gordon is another excellent shooter with explosive tendencies as a scorer, but with a meager 11 points per game on the season, you just can’t trust him. He’s also scored 12 combined points in his last two games, and is too risky to start.
Linas Kleiza, SF, Toronto Raptors
We want to love Kleiza, as he has a great shot and can finish extremely well at the basket, but he’s much too inconsistent to be relied upon in fantasy basketball. Kleiza’s main offering as a fantasy player is his shooting and scoring ability, but with just one game over eight points in his last five games, he officially can’t be trusted again. We’re sure he’ll circle around again and be productive, but that’s the point; he’s erratic and can’t be trusted.
Roy Hibbert, C, Indiana Pacers
Hibbert still has a solid line on the season of over 13 points and 8 rebounds per game, but his inconsistent minutes and role over the past 4-5 games begs you to drop him out of your starting lineup. We’d hold onto him, but with the way head coach Jim O’Brien messes with the lineup, he’s just not a safe play as a starter right now.