Joakim Noah hasn’t exactly blown fantasy owners away with his lines since returning from his thumb injury. In his nine games back, Noah’s averaging 9.4 points, 11.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.6 steals, 1.2 blocks and 2.3 turnovers. With Carlos Boozer sidelined with a sprained ankle, Noah should get some opportunities in the coming handful of games to approach his averages during the first 15 games of the season, when Boozer was also out. During that initial stretch of the season, Noah averaged 15.6 points, 13.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.5 blocks and 2.1 turnovers. If he can stay out of foul trouble, expect Noah to thrive in his next few games.
Luol Deng should also benefit from Boozer’s absence. In his 13 games in November, all without Boozer around, Deng averaged 20.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.9 blocks and 1.5 threes. Given that he’s averaging a middling 13.2 points, three rebounds, 3.2 assists, one steal, 0.6 blocks and 1.4 threes while shooting a poor 39 percent from the field in his first five games of the month, this opportunity is good news for whoever owns Deng during this crucial stretch of the fantasy season.
Roy Hibbert is fresh off of his line of zero points (on 0-for-6 shooting from the field), nine rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block. In his past two games, Hibbert is shooting just 3-for-14 (or 21 percent) from the floor. Clearly, his hot streaks from parts of February have eluded him lately. All that said, it’s worth noting that Hibbert was in foul trouble in his last game, which was also a huge blowout loss. It’s also worth noting that Hibbert is still the only viable center for the Pacers. He’s in a slump but if you can get him at a discount, this big man should pay some decent returns, especially with the Pacers playing four games in each of the next three weeks.
Raymond Felton has gone from being a fantasy stud to a fantasy afterthought now that he’s landed in Denver as a backup to Ty Lawson. But there’s good news here at the expense of Arron Afflalo, whose hamstring will force him to miss at least a few games. In the Nuggets’ game on Saturday, when Afflalo went down with his injury and played just a shade more than 18 minutes, Felton played a shade more than 36 minutes, his heaviest load since joining the Nuggets. He finished with 18 points, seven rebounds, six assists, a steal and a three-pointer. Expect Felton (and J.R. Smith) to get extra run while Afflalo’s hamstring heals.
David West has averaged 13.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 0.5 steals and 2.5 blocks in his last two games â€“ not shabby. However, in that brief stretch, West has shot just 31 percent from the field. Well, guess what? Chris Paul was missing in action in those two games. West’s overall value will rise once Paul returns to command the floor for the Hornets.
Chauncey Billups, Rudy Gay, Tyrus Thomas and any other productive fantasy players who are injured should be considered buy-low candidates.
Tim Duncan is averaging 10.6 points, nine rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.2 blocks in his first five games of the month. Those are fine numbers, but the troubling undercurrent is that Duncan is also averaging a season-low 25:53 of playing time so far this month. His minutes have steadily declined from 29:53 in January, to 27:23 in February to this mark in March. This isn’t about crying wolf â€“ it’s about fantasy owners who were either too lazy or too optimistic and hung onto Duncan all season long. This is your last shot at dealing him for a guy with a higher ceiling and a more favorable fantasy playoff schedule.
Paul Millsap is one of the toughest, most-stubborn dudes in the NBA. Nevertheless, even he’s vulnerable to the parts of the body that are hurting, and right now the main culprit is his sore left knee, which kept him sidelined Wednesday. Once Millsap returns and puts up a decent line, it’s time for his owners to do their best to deal him for someone whose body isn’t as dinged-up.
Andrew Bogut has put in some decent work in his first two games since returning from his ribcage injury. However, the Aussie recently shared his plans to have arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow after this season ends. While his elbow and overall health have been red flags for Bogut’s owners all season long, this tidbit of news makes those flags flap a bit louder. The worst-case scenario is that Bogut tweaks his elbow before the season ends and shuts things down early. His owners should at least consider trading him for someone a bit healthier.
Jarrett Jack has played very well in CP3’s absence, averaging 22 points, five rebounds, five assists and one steal in his last two games, both of which have been starts. The sell-high recommendation here is pretty simple: Paul is likely to return sooner than later, which means Jack’s fantasy value probably won’t be this high again this season. His owners should see what they can fetch for him on the market right now.
Vince Carter had two very strong lines heading into Thursday night. In those two games, VC averaged 30.5 points, five rebounds, 3.5 assists, two steals and 5.5 threes. Well, guess what â€“ this has absolutely no chance of continuing for much longer. His body or his resolve will give out sooner than later, which means his owners should (if they haven’t already) strike now and see what kind of value they can get in exchange for Carter.
Throughout the season, be sure to leave your questions, comments, concerns, trade offers, roster problems and more in the comments below.
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