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There are many ways to play fantasy basketball — rotisserie, head to head, lineups that can be changed any time and lineups that lock just prior to Monday night’s tip. With that in mind, Athlon Sports will give you the Fantasy Dime each week. These are 10 things to assist you before you have to lock in that lineup for the week.
Jarrett Jack was part of a five-player trade that sent him from Toronto to New Orleans, and the effects on fantasy are not so good for him but are for the team Jack left.
Jack will now back up his friend Chris Paul at PG for the Hornets, and should see time at SG behind Marco Belinelli. Backing up at two spots is a nice player to have for fantasy. Marcus Thornton is still in New Orleans, but has not made much, if any, noise this season at SG, so keep an eye on Jack's first couple of weeks in the Big Easy before making a move to either pick up or release him.
The bigger effect should come to Jose Calderon, who was splitting time with Jack as the Raptors' PG. He is averaging 7.9 points on 38-percent shooting with 5.1 assists, 0.9 steals and 1.9 rebounds in 27 minutes a game off the bench. Calderon should have been on most rosters that have any kind of depth; if not, go get him.
Big Z to the rescue?
With the Miami Heat center Udonis Haslem suffering torn ligaments in his foot Saturday and expected to be out a considerable length of time, the team must fill the void that wasn't really being filled to begin with.
Miami has certainly struggled inside this season, and perhaps this is where another player who came from Cleveland to Miami can step in. Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Big Z is averaging just 18 minutes a game, but shoots 60 percent from the field with five rebounds and 0.7 blocks a game.
Ilgauskas has started the last four games for the Heat, shooting 14-of-22 (.636) for seven points, 5.8 rebounds and 0.8 blocks. If you are in a two-center league or just need to take a flier on a center that could spark a team, take a look at the 7-foot-3 Russian this week.
Pacing at the point
Darren Collison is expected to return to the lineup for the Indiana Pacers tonight at PG. He has been out for the last three games with an ankle injury and T.J. Ford got the starts.
When healthy, Collison was playing 29 minutes, scoring at 15.1 on .465 shooting with 4.1 assists and 2.2 rebounds per game. Ford, in the three starts, averaged nine points, seven boards and five assists.
Collison was close to playing Saturday, and should be a safe play this week with four games. Those four games are against Miami, Cleveland, Oklahoma City and the Lakers, however.
Keep an eye on Dragic
Phoenix PG Steve Nash sat out the last two games with a groin injury that flared up again after the veteran suffered through the problem in the offseason. In his stead was Goran Dragic, who played 27 and 38 minutes in the two games.
Dragic averaged 13.5 points, four rebounds, seven assists, one steal and three turnovers in the two games. He had played no more that 19 minutes in games in which Nash was in the lineup. But keep an eye on Nash's injury as the Suns have four games this week — no back to backs. Dragic will certainly have value if the groin remains a problem.
Playing to his potential
JaVale McGee finally put up a stat line that owners could say they were proud of. The Washington center, who has loads of potential, became more than just a blocking machine Sunday when he scored 20 points, grabbed 16 boards, blocked two shots and even dished out an assist. He did it in a season-high 42:16 of playing time.
McGee has been absent many times at the end of Wizards games, but hung around for quite a while in the loss to Detroit. Perhaps this will be the spark he needs to play hard every night. Put him in the lineup while the getting is good.
Speaking of blocks
Denver center Chris Andersen is expected to make his season debut against Golden State tonight. The tattooed-blocking machine — 318 the last two years — has been nursing a knee injury.
The Nuggets only play three games this week, and the Birdman might be eased back into the rotation. He does, however, average 4.3 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and 0.6 assists a game against the three teams Denver plays this week — Golden State, Chicago and Phoenix.
It's Kris with a K
Troy Murphy has fallen out of favor in New Jersey before he seemed to fall into favor. Derrick Favors is still getting worked in. And in the middle of all of it is Kris Humphries as the starting PF for the New Jersey Nets.
If you haven't picked him up in your league go do so ... I'll wait.
OK, you back?
Humphries has started the last six games for the Nets, putting up a double-double in four of them — missing the other two by two rebounds in one and two points in another. He's added nine blocks, shot .583 from the field, .714 from the stripe and only turned the ball over five times in those six games.
The Nets play four games — two sets of back to backs — this week, and Humphries should be in your lineup for all of them.
Toney's touch may be back
After a slump last week, perhaps Toney Douglas is getting back into form. The backup PG in New York, Douglas scored 12 points on 50-percent shooting from the field and .667 from 3-point range — which included four 3s — in a 124-115 win over the Clippers.
New York is a fast-paced offense and Douglas is averaging over 24 minutes a game, while still shooting over 40 from the field with 3.3 rebounds, 1.6 steals and two assists a game.
The Knicks have four games this week — two sets of back to backs like their Jersey counterparts — and Douglas might be a sneaky play for you.
Good from Gooden
In Milwaukee, PF/C Drew Gooden logged a lot of minutes last week. He averaged 37:18 over the last three games — almost eight above his season average — and nearly pulled a double double in each game. Gooden averaged 18 points, 12.3 boards, shot .526 from the field and had a block a game last week. While the team only has three games this week, ride this Buck while he's hot.
Read into Forbes
While the talk of Denver is whether Carmelo Anthony will stay or go — more when, not if — and if Chauncey Billups will join him, there's another story on the SG/SF side of things.
J.R. Smith certainly isn't making a case for NBA Sixth Man votes as Gary Forbes has started cutting into his minutes. The rookie is averaging just under 16 minutes a game and scoring 7.6 points with 2.7 boards, 0.7 assists, 0.6 steals and shooting .508 from the field. Smith is at 8.8 points, 3.0 boards, 2.1 assists and 1.2 steals while shooting .388 from the field in a little over 20 minutes.
Smith had two DNPs last week, and games of 1:05 and 18:54 in the other two. Forbes meanwhile, went 23, 23, 17 and 11 in the minutes department the last four games. Take a chance on Forbes if you have the room.
— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter