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Backup point guards can lead your team, too
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.
FARM IT OUT
Jordan Farmar did his part in the absence of Devin Harris over the last week. The Nets' PG played 36.5 minutes a game, scoring 19.3 points, with three 3-pointers a game, 3.3 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.3 steals. Harris returned Sunday and scored seven points, dished three assists and grabbed two rebounds in 24 minutes. Farmar, meanwhile, played 27 minutes with 16 points, four 3s and four steals. Harris has a history of injuries (averages 65 games played over the last three seasons). Go ahead and pick up Farmar while he's hot and see if he still gets the minutes despite Harris' presence.
Since coming over in a trade from New Orleans last month, Toronto PG Jerryd Bayless has seen his role increase the last three games. He has played over 21 minutes in each of the last three games, averaged 18.6 ppg on 52-percent shooting with 4.6 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.3 turnovers. Ride Bayless this week as the Toronto Raptors play four games, three against teams allowing over 100 points a game.
As injuries to other Washington Wizards go, so goes the production of guard-forward Nick Young. In Washington's last 11 contests, Young has played over 21 minutes nine times and averaged 17.3 points and 2.5 rebounds in those games. The other two he played zero minutes and 12 minutes due to a thigh injury of his own. So he can score and rebound for you, but it's just a matter of whether he's in there or not. The Wizards play at the Lakers and Kings and are back home against the Knicks. However, when John Wall is in the lineup, Young's minutes go down. So keep an eye on Young down the road, and use him this week if you absolutely need some scoring.
Another player in the Young mode is Boston backup PG Nate Robinson. He produces like crazy when Rajon Rondo is out, but you really have to be on your toes to know when Rondo is out (see his late scratch Sunday). Robinson is averaging 7.7 points, 2.4 assists and 1.5 rebounds this season. In four starts, he scores 16.5 a game with 5.3 assists, 3.3 boards. His 62.5-percent shooting from the field, 57.9 from 3 and 83.3 from the stripe as a starter aren't bad, either. With Rondo battling hamstring, knee and foot injuries, Boston coach Doc Rivers has no problem resting him for Robinson. So, like Young, keep an eye on Rondo's health to know if you should play Robinson. Boston plays Denver, Philly and Charlotte this week. Robinson could see significant minutes against the Sixers and Bobcats.
X MARKS THE WAIVER WIRE
Last week, I said OJ Mayo would not be worth it to play off the bench. He played 22.3 minutes, scored 6.8 points with 1.8 boards, 1.0 assists and 0.5 steals and blocks per game. Not the greatest line for fantasy. So what about the guy who has him coming off the bench? That goes to Xavier Henry. He had career highs in points (17), assists (3) and minutes (27:29) Sunday. However, his numbers over the last week weren't that much better. He played 23 minutes a game, averaging 10 points with 0.8 boards, 1.5 assists, no steals and a 0.3 blocks. So keep both Memphis SGs on your waiver wire.
THIS IS MARVIN, YOUR FORWARD, MARVIN WILLIAMS
With the news that Joe Johnson is out 4-6 weeks after elbow surgery, Marvin Williams should become the hot pickup in Atlanta. Williams is expected to pick up some of the slack for the Hawks. He shot 13-of-23 from the field and 11-of-12 from the stripe for 37 points to go along with six boards and five steals the first two games Johnson was out. He followed with a dud against Miami — 2-of-9 from the field, no trips to the line, four boards, two assists and one steal. For the season, Williams is a 48-percent shooter from the field, 84 from the stripe and averaging 10.1 points a game with 4.9 boards. Throw out the bad Miami game and give Williams a shot with a four-game week for the Hawks.
TAKE TO THE HILL
George Hill was a sleeper pick during draft season. The thinking was he might be the guy to replace Tony Parker as the Spurs' starting PG at some point during the season. So there would be minutes pre-trade and certainly minutes post-trade. Well, Parker signed an extension early and Hill went to the backburner. Well. with the Spurs averaging 106.7 points per game, there is plenty of love to go around in San Antonio. Hill has a season-high in minutes played two times over the past week and scored in double-digits in his last eight outings. His contributions as a fantasy player are in points scored and percentages (11.0 ppg, 46.9 from the field, 85.5 from the stripe). The Spurs play Golden State, Atlanta and Portland at home this week — three games where Hill should continue to see plenty of minutes.
Speaking of sleepers, SG/SF Nicolas Batum was a sleeper pick for the Portland Trail Blazers this season. It paid off when he was a starter for 12 games — 12.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.7 blocks. But he has found himself coming off the bench the last four games where his points are down 7.5, his rebounds ticked up 6.0, his assists fell to 0.8, his steals to .0.5 and blocks to 0.3. But these last two outings he is picking up the pace with 24 points, 20 boards, 2 steals and one assist. His shooting percentage from the field as a sub stinks (33.3), but he may be working his way back into a role that gives him minutes. Portland plays four games this week, including two against defensive-lacking Phoenix. Throw him in the lineup, and like most of us who drafted him as a sleeper, pray for a good week.
RUSH IS FINDING HIS WAY
Indiana SG/SF Brandon Rush has worked his way into the starting lineup for the Pacers. He has started three of the last four games. He's started five games altogether (replacing Mike Dunleavy when doing so). In those five starts, Rush averages 35 minutes, scores 16.2 points with 4.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.2 blocks and 0.8 steals He does this while shooting 53.3 from the field. 43.5 from 3 and 63.6 from the free-throw line. Indiana plays a four-game week, and Rush should be a good play.
Need a player who is contributing in multiple categories? Give Oklahoma City SG/SF Thabo Sefolosha a shot. He's owned in just 17 percent of Yahoo leagues and 1.8 of ESPN leagues, but is averaging 5.4 boards, 1.7 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.4 blocks while shooting .455 from the field, and .744 from the stripe. He's not fantasy gold, but he does start and play 32 minutes a game for the Thunder. It's not just about points scored in fantasy, it's about categories won. So keep an eye on Sefolosha if you're needing a contributor in several categories.
— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter