Picking up the Pace

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Will new coach bring balance to Pacers?

Will new coach bring balance to Pacers?

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.

So what does the firing of Jim O'Brien do for the Pacers in the fantasy world?

O'Brien messed with the lineup so much that it is hard to tell who can do what for your roster on a consistent basis.

Small forward Danny Granger has been about the only untouchable all year. So keep playing him as you would.

Earlier in the year, Mike Dunleavy and Brandon Rush were switched in and out at the 2-guard before Dunleavy settled in as the starter. He and Granger are the only two on the roster averaging over 30 minutes per game.

Darren Collison also had to battle off and on with T.J. Ford for the starting point guard spot, but has also settled in and is averaging 29:56 a game.

After that, with a new coach at the helm, it is hard to say what to expect from the Pacers.

Rush is out til mid-February so that should open up more playing time for Paul George, who was already stealing minutes from Rush.

Roy Hibbert should become more of a mainstay at the center spot, while Tyler Hansbrough should see more time at the power forward after having averaged just 16 minutes a game thus far. Josh McRoberts, a forward-center, will also figure into the mix.

Indiana plays four games this week, starting Monday with Toronto, followed by Cleveland, Portland and New Jersey with no back-to-backs this week. Indiana scored 97.8 points a game — good for 18th in the league — with O'Brien at the helm. So if you have the ability, give it a week to see who emerges under Frank Vogel's coaching and move forward from there.

Utah from the 1
Deron Williams missed second straight game Sunday with strained tendon in right wrist. Utah's star point guard has no timetable for his return, leaving Earl Watson as the director of the offense in the meantime.

In the two starts, Watson is averaging nine points, nine assists, three boards and shooting .429 from the field, .400 from beyond the arc and is perfect from the stripe.

With four games this week, and if you have to set your lineup on Monday, you might want to stash Watson on your roster if you have the room.

Utah from the 3
C.J. Miles is ranked as the 93rd-best player in Yahoo nine-category leagues but is still available in 65 percent of those leagues.

He is averaging 23 minutes per game, scoring 12.1 points per game, grabbing 3.2 rebounds, dishing out 1.6 assists, hitting 1.5 3s and stealing 1.1 balls a game. He also has shoots at a .417 clip from the field and .783 from the stripe.

Utah has a four-game week against three teams that allow over 102 points per game and — Charlotte (97.0), Houston (104.9), Denver (104.4) and Oklahoma City (102.7). Charlotte has surrendered 100-plus in its last three games.

With Deron Williams (wrist), Paul Milsap (thumb) and Mehmet Okur (back) all battling injuries, Miles is a great play this week.

Utah from the 5
Mehmet Okur left Friday night's game with a strained lower back and did not travel with the team for Sunday's game against Golden State. The Utah center is doubtful for Monday's game against Charlotte. If he misses there are still three more games this week for the Jazz — Houston on Wednesday and a back-to-back with Denver and Oklahoma City Friday and Saturday.

After missing nearly the first two months of the season, Okur played in just four of the last seven games of December, none of the first five of January and never played more than 16:06 of any of the nine games before the latest injury.

If you drafted and waited on Okur it might be time to cut bait on the Jazz center as he has been back a month and a half and played in just 13 games with 4.9 points per games and 2.3 boards.

There's a Buck out there ... if you want him
John Salmons could return to the Milwaukee lineup Monday after a hip injury has sidelined him the last seven games.

But in his absence there has been the emergence of Chris Douglas-Roberts and the return of Carlos Delfino from a concussion that tabled him for 32 games.

Delfino is owned in just 33 percent of Yahoo leagues and has averaged 11.3 points, 3.5 boards, 2.7 assists, 1.0 steals and two 3s in the six games since his return.

The Bucks play a four-game schedule this week against teams allowing 99-plus points — Clippers (101.5), Suns (106.9), Warriors (106.5) and Pistons (99.4).

Add Delfino if you can and monitor how Salmons, Delfino, Corey Maggette and CDR work with one another. Keep in mind, the Bucks average a league-worst 91.7 points per game, so there are a lot of mouths trying to be fed with few points.

There's another Buck out there ... if you want two of them
Ersan Ilyasova has been the 41st-best player in Yahoo's nine-category leagues, but is owned in just 18 percent of those leagues.

The Milwaukee forward has averaged nearly 28 minutes a game, 11.6 points with 7.0 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 0.9 steals in January. You can add a 50-percent clip from the field, 90.3 from the line the last month to those stats.

The Bucks play four games this week and the fact that Drew Gooden (plantar faciitis) can't stay in the lineup makes Ilyasova's certainly worth a look.

Sit the New York Chandler
Wilson Chandler has missed the Knicks' last two games as he is battling a sore right calf. Reports are that he will be read for the team's Wednesday game against Dallas.

The Knicks play Dallas and then a home and home with Philadelphia this week. Dallas has won its last four games. Philly won the first meeting of the year against New York (Nov. 7) and have allowed over 100 points just three times in 14 games this month.

Meanwhile, Chandler has scored over 10 just once in his last four games and is shooting under 31 percent in those four games.

This might be a week to shelve Chandler until he is completely healthy and becomes a solid scoring option for the Knicks again.

No stats for getting to the timeline
Mario Chalmers finished up his first week as Miami's starting point guard and there are probably other options you would want to explore first if you're looking for a point guard.

In the four games as the starts, Chalmers is averaging 7.8 points, 4.3 assists, 1.5 rebounds, shooting .444 from the field, .385 from 3 and 100-percent from the stripe.

Other point guards that are probably available in your leagues and had better weeks on average were: Randy Foye, Jose Juan Barea, George Hill, Keyon Dooling, Lou WIlliams, Ty Lawson, Derek Fisher, Steve Blake and Eddie House.

Another Clipper to pick up
Eric Gordon has been out three games with a wrist injury and is due to be out around a month. Randy Foye might be the hot new Clipper to pick up — joining Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan this season.

In the three games since Foye stepped in for Gordon he has scored 18.7 points, 3.0 assists, 1.7 boards and steals per game to go along with eight 3-pointers.

The Clippers do have some tough defenses to face this week in Milwaukee (92.8 ppg), Chicago (92.0), Atlanta (95.5) and Miami (94.0).

Out of O.J.? Go Young
So who benefits from O.J. Mayo's 10-game suspension?

The Memphis shooting guard is not eligible to return until Feb. 15 against Philadelphia. In the two games since his absence, Sam Young has continued to start and his minutes have increased. He is averaging around 30 minutes, 11 points, a rebound, and assists in the two games. Tony Allen has played 20 and 34 minutes, scoring 8 and 15 points.

The Grizzlies play four games this week — Orlando, Minnesota, Cleveland and Houston — the latter three allowing 104.9-plus points per game. Young might be worth a spot on your roster if you have the room since he starts and has seen the increased minutes.

— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter
 

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