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.
Finally there's a light from Darko
PF/C Darko Milicic will certainly be remembered more for being selected in the 2003 NBA Draft second overall — before Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh — than for his efforts on the basketball court. However, those efforts are finally starting to shine through eight years later. The Timberwolves are getting 9.1 ppg, 6.2 rebounds, 2.9 blocks and 2.1 assists from Milicic in 27 minutes a game. He had a string of three-straight performances over 20 points snapped Saturday, which has finally made him more than just the guy that contributes in the blocks category.
No go for Bogut
Milwaukee center Andrew Bogut did not travel to Utah for tonight's game due to a back injury. Bogut, who is already battling an arm/hand injury from last season, might not play Wednesday at Denver either. That would mean one game played over the team's three-game schedule at best. Milwaukee kept Bogut at home, and you should keep him on your bench this week.
Bogut is not the only Buck battling injuries. PF/C Drew Gooden and SG/SF Corey Maggette are both dealing with foot injuries. SG/SF Carlos Delfino has missed nine straight games with concussion symptoms. That leaves forward Ersan Ilyasova to pick up some of the slack. He got his first start of the season Saturday — 17 points on 5-of-12 from the field, 3-of-6 from beyond the arc, 4-of-4 from the stripe with nine boards, six assists and three steals. This came after a 14-point, 11-rebound performance against Detroit the night before. There is risk in playing Ilyasova, but the Bucks just snapped a five-game losing streak and are having trouble getting anything together offensively. So roll with multi-category help that Ilyasova gives you.
More than just jumpers
Orlando's JJ Redick is benefiting from Vince Carter's knee injury that has sidelined him for the last three games. So you should benefit from it, too. Redick scored in double digits on three occasions last week, averaging over four assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals in four games. Carter is likely to return this week, but his minutes may be monitored. So feel safe to go with Redick.
The Lakers are averaging 9.2 points more a game than their opponents, thus giving bench players more court time. Shannon Brown has certainly taken advantage. The SG/SF is playing 18.9 minutes a game, scoring 10.9 points with 1.7 3s, 2.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 0.9 steals. You will have to deal with up-and-down percentages, but Brown has scored in double digits in nine of 17 games so far, and has added three or more rebounds six times. The Lakers play Memphis, Houston and Sacramento this week, meaning there should continue to be opportunities.
Like 3-pointers from your center-eligble players? Last year it was Channing Frye, Al Harrington, Troy Murphy, Andrea Bargnani and Matt Bonner. All five hit 90 or more 3-pointers. Four of those five are on pace again. Harrington leads the charge with 31, while Frye has 27, Bargnani has 21 and Bonner, who recently returned from injury, has 21 in 10 games. Bonner is still available in 98 percent of ESPN leagues and 94 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Murphy, who on Sunday saw his first action in seven games, is available in 42 percent of ESPN leagues and 24 percent of Yahoo leagues. If you have your choice between the two, go with Bonner. The Spur is at least getting minutes. His percentages will be lower, but the risk-reward should give you more from Bonner. Murphy has been a healthy scratch, according to the 10-year veteran, and doesn't seem to be meshing well with the New Jersey Nets.
Warrick an iffy play
Hakim Warrick now gets his shot to replace Amar'e Stoudemire. The Phoenix Suns tabbed him as the new starter at power forward. He averaged over 25 minutes off the bench, scoring 13.1 points a game with 4.6 rebounds. His first start left plenty to be desired. In a 138-133 loss to Denver, Warrick played 27 minutes with one foul and scored just eight points on 3-of-12 shooting to go along with nine boards. The Suns play Golden State, Indiana and Washington this week. Golden State and Washington allow over 104 points a contest. So feel OK, not great, about placing Warrick in your lineup.
Hold the Mayo?
OJ Mayo started the first 13 games of the season for Memphis, but has found himself coming off the bench for the last four. Could he find a spark on the second unit? Could he lead the second unit? Could he benefit from playing vs. other second teamers? Through four games off the bench, that doesn't seem to be the case. The guard's scoring is down seven points, and his shooting percentages are worse as are his rebounds, assists and steals. Were the Grizzlies going up against a tougher defensive slate this week I would leave Mayo on the bench, but three of the four teams they face allow over 100 points a game, so feel safe in adding a little Mayo to your lineup.
Find other options
Jonny Flynn still isn't back and might not be for another three weeks or so. Sebastian Telfair isn't tearing up the court. So that leaves Luke Ridnour to run the point in Minnesota. He is back after a hamstring injury sidelined him. In the four games since his return, Ridnour is scoring at 11.8 a game with 5.3 assists and 1.3 3-pointers. The Timberwolves play Dallas, San Antonio and Cleveland this week, all surrendering less than 100 points a game. I would hold off on Ridnour and go find a guy like Washington's Kirk Hinrich or Houston's Kyle Lowry to run the point for you for a week. They both have four-game slates.
Crash says he'll go
Gerald Wallace came crashing down to the floor with 7.1 seconds left in Saturday's game against Milwaukee, hyperextending his left elbow. He looked to be in a lot of pain as he was helped off the court, the kind of pain that means time will be missed. Further evaluation revealed an elbow contusion. He was limited in Monday's practice but says he will play Wednesday in New Orleans. The Bobcats also play New Jersey and Philly this week. It's a risky play, but the guy is playing over 38 minutes a game this season and is a stat stuffer. If he says he is going all you can do is believe him and put him in the lineup.
— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter