Health an issue for Big Three?
All three Heat standouts missed games last week
By: Corby Yarbrough | 1/24/11, 10:32 AM EST
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.
Miami’s Big Three have certainly made quite a rebound from their lackluster start as a group. But over the last two weeks the injuries have started to creep in and hit all of them at once.
Chris Bosh has missed the past two games with an sprained left ankle. Dwyane Wade missed Saturday’s game with a migraine. LeBron James missed the two games before that with an injured ankle. James had a monster return with 34 points and 10 boards in his first game back and 38 and 11 in his second game back — with both Wade and Bosh out.
Bosh reportedly cannot even jog on the ankle a week after the injury. Wade should not miss anymore time since the Heat do not play until a Thursday TNT game against New York in Madison Square Garden. And obviously James has since returned to the point where he looked like he never missed a beat.
The Heat do not play until Thursday but still get three games out of the week — Detroit and Oklahoma City as well.
So if you were worried about the Big Three’s availability this week, Bosh should be the only concern. Mike Miller broke out in the Heat’s last game — 32 points and 10 rebounds. James Jones added 15 points, two 3-pointers, and four boards.
Miller is still unreliable since his return (Dec. 20) from a thumb injury — three games this month over 25 minutes, four under 10 minutes and three where he logged no minutes. Miller is available in 65 percent of leagues and has guard-forward eligibility, but it is hard to say when you should pull the trigger on adding him to the roster. Monitor Bosh’s situation.
Might be time to add Fernandez — again
Portland’s Rudy Fernandez is the 25th ranked player in Yahoo’s nine-category leagues over the last two weeks and he is still available in 80 percent of those leagues.
The shooting guard has scored in double digits each of the last four games, and has no less than three boards in the last eight games, and no less than three assists in the last three games. His shooting percentages are also efficient.
All that said, the Blazers play just two games this week — Sacramento and Boston — so he might not be the best play this week. However, Fernandez has been balling enough over the last two weeks that you might want to add him before another team in your league does.
Amir Johnson a good play
The Raptors have a four-game schedule — Memphis, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Minnesota — and that should be good news for Toronto power forward Amir Johnson.
He has been the 53rd-best player in Yahoo leagues over the last two weeks and is available in 45 percent of those leagues. His nearly eight rebounds and eight points a game over that time could get a boost against three teams that rank 20th or worst in shooting percentage — Philadelphia (.453), Minnesota (.442) and Milwaukee (.422).
A center emerges?
Is a center starting to rise up for the Phoenix Suns?
Marcin Gortat, acquired in a trade with Orlando earlier this season, has been the 40th-best player in Yahoo leagues over the last two weeks and is still available in 73 percent of those leagues.
He enters this week on the heels of three straight double-doubles. Centers are always hard to come by and you might as well ride him while he’s hot and take ownership of him just in case this is a sign of things to come for the remainder of the year.
The Suns get Philly, Charlotte, Boston and New Orleans this week.
A center emerges, part II?
Detroit rookie Greg Monroe has started to shine this month.
The forward-center has played 11 games this month, the last eight as a starter, logging nearly 34 minutes a contest — up over 12 minutes a game from last month. He is scoring 10.8 points per game with 8.9 boards, 1.9 steals and five straight double-doubles (from Jan. 4-14) in the 11 games since the turn of the year.
Monroe is the 40th-best in Yahoo leagues over the last two weeks and is still available in 57 percent of those leagues. The Pistons get Orlando, Denver, Miami and New York this week, so it will be a tough road for Monroe.
Anderson still out there
Power-forward/center Ryan Anderson has been a top-20 player in nine-category leagues over the last two weeks. He is logging over 26 minutes a game during that time, and averaging 16.1 points with 24 made 3s and 7.2 rebounds. As of Sunday, he was ranked 16th in Yahoo leagues and still available in 53 percent of those leagues.
The Magic have a four-game slate this week with no back-to-backs. They get Detroit, Indiana, Chicago and Cleveland. So along with picking up Anderson, playing any Orlando guy should be beneficial this year.
Take a shot with J.R. ... and all Nuggets this week
It’s a slim chance that Denver’s J.R. Smith is still available in your league — he is, however, still available in 31 percent of Yahoo leagues. The guard-forward was the 38th-best player in Yahoo leagues over the last two weeks,
Smith is a little inconsistent, but he gets minutes (24:18 for the season and and 23:11 this month) and plays for the league’s highest scoring team at 107.4 points per game.
The Nuggets play an East coast swing this week with games at Washington (102.1 ppg), Detroit (99.0), Cleveland (104.6) and Philly (97.3). That’s a pretty sweet slate for any player on the top scoring team in the Association.
Beware of Al
Reports are the swelling from the ankle Injury to Al Horford has started to come down and he is aiming for a Wednesday return against Milwaukee. But with the Hawks having just three games this week, including a back-to-back to end it against the Knicks and Mavericks, you might want to look elsewhere.
Offensive output for deficient teams
If you have any Charlotte Bobcats or New Orleans Hornets on your roster or are thinking about picking some of their players up for a week, this may be the week. Both have four-game slates against teams that certainly don’t do a good job of slowing teams down.
The Bobcats play Sacramento (103 ppg allowed), Phoenix (107.8), Golden State (106.5) and the Clippers (101.7) this week. For New Orleans and its schedule, the Hornets play Sacramento, Phoenix, Golden State and sub Oklahoma City (102.2) for the Clippers.
The unfortunate thing in this four-game cornucopia of offensive opportunities for both New Orleans and Charlotte is that they are two of the worst scoring teams in the Association — Hornets 26th at 94.3 points per game and Bobcats at 28th at 92.7 a game.
Salmons still ailing
Milwaukee guard-forward John Salmons had been having a solid January — eight games produced 14.6 points a game with 1.8 3s a game on 41.4 percent shooting from the field and 50 percent shooting from beyond the arc. However, Salmons missed his third straight game on Jan. 22 with a sore right hip.
Milwaukee plays four games this week — Chicago, Atlanta, Toronto and New Jersey — but it could be a three-game or less week for Salmons.
Forward Corey Maggette has picked up some of the slack in Salmons’ absence. He has scored over 20 points in four of the last five games and had five or more rebounds in four of the last five games. Maggette is still available in 40 percent of Yahoo leagues.
The Bucks, however, are the lowest-scoring team in the league at 91.2 points a game while allowing a fourth-best 92.8. So don’t expect much scoring on either end when Milwaukee is involved.
— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter
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