With injuries starting to pile up a bit as the calendar turns to December, we see several teams changing rotations and trying to plug holes in their lineup.
That is once again the case heading into Fantasy Week 6 (Dec. 3-9), as most of the players mentioned in the fifth installment of our Rotisserie-based advice column were buried deep on the bench at the beginning of the year. However, some of the other players mentioned in this piece have been fixtures in their respective club's starting lineup but are now underperforming while some are just returning from long layoffs due to injury.
Whatever their case may be, we have once again compiled our list of five players who are worth a look in Roto formats this week and the five players who should be avoided.
Find a place for 'em
Marco Belinelli, G, Bulls (IND, @CLE, @DET, NY): Belinelli hasn't seen much of the floor during the early part of the season as he has averaged just 14.7 minutes per game over his first 14 games. He is averaging just 5.0 points in those contests and only scored in double figures three times over that stretch. However, Richard Hamilton is now out for at least a week, which is expected to open things up for Belinelli. The 26-year-old will likely become the team's starting shooting guard for at least the next few games, which at the very least will get him on the court more. While Belinelli has never been much of a source for assists, steals or rebounds, he has become a popular pickup off the waiver wire in Rotisserie formats for his ability to knock down threes. Even this season, he is shooting 40 percent from behind the arc in his limited minutes and will be asked to take on more of an offensive role for the Bulls. While he is still a bit of a risky play due to coach Tom Thibodeau's defense-first attitude, Belinelli looks to have some favorable matchups on tap this week as the Knicks and Cavaliers have been dreadful at defending the three-point line thus far while the Pistons have been bad in all aspects of defending. Fantasy owners brave enough to take a risk should consider taking a flier on Belinelli this week. (owned in two percent of Fantasy leagues)
J.J. Redick, G, Magic (@GS, @UTA, @SAC, @PHO): Redick has been one of the more pleasant surprises in Fantasy this season as he is averaging a career-best 13.4 points and 4.9 assists on 44 percent shooting from the field thus far. While he continues to come off the bench most nights, he is still seeing around 30 minutes per game and has been asked to take on a more prominent scoring role with the Magic this season. Still, the one part of Redick's game that has been lacking has been his three-point shooting. He is making just 33.9 percent of his shots from downtown, which is well below his career average of 39.6. Redick has also been stuck in a bit of a rut of late as he has scored a combined nine points over his last two games. However, Redick looks to have some favorable matchups on tap in Week 6 that could help him get back on track. The Jazz and Suns rank near the bottom of the pack in opposition three-point field-goal percentage while the Kings are one of the eight teams allowing more than 100 points per game and are allowing opponents to make over 45 percent of their shots. Redick has also averaged 13 points and made five three-pointers in his last two contests against the Warriors, so get him active this week. (owned in 78 percent of leagues)
Kevin Seraphin, F, Wizards (MIA, @ATL, GS): Seraphin continues to take advantage of the extra minutes he has been seeing and is riding a two-game double-double streak heading into Week 6. Injuries to Trevor Booker and Nene have allowed the 22-year-old to average a career-high 24.5 minutes per game and he has responded by putting up 11.5 points and 5.5 rebounds over his first 13 games. He is making 46 percent of his shots from the field and has also given Fantasy owners 1.4 assists and 0.9 blocks per contest thus far. With Booker still out indefinitely and Nene being eased back into action, Seraphin should see plenty of run again this week and looks to have a few quality matchups on tap as well. The Heat and Warriors have had problems defending the paint all season and Seraphin dropped in 21 and 10 in his lone meeting against Atlanta this year. Fantasy owners should continue to roll with Seraphin in the majority of Rotisserie formats heading into the upcoming scoring period. (owned in 52 percent of leagues)
Antawn Jamison, F, Lakers (@HOU, @NO, @OKC, UTA): Jamison was expected to be the Lakers main scoring threat off the bench this season, but he was quickly labeled a bust after coach Mike Brown limited him to just 16.5 minutes of court time over his first 10 games. He averaged just 4.3 points and 3.6 rebounds over that stretch, which frankly, wasn't helping any owners. However, coach Mike D'Antoni has inserted the veteran back into his rotation and he has started to perform the way most expected him to once he signed with Los Angeles. Jamison has logged at least 25 minutes in each of his last four games and averaged 15.8 points and 8.4 rebounds over that stretch. He has shot 42 percent from downtown over that span and received the green light from D'Antoni to shoot whenever he has an open look. Even at age 36, Jamison has proved he can still be a valuable option on Fantasy rosters and looks to have some favorable matchups on tap in Week 6. The Rockets, Hornets and Jazz are all ranked near the bottom of the pack in opponent three-point percentage, which should bode well for all the open looks Jamison will see thanks to the constant double-teams Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard draw. Fantasy owners should continue to ride Jamison's hot hand heading into the upcoming scoring period. (owned in 59 percent of leagues)
Larry Sanders, C, Bucks ( @NO, @SA, CHA, @BKN): Sanders got off to a red-hot start this season as the team's primary center and became quite a popular waiver-wire pickup as a result. However, he hit a major wall in the middle of November as coach Scott Skiles decided to change up his rotation once again, which cut down on the 24-year-old's minutes. He averaged just 17.5 minutes per game over an eight-game stretch and put up 4.0 points and 5.1 rebounds during that run. Now it appears Sanders has played his way back into Skiles' good graces as he logged over 30 minutes in each of his last two games and responded by posting a pair of double-doubles. Fantasy owners have grown very accustomed to Skiles' helter skelter rotations over the years and learned to ride the hot hand while you can before he changes things up again. It appears Ersan Illyasova is on the outside looking in at the moment, which should continue to open the way for Sanders to see big minutes for the time being. Sanders has given Fantasy owners a solid source of points, rebounds, blocks and field-goal percentage when given as chance to play, so owners in Rotisserie formats should get him active now that he appears to be back in the swing of things. (owned in 61 percent of leagues)
Put 'em on your bench
Chauncey Billups, G, Clippers (@UTA, DAL, PHO, TOR): Billups was finally able to get himself back on the floor last week after suffering a torn left Achilles' last February. The veteran was quickly inserted into the starting lineup over his first two games back but wasn't on the court much over that span. In fact, he logged just 37 combined minutes over his two-game return and that is unlikely to change much in the near future. The Clippers are thinking long-term at the moment as they have their eyes set on making a run at a title this year and are not going to rush Billups back. The 36-year-old will continue to be eased back into action, which means owners should get used to seeing the type of stat lines he produced in his first week back. Keep in mind Los Angeles has also gotten strong guard play from the likes of Jamal Crawford and Eric Bledsoe and the team doesn't want to mess up the chemistry just yet. While it should only be a matter of time before Billups starts logging the 30-plus minutes per game he did last season, that is very unlikely to happen in Week 6. We strongly recommend Fantasy owners to exercise some patience and leave Billups reserved for the upcoming scoring period. (owned in 52 percent of leagues)
Nick Young, G, 76ers (MIN, BOS, @BOS): Young has gotten off to a very uneven start during his first year in Philadelphia as he has struggled to knock down his shots. While the 27-year-old has always been a bit of a streaky shooter, he has been in a major shooting slump of late. In fact, Young has failed to score in double figures in each of his last four contests and made just 36 percent of his shots from the field over that stretch, including 33 percent from downtown. Now he is dealing with a lingering toe injury and doesn't look to have the greatest matchups on tap as he will face the Timberwolves and Celtics (twice) in the upcoming scoring period. Both teams have been pretty good at defending the three-point line for the most part this season -- especially Minnesota -- and Young turned in an uninspiring 10-point effort in his lone contest against Boston earlier in the year. While Swaggy-P is normally a great source for treys, his injury, tough upcoming schedule and shooting woes make him a prime candidate for a benching this week. (owned in 16 percent of leagues)
Charlie Villanueva, F, Pistons (CLE, GS, CHI, @CLE): After spending the first three-plus weeks of the season collecting DNPs, coach Lawrence Frank decided it was time to insert Villanueva back into his rotation. Villanueva responded to the move by dropping in 17, 10 and 19 points in his first three contests on 66 percent (14 for 21) shooting from the field. However, the 28-year-old started to reveal his inconsistent ways over his last two games as he scored a combined nine points on 25 percent shooting from the field over that stretch, and was even shutout in his last contest. Unfortunately this is the way it has always been for owners over the years as he has been one of the more streaky options in all of Fantasy. Very few can go from looking like a sharpshooter to a dud as quick as Charlie V can, which makes it very tough to start him most weeks. While his three-game stretch last week surely will have owners scurrying to add him off the waiver wire, we recommend using extreme caution with Villanueva. It doesn't appear Frank is done tweaking his rotation yet and if Villanueva turns a few more stinkers, he could be right back on the bench. He is only averaging 17 minutes in the contests he has appeared in anyway, so think twice before adding Villanueva to your starting lineup this week. (owned in eight percent of leagues)
Ersan Ilyasova, F, Bucks (@NO, @SA, CHA, @BKN): Ilyasova has been a major bust this season as Fantasy owners and the Bucks are becoming extremely frustrated with the 25-year-old. He has clearly been one of the biggest disappointments in all of Fantasy to this point and has played so poorly that he earned a pair of DNPs last week as a healthy scratch. It is not often you see teams bench a player who signed a huge contract in the offseason, but that is exactly what happened. While he was able to get back on the floor for Milwaukee's last game and score a respectable 15 points to go along with eight rebounds, he finished the month of November averaging just 6.7 points and 4.3 rebounds. Coach Scott Skiles has already said he doesn't see any benefit in giving the forward more minutes to work through his struggles and now it seems like he could be starting to look in other directions as he has only logged more than 30 minutes once over his past 10 games. Based on his track record, Ilyasova should be able to turn things around, but Fantasy owners are advised to wait until that happens before getting him active again -- at least for this week. (owned in 72 percent of leagues)
Tyler Zeller, C, Cavaliers (@DET, CHI, MIN, DET): Zeller has been thrown right into the fire in Cleveland as he has seen a decent number of minutes right from the get-go for the Cavaliers. While he is still working to get over the fractured orbital bone he suffered back on Nov. 5, the rookie is seeing just over 22 minutes per game on the year and posted his first back-to-back double-digit scoring efforts of the season over his last two contests. His latest performances have gotten the Cavaliers and Fantasy owners excited about what is to come from the rookie, but we aren't sold quite yet. The 22-year-old is still shooting just 44 percent on the season and has yet to post a double-digit rebounding total in any game this season. Now Zeller will have to bang with some big bodies this week as he will find himself up against Greg Monroe, Joakim Noah and Nikola Pekovic in the upcoming scoring period, which are some of the more physical big men in the game. While Zeller looks to be finding his footing a bit and appears to have a very bright future, owners should not be fooled by his last two games and leave him reserved this week.(owned in 23 percent of leagues)