Fantasy Week 7 (Dec. 10-16) represents the quarter point of the season as teams are approaching or will hit the 20-game mark.
While some of predictions and forecasts for players have played out just as expected, some have exceeded expectations or been major busts through the early part of the year. With the injuries starting to pile up, most teams and Fantasy owners have been scrambling to the waiver wire to try and plug up holes that have grown in their lineups. That is where we come in as we have once again gone through the upcoming week's schedule and matchups to compile our list of five players who are worth a look in Roto formats and the five players who should be avoided.
Find a place for 'em
Jordan Crawford, G, Wizards (@NO, @HOU, LAL, @MIA): Crawford did not get off to the best start this season as he averaged just 11.3 points on 33 percent shooting from the field over his first 11 games. However, the 24-year-old has picked up the pace in recent weeks and is a big reason why the Wizards are starting to play better. Crawford has scored in double figures in a season-best six straight games for the Wizards and is averaging 18.8 points on 46.2 percent shooting from the field over that stretch. He is also giving Fantasy owners 4.3 assists and 3.2 rebounds during his hot streak to go along with 1.5 treys per game. While Crawford continues to come off the bench in Washington, he could be in line to see a slight boost in playing time this week now that A.J. Price is sidelined with a broken hand. Shaun Livingston is the only healthy point guard on the roster right now, which means Crawford will be asked to run the point at various times. He also looks to have some favorable matchups on tap, which at the very least should allow him to maintain his current production. Fantasy owners should continue to ride Crawford's hot hand heading into the upcoming scoring period. (owned in 65 percent of leagues)
Rodney Stuckey, G, Pistons (@PHI, @DEN, @BKN, IND): Stuckey has been one of the bigger disappointments in all of Fantasy during the early part of the season as his numbers have been way down across the board. He got off to such a poor start this season that coach Lawrence Frank pulled him from the starting lineup after he averaged just 9.3 points and 4.3 assists over his first eight games on 28 percent shooting from the field. While Stuckey's production has remained fairly inconsistent off the bench, he has started to show signs of life over the past week or so. The 26-year-old has scored in double figures in four of his last eight games and is also chipping in with 6.8 assists, 3.0 rebounds and a steal per game during his hot streak. The Pistons have been so encouraged by his recent stretch that there have been whispers about possibly inserting him back into the starting lineup. While that likely won't happen in the upcoming scoring period, owners should feel free to get Stuckey active while he is turning in productive performances again. (owned in 71 percent of leagues)
Amir Johnson, F, Raptors (@POR, BKN, DAL, HOU): The Raptors are a complete mess right now and as the team continues to pile up the losses, coach Dwane Casey continues to tweak his rotation. While he has yet to make any permanent changes to the starting lineup, Johnson has seen some extra run over the past few contests. After averaging 19 minutes per game over his first 16 contests, Johnson has been seeing around 25 minutes over his last five games and has received 30-plus minutes twice over that stretch. Of course, more minutes usually translates into more production and Johnson has responded by scoring in double figures in four of his last five contests. He is averaging 10.4 points and 6.0 rebounds over his mini hot streak and is also giving Fantasy owners 1.8 assists and 1.2 steals during that stretch. Johnson also has the luxury of facing some fairly soft defenses in the upcoming scoring period as the Mavericks, Trail Blazers and Rockets are all ranked near the bottom of the pack in points allowed and opposition field-goal percentage. Even the Nets have been allowing teams to score at will of late, so owners looking for some help in the point, rebounding and field-goal percentage departments should consider rolling with Johnson in the upcoming scoring period. (owned in 14 percent of leagues)
Corey Brewer, F, Nuggets (@DET, @MIN, MEM, @SAC): While the Nuggets have fallen on hard times of late, Brewer has been one of the few players in Denver who has upped his production in recent weeks. The 26-year-old continues to serve as one of coach George Karl's super subs and enters Week 7 on a nice little hot streak. Brewer has scored in double figures in each of his last four contests and is averaging 16.2 points on 54 percent shooting from the field over his last five games. He is also chipping in with 3.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals during that stretch to go along with 1.5 treys per game. Brewer has always been considered a decent source for steals and 3-pointers for owners in Rotisserie formats but now that he is scoring the ball with more frequency, his value has been on the rise. He should be able to at least maintain his current production in that category this week as he looks to have some fairly soft matchups on tap. The Pistons and Kings rank near the bottom of most defensive categories in the league, while the Grizzlies and Timberwolves have had some recent issues defending the 3-point line. We recommend getting and/or leaving Brewer active this week. (owned in 31 percent of leagues)
Andray Blatche, C, Nets (NY, @TOR, DET, @CHI): Blatche has thrived since taking over for the injured Brook Lopez in the starting lineup and averaged a whopping 17.8 points and 9.8 rebounds over that stretch. The 26-year-old is shooting 53 percent from the field since the move to go along with 2.0 steals and 1.4 assists. While Blatche is scheduled to head back to his reserve role once Lopez returns to action, Brooklyn's opening-night starting center is still not ready to return to the floor. The Nets are hoping to get him back sometime later in Week 7, but with the team playing six games over nine days, including a back-to-back set this week, even coach Avery Johnson admitted that he may have to ease Lopez back into action. That should translate into more big-time minutes for Blatche, who has averaged 28 minutes since being tabbed a starter. With Lopez's return still very much in question and the possibility of him being used in a limited fashion even if he does return for the upcoming scoring period, owners should feel free to ride Blatche for at least one more week. (owned in 71 percent of leagues)
Put 'em on your bench
Jose Calderon, G, Raptors (@POR, BKN, DAL, HOU): Just like most of his Raptors' teammates, Calderon has been struggling mightily over the past few games. The 31-year-old has been thrust back into his reserve role since Kyle Lowry has returned from his injury and has had trouble adjusting to the move. In fact, Calderon has failed to score in double figures in each of his last four contests and is averaging just 6.4 points on 39 percent shooting from the field over that stretch. He has only notched five or more assists in two of his last seven games and has been seeing around 18 minutes of court time during his struggles. We mentioned coach Casey tweaking his rotation based on the team's poor results and it appears Calderon has fallen victim to that philosophy of late. Despite Toronto's fairly favorable schedule this week and Calderon's track record, we recommend leaving the veteran reserved for the upcoming scoring period. (owned in 79 percent of leagues)
Kirk Hinrich, G, Bulls (LAC, @PHI, BKN): Hinrich was a popular pick by some to be in line for a bounce-back campaign with the Bulls this season, but that hasn't happened thus far. The 31-year-old has really struggled in his first year back with the Bulls and enters Week 7 averaging a putrid 6.6 points per game on 37 percent shooting from the field. However, Hinrick is still dishing out a respectable 5.6 assists on the season and looked like he was starting to turn a corner a bit. Hinrich was shooting 47 percent from the field over his previous four games and got off to a red-hot start against the Knicks last Saturday night before leaving with an elbow injury. While the Bulls are saying he should be fine moving forward, Hinrich's newest injury along with his very tough upcoming schedule makes him a risky play this week. The NBA is all about matchups and Hinrich will have three tough ones on his plate this week with the Clippers, 76ers and Nets on tap. That means Hinrich will have to match up against two of the league's top point guards in Chris Paul and Deron Williams and Jrue Holiday is definitely a young player whose stock is on the rise. With a slew of tough games on the docket and Hinrich a little banged up, this looks to be a good week to leave him reserved .(owned in 46 percent of leagues)
Harrison Barnes, F, Warriors (@CHA, @MIA, @ORL, @ATL): While the Warriors are in the midst of playing their best basketball of the season, Barnes appears to have hit the dreaded rookie wall. The 20-year-old has scored in double figures in just two of his last nine games and is shooting 35 percent from the field over that stretch. He is still chipping in with 4.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists during his cold streak but is also starting to lose some minutes of late. While Barnes continues to earn starts, coach Mark Jackson has been leaving him on the bench later in contests, instead opting to go with a smaller lineup. Still, the Warriors remain very high on the rookie and are not going to pull the plug on him after a nine-game rough patch, though that doesn't mean Fantasy owners should follow suit. Despite what looks to be another favorable schedule on tap against the defensively challenged Bobcats, Heat, Magic and Hawks, Barnes' poor production is actually doing more harm than good for most owners right now. Leave him reserved for the upcoming scoring period. (owned in 72 percent of leagues)
Derrick Favors, F, Jazz, (@POR, BKN, DAL, HOU): Favors continues to be plagued with a plantar fasciitis injury and has missed Utah's last five games due to the ailment. While he is expected to return to the lineup sometime near the beginning of Week 7, owners should think twice before getting him active. Plantar fasciitis has a tendency to be a recurring type of injury and the Jazz will likely ease the 24-year-old back into action. That will likely limit Favors' minutes in a week where he may end up already missing a game or two. Favors was averaging a solid 8.9 points and 7.5 rebounds over his last eight games prior to his injury, but was only seeing 21 minutes per game over that stretch. Coach Tyrone Corbin has been very inconsistent with his distribution of Favors' minutes prior to his injury as well, which was driving most Fantasy owners crazy. While Favors looks to be on the verge of getting back on the court, owners should wait until he proves healthy and productive again before getting him active. Leave him stashed in the upcoming scoring period. (owned in 80 percent of leagues)
Marcin Gortat, C, Suns, (MEM, UTA): Gortat got off to a red-hot start this season as he averaged a solid 11.7 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.4 blocks over the first eight games. However, the 28-year-old has turned into a model of inconsistency since then as he has seen a major drop in production of late. Gortat has failed to score in double figures in four of his last eight games and is putting up a much less productive 9.6 points and 6.0 rebounds over that stretch. He is only attempting six field goals per game during his cold spell, which is well below the 8.7 attempts he has been averaging for the entire season. Gortat clearly doesn't look like his normal self of late and only has two games on the docket this week against the Grizzlies and Jazz. Gortat scored just one point and had eight rebounds in his lone meeting against Utah this season and scored only 11 points and seven rebounds in an earlier meeting against Memphis. While Gortat should be able to bounce back eventually, we recommend leaving the Polish Hammer on the bench for the upcoming scoring period. (owned in 99 percent of leagues)