Injuries continue to take a toll on Fantasy owners as more and more players start to break down near the end of the year.
However, when a player goes down with an injury, another steps up in his place, which sometimes results in a huge boost in Fantasy value. Amir Johnson is the player who we think has the chance to make one of the bigger impacts in Fantasy Week 20 (March 11-17) thanks to Andrea Bargnani going down with another injury. Bargnani sprained the same right elbow that cost him 27 games earlier in the year last Friday against the Lakers and could be out a significant amount of time once again. That means Johnson will get another chance to start at power forward for the Raptors, which should be a welcome sight for Fantasy owners.
Johnson has thrived as a starter this season, averaging 13 points and 9.4 rebounds when he is in the starting five, compared to just 8.5 points and 6.0 rebounds when he comes off the bench. That is probably why Johnson -- who is owned in 90 percent of CBSSports.com standard formats -- was only active in 64 percent of those leagues heading into the upcoming scoring period as he was moved back to the bench in favor of Bargnani just prior to Week 19 (March 4-10). However, the 25-year-old still put up 15 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in his three games coming off the bench, so even if Bargnani miraculously is able to return sooner than anticipated, owners should still be able to get some solid performances out of Johnson this week. While Johnson certainly doesn't look to have the most favorable matchups on tap this week, he has been productive enough against all three of his upcoming opponents this season to warrant getting active.
Find a place for 'em
Kyle Korver, G, Hawks (@MIA, LAL, PHO, @BKN): Korver has been on a bit of a down trend lately as he has struggled with his shot since returning to the lineup from a toe injury. He has failed to score in double figures in each of his last three games and is averaging just 6.3 points over that span, while shooting 27 percent from downtown. However, he has played fairly well against all four of his upcoming opponents this week, which could help him get right back on track. In fact, Korver has averaged 11.5 points in his two meetings against the Heat this season while shooting a whopping 58.3 percent (7 of 12) from downtown. He also poured in 16 points in his lone meeting against the Lakers and went for 17 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks against the Suns just a day earlier. Despite scoring just seven points in his last game versus the Nets, Korver is still averaging 9.7 points in his three meetings against them this season and continues to see 30-plus minutes most nights, even though he has been shuffled in and out of the starting lineup. Fantasy owners should consider getting Korver active this week. (owned in 72 percent of leagues)
Marco Belinelli, G, Bulls (@SAC, @GS): Bellinelli's first year with the Bulls has been a bit up and down, but that is the way most of the 26-year-old's seasons have gone during his career. However, the one place Belinelli has thrived has been the starting lineup. The sixth-year guard has played well when he cracks the starting five as he entered Sunday's contest against the Lakers averaging 15.3 points on 43 percent shooting as a starter compared to just 9.6 points on 37 percent as a reserve. With Richard Hamilton sidelined with back spasms, Belinelli has been seeing starts at shooting guard and has scored 20-plus points in three of his last five contests. He is averaging 20.1 points and 4.0 assists during his latest run while connecting on 63 percent of his 3-point attempts. Hamilton did not travel with the Bulls during their current three-game road trip, which means more starts for Belinelli. While the Bulls are only scheduled to play twice during Fantasy Week 20, those matchups are against the defensively challenged Warriors and Kings. Fantasy owners looking for help in the scoring and 3-point departments this week should consider taking a flier on Belinelli, despite his light schedule. (owned in 21 percent of leagues)
Tobias Harris, F, Magic (@PHI, SAC, HOU, MEM): As most owners are well aware by now, Harris has taken off since being dealt to the Magic and has been one of the most popular pickups off the waiver wire in recent weeks. While we always knew Harris had upside, his lack of playing time in Milwaukee limited his opportunities. However, that hasn't been the case in Orlando as Harris has averaged 27.8 minutes per game -- mostly in a reserve role -- during his brief time with the Magic. He has responded by averaging 15.5 points on 53 percent shooting from the field and 5.3 rebounds over his first eight games to go along with 1.3 assists and one block. Harris' strong play has now earned him a spot in coach Jacque Vaughn's starting lineup as he made his second straight start at small forward against the Cavaliers last Sunday. While Harris did struggle in his first start against the Pacers last Friday, the 20-year-old has only logged 78 games in his NBA career, so he likely will take a few lumps most nights. Still, Harris' recent play, move into the starting lineup and far-from-daunting upcoming schedule are all reasons enough to get him active this week. (owned in 76 percent of leagues)
Kawhi Leonard, F, Spurs (OKC, @MIN, DAL, CLE): Leonard told reporters a few weeks back that he will likely have to deal with the tendinitis in his left knee for the remainder of the season, but you wouldn't realize it by looking at his recent numbers. The 21-year-old has been asked to take on a larger role with all the injuries the Spurs have been dealing with of late and he has responded by averaging 14.8 points over his last six games. He is shooting 50.8 percent from the field over that stretch to go along with 5.5 rebounds, 2.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals, which keeps Rotisserie owners happy. Now he looks to have some favorable matchups on tap this week, which should allow him to maintain his productive ways. While Leonard struggled in his lone meeting against the Thunder earlier in the year, he has averaged 10.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists in his three meetings against the Mavericks, and posted a double-double in each of his last meetings versus the Timberwolves and Cavaliers. He is only active in 40 percent of all CBSSports.com leagues heading into Week 20, so owners looking for help at forward this week should feel free to use him. (owned in 82 percent of leagues)
Kosta Koufos, C, Nuggets (@PHO, NY, MEM): Koufos continues to consistently post solid numbers for the Nuggets thanks to his red-hot shooting. The 24-year-old entered Week 20 connecting on a career-best 60.9 percent from the field and he has made at least 57 percent of his shots in each of his last eight contests. Koufos is averaging 8.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and one block over that span on 68.1 percent shooting from the field and now looks to have a few favorable matchups on tap this week. While the Grizzlies and Knicks are two of the better teams at protecting the paint, Koufos has been able to get his numbers against them. The 7-footer has averaged 7.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in his three games against Memphis thus far and he finished with 8.0 points, 6.0 rebounds in 3.0 blocks in his lone meeting against New York. He will also get to face the Suns this week, who are allowing 43.6 points in the paint per game and don't have a true center right now as Marcin Gortat is out with an injury and Jermaine O'Neal remains away from the team due to personal reasons. While Koufos doesn't post the gaudy stat lines that some of his peers do, his recent production has been good enough to continue to roll with him as a viable low-end option at the thin center position this week.(owned in 39 percent of leagues)
Put 'em on your bench
Patrick Beverley, G, Rockets (PHO, MIN, GS): Beverley raised a few eyebrows a few weeks backs when he averaged 9.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and one steal during a five-game stretch when Toney Douglas was first shipped off to the Kings at the trade deadline. However, the rookie has hit a serious wall since then that has many wondering if he is still worth owning. The 24-year-old has been shutout in each of Houston's last three games as he has missed on each of his last eight field-goal attempts. He did still manage to put up 4.3 assists during his scoring drought, but Beverley's lack of scoring has forced coach Kevin McHale to give veteran Francisco Garcia some minutes of late. While the Rockets due look to have some favorable matchups on tap this week against the defensively challenged Suns and reeling Warriors, Fantasy owners should stay clear of Beverley this week. (owned in three percent of leagues)
Jordan Crawford, G, Celtics (@CHA, TOR, CHA): After going from a starter to bench warmer in Washington, some felt Crawford being traded to the Celtics could help him regain his old Fantasy form. However, that has been anything but the case thus far. While Crawford is playing for coach Doc Rivers, he has yet to log more than 17 minutes in a single game and has only scored in double figures in two of his first eight games with Boston. In fact, Crawford is averaging just 5.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and one steal during his brief tenure in Beantown and with the Celtics playing some of their best basketball of the year right now, we don't see his minutes going up anytime soon. While he still may light up the scoreboard from time to time, Crawford is averaging just 5.1 points when he sees fewer than 19 minutes per game throughout his career. Despite having matchups on tap against two of the weaker defensive teams in the league this week in the Bobcats and Raptors, owners should once again plan on leaving Crawford on the bench. (owned in 37 percent of leagues)
Ed Davis, F, Grizzlies (@POR, @LAC, @DEN, @UTA): Injuries to Darrell Arthur and Zach Randolph have once again given Davis a chance to crack the starting lineup and just like with the Raptors, he has played well in the starting five. In fact, Davis has averaged 9.0 points 9.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks over his last three games and shot 50 percent from the field over that stretch. However, both Randolph and Arthur are close to returning to action, which will move Davis right back to the bench. Unfortunately for Davis and Fantasy owners, the 23-year-old hasn't seen much of the court in a reserve role for coach Lionel Hollins. He is seeing just 11 minutes per game over his first 13 contests with Memphis and averaged 4.5 points and 2.4 rebounds over that span. While Davis has more than proved his worth as a starter, he doesn't hold much value as a reserve. With at least Randolph expected back in action this week, owners should plan on leaving Davis reserved heading into the upcoming scoring period. (owned in 30 percent of leagues)
John Salmons, F, Kings (CHI, @LAL): Salmons has been a huge bust for most of the season, but the veteran was able to put together a hot streak a few weeks back that grabbed the attention of some Fantasy owners. However, Salmons has since reverted back to his unproductive ways over the past week. The 33-year-old has scored a combined seven points over his last two contests and shot just 3 of 14 (21 percent) from the field over that span, including hitting on one of his last nine 3-point attempts. Salmons has never really been considered a reliable source for anything other than points and sometimes 3-pointers, so when he isn't scoring, he can become a huge liability for owners in Rotisserie formats. With the playoffs just weeks away in most formats and the Kings being one of two teams slated to play twice during the upcoming scoring period, owners should plan on leaving Salmons firmly planted on the bench heading into Week 20. (owned in 23 percent of leagues)
Byron Mullens, C, Bobcats (BOS, @TOR, @BOS): Mullens looked strong during his initial return from an ankle injury a few weeks back as he put up 14.2 points and 7.4 rebounds over his first 13 games back in the lineup. However, the 24-year-old then started dealing with some soreness in his right knee and has not been the same since. While Mullens has not missed a game since his knee soreness became an issue, he has logged a combined 38 minutes over his last four games and is averaging just 2.8 points and 0.5 rebounds over that span. Clearly, Mullens is not completely healthy right now and it is obviously affecting his production and playing time. With the playoffs just weeks away in most formats, Mullens may actually do more harm than good for owners in Rotisserie formats while he is putting up these types of numbers. We strongly recommend owners leave Mullens reserved in all formats until he proves to be healthy and productive again. (owned in 82 percent of leagues)