The Celtics' luck went from bad to worse last week as rookie forward Jared Sullinger will miss the rest of the season after undergoing lumbar disc surgery. This comes just days after Rajon Rondo was ruled out for the remainder of the year with a torn ACL. While the loss of Sullinger does not have as much Fantasy impact as Rondo, it still leaves a gaping hole at power forward. The first-year forward's recent strong play had been taking minutes away from Brandon Bass and he had just cracked the starting lineup two games prior to his injury.
Coach Doc Rivers and the 39 percent of Fantasy owners who owned Sullinger will now have to try and replace the 7.8 points and 7.1 rebounds the rookie was putting up over his last 10 games heading into Fantasy Week 15 (Feb. 4-10) and beyond. Bass is expected to resume his spot as the team's starting power forward, but Boston did recall Fab Melo from the D-League and veteran Chris Wilcox is also expected to see a larger role moving forward. However, Bass should see the biggest boost in playing time -- at least in the short term.
Bass put up career numbers during his first season in Boston, but he has been unable to duplicate that success thus far this year. The 27-year-old has been in and out of the starting lineup over the past few weeks and is averaging just 6.3 points and 3.7 rebounds over his first 15 games in January. He was only seeing around 25 minutes per game over that stretch as his recent struggles combined with the emergence of Sullinger led to his minutes being reduced. Still, Bass has another chance to show what he can do as a starter this week against three of the bottom-tier defenses in the league. All three of the Celtics' upcoming opponents are surrendering more than 100 points per game, while Toronto and Los Angeles rank near the bottom of the pack in terms of points in the paint. While Bass will likely be on a short leash with Wilcox and Melo waiting in the wings, he looks to be the best option out of the three for the upcoming scoring period. Despite his recent struggles, Bass has proved to be a decent source for points, rebounds and both field-goal and free-throw percentages when he is on, so owners scrambling for a last-second replacement should consider him this week.
Find a place for 'em
J.J. Barea, G, Timberwolves (POR, SA, NY, @MEM): Minnesota has been absolutely decimated by injuries, which has led to a ton of lineup changes and inconsistent production from the team across the board. However, Barea has been one of the few steadying forces on the roster over the past few weeks. With Alexey Shved and Ricky Rubio still nursing injuries, Barea has had time at both guard spots and giving the T'Wolves and Fantasy owners a nice lift off the bench. The 28-year-old has scored in double figures in each of his last six games and is averaging 13.7 points on 45 percent shooting from the field to go along with 5.2 assists and 2.7 rebounds over that span. He also is giving owners 1.8 made 3-pointers during his hot streak while seeing around 25 minutes per game. Still, Barea's streaky shooting damages his value in Rotisserie formats as his 41 percent field-goal percentage on the year ranks 47th at his position. Despite his inconsistent shooting numbers, two of his four upcoming opponents rank near the bottom of the pack in opposition field-goal percentage and Barea posted a 15-6-2 stat line in his lone meeting against the Spurs earlier in the season. Fantasy owners should consider rolling with Barea this week. (owned in 35 percent of leagues)
Nick Young, G, 76ers (ORL, IND, CHA): Young has been one of the more inconsistent options in Fantasy this season as there seems to be no middle ground with the 27-year-old. He always seems to be either red hot or ice cold, which makes it difficult to start him for long stretches of time. However, a knee injury to Jason Richardson has given the player -- who is lovingly known as Swaggy P -- a chance to see some extra minutes. Young has more than taken advantage of his extra playing time, scoring in double figures in seven of his last eight games while averaging 15.1 points over that span. He's also been good for two treys during his latest hot streak and is seeing more than 30 minutes per game as he has started each of Philadelphia's last five contests. There has still been no official timetable announced for Richardson's return, which means Young should continue to see starter minutes in the upcoming scoring period. While he usually can't be counted on for anything other than scoring and 3-pointers, Fantasy owners should continue to ride his hot hand in Week 15. (owned in 35 percent of leagues)
Jimmy Butler, F, Bulls(@IND, @DEN, @UTA): After averaging just 17 minutes per game over the first 37 contests of the season, an injury to Luol Deng has allowed Butler to see some extended minutes for the Bulls. The rookie has taken advantage of his extended playing time, scoring in double figures in seven of his last eight games and averaging 15.1 points on 53 percent shooting from the field to go along with 7.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.4 steals. Even with Deng now back, Butler's strong showing in his absence seems to have earned him an increased role in coach Tom Thibodeau's rotation as he has logged 30-plus minutes in the last four games since Deng's return to the lineup. The Bulls have been high on Butler for quite some time, but his limited role earlier in the season didn't give him the minutes necessary to become a consistent producer. However, that is not the case anymore as Butler is proving to be a nice source for points, rebounds, field-goal and free-throw percentage as well as steals. While the Bulls face some of the stingier defensive teams in the league during the upcoming scoring period, owners looking for low-end help at the forward position should consider rolling with Butler this week. (owned in 46 percent of leagues)
Michael Beasley, F, Suns(@MEM, @NO, @OKC, OKC): They say everyone deserves a second chance and after essentially being banished from the rotation a few weeks back, Beasley is getting exactly that. Interim coach Lindsey Hunter has put Beasley back into the rotation and the 24-year-old is finally starting to take advantage of his recent increase in playing time. After averaging just 13.5 minutes during the last 10 games of coach Alvin Gentry's tenure, Beasley has logged 20-plus minutes in each of his first five games under Hunter and is averaging 18.2 points on 53 percent shooting from the field over that span. The former No. 2 overall pick has even talked about playing looser under Hunter as Gentry was quick to get him off the floor after he would take questionable shots. The problem for Beasley has never been a lack of talent. His issues stem from the mental aspects of the game. However, he has always had high-end potential and now is getting a second chance to show what he can do for Phoenix. While the Suns don't necessarily have the most favorable matchups on tap, owners who have had Beasley wasting away on their bench should feel free to get him active now that he is playing and producing again. (owned in 75 percent of leagues)
DeAndre Jordan, C, Clippers (@WAS, @ORL, @MIA, @NY): After going through a bit of an offensive lull a few weeks ago, Jordan has gotten himself back on track over the past few games. The 7-footer is averaging 10.4 points on 69 percent shooting from the field over his last five contests to go along with seven rebounds and a block. Jordan has always been considered a decent source for rebounds, blocks and field-goal percentage, but his poor free-throw shooting and inconsistent offensive output have once again limited his value. However, he looks to have some favorable matchups during the upcoming scoring period, which hopefully will help him keep his scoring up. While the Wizards have been very good at defending the paint this season, the Heat and Knicks have struggled in that area in recent weeks, while the Raptors rank near the bottom of the pack in terms of opposition field-goal percentage, points allowed and points allowed in the paint. Fantasy owners should take advantage of the soft schedule and get Jordan active in Week 15. (owned in 72 percent of leagues)
Put 'em on your bench
Marcus Thornton, G, Kings(@UTA, UTA, HOU): Thornton continues to disappoint as he has not looked like the same player since returning from an ankle injury last month. In fact, Thornton has scored in double figures in just four of the 13 games in which he has been back in the lineup, and he is averaging just 8.2 points over that stretch on 39 percent shooting from the field. His scoring average on the year has dropped nearly two whole points during his cold streak and his minutes have been on the steady decline as coach Keith Smart has been forced to seek more productive options. Thornton's two main assets to Fantasy owners over the years have been his ability to rack up the points and 3-pointers, but Fantasy owners should continue to leave him on the bench heading into Week 15 as he is not contributing much in either category right now. (owned in 57 percent of leagues)
Iman Shumpert, G, Knicks (DET, @WAS, @MIN, LAC): We listed Shumpert as a sit a few weeks back when he first returned from his injury as he wasn't ready to contribute right away. Unfortunately for Fantasy owners, that trend has continued despite the second-year guard's minute restrictions now being a thing of the past. While he continues to play great defense, the 22-year-old has scored in double figures in just one of the seven games in which he has been back on the court and he is averaging just 6.1 points and 3.8 rebounds over that span. He's also giving owners 1.2 steals per contest, but is shooting just 34 percent from the field while seeing 20 minutes per game. With the Knicks having so much offensive fire power on their roster, Shumpert isn't being asked to score as much as he was last season, and the result is him posting fairly pedestrian stat lines. While we expect to see some improvement in his offensive output in the coming weeks, Fantasy owners should continue to seek out a more productive option at the guard position for Week 15.(owned in 27 percent of leagues)
C.J. Miles, F, Cavaliers(CHA, ORL, DEN): Miles became the flavor of the month in Cleveland a few weeks back as an injury to Dion Waiters gave him a chance to start. He took off once the lineup move was made, but an ankle injury sidelined him for a few games and he is once again coming off the bench. There has been no word from coach Byron Scott on whether or not Miles will continue to come off the bench or regain his starting job, which would make all the difference in the world for Fantasy owners. The 25-year-old is averaging 8.9 points and 2.3 rebounds as a reserve compared to 15.2 points and 3.2 rebounds as a starter. Without the guarantee of getting back in the starting lineup, owners may want to leave Miles reserved for at least one more scoring period.(owned in 18 percent of leagues)
Jason Maxiell, F, Pistons(@NY, BKN, SA, @MIL): Maxiell has been a pleasant surprise in the Fantasy world thus far as he averaged a very productive 8.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks on 48 percent shooting from the field over his first 37 games. However, all good things come to an end, and based on his recent stat lines, things have caught up to Maxiell. The 29-year-old has scored in double figures in just one of his last nine games and is averaging just 4.8 points and 5.3 rebounds over that stretch. He also has seen his minutes drop of late as the emergence of Andre Drummond has allowed coach Lawrence Frank to play the 7-footer alongside Greg Monroe at the expense of Maxiell. Fantasy owners should seek a more productive option at the forward position heading into Week 15.(owned in 22 percent of leagues)
Kevin Seraphin, C, Wizards( LAC, NY, BKN): While the Wizards are playing some of their best basketball of the year, Seraphin is one of the few players on Washington's squad who has seen his numbers take a dip in recent weeks. The 23-year-old has just two games with double-figure scoring under his belt in his last eight and is averaging 7.1 points and 3.5 rebounds over that span. He also has seen his playing time decrease during his downward trend as Emeka Okafor and Nene are both healthy and finally starting to produce as expected. Seraphin does a lot of scoring in the paint for the Wizards, which might make it tough for him to get back on track during the upcoming scoring period -- the Knicks and Clippers have been very good at defending near the rim thus far. Despite Seraphin posting a double-double in his lone meeting against New York earlier in the season, his declining production makes him a prime sit candidate this week.(owned in 33 percent of leagues)