If you've been keeping up with our Fantasy Basketball content, you might have noticed a few reoccurring themes. Or should I say teams? The Lakers, Bucks and Jazz are a few of the worst squads in the league, and as a result, their lineups and contributors have been in constant flux. Guys like Alec Burks, John Henson and Kendall Marshall have bounced between brilliant and utterly useless, with factors beyond their control (injuries, organizational politics, indecisive coaches) dictating their Fantasy output. Many Fantasy owners might be inclined to avoid these frustrating teams altogether, but sometimes that brief stint of garbage time stats and inflated numbers means more than the consistency other teams offer. I'm no fan of microwave food, but when there's not enough time to preheat the oven, and all the skillets are dirty, you've got to opt for the quick fix to eat a hot meal.
(All stats up to date through Feb. 11 games. Info provided by NBA.com and Teamrankings.com)
Roto teams took a hit Friday when it was announced that scoring specialist Kevin Martin would be out indefinitely with a fractured thumb. So far, Chase Budinger and Corey Brewer have filled in nicely from a Fantasy perspective. If I had to bet on one to continue scoring, I'd have to go with Budinger, the steadier shooter and all-around more dependable player. Brewer will be prone for outbursts like the 26 points and seven rebounds he had last week against Portland, but he'll also have 5-point duds like Monday against Houston. Budinger, on the other hand, is working his way back from injury but looks to be establishing his role as a true small forward for the Wolves. In the end they have similar fringe value, but you can consider Budinger the safer bet for steady threes and Brewer the riskier play for steals. ... Your high-scoring outliers of the week are Chris Kaman, who woke up from his bench nap to drop 27 on the Bulls, and Marreese Speights, who exploded for 32 against the lowly 76ers. I really can't see Kaman attempting 20-plus field goals very often going forward, and Speights' outburst was a perfect storm of Golden State frontcourt injuries and a 40-point blowout to the worst defense in the league. If you had to pick one, go with Kaman, who started again Tuesday and put up another double-double with 25 points. ... Anthony Bennett had just his second good game of the season Tuesday night, putting up a solid 19 and 10 in a win over the Kings. He might be worth a flier while Anderson Varejao is out, but know that he'll only be good for points and moderate rebounds. ... Dion Waiters has been scoring with ease the last three games, combining for 62 points with an added bonus of 15 assists. His schedule looks great coming up too, with Detroit, Philadelphia and Orlando on the horizon.
In deep Roto leagues, Chris Andersen makes a compelling case for the last center on your bench. He's extremely productive in the little time that he's afforded and is one of the most efficient bigs in the league. He's only missed 9 of his last 36 field goal attempts, good for a 75.0 percent field-goal rate over the last 30 days. His 1.1 blocks per game and 74.1 percent free-throw shooting don't hurt either. ... If Mason Plumlee gets enough minutes to be Fantasy relevant, which he has the last two games, he's going to be great for your field-goal percentage because, like his brother, pretty much all he does is dunk. He uses his springy athleticism on defense for blocks, steals and rebounds, so points will be the only thing keeping you from picking him up. He's totaled 35 points over the last two, so keep an eye on his minutes going forward. ... Enes Kanters' minutes have been plummeting lately, which may have owners jumping ship for steadier options. Use this opportunity to scoop up a quality offensive-minded center with plenty of upside. He hasn't received more than 21 minutes in his last four games, but hopefully the Jazz wise up and start playing for the future rather than the present. He's shooting 50 percent from the field this season, so stash Kanter if you can with the hopes that Utah stops this silly small-ball song and dance at some point this season. ... Mario Chalmers has been one of the most efficient point guards in Fantasy. Goran Dragic, Tony Parker and Chris Paul are the only active starting point guards shooting a better percentage from the field than Chalmers, who has hit 46.4 percent on the season.
You were adding DeMarre Carroll before because of his three -pointers and rebounds, but Carroll's also been a sneaky source of assists lately. He's totaled 19 over his last six games, not bad for the run-of-the-mill three and D player. ... The Bucks frontcourt is an injured mess, so consider Zaza Pachulia a quality short-term pickup. He's tallied nine total assists in two games and sports one of the best free-throw percentages in the league. ... I've waxed poetic on the passing skills of one Josh McRoberts many a time in this column, but his career-high 13 assists Tuesday against Dallas deserves praise. Kemba Walker had to leave that game early, so look for McBob to be extra pass-happy while Charlotte's central facilitator is on the mend. ... It seems like Kendall Marshall will have to deal with an ever-changing role for the rest of the year, but so far he's taken it in stride. He's averaging 9.3 points, 2.3 made three pointers and, most importantly, 7.8 assists since being forced to the bench. I'm hanging on to Marshall if I've got him just to see how this thing plays out. ... If Randy Foye is still available in your league for some reason, go get him right now. Doesn't matter how shallow the league, just do it. He dished out 10 assists last game against the league's best defense, and the Nuggets will be relying heavily on his ball skills as the only healthy point guard-ish player on the roster. Ty Lawson is dealing with a broken rib, so who knows how long the Nuggets will be depending on Foye.
Taj Gibson's Fantasy stock relies entirely on Carlos Boozer's healthy. As a starter this season, Gibson has averaged 19.3 points and 9.8 rebounds in eight games. There's still a chance Boozer gets moved before the Feb. 20 deadline, in which case Gibson will be picked up in just about every league. ... Perhaps one of the steadiest producers on the Suns has been P.J. Tucker. At 44 percent, Tucker seems criminally underowned, especially in Roto. Tuesday night against the Heat, he grabbed eight boards to go along with 14 points and five assists. The game before that he grabbed 15, contributing to his 7.5 rebounds per game average over the last 30 days. ... Tristan Thompson snapped a seven-game skid of single-digit rebound games with a 13-board performance Tuesday. He's a must-start while fellow rebound hog Varejao is sidelined. ... Tobias Harris was a rebounding machine when he had the paint all to himself. Now the Magic have a healthy frontcourt, and as a result Harris has been held under seven rebounds in six straight games.
Martell Webster hasn't been great lately, but he's still hitting threes, including 2.3 per game over the last 30 days. ... J.R. Smith's mid-season renaissance has a lot to do with the long ball. He's made 2.7 per game over the last two weeks, including 10 in a two-game stretch earlier in the month. ... Patrick Beverley has gotten hot from beyond the arc, totaling nine made threes in a three-game stretch. ... Go ahead and call him Gerald Green light, because the guy fires away with reckless abandon and shockingly has been great from distance. He's currently tied with three-point ace Kyle Korver at 121 made threes on the season. That's good for eighth in the NBA, ahead of Kevin Durant, Kevin Love and James Harden. ... Terrence Ross is being dumped in a lot of leagues, which is expected for a guy who exploded for 51 points and went on to score just 81 in his next eight games combined. Still, Ross has been a steady source of three pointers this season, having hit 96 in total, more than Joe Johnson, Arron Afflalo and Kevin Martin. So don't let the masses sway you if you're desperate for three pointers.
More love for Zaza: He's hit almost 94 percent of his free throws on the season. He's missed a lot of it, but that's still a very impressive rate for a center. Just another reason to pick him up while the Bucks frontcourt is hobbled. ... Trey Burke received lectures from Ray Allen before their two teams faced off Saturday, and (gasp) Burke is shooting better from the line than Allen on the season. It's only a 0.8 percent difference, but 90.8 percent from the stripe is an uncommon occurrence, especially for rookies. ... Along with being a steady-double figure scorer, Courtney Lee has also hit 88.2 percent of his free throws on the year. He's a few peripheral stats away from warranting a roster spot in a 12-team league.
We haven't seen much from Luke Babbitt this year, but since the Pelicans added him he's tallied five blocks in a three-game stretch. Keep an eye on Babbit in case his minutes start breaching 20 on a consistent basis. ... Ronny Turiaf is no replacement for Nikola Pekovic, but he'll at least block some shots while he fills in for Minnesota. He's averaging 2.4 a game over the last two weeks, good for fourth in the NBA during that span. ... Randy Foye has even been blocking some shots with his expanded role. He's averaging one swat per game over the last two weeks, which includes an improbable four-block night against the Bucks. ... Mason Plumlee can help you out in the rejection department as well. He's blocking 1.3 shots per game over the last two weeks.
The Lakers and the 76ers are your best bets for snagging steals with streaming options. They're the only two teams getting robbed more than nine times a game on average. Then again, they're two of the worst teams in the league who happen to play at the fastest pace, so they're pretty much Fantasy gold for every category. ... Patrick Beverley has also been a useful steals guy, recording 2.2 per game over the last two weeks. ... Nick Calathes has also been a sneaky streaming option with 1.8 steals per game over that span. He's also helping in other areas, evidenced by his 18, seven and six line Tuesday against the Wizards. ... More ball handling responsibility has led Kevin Durant to leading the league in turnovers per game over the last 30 days at 4.9 per game. Turnovers might be the hardest category to win considering the best players get heaps of them while winning you the rest of your Roto columns, so consider punting if you're too far gone to care. ... However, if you're part of the contingent who need to win the turnover battle to stay competitive, consider adding guys like Marvin Williams, DeMarre Carroll or Courtney Lee -- who average less than one giveaway per game on the season.