December has brought about some early Christmas gifts to many astute fantasy GM’s. There have been some players who have capitalized off of teammates unfortunate injuries and made the most of their new found playing time.
Now as is the case with most presents you get this time of the year, the novelty will wear off and their value will quickly diminish; however, this doesn’t mean that you can’t capitalize on a hot player to score you some nice fantasy points. If you are playing salary cap leagues then buy low and sell high here, make a few bucks and sink it back into more proven talents.
Marco Belinelli – Chicago Bulls
Marco has certainly benefited from Richard Hamilton’s injury as he has now been thrust into the Chicago Bulls starting lineup. Belinelli hasn’t disappointed, in fact he has surprised many with his production in this role. The last five games for Marco have seen averages of 19 ppg, 3.8 rpg and 2.2 apg. Now I don’t expect this production to continue, especially if he can’t hold onto this starting role either with the return of Derrick Rose or Hamilton having an adverse effect, nonetheless till that happens he represents great value in deep fantasy leagues.
Ed Davis – Toronto Raptors
This should come as no surprise but Andrea Bargnani is again missing time due to injury. A positive has emerged from this foreseeable event as Ed Davis looks to be stepping up and reaching that potential many saw coming out of college. Davis should see plenty of minutes as he has been inserted into the starting lineup for Bargnani. The last five games have been quite productive as he has posted averages of 11.4 ppg and 7.2 rpg while shooting .568 from the field. Another solid bargain in deep fantasy leagues; salary cap owners can steal Davis and sell him off at the end of the month for a nice little gain.
Toney Douglas – Houston Rockets
With James Harden’s ankle injury and Jeremy Lin proving he’s quiet inept at playing point guard, Toney Douglas has seen a huge increase in minutes. He has capitalized on the opportunity and provided some great fantasy relief on deep rosters. The last five games for Douglas have seen averages of 14.8 ppg, 2.8 apg, 2.2 rpg and 1.4 steals per and perhaps even more importantly he is only turning the ball over at a rate of 1.4 per game. This guy is slated as Jeremy Lin’s backup; however, there isn’t much difference in terms of fantasy production. Keep an eye on how Douglas’s minutes are affected by Jeremy Lin’s poor play and James Harden’s return. In the short term he is at least a nice pickup for deeper leagues.
Matt Barnes – Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers second unit is among the best in the league and while Jamal Crawford has been the catalyst for the unit it has been the recent play of Mat Barnes that has brought the success. Crawford has struggled of late and Barnes has stepped up to fill the void. In minutes limited to around 20 a night Barnes has chipped in with averages of 12.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.4 apg and 1.6 spg over the last five games. If Crawford can’t find his shooting stroke soon look for Barnes to continue getting the call off the bench to be the offensive spark plug the Clippers need. Likely undrafted in many league there is value in Barnes in the short term or at least until the bench shortens for the post season run.