Fantasy: Monday Risers
We've officially surpassed the one month mark of the 2013-14 season, but we haven't seen a whole lot of settling just yet. The East has just 2 teams with +.500 records and the West is a hodge-podge of talented teams just beating each other up. We honestly can't remember a year quite like this. Injuries aside, there's been a plethora of swift lineup changes by coaches and the result has been a consistent source of free agent pickups for fantasy owners. Let's take a look at who's out there for the plucking:
Finally ... Larry Drew made the move fantasy owners worldwide had been clamoring for. And guess what? Henson responded ... emphatically. 13 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks in 34 minutes. And best of all? A Bucks win. Just the 3rd this season. Hard to imagine he won't be in the starting lineup in the immediate future. The return to 100% healthy for Sanders, Ilyasova, and Pachulia obviously looms large, but if Henson can keep this level of play up, hard to imagine he'll relinquish that starting spot.
It's pretty simple. Bynum went off for 20 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, and 5 blocks in a season-high 30 minutes as the Cavs knocked off the Bulls Saturday night. While the numbers are eye-opening, it's the minutes that might be the most telling. 30 minutes were 7 more than he's played in any game this season. Is he back to being The Andrew Bynum? Too early to say. But wouldn't you like to be the one that scooped him up before he went back to being The Andrew Bynum? Upside is too significant to not take a flier.
Still experiencing discomfort in his shoulder, but he's had back-to-back strong performances. Anyone who knows the kid will tell you -- he's tough and has an incredible drive. The Bucks have weapons despite what their record might suggest. If Knight continues to play like this, you'll reap the benefits if you own him. We're buying.
Remember when he was Ryan Anderson-lite? He's back to being Ryan Anderson-lite. Most thought Markieff Morris would push him out of the starting lineup, but Jeff Hornacek seems content with his current rotations and Frye has earned some crunch-time minutes as of late. He won't blow you away with his upside, but he's a consistent source for 3s as a big and doesn't hurt you anywhere else.
He didn't put up big numbers in his first start on Sunday, but the fact remains: Hansbrough played 34 minutes, Amir Johnson played 14. While it remains to be seen if this is a permanent switch, Hansbrough has double-double potential with 30+ minutes. Certainly worth a look if you need immediate help at PF.
He's gone for double-digits in 7 consecutive games. This was after he scored double-digits in 2 of Denver's first 9 games. Coincidence that the Nuggets have won 6 straight? Probably not. He finally looks comfortable with his new teammates and Brian Shaw looks content deploying him. What you get: points, 3s, assists, steals on a consistent basis.
Looks to be the biggest benefactor of Lin's absence, though he was quiet in Saturday's win at San Antonio. Of course, at San Antonio isn't exactly an enticing matchup for anyone. A decent option for those in deep leagues needing help in the backcourt.
Set aside the jaw-dropping dunks for a second. Williams started in his first game with Sacto and played an impressive 32 minutes. He's an unusual fantasy player in that he's a power forward who has yet to show that he'll contribute much outside of points, but his talent is tantalizing and the Kings seem willing to play him big minutes. Guy's of this caliber often just need to be let loose before we see the whole arsenal. He should be owned in ALL leagues.
He's the only legit Center getting minutes for Denver right now so he's a fair bet to see good minutes anytime the Nuggets go up against another legit Center (see Valanciunas, Jonas on Sunday). When he plays, he's proven he can produce in bunches -- 16 points, 15 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks on Sunday. Consistency will always remain an issue, but he's a solid back-of-the-bench option who can be plugged in according to the matchup.
He's back in Coach McHale's good graces. Though he's not starting (and likely won't ever again in Houston barring the unforeseen), he's at least strutting his talent for potential suitors and that makes him much more enticing down the line when the bids start coming in. Asik is going to get traded. It's as surefire a bet as there is right now. If you're picking him up, it's because you want to file him away for his future prospects. And we don't blame you.