Paul Millsap, F/C Atlanta Hawks
Millsap provided a scare when he said his hip issue would be an ongoing concern that he’d simply have to play through, but he’s been nothing but money since returning from his three game absence with averages of 21.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.8 blocks over his last four contests.
Marc Gasol, C Memphis Grizzlies
Remember when Gasol was sliding in fantasy drafts because of concerns over his surgically-repaired foot? What a bargain he’s turned out to be.
Big Spain has had a December to remember with averages of 24.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.7 blocks and 2.0 triples on 52.1% shooting, including 53.8% from distance and 82.1% from the charity stripe.
Patrick Beverley, G Houston Rockets
Between his delayed start to the season and James Harden’s role in Mike D’Antoni’s offense, I was not high on PatBev’s fantasy prospects to begin the year. But Beverley is ballin’ and has proven me wrong en route to making the Rockets a better team.
In his last five games, Beverley has averaged 9.8 points, 7.0 boards, 6.2 dimes, 1.6 steals and 2.4 3-pointers.
James Johnson, F Miami Heat
Miami is getting healthier, but the Heat still doesn’t have a real threat at the power forward position and Johnson’s versatility allows him to defend big and small-ball lineups. Since returning from his rotator cuff injury, Johnson has averaged 14.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists while playing 27.5 minutes per game. Erik Spoelstra clearly has no qualms about throwing him into the fire.
Kelly Oubre, F Washington Wizards
Oubre’s stock was on the rise before he played a season-high 40 minutes on Wednesday, and there’s no question that he’s gaining the confidence of head coach Scott Brooks. The Wizards have very little talent on the bench to speak about and that helps Oubre’s potential path to opportunity significantly. Over his last three, Oubre has averaged 13.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.3 triples.
Tim Frazier, PG New Orleans Pelicans
Frazier (wrist) is expected to miss the next seven to ten days with the potential for longer, and the anticipated return of Tyreke Evans doesn’t help his outlook. I’m not pushing the panic button and dropping Frazier in leagues where he can be stashed on IR because the backcourt situation in New Orleans is anything but settled. When given an opportunity, Frazier has shown he can produce.
LaMarcus Aldridge, F/C San Antonio Spurs
Aldridge was one of the least exciting mid-round picks fantasy basketball had to offer, and he’s really underwhelmed this season while playing under Gregg Popovich. Without a guarantee that it’s going to get any better given this is clearly Kawhi Leonard’s team, the large majority of fantasy GMs don’t have any option but to stick it out for the long haul with the hope for some kind of improvement.
D’Angelo Russell, G Los Angeles Lakers
The hype was real on Russell, but the consistency just hasn’t been there to date. The fantasy appeal of D-Lo’s game is easy to see with season averages of 15.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.3 steals, and 2.4 triples (3.1 TO), but he’s shooting just 40.1% from the field. It’s going to be hard for Russell to meet his ADP given the kind of demand there was for him on draft night, but that doesn’t mean the opportunity to buy low should be overlooked.
Monta Ellis, G Indiana Pacers
Ellis faces an uncertain timeline in returning from his groin injury and life as the fourth option in Indiana’s offense wasn’t exactly treating him well prior to going down. You can’t sell Ellis for anything of value right now but I’d be looking to flip him for 80 cents on the dollar after his next big game if and when it comes.
Devin Booker, SG Phoenix Suns
Like Russell before him on this list, Booker is adjusting to life as a focal point of the opposition’s scouting report. He’s doing next to nothing defensively in the box score, isn’t contributing in any category beyond points and threes in any meaningful way and is shooting a very average 31.4% from distance. The upside is there, but it’s important to remember that Booker is still just 20 years old. This process takes time.