Basketball demands we break down its players not just by stats, but by the time and place they occur. That’s not the case in NBA fantasy hoops, though, where cold calculations rule the day and the matchup. Who are the Fantasy Doctor‘s choices for this week’s best pickups? Hit the jump to find out.
*** *** ***
ERSAN ILYASOVA, Milwaukee Bucks (67 percent owned in Yahoo!, 41 percent in ESPN)
It seems like there’s a new Milwaukee Buck on this list every week, and this time around it’s Ersan Ilyasova. I don’t know when being “shut down” lasted less than a week, but that’s exactly what happened to the versatile big man, and many owners dropped him in the process. Ilyasova returned on Friday night, and although he put up only 5.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in two weekend games, he still has the potential to be a fantasy stud because of his combination of three-pointers, rebounds and blocks. You may have to use some patience during his rough stretches, but in the long run, Ilyasova will pay dividends. Don’t hesitate to take a chance on him if you have the room to play with at the end of your roster.
REGGIE JACKSON, Oklahoma City Thunder (54 percent owned in Yahoo!, 90 percent in ESPN)
Jackson was supposed to break out at the beginning of the year while Westbrook was sidelined from knee surgery, and now the same opportunity has presented itself again. This time, Westbrook is guaranteed to be out until after the All-Star break, so Jackson will have all the run he can ask for. He was coming on strong even while coming off the bench, but you can still expect an uptick in all of his numbers. There are better point guard sources for steals, threes and assists, but Jackson will be as good as it gets off the waiver wire. Go grab him now, especially if you’re a Westbrook owner.
JEREMY LAMB, Oklahoma City Thunder (14 percent owned in Yahoo!, three percent in ESPN)
Lamb’s inclusion as a pickup also comes as a result of the Westbrook injury. Instead of sharing a sixth man role with Reggie Jackson, Lamb will be taking over the scoring duties off the bench by himself. He already averages 1.4 treys in just 21 minutes per game, but with an increase in playing time, should see those stats rise. Lamb is especially useful as a shooting guard that can help you in blocks, even if it’s not significant.
MIRZA TELETOVIC, Brooklyn Nets (17 percent owned in Yahoo!, six percent in ESPN)
Teletovic was playing well even before Brook Lopez went down for the year, but now that the Nets are missing their best big man, it has opened up a larger role for the Bosnian. Over his last five games, Teletovic is averaging 15.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.4 treys. The threes and rebounds make him a rare breed in fantasy, and as long as he has the hot hand, he’s worth a look in almost every format.
These guys were mentioned in previous editions and are listed in order of desirability. Go grab them if they’re still around.
Waiting on injured players is tough, especially once the zeros start piling up. However, this is the time of year to do it. If you start slipping too much in the standings, you can go ahead and drop these guys, but for now, they’re worth the stash. This list is limited to guys with long-term injuries, so be sure to keep your eye out for players that are day-to-day too.
Marc Gasol (out for 1-3 weeks)
Russell Westbrook (out until after the All-Star break)
Kobe Bryant (out five weeks)
Rajon Rondo (no set timetable)
What do you think?
Follow Kevin on Twitter at @DimeFantasyDoc.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.