It’s Christmas week and hopefully you enjoyed the NBA’s holiday slate and the many presents guys like Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Chris Paul had for their fantasy owners. There’s still a few leftover Christmas gifts hanging out on the waiver wire and it’s not too late to unwrap a good one. Let’s take a look at some guys filling fantasy basketball stat lines with Christmas cheer and a few others that have overstayed their welcome on fantasy rosters like a bad dinner guest who’s had too much egg nog.
Khris Middleton (Owned in 33 of Yahoo leagues): The Bucks have figured out a way to get both Middleton and John Henson plenty of minutes and Middleton is seeing a ton of time and opportunities. He’s attempted 16.5 shots per game over his last four, playing 44.5 minutes. Over that stretch, the second-year forward is averaging 20 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals, and 2.5 threes. He’s also shooting 41.7 percent from downtown and should be owned everywhere as long as he keeps playing a ton of minutes.
Gerald Green (26 percent): We’ve seen Green get hot before but he’s back to a 27-29 minute per game role which means he’ll get the opportunities he needs to put up those points. Over his last three games, he’s played 28 minutes per game and has attempted 11.7 field goals, averaging 21 points and 5.3 threes. He’s shooting threes at a ridiculous 51.6 percent rate and should be owned universally while he’s this hot. He’ll peter out again but there’s no reason to keep him on the wire while he’s playing like this.
Jodie Meeks (29 percent): Meeks has made the most of Kobe Bryant‘s absence and has seen double-digit points in five straight games. Over that stretch, he’s playing 37 minutes per game and averaging 15.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.2 steals, and 2.2 threes. He’s getting a lot more shot opportunities with the Lakers hungry for scoring and should be a strong fantasy play until Kobe returns.
Miles Plumlee (45 percent): Like Green, we’ve seen Plumlee get hot before but he definitely seems to have earned more minutes and, because we’re not really counting on him for points, he’s a more sustainable play. He’s an inconsistent scorer. He put up 17 points against the Lakers on Monday but is averaging just 10.2 over his last six games. It’s the rebounds and blocks that we really want from Plumlee and he’s been giving us 12 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, and 1.2 steals over his last six games, including 20 rebounds on Monday against Los Angeles. He’s also shooting a solid 51 percent from the floor so, despite not being a consistent scorer, he helps in that category as well. On the other hand, he’s shooting a miserable 44 percent from the charity stripe. Oof.
Aaron Brooks: With Jeremy Lin back in the lineup, Brooks played just 14 minutes on Wednesday against the Spurs. It looks like he’s back to a limited bench role so it’s time to drop him like some pesky holiday weight.
Andrea Bargnani: Over his last five games, Bargnani is shooting just 36 percent from the floor and 22 percent from downtown. He’s averaging 10 points and five rebounds over that stretch but played just 16 minutes on Wednesday against the Thunder and came off the bench last week when the Knicks faced the Bucks. He’s played 22 or fewer minutes in two out of his last three games, a sign that his role is diminishing unless he can turn his woeful shooting around.
Danny Granger: I didn’t realize how widely owned Granger was until I saw Bogar Alonso’s ownership trends column last week. Unacceptable. Granger has shot just 23 percent from the floor in three games since returning from his injury and played just 14 minutes on Monday against the Nets. He clearly isn’t 100 percent and, having played all of eight games over the last two years, is highly likely to struggle through injury or sit out an extended period again. In case you haven’t been paying attention, the Pacers have done just fine without him in the lineup so the 14 minutes of court time on Monday tell you everything you need to know about Granger’s role with Indy for the immediate future.
Harrison Barnes: Barnes is one of the most inconsistent scorers in the league and, with Andre Iguodala back in the lineup, is back on the bench. Even if he were still starting, his recent numbers are twitch inducing. Over his last six games, Barnes is averaging just 6.7 points and 3.2 rebounds. Worse, he’s shooting a miserable 27 percent from the floor. He should be dropped in all leagues until he can right the ship and maybe get back into the lineup.