Andrew Bynum: AP
At this early point of the season, Andrew Bynum's stats are practically identical to last year's production. He's currently averaging 13.0 points, 8.7 boards, 2.1 assists and 2.0 blocks. But those stats are deceiving in a number of ways. To begin with, he played just 35 games before surgery cut last season short. He also didn't break out until last December, and he was still testing out his knee early in this campaign. So last year's and this year's stats really only provide a small sample size.
That may keep him under the fantasy radar a bit in your league, but you should be paying attention, because he's slowly picking up the pace. Bynum has hit at least 60 percent of his shots in all but one of his last eight games (he hit "just" 50 percent in that other run), scored at least 15 in his last six games and at least 17 in his past four. Bynum also has double-doubled in four of his past seven contests.
As he continues to gain confidence in his knee, coach Phil Jackson will give Bynum more minutes and touches. With that will come upper-teen scoring, double-doubles, a great field-goal percentage and loads of blocks.
Only time will tell if his knee or current foot malady (a loose bone chip) will cause him to miss any action during the season, but his upside is worth the risk. Go get him now, before he blows up.
David Lee is the type of guy I'd want on my team if I were running the hardwood. I know he can run the floor, finish around the basket and endlessly attacks the glass.
On the other hand, I've always been a little less enamored with Lee's fantasy game. That's because I rarely add a player to my roster if he doesn't provide threes, steals and/or blocks.
Clearly he's not a three-point threat, and despite his general hustle on the floor, Lee's averaged just 0.4 blocks per game the past three seasons and has yet to reach the steal-per-game mark. But lately, Lee's been so huge in the stats he does provide, that it's overcome the holes in his overall fantasy game. After moving into the starting lineup seven games ago, he has seven straight double-doubles and scored at least 13 points. He also hasn't shot under 50 percent in a game since Nov. 9.
His 37-point, 21-board explosion against the Warriors was a bit fluky (since the Warriors run like crazy and don't play any defense), but the 19 and 12 he posted against the pesky Trail Blazers and the 16-16 line last night against the Cavs is a very good sign that Lee's going to maintain quality production in at least those categories the rest of the season.
It's the ego of ballers that makes them want to start. It looks good to be a starter -- people think it means you're one of the five best players on the team. But there's a nice silver lining in coming off the bench when you have first-string talent like Jason Terry: your opponent's second-string can't handle your offensive wares.
Comparing Terry's five starts this season to his 10 games coming off the pine, his field-goal percentage is 0.4 lower, and he's averaging 0.5 fewer threes, 1.1 fewer steals and 1.5 fewer points when he's in the starting five. Only his assists are down (4.4-3.7) off the bench.
He's been red-hot over his past six games, scoring 26, 24, 29, 29, 20, 31. Unfortunately, that coincides directly with Josh Howard's six-game absence due to an ankle injury. When Howard returns, Terry's production is sure to come back down into the teens in scoring, so you'd be wise to sell Terry off while his value has peaked.
Domenik Hixon: AP
There's no real need to rehash the latest minute-to-minute updates of the Plaxico Burress saga. The only important thing in fantasy terms is that he's not going to play for the Giants again this season.
That puts Domenik Hixon front and center in waiver-wire pick-ups, as he steps in to fill Burress' spot in the starting lineup. Hixon only has one score this season, but that came in a nice four-catch, 102-yard performance against the Seahawks back in Week 5. In the past two games, sans an injured Plaxico, Hixon has a combined 11 catches for 128 yards. He's worth owning in all leagues just because the Giants' offense is rolling.
But a secondary beneficiary of Burress' absence is tight end Kevin Boss, who, in those same two contests, pulled in seven balls for 93 yards and a score. Boss also has four TDs in the last six weeks, a red-zone role he could enjoy more in the fantasy playoffs with Plaxico being out of the mix.
Another tight end who's been under the radar lately is Denver's Tony Scheffler. He entered the season as a breakout candidate, but a groin injury has limited his overall production. Scheffler hasn't scored a TD since Week 2, missed a month with his groin injury and had one combined catch in Weeks 11 and 12. But bookending those two games were 90-yard games with a combined 11 catches.
The Broncos have nice a fantasy playoff run, facing the Chiefs this week, followed by the Panthers and Bills. That means Scheffler has a good shot at posting big numbers down the stretch.