Al-Farouq Aminu steps into the spotlight

January, 9, 2012
When a team's leading scorer goes down, it's critical in fantasy to quickly determine which players will pick up the slack. With Eric Gordon out 2-3 weeks because of a sore knee, Al-Farouq Aminu will have a golden opportunity to prove that the Hornets made a smart investment in him. He capitalized Saturday, with 15 points, 12 rebounds, four steals and two 3-pointers in 44 minutes.

Trevor Ariza, who is out for the next couple of games with a groin injury, should see increased value with Gordon sidelined, as well. Another beneficiary is new Hornet Greivis Vasquez, who scored 16 points with four rebounds, four assists, four 3-pointers, two steals and a block on Friday night in 26 minutes off the bench. Marco Belinelli will start at shooting guard with Gordon sidelined, but there's no real upside there; he'll give you around 1.5 3s per game and little else. Aminu has the opportunity to flirt with one 3-pointer per game, one block and 1.5 steals if given extended minutes, and Vasquez could produce more than a 3-pointer and a steal per game off the bench.

Aminu is the man to add if you're looking for a high-upside pick while Gordon is out, and Ariza, who is owned in just 31.7 percent of ESPN leagues, should have an opportunity to put up big-time numbers for a couple of weeks once he returns and before Gordon is back.

Looking Back

Marreese Speights had 17 points (8-for-18 from the field) with seven rebounds and two steals in 29 minutes off the bench Sunday. With Zach Randolph out, he has a prime opportunity to provide some scoring punch and defense for the Grizzlies' frontcourt, and although he hasn't really gotten a chance to see any sort of significant minutes in the past couple seasons, he has the tools to put up decent fantasy numbers. For his career he's at 0.5 blocks and 0.3 steals in just 14.7 minutes per game, while shooting 49.0 percent from the floor. Memphis is dying for any sort of size up front besides Marc Gasol, so Speights should be able to see minutes in the upper 20s while Randolph is out, and he could put up around 12 points and seven boards with a steal, a block and a nice shooting percentage. He has some deep-league value for the next couple months and is on the fantasy radar for the first time since 2009.

Derrick Williams scored a career-high 14 points with seven rebounds, going 4-for-7 from downtown Sunday night, and is primed for a productive week with Michael Beasley sidelined at least three games because of a sprained foot. Williams likely won't have consistent, season-long value in standard formats because of Beasley and Kevin Love's presence, but he's already showing flashes of being a future fantasy star (8.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.0 3s, 0.8 steals, 0.3 blocks in 20.4 minutes per game), and has increased value with Beasley sidelined. • A coaching change typically has ripples in the fantasy world, and it appears as if Keith Smart taking over for the Kings will boost the value of Tyreke Evans, who scored 28 points (10-for-16 field goals, 8-for-10 free throws) with eight assists, two steals and a block in 41 minutes Sunday. That comes on the heels of Thursday's 26 points in 41 minutes as well, an indication that Evans' 33.1 minutes per game should be increasing, along with his fantasy value. Additionally, DeMarcus Cousins has been starting at center with Chuck Hayes sidelined and has posted a double-double in each of the games Smart has coached. The change was clearly beneficial for Cousins as well, who appears to be out of the doghouse and should be back to starting in all fantasy formats.

Looking Ahead

Spencer Hawes is a game-time decision with a strained back for Monday's contest, so be sure to keep your ear to the ground leading up to game time. Same goes for Rodney Stuckey, Charlie Villanueva, Austin Daye and Marvin Williams, who are all questionable for Monday's contests. Tyrus Thomas gets his third chance to post a decent fantasy line. He has started slowly (8.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 0.5 steals, 0.5 blocks) but is seeing 33.0 minutes per game, which is typically more than enough PT for Thomas to be a big contributor in steals and blocks. Keep an eye on how he continues to be used, as his return has significant impact upon the emerging value of D.J. White.



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