Brandon Rush enjoys increased minutes

March, 26, 2012

Stephen Curry is set to visit an ankle specialist this week, then make a decision about the rest of the season, but at this point I think it's safe to assume that the likely course of action for the Warriors is to shut him down. This means we start looking at players like Charles Jenkins (0.1 percent owned) , Brandon Rush (4.1 percent owned) and Richard Jefferson (22.7 percent owned) as fantasy options for the rest of the season.

In shallower leagues, Jefferson has been widely dropped after a strong start to the season, as he averaged 10.7 points and 2.4 3-pointers per game in January, then dropped to 7.3 and 1.5, respectively, in February. His move to the Warriors, where he's acting as sixth man, has been helpful to his stats, as he's averaging 11.8 points per game and playing 31.3 minutes versus 28.5 in San Antonio. So if you need cheap 3s, Jefferson is available in most leagues.

I'm a big fan of Rush in deeper formats that count turnovers, as he provides excellent 3s (1.4 per game) with some steals and blocks (0.5 and 0.8, respectively) and just 1.0 turnover per game. In his past five games, he's averaging 11.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.8 3s and 2.0 blocks, and with Curry's absence and Dorell Wright's inconsistency, Rush remains a fabulous option in those formats.

Jenkins is the deepest option, but on Sunday he started in place of Nate Robinson, who sat with a hamstring issue, and exploded for 27 points on 13-for-22 shooting with six assists and a 3-pointer in 40 minutes of play. His stats were obviously bolstered by Robinson's absence, but the Warriors are clearly focusing on the future, and will want to see what they have in the rookie out of Hofstra. Don't be surprised if he averages more than 20 minutes per game the rest of the way, and while he's not worth considering in standard formats, he could carve out value for leagues with 14 or more owners.

Looking Back

Nene missed Sunday's game with back spasms, which opened up time for Kevin Seraphin -- whom I featured in Working the Wire this past week -- to post 15 points, 11 boards, two steals and a block in 37 minutes. He was already worth a roster spot in deeper formats, but if Nene misses time, Seraphin is worth considering in all leagues if you need boards and blocks with efficient scoring.

Ray Allen sat Sunday against the Wizards and will miss Monday's game against the Bobcats to rest his ankle. Avery Bradley capitalized on his absence Sunday, dropping 23 points (9-for-14 FG, 4-for-4 FT) in 40 minutes. The Celtics will likely be cautious with Allen as they'll want him fresh for the playoffs. Bradley should continue seeing increased run, but he isn't a statistical marvel and doesn't have any distinguishing category in which he'll shine when given more minutes. His perimeter defense is sound, and he could average more than a steal per game with increased minutes, but he doesn't shoot 3s and isn't worth considering as a fantasy option unless Allen is set to miss extended time.

Wayne Ellington scored 17 points with three 3s on Sunday, marking his third consecutive game with double-digit scoring and at least one 3-pointer. He's seen increased run with Ricky Rubio out, and J.J. Barea missed Sunday's game with a thigh contusion, which opened up some more minutes. Ellington is averaging 0.7 3s in just 17.6 minutes per game but in March is at 1.0 3s per game, so if you need 3-pointer help in deep leagues, Ellington is surfacing as an option.

Looking Ahead

Kyle Lowry is still recuperating from the bacterial infection that's kept him out since March 10 and will miss at least another eight to 10 days. Keep Goran Dragic (16.6 points, 9.5 assists, 2.0 3s per game in 11 starts) in your lineup this week and likely next. … Rodney Stuckey has missed the past three games with a sore toe, and will be a game-time decision for Monday's contest. Stuckey has been scorching since the All-Star break (22.5 points, 5.1 assists, 1.0 3s, 0.9 steals, 83.8 percent from the stripe on 8.0 attempts per game in 10 contests), so monitor this situation and get him back in your lineup if he's a go. … Josh Howard is out for the season, so C.J. Miles and Gordon Hayward see a bump in value and go from deep-league starters to worth considering in shallower formats.



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