Whether you are trying to stay in first place in you rotisserie leagues or looking to move on in your playoffs, a key statistic you must always look at is playing time. Certain players who are hampered by injuries or those teams who are comfortably in the playoffs might limit or even rest your stars. You should not wake up and set your lineups in the morning and then not look at them until the next morning. You never know when LeBron James will not suit up. At this point you cannot take any chances. Do the extra work and set your lineups in the morning and then adjust them before the first game begins.
Spencer Hawes, center, Philadelphia 76ers: Despite all of the confusion in the 76ers rotation in 2013, Hawes has been able to have an impressive season. I have to give the guy credit, because all season long he has been waiting to get his spot taken the "returning" Andrew Bynum (knee). That obviously did not happen. Hawes has had one of his best seasons on the scoring front as he has averaged 11 points per game. He has also had one of his best rebounding seasons by grabbing 7.2 per night. Lately, as the 76ers continue to lose ground in the playoff race, Hawes' numbers have improved.
In Hawes' last six games he has scored 16.7 points and grabbed 11.3 rebounds. Hawes has also contributed five assists and a block per game. He has shot 51.2 percent from the field. Hawes has shown that he can play both inside and outside. He shoots 34.3 percent from three-point land. If the 76ers decide not to re-sign Bynum, Hawes' dominance at the center position would be a big reason.
Larry Sanders, forward-center, Milwaukee Bucks: There is a very good chance that Sanders will be on one of my all-fantasy teams at the end of the season. His balanced statistics and consistent defense have not only given the Bucks a lift, but they have also given fantasy players a possible sleeper of the year candidate. You can see by the way he moves inside the arc that he can play both on the ball and provide a clean switch when a pick is set in the paint. Sanders has scored 9.9 points and grabbed 9.5 rebounds per game this season.
Sanders came onto the fantasy radar very early in the season. If you asked me before the year I would have told you that he was not a top-200 player in fantasy basketball. He blocks 2.9 shots per game, which ranks him second in the NBA. For the season, Sanders has shot 51.3 percent from the floor, while rewarding fantasy owners for sticking with him all season by putting up 15 points and 12 rebounds per game over his last seven.
Devin Harris, guard, Atlanta Hawks: You never wish an injury on a player, but Lou Williams (knee) going down for the season has given Harris a chance to revitalize his career in Atlanta. Remember, this guy started for teams such as the Dallas Mavericks, New Jersey Nets and Utah Jazz for many years. He has been surging as of late. Over the last two weeks, Harris has scored 16.2 points and has dished 5.6 assists per game.
Harris has done a good job playing combo-guard for the Hawks and is often left open, unafraid to take a shot. He has stolen the ball 1.6 times per game over the last two weeks and has shot 47.2 percent from the hardwood. Harris has also made two three-pointers per contest during this run. He is a multi-category threat and with point guard being a scarce position, I suggest you pick him up if he is available.
Iman Shumpert, guard-forward, New York Knicks: It has been a tough journey, but Shumpert is finally looking like he did during the 2011-12 season in which he showed a ton of aggressiveness on both ends of the floor before tearing his ACL in the playoffs. Shumpert has been on a minutes restriction since coming back in January and has played very tentatively. His knee is not 100 percent, but he is playing a lot more aggressively over his last six games. Shumpert will give fantasy owners a minor boost in most categories.
Over his last seven games, Shumpert has scored eight points per game while shooting 59.4 percent from the floor. During this stretch, he has also stolen the ball 1.4 times and dished 2.4 assists, on average. He has made 1.7 three-pointers per game. He only plays 20.4 minutes per game, although his perimeter defense down the stretch will earn him more playing time and the Knicks will need to make sure that he is ready to play more minutes when the NBA playoffs begin.
Brian Roberts, guard, New Orleans Hornets: Roberts is a perfect example of player who is taking advantage of a non-playoff team widening their rotation. Roberts has played 29.1 minutes per game over his last six games, and the rookie guard has flourished. Roberts has scored 11.8 points and dished 5.8 assists per game.
During the two-week stretch, Roberts has shot 53.8 percent from the floor and has made 1.5 three-pointers per contest. Roberts is also an excellent free-throw shooter, nailing 89.9 percent from the stripe this season. He will grab you a steal in every other game, on average, as well.