Friday, March 4, 2011

Players to Watch: March 4

These are players we're keeping an eye on over the next week. Stats listed below are from the last 7 days.

  1. Tyrus Thomas (Has not played due to injury): The athletic big man has been out of action since late January due to a knee injury, but he's expected to be back on the court in the next week. His return could come as early as this Wednesday. With Charlotte so thin up front, Thomas should play heavy minutes once he's back to full strength. Teams in need of shot blocking and rebounding should stash him now.
  2. Matt Barnes (Has not played due to injury): Like Thomas, Barnes is close to returning from a knee injury. Although he doesn't play huge minutes, he managed to hang around the top 100 of our player ratings when he was healthy through his ability to contribute across every single category. Expect more of the same when Barnes gets back to full strength, making him a great pick up in deep leagues with potential to help in standard formats as well.
  3. Marcus Thornton (21 points, 2 three-pointers, 1.8 steals, 51.7% FG%): As we recently noted, Thornton is showing why he was such a popular sleeper pick entering the season. He's on a scoring tear with no signs that he's going to slow down. He's a player fantasy owners should on their radar in leagues of all sizes.
  4. Wesley Johnson (17.5 points, 2.5 three-pointers, 1.5 steals, 1.5 blocks): The rookie swingman has been playing his best ball of the season since Corey Brewer was traded. That move freed up a lot of minutes for Johnson, as well as Martell Webster's injury struggles. With the Wolves out of contention, they'll likely give Johnson a bigger role down the stretch as they evaluate their young talent. He's a player we're keeping a close eye on as he can help in a number of categories if continues to see the nearly 37 minutes per game he's played over the last week.
  5. Mike Bibby (1.7 points, 3 assists): Bibby recently debuted for Miami, but played sparingly. If he can crack the starting line up and see close to 30 minutes a night, he can regain his value as a three-point specialist. Teams needing to climb the ladder in the three-point category should keep an eye on Bibby's playing time in the Heat's next few games.

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