Fantasy Week 17 (Feb. 18-24) marks the unofficial start to the second half of the season as most teams have between 25 and 28 games left on their schedule. There have been a ton of players lost for the season due to injury already, but a few are finally starting to make their return to the court. One of those players is Andrew Bogut, who made his return to the lineup a few weeks ago. Bogut has averaged 9.0 points and 7.8 rebounds on 56 percent shooting from the field over his first six games since returning, but he has been subject to a strict minutes limit. In fact, the 28-year-old has yet to log more than 27 minutes in any game since his return and has been held out of the second leg of back-to-back sets. However, Bogut proclaimed over the All-Star break that he expects to play without restriction in the second half, including playing in back-to-back games.
Owners won't have to wait long to see if Bogut's plan holds true as the Warriors open the scoring period with a back-to-back set against Jazz and Suns on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectfully, before taking on the Spurs and Timberwolves later in the week. Still, the Warriors have yet to comment on Bogut's future playing time, but based on his injury history, we would expect the team to continue to err on the side of caution. Even if his restrictions are lifted and Bogut is able to log around 30-35 minutes, we strongly recommend Fantasy owners take a wait-and-see approach with him this week. Bogut is definitely capable of producing like a high-end option when he is fully healthy, so owners should wait for that to happen before getting him active again. Plan on getting Bogut active in Fantasy Week 18 (Feb. 25- March 3) as long as he doesn't suffer any type of setback.
Find a place for 'em
Jason Terry, G, Celtics (@DEN, @LAL, @PHO, @POR): With all the injuries the Celtics have had to deal with of late, Terry has been asked to take on a larger role on the offensive end of the court. The veteran has more than proved up for the challenge as he really stepped up his production in the weeks leading up to the All-Star game. Terry has scored in double figures in nine of his last 10 games and is averaging 12.9 points on 52 percent shooting from the field over that span. However, he has been especially hot from downtown as he is averaging more than two made treys per game over that same span with 12 of those coming over his last four contests. Terry looks to have a pretty favorable schedule on tap this week, which should allow him to maintain his productive ways. The Nuggets and Suns are both allowing their opponents to shoot better than 36 percent from behind the arc on the year, while the Lakers and Trail Blazers are both ranked near the bottom of the pack in opposition field-goal percentage and points allowed. While Terry has been a major disappointment thus far, he looks like a solid play for Week 17. (owned in 51 percent of leagues)
Vince Carter, G, Mavericks (ORL, @NO, LAL): Carter's game has been all over the place this season as the veteran has struggled with his consistency for much of the year. However, he was one of the few players trending up heading into the All-Star break. Carter is currently in the midst of one of his more productive stretches of the season as he is averaging 17 points over his last 11 games. He is shooting 48 percent from the field over that span, but Carter's 3-point shooting is the biggest reason for his recent scoring increase. The 36-year-old has buried 54 percent of his shots from behind the arc during his latest run and totaled 14 makes from there over his last four games. Carter should be able to keep things rolling this week with matchups on tap against the Magic, Hornets and Lakers. New Orleans and Orlando are allowing opponents to shoot 46 percent from the field, while the Lakers are ranked near the bottom in both points allowed and defending the 3-point line. Get Carter active in the majority of Rotisserie formats this week.(owned in 55 percent of leagues)
Charlie Villanueva, F, Pistons(MEM, @CHA, @IND, IND): Most thought Jason Maxiell would see an increase in playing time when Andre Drummond went down with a back injury, but that hasn't been the case. Instead, Villanueva has been the one who has seen his role increase as he has seen 27 minutes per game over his last four contests and averaged 13.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks over that stretch on 46 percent shooting from the field. Villanueva has also been red-hot from downtown during his run as he has made 12 treys over his last four games, including three in Detroit's win over the Wizards last week. Villanueva's inconsistent playing time has limited his production for most of the year, but he can be considered a decent source for 3-pointers and points when he sees regular minutes. While he doesn't look to have the most favorable schedule this week, Villanueva's increased role and recent hot streak are reasons enough to get him active.(owned in 20 percent of leagues)
Earl Clark, F, Lakers(BOS, POR, @DAL): While coach Mike D'Antoni continues to shuffle players in and out of his rotation, Clark has been a steady force in the Lakers' starting lineup for some time now. The 25-year-old has started each of the team's last 11 games at small forward and posted a very respectable 11.8 points and 8.3 rebounds over that span on 46 percent shooting from the field. He is also giving owners 1.2 steals and one assist during his run and has arguably been one of the Lakers' most consistent producers over that span. While he doesn't exactly excel in one particular category, his solid all-around production has made him a nice addition off the waiver wire in Rotisserie formats. Despite not having the most favorable schedule this week, owners could do a lot worse than rolling with Clark. (owned in 86 percent of leagues)
Tiago Splitter, C, Spurs (@SAC, @LAC, @GS, @PHO): Splitter has been quietly putting together his best season as a pro as the third-year big man has is averaging 10.6 points and 5.9 rebounds over his first 54 games. The 27-year-old has been playing especially well of late as he has scored in double figures in 16 of his last 17 games. He is averaging 13.7 points and 7.8 rebounds on 63 percent shooting from the field over that span and is even knocking down 77 percent of his free throws. While Tim Duncan is now healthy, we would fully expect Splitter to maintain his productive ways in Week 17 as he will be facing some bad defensive teams. The Suns and Kings both rank in the bottom tier in terms of points allowed and opposition field-goal percentage and Splitter dropped in 19 points and nine rebounds in his lone meeting with the Warriors earlier in the year. While the Clippers could prove to a challenge, owners should consider rolling with Splitter at the thin position this week.(owned in 77 percent of leagues)
Put 'em on your bench
Ben Gordon, G, Bobcats(@ORL, DET, CHI, DEN): After weeks of hearing the rumors of friction between Gordon and coach Mike Dunlap, things finally came to a head last week. Gordon got into a verbal altercation with his coach during a morning shootaround last Monday and things got so bad that Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins had to step in. The result has been Gordon logging a combined 30 minutes over his last two games since the incident and according to multiple reports, the Bobcats are actively looking to trade the 29-year-old. With the NBA trade deadline just days away, there seems to be a very good chance Gordon could be changing addresses before the end of the scoring period. Gordon was averaging just 8.1 points on 30 percent shooting from the field over his last seven games, which had forced most owners to put him on the bench anyway. We would strongly recommend leaving him there for the upcoming scoring period. (owned in 33 percent of leagues)
Jared Dudley, G, Suns (@POR, @GS, BOS, SA): The Suns limped into the All-Star break with four straight losses as they have been struggling to put the ball in the basket. Unfortunately for Fantasy owners, Dudley has had that same problem of late. The 27-year-old has been ice cold as he is averaging just 5.4 points over his last five contests. He has failed to score twice during that span while connecting on just 36 percent of his shots, including 25 percent from downtown. While a few days off may be just what the doctor ordered for the normally reliable Dudley, he will have to go up against some tough defensive foes in Week 17. The Spurs, Celtics and Warriors are all ranked in the top 10 in defending the 3-point line as well as in opposition field-goal percentage, which doesn't bode well for someone looking to find his shooting touch. Sure Dudley's track record suggests it should only be a matter of time before he bounces back, but owners should consider leaving him reserved for at least one more scoring period.(owned in 61 percent of leagues)
Matt Barnes, F, Clippers (SA, UTA): Barnes has been one of the more pleasant surprises in Fantasy this season as the 32-year-old has been a perfect fit for the Clippers' up-tempo style of play. In fact, Barnes entered the All-Star break averaging a career-high 10.4 points per game while connecting on a career-best 35 percent of his shots from downtown. He is also giving owners 4.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.1 steals, which has made him a nice low-end option in deeper Rotisserie formats. However, Barnes was mired in a bit of shooting slump entering the break, shooting just 31 percent from the field over his last nine games. While Barnes should be able to bounce back in no time, the fact that the Clippers are slated to play just two games during the upcoming scoring period, combined with his recent struggles, makes him a prime sit candidate this week. Fantasy owners should wait until Barnes gets himself going before activating him again.(owned in 78 percent of leagues)
Derrick Favors, F, Jazz(GS, @LAC): Favors continues to be stuck in a reserve role behind Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson in Utah, which many feel is a waste of his talent. However, both Millsap and Jefferson have had their names mentioned in numerous trade rumors over the past few weeks and with both players playing in the last year of their contracts, the Jazz may finally let one go. That obviously would bump Favors into a starting role, which in turn would take his production and Fantasy value to a whole new level. The 21-year-old has averaged 9.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in a limited role this season, but his inconsistent minutes make it tough to leave him active for long stretches of time. The Jazz are one of just two teams scheduled to play twice during the upcoming scoring period, making Favors a prime sit candidate this week. However, Fantasy owners should keep a close eye on what the Jazz do at the trade deadline. Favors could wind up being the steal of the season if he ends up in a starting role. (owned in 48 percent of leagues)
Andrea Bargnani, C, Raptors (@WAS, MEM, NY): Bargnani has been on the outs in Toronto for some time now and with trade deadline looming, it appears his time north of the border could be over. The 27-year-old has been limited to 25 games thus far due to a variety of injuries and has logged just 30 minutes over the two games he has been back in the lineup for, which has added to speculation that he will be traded. Even if the Raptors end up hanging on to Bargnani, there is really no telling how many minutes he will see in coach Dwane Casey's rotation moving forward with all the new pieces the Raptors have acquired. With no defined role combined plus a really good chance of being traded, owners are probably best to leave Bargnani on the bench heading into Week 17. (owned in 90 percent of leagues)