Greg Oden, Portland Trail Blazers: While he’s still experiencing some growing pains in his first season on the court, Oden showed exactly what he is capable of with his 24-point, 15-rebound performance against the Bucks on Monday – he also sandwiched a pair of six-block efforts on either side of his work against Milwaukee. There are still going to be nights where he disappears, but he should be owned in all leagues. If he’s available in yours he should be added immediately.
Kendrick Perkins, Boston Celtics: Last Sunday I noted that Perkins wasn’t expected back for about a month. Well, disregard that as the bruiser is already back in action after missing only five games. Thanks for the accurate injury information <site name withheld>. Douchebags. But I digress; Perkins would make an excellent addition if another owner cut him loose a couple weeks back. He’s not much of a scorer, but he does strong work on the glass and is a capable shot blocker.
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There’s no denying things are a mess in Clipperland right now, but rookie DeAndre Jordan might be worth a watch list designation – in three starts, he’s averaging 11.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game…Former Florida Gator Joakim Noah has started Chicago’s last six games, and while his scoring has been underwhelming, he recently logged 29 rebounds in a two-game stretch. If you’re hurting on the glass he could be worth a flier in deeper leagues…I liked Amir Johnson coming into the season, and while he hasn’t done a lot to justify my pre-season endorsement thus far, his insertion back into the starting lineup creates a glimmer of hope. Take note…Al Horford’s continued absence allows Zaza Pachulia to retain his modest value, though he has had as many poor games as good ones during his ongoing seven-game stint as a starter.
Charlie Villanueva, Milwaukee Bucks: A popular sleeper candidate entering the season, Villanueva has had more than his fair share of snooze-inducing performances thus far. However, since re-entering the starting lineup on January 16, the former UConn star has averaged 22.2 points and 8.8 rebounds in six games – that includes four double-doubles. He has tantalized with his talent before and is a must own in all leagues based on his enormous potential.
Danilo Gallinari, New York Knicks: The rookie returned January 17 after missing nearly three months. He has played sparingly thus far, but performed well in his limited run. He’s a quality shooter and could post strong numbers in Mike D’Antoni’s offense if he gets enough minutes, which is something the Knicks figure to provide him given their 18-25 mark. Add him if you’re looking to roll the dice on some upside.
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Travis Outlaw has had some big games this month, highlighted by his 33-point outing on January 12 – overall he has reached double figures in seven of his 10 January games. However, his peripheral numbers could still use some work, which makes him an option only for owners trolling for scoring…Don’t let the fact that he looks like a mid-’80s villain in a Jean-Claude Van Damme flick dissuade owners in deep leagues from taking a look at Louis Amundson. He’s ringing up 5.9 points, 5.4 boards, 1.1 blocks and 2.4 bottles of pony tail wax per night this month – not bad…Could a rash of front court injuries in the Big Easy actually be enough to make Melvin Ely a fantasy factor? Unlikely – but just in case owners in deep leagues should place him on their watch list.
Ramon Sessions, Milwaukee Bucks: A season-ending knee injury to Michael Redd should mean we’ll be seeing the back court pairing of Luke Ridnour and Sessions quite a bit in the coming weeks. Sessions has been quiet in January (6.8 points, 3.8 assists per game) but has shown before to be capable of posting very strong fantasy numbers. He deserves consideration in all leagues. Charlie Bell (ankle) should also appear on your radar, though he continues to deal with an ankle injury of his own and hasn’t played in the team’s last three games.
Kirk Hinrich, Chicago Bulls: The 28-year-old continues to impress off the pine in the Windy City, pouring in 43 points and 22 assists in his last three games combined. He isn’t shy from beyond the arc either (12-for-30 in seven games this month), making him a solid three-category addition even in shallower formats.
Anthony Parker, Toronto Raptors: December was a terrible month for Parker, who averaged 6.9 points per contest in 14 games. He has bounced back since the calendar changed to 2009, returning to the starting lineup and posting respectable point (13.3 PPG) and rebounding (4.9 RPG) numbers. His overall shooting has been solid, though he continues doing masonry work beyond the three-point line, heaving up bricks at a 27.8 per cent clip. If you’re adding him, make sure your three-point percentage can take the hit.
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Injuries have forced Sasha Pavlovic into the starting lineup for the past four games, during which he has logged nearly 34 minutes per night. His numbers (11.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG) aren’t stellar, but his minutes suggest those in need of back court help find a spot for him…In seven games since returning from injury, Raja Bell has launched 31 triples – unfortunately he has only hit nine of them. Still, that kind of volume makes him a possibility for teams searching for a boost from downtown…A strong December gave way to a brutal January for Mario Chalmers, but he has shown signs of playing out of his slump recently. If a less patient owner gave him his walking papers you can consider bringing him on board.