Francisco Elson (right) has a hell of a fight on his hands as he tries to replace Andrew Bogut for the Bucks. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls: The second-year Florida product has taken up a semi-permanent residence on the Wire Troll by continuing to produce solid totals both in points and rebounds. The big test will come once Drew Gooden (groin) is back in action, but at this juncture owners in all but the shallowest leagues should make room on their rosters for Noah.
Darko Milicic, Memphis Grizzlies: Everyone’s favorite bust returned to action on Wednesday after missing 18 games with a broken knuckle. He has produced modestly in his first two games back, but prior to getting injured he had reached double figures in scoring in five of seven games. Owners that find their roster depleted by the recent rash of injuries in the NBA can consider rolling the dice on Milicic.
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Injuries continue to mount for the Bucks, who will now be without Andrew Bogut for the next two-plus months. That’s a bitter pill for fantasy owners to swallow as Bogut (11.7 points, 10.2 rebounds per game) was a rock solid contributor when healthy. Francisco Elson should see most of the minutes in Bogut’s stead – he’s not much of a scorer, but he can contribute on the glass…Other options for Bogut owners are Oklahoma City’s Nick Collison and Nenad Krstic. Collison is the starter and the better choice at this point, though Krstic figures to continue cutting into his minutes as he rounds into shape. Neither man is an ideal selection, though at this point beggars, can’t be choosers…An abdominal strain will keep Brad Miller out until at least the All-Star break, giving Spencer Hawes a chance to start some games. In three starts since Miller’s injury, Hawes is averaging 9.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per contest.
Lamar Odom, Los Angeles Lakers: Well, well, well…it looks as though Andrew Bynum’s pesky labia injury has flared up again, sidelining the 7-foot pink taco for 2-to-3 months. That should be great news for Odom, whose minutes have been way down this year with Bynum and Pau Gasol holding down the five and four positions, respectively. Odom is no star, but most of his shortcomings (clutch play, toughness) don’t affect the way he fills up a box score. He’s an immediate must own.
Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves: Much like Noah, Love has earned a recurring role on “As the Troll Turns,” though his value is already much higher than that of Noah. Love has reached double digits in rebounds in five of his last seven games, which includes four double-doubles. After such a long run on here there’s not much more to say about Love, whose stellar play dictates he should be owned in all leagues, but especially now with Craig Smith — his main competition — out for the next couple of weeks.
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Anyone in the market for rebounds? If so, check out what’s going on in Motown where Antonio McDyess has averaged better than 10 boards per game in 2009…Ryan Anderson has scored 17 or more points in three of his last four games (while hauling in a tidy 7.5 rebounds a night). He has done a nice job in the absence of Yi Jianlian, who is fairly close to returning. Yi’s return could severely undermine Anderson’s value, so be aware of that when considering a move…Andrei Kirilenko appears to be ahead of schedule in his recovery from ankle surgery and may return shortly after the All-Star break. If someone else cut him free you should consider stashing him on your bench.
Ramon Sessions, Milwaukee Bucks: What the hell is going on in Milwaukee? With Luke Ridnour joining Michael Redd and Bogut on the injured list, Sessions becomes a focal point of the Buck offense — so much so that he dropped 44 points and 12 assists on the Pistons on Saturday. Fantasy owners will be quick to remember the huge numbers he put up on a depleted Bucks team late last season so don’t delay another minute in adding him to your roster.
Francisco Garcia, Sacramento Kings: The return of Kevin Martin was supposed to spell the end of Garcia’s fantasy usefulness, but more than a month later Garcia is still racking up the points. He hit a little dry spell in late January – scoring 19 points over the month’s final three games combined – though for the most part he has continued to produce respectable totals. Still, at a deep position like shooting guard he’s more suited to larger leagues.
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The loss of Jameer Nelson down in Orlando should create fantasy value for some combination of Courtney Lee, Anthony Johnson and Tyronn Lue – Lee is the best option for points, but don’t overlook Lue, who averaged double figures in scoring in four of his last five seasons…Owners on the prowl for cheap assists should check out Earl Watson, who is dropping nearly six dimes per game this season…Our third visit to Brew City reveals Charlie Bell and newly acquired Keith Bogans as options in deep leagues – Bell has scored 46 points in his last four games and Bogans logged 26 minutes (scoring eight points) in his Milwaukee debut…D.J. Augustin returned on Friday after missing roughly three weeks of action. He was up and down before getting hurt, making him more of a watch list candidate for now…Another rookie to keep an eye on is Mario Chalmers, who has scored 10 or more points in seven of his last nine games…Mike Miller has made 20 of his last 28 shots – we’re just saying.