- Joe Kaiser, Fantasy, Insider
What happens when Anderson Varejao returns to the lineup?
Remember when Varejao went down and the general feeling was that he escaped major injury after being diagnosed with a hyperextended knee? Well, that was way back on Jan. 26, and the oft-injured center has played in just four of 17 games since, the last coming on Feb. 9.
Varejao could return tonight against San Antonio, though it's unlikely. Cleveland coach Mike Brown said there's a "slim, slim chance" he'll be back after missing the past 10 games. The question many have been wondering is how Brown will use Varejao in the rotation whenever the big man is ready to play, given the presence of newly acquired center Spencer Hawes. Brown addressed that on Monday, and the news isn't good for Varejao fantasy owners who have been stashing him on their roster, eagerly awaiting his return.
“My intentions are to keep doing what we’re doing,” Brown told The News-Herald & The Morning Journal, indicating that Hawes will remain the starter. “The way (Hawes) plays is what we needed from one of our bigs. His passing ability, his shooting ability, his intelligence [and] toughness -- all those things we saw in him. That's what he's been doing in the short time he's been here.”
That means Varejao's minutes and numbers will almost certainly be down as he works his way back into game shape over the final six weeks of the regular season.
Reggie Evans in for a bigger role?
It's amazing to think that in March 2014, Evans, an undrafted free agent in 2002 whose hustle and rebounding have kept him in the league for 12 years, could still offer anything in terms of fantasy. In Sacramento, though, he just might. The 33-year-old power forward scored 10 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in 30 minutes Monday night, helping lead the Kings to a win over New Orleans. His energy off the bench has led to minutes in Sacramento that simply weren't there in Brooklyn, and he already has won over first-year head coach Mike Malone.
"Reggie Evans' effort was inspiring," Malone told the Associated Press after the win over the Pelicans. "I don't care where he's playing or who he is playing with, he's going to bring great effort every minute that he's on the floor. He makes things happen out there. He plays great defense and has great activity. My hope is it becomes contagious."
In the long-term, other Kings such as Derrick Williams and Jason Thompson probably remain greater fantasy plays, but don't be surprised if Evans continues to play solid minutes over the remainder of the regular season. As long as that's the case, he's a sneaky pickup option who can be a force in the rebound department. He has averaged 6.0 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals in his five games with the Kings.
Is Jordan Hill out of the rotation?
With the Lakers' abundance of wing players on full display this week thanks to the return of Xavier Henry, coach Mike D'Antoni moved Wesley Johnson to the frontcourt, where he has started at power forward each of the past three games.
As we mentioned yesterday, Hill is one of the players affected most by the change. The veteran has endured constant fluctuations in his playing time during his two seasons under D'Antoni, and as recently as a week and a half ago, he had a prominent role in the rotation; he played between 17 and 30 minutes a game during a seven-game stretch in mid-February.
That has changed since Johnson moved to the 4 position. Still owned in 7.8 percent of ESPN leagues, Hill received a DNP-CD in Monday's win over Portland and played only six minutes in each of the two previous games. Barring another change, Hill's fantasy value is gone at this point.
Bumps and bruises
Things don't look good for Ryan Anderson (herniated disc). He indicated Monday that the injury isn't healing and that he's still experiencing tingling in his fingers, according to Jen Hale of FOX Sports.