It’s rare you see a team lose three starters at the same time but that is exactly the situation that the Chicago Bulls have found themselves in over the past week. Luckily, a real team’s mess is a fantasy team’s opportunity to get some cheap short-term fantasy production. With Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, and Kirk Hinrich all down with injuries, let’s take a look at three brand new Bulls starters and a few other guys worth a pick up in this week’s waiver wire.
Taj Gibson (Available in 24% of Yahoo Leagues): With the Bulls all sorts of banged up, Gibson has had the chance to start in the last three games and is running with it. Averaging 42.5 MPG, he is putting up 16.3 PPG, 12.3 RPG, and 2.3 BPG as a starter and shooting 58.5% from the floor. Chicago isn’t going to get fully healthy any time soon so grab him while he is playing lights out.
Jimmy Butler (26%): As with Gibson, Butler is getting the chance to start and is producing some serious numbers. He has started six of the Bulls’ last nine games and is averaging 41 MPG, 15 PPG, 8 RPG, 1.5 SPG, and 49% shooting over those nine contests. As with Gibson, grab him until the Bulls heal up.
Nate Robinson (40%): Robinson has proven to be a solid source of fantasy production off the bench and is a third recent insert into the Bulls lineup. In two games as a starter he is putting up 41 MPG, 16 PPG, 9.5 APG, and 2 SPG. In his last seven games, he is averaging 29 MPG, 17.6 PPG, 6 APG, and 1.6 SPG so he will still have value once he returns to his bench role.
Eric Bledsoe (37%): With Chris Paul still out without a timetable, Bledsoe is a must-have. He has started all seven games in Paul’s absence and is putting up 35 MPG, 13 PPG, 6 APG, 2 SPG, 1 BPG, and 5 RPG. As long as Paul is out, there is no reason Bledsoe shouldn’t be owned in just about every league.
Vince Carter (57%): Don’t expect any Vinsanity in your fantasy line but Carter is fantasy relevant once again. Although he still playing under 30 MPG, he is averaging 17.7 PPG, 1.7 SPG, and 2.5 3PPG over his last seven games. Just watch out if he falls back into the 9 PPG guy he was in early January, his inconsistency makes him a short-term pick up like the other guys above.
Long-Term Pick Ups:
Marreese Speights (18%): As a member of the Grizzlies, Speights was averaging a mere 14.5 MPG and 6.6 PPG. In five games since becoming a Cavalier, Speights is averaging 25.6 MPG with 15.4 PPG, 7 RPG, 1 BPG, and 53.4% shooting from the field. His minutes and shot attempts are all climbing and I would get this guy in most formats.
Earl Clark (29%): Although he will have the occasional off-night, Clark looks like the starter for the Lakers moving forward and I expect him to continue to put up the numbers we are seeing. Over his last nine games he is averaging 33.6 MPG, 12 PPG, 9 RPG, 1 SPG, and nearly 1 BPG and is worth taking a shot on in most leagues.
Jerryd Bayless (21%): Tayshaun Prince figures to be the starter at forward but Bayless has certainly stepped up since Rudy Gay departed for Toronto. In three starts, he is averaging 39 MPG, 18.3 PPG, 6 APG, and 4 RPG and should continue to get plenty of minutes and shot attempts even with Prince in the lineup since Prince doesn’t have the offensive abilities that Bayless does.
Byron Mullens (25%): Mullens could be back as early as Monday’s game against Miami. Prior to going down with an ankle injury, Mullens was averaging 31 MPG, 11.6 PPG, 8 RPG, 1 SPG, and 1 BPG. He has shot a miserable 37% from the floor this year but is averaging 12 shot attempts a game and will once again be a big part of the Bobcats rotation once he is 100%.
Harrison Barnes (45%): After struggling through much of January, Barnes has gotten it together the last few games. Over his last three games he is averaging 35 MPG, 15.7 PPG, 6 RPG, and 3 APG while shooting nearly 60% from the floor. He is shooting 44% on the season so don’t expect that to last but the rookie is worth a pickup in most leagues.
Maurice Harkless (4%): The 19-year-old rookie out of St. John’s got to start a bit in November and December but seldom played over 20 minutes. Now he is back in the starting lineup and playing real minutes. In four games as a starter, he is averaging 36 MPG, 12.3 PPG, 7.3 RPG, and 2.5 SPG. The team seems more comfortable giving him double-digit field goal attempts and as a starter he is worth a pick up in most leagues.