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Monday, January 2, 2012
Bynum back in a big way

Andrew Bynum had a monster weekend in his return to the court, with 29 points, 13 rebounds, two blocks and a steal on Saturday then 18 points, 16 rebounds, a block and a steal on Sunday. We all know he's a stud when he's healthy, and it's starting to look like he could be a 20-12-2.5 guy now that Lamar Odom isn't around and he's taking on an even larger role in the Lakers' frontcourt. The real gem behind his numbers is his field goal percentage, as he went 20-for-30 from the floor this weekend and could legitimately average upper-50s in field goal percentage with double-digit attempts from the floor. Bynum has the tools and opportunity to be the No. 2 center in fantasy behind Dwight Howard, and although he's risky when it comes to injuries, he is the type of player who can win you a fantasy league if you get a full season's worth of games from him.

Looking Back:

Marshon Brooks was held to zero points and saw just 12 minutes against the Cavs, as Sundiata Gaines (11 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals, a block and a 3-pointer in 34 minutes) outplayed him. Brooks is going to have these types of nights throughout the season as he adjusts to the pace and feel of the NBA game, which is why I didn't highlight him on Working the Wire on Friday; I see him as more of a deep-league option. He will have good games and clearly has scoring ability, as evidenced by his 24.7 points, to go along with 2.1 3s, 1.2 steals, 1.5 blocks and even 7.0 rebounds per game his senior season at Providence. But that was against a level of competition that pales in comparison to what he'll see this season in the NBA, so temper your expectations and don't go dropping a more proven player who has gotten off to a rough start, such as Nic Batum or Jared Dudley, expecting to improve.

Chris Kaman scored 14 points and 15 rebounds with a block in 27 minutes off the bench for the Hornets and, despite his bench role, is worth holding on to because of his upside. We've seen him average a double-double with nearly three blocks per game for a season in the past, and he's playing for a contract. It's still unclear how he and Emeka Okafor will coexist, but they can be on the floor at the same time, and if Kaman continues rebounding and blocking shots he should see minutes in the upper-20s and be able to grab 8-9 boards with 1.5-2 blocks per game.

Mario Chalmers (16 points, five assists and four 3s) and Norris Cole (16 points, nine assists and three steals) had nice games for the Heat, and it's looking like they'll both contribute enough to have value in deep formats but will hurt each other's value to the point at which they aren't worth a roster spot in standard leagues.

Marcus Thornton continues to play well, and after dropping 25 points with five steals in 35 minutes Sunday it's become pretty clear that the logjam at the wing position that many believed would hinder his value is not going to be an issue. He's played at least 35 minutes in every game, and would undoubtedly be the last out of the group of Jimmer Fredette, John Salmons and Francisco Garcia to lose playing time. What sets him apart from many score-first shooting guards is that he also provides nice rebounds and assists for the position, and he's excellent in the steals department. It's looking like his average draft position of 92 will prove to be a steal.

Looking Ahead:

Monta Ellis celebrated being back from his ankle injury by scoring 21 points on Saturday, so make sure to get him back in your lineup. Jameer Nelson also returned from neck spasms on Sunday, and although he tallied just nine points and four assists, he should be back in your lineup if you're depending upon him. Amare Stoudemire is listed as day to day with a sprained right ankle, although the Knicks hope to have him back for Monday's tilt against the Raptors. It's worth starting him. Mike D'Antoni is unlikely to rush him back if he's not ready, so if he's in the Knicks' lineup he should be ready to go for them and your fantasy team. Same goes for Eric Gordon, who will be a game-time decision but is too critical a part of the Hornets' lineup to risk missing a game of his production.