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Thursday, November 8, 2012
Who will pick up slack for Danny Granger?


With yesterday's news that Danny Granger will miss at least three months after receiving treatment on his injured knee, the issue of who will be replacing Granger started to feel a little more important in the fantasy world. Unfortunately, no one seems to be making a case for himself. Gerald Green, Sam Young, and even Lance Stephenson were all underwhelming on Wednesday night. Green's the best bet, but even he has had only one good game in five so far this season.

Looking Back

• Though he's coming off the bench, Ramon Sessions continues to put up great numbers for the Bobcats. Even on a night where he wasn't making shots, he racked up assists and got himself to the line (12-for-14), and he finished with 17 points and nine assists. He's definitely worth owning in most leagues.

• On the same side, it was another nice night for Byron Mullens, as the Bobcats' big man put up 24 points and eight rebounds, and is averaging 20 and nine in his past two games. More importantly, Mullens made six 3-pointers, and his ability to shoot the 3 might make him a huge player in fantasy leagues as a center. He's still available in most leagues, and should be picked up in just about all of them.

Luke Ridnour led the way for the Timberwolves against the Magic with 19 points, five rebounds, three assists, and three 3s against the Magic, and while his minutes have been inconsistent in the early part of the season, he's been very efficient. He's never going to put up superstar numbers, but as a point guard who can get you some assists and 3s, you could do a lot worse until Ricky Rubio gets back into the lineup.

• It was a disaster of a game from the Hornets, who managed just 62 points against a stingy 76ers defense, but I continue to be encouraged by the performance of Al-Farouq Aminu. The Hornets small forward led the team with 10 points (seriously, points were hard to come by in this one), but he also had 16 rebounds, three assists and two steals. He should absolutely be owned in all formats right now.

• It will be tempting to pick up Marreese Speights after his efficient 18 points, nine rebounds and two blocks against the Bucks, but the Grizzlies' backup big man just doesn't do enough most nights to warrant a roster spot in most fantasy leagues. If he ever gets 30-plus minutes per game, you'll want to pay attention, but for now you can leave him alone.

Larry Sanders, meanwhile, continued his solid play off the bench for the Bucks, finishing with a double-double to go along with his customary three blocks. He once again played pretty big minutes off the bench, and he seems to be the current favorite of Scott Skiles in the big-man rotation for the Bucks. If you need blocks, Sanders is your man.

DeMar DeRozan, you may recall, signed an absurdly large contract with the Raptors recently, but DeRozan is certainly doing everything he can to live up to it early in the season. He's still not a threat from beyond the 3-point line, but he's living at the line (where he's shooting 83 percent), and after posting 24 points, six rebounds and seven assists in a loss to the Mavericks, he is averaging 17.8 points in 32.4 minutes. He's not doing enough of the other things to be a star, but he's certainly outperforming expectations early in the season.

DeAndre Jordan had his best performance of the young season for the Clippers in their blowout win over the Spurs. He finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks and two steals, and his 10-for-12 performance from the floor brought his field goal percentage on the season up to a ridiculous 74 percent. Based on his per-game numbers, he's currently 77th on the Player Rater, which is no great shakes, sure, but is also significantly ahead of where he was drafted in most leagues.

• After posting 19 points in 26 minutes for the Warriors in a win over the Cavaliers, Carl Landry is now ahead of -- to name a few names -- LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Russell Westbrook in scoring on a per-minute basis this season. The minutes thing is important, because Landry doesn't play enough to put up the kind of numbers those guys manage, but he's effective in his own right, averaging 17.0 points and 7.4 rebounds (and basically nothing else), while shooting 67 percent from the floor. It remains to be seen whether he can keep that kind of production going, but he's been productive before in his career, and probably belongs on fantasy rosters for now, especially on teams in need of help in field goal percentage.

Looking Ahead

Kirk Hinrich hasn't been able to get anything going so far this season for the Bulls, and Nate Robinson has quietly been putting together some impressive performances off the bench. He's averaging 12.3 points, 5.3 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals, and while he'll have a tough time against a stingy Thunder defense on Thursday night, he's also a player with a long history of fantasy relevance when he's given a chance.

• The Trail Blazers have had some exciting play early in the season, but they've also been getting lit up on defense. They're currently tied with the Suns for 26th in defensive efficiency, and just gave up 114 points to the Mavericks their last time out. Personally, I think this is going to be a theme this season, and on Thursday night I'd be looking to get secondary players on the Clippers into my lineup for the matchup. Eric Bledsoe, Jamal Crawford, and even Matt Barnes are good bets to produce decent fantasy numbers. Bledsoe, in particular, had a nice game on Wednesday night against the Spurs with 15 points and five assists, and could match those numbers against the shaky Blazers defense.

Fastbreak Player of the Night

Rather than getting cute with someone like Damian Lillard here, I'm going to stick with my logic from the previous paragraph and take Chris Paul. He didn't have to do as much as he usually does on Wednesday night against the Spurs, playing just 29 minutes in the blowout, so he should be fresh and ready to torch the rookie Lillard.