C.J. Watson taking advantage of opportunity
Derrick Rose sat out both weekend games with back spasms after struggling with back pain since the end of January. He's set to see a specialist on Monday, which will determine how much time, if any, the superstar will miss. That's difficult news to swallow for fantasy owners relying upon Rose's 22.0 points and 7.8 assists per game, and logic dictates that the Bulls will be cautious with the situation so that he can be at full strength for the playoffs. The silver lining is that C.J. Watson has been excellent when given the opportunity this season, and if Rose misses extended time, Watson is worthy of a roster spot in all formats. In four starts this season, Watson is averaging 14.0 points, 6.5 assists, 2.0 3-pointers and 2.5 steals per game. He won't be able to average those type of peripherals on an extended basis, but the points and assists should remain around that level if starting, and he'll remain a legitimate contributor in those four categories. If you have a roster spot available, he's worth a speculative add before the news about Rose's status comes out, because if it indicates he'll miss significant time, Watson will be snapped up quickly.
• Gordon Hayward continues to roll, as he scored 23 points to go along with five assists, two steals and two 3s against Memphis Sunday. That marks the eighth time in the past nine contests in which he's scored in double-digits, and in February he's averaging 14.4 points with 1.3 steals, 0.9 blocks and 0.4 3s per game. He's also shooting 85.7 percent from the stripe on 4.0 attempts per game, demonstrating the fact that he can be an across-the-board fantasy contributor. He ranks 70th on the 15-day Player Rater, and his only negative contribution is -0.01 in rebounds. Add liberally, especially in roto formats.
• JaVale McGee had a giant weekend, averaging 23.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in two contests, going a combined 20-for-38 (52.6 percent) from the floor. He's prone to mental lapses and struggles with consistency, but this demonstrates the fact that he has the ability to be more than just a shot-blocker. His points and rebounds are actually down in February (9.7 and 7.7 per game, respectively, compared to 11.2 and 8.9 for the season), despite the lack of Andray Blatche in the lineup, so this recent stretch is a positive sign to his fantasy owners.
• Jeff Teague has been one of the best players this season with regard to return-on-investment, as he was available in the final rounds of drafts and has been a top-50 contributor. But during the past few weeks, he hasn't been a top-100 player, as he's averaging just 10.2 points, 3.4 assists, 0.6 3s and 0.6 steals per game in February after Sunday's six-point, two-assist performance. The growing pains are to be expected, as he's a third-year player who was thrust into huge minutes and is learning how to be a starting NBA point guard on the fly. I love him for the long term, and think he'll be a fantasy mainstay, but it'll be hard for him to maintain his early-season pace, especially his 1.8 steals per game and 48.3 percent from the floor. I wouldn't drop him, but temper your expectations going forward.
• Klay Thompson was one of the rookies many picked to surface on the fantasy radar due to his 3-point shooting ability, which he's flexed in his past two contests. He scored 14 points with four 3s on Sunday in 22 minutes, which was following up a 19-point performance with three 3s on Thursday. He's averaging 1.5 3s per game in just 16.7 minutes this season, and it looks as if his minutes are on the rise, so if you need 3-point help in deeper leagues, this rookie has the pedigree and skills to be valuable.
Jarrett Jack is expected to miss at least another week with a sore right knee, so look for Greivis Vasquez to continue playing well. Mario Chalmers returned to the lineup this weekend, averaging 26.0 minutes in Friday's and Sunday's games combined. Since his hand is the issue, don't be surprised if his 3-point totals are affected, but if you were relying upon him in deeper leagues feel free to get him back in your lineup. Same with Jason Kidd, who returned Friday and averaged 9.0 assists, 1.5 3s and 1.5 steals per game over the weekend. Get him back in your lineup, and consider Rodrigue Beaubois expendable with Kidd back in the mix.