Chris Kaman returns to fantasy relevance

February, 14, 2012

Two weeks ago, he wasn't even playing. Now he's putting up big numbers.

Of course, I'm referring to Chris Kaman.

Figuring they could unload him and his expiring contract, the New Orleans Hornets deactivated Kaman for seven straight games starting in mid-January. But when no deal materialized and several injuries ensued, the team returned Kaman to the court, much to the delight of the savvy fantasy owners who snatched him off the waiver wire.

Kaman started in place of Emeka Okafor (knee) and scored a season-high 27 points against the Utah Jazz. He also added 12 boards, a couple of steals and a block in 41 minutes. Kaman himself had missed the Hornets' previous game due to an ankle injury, but he obviously felt fine on Monday. Okafor's injury isn't known to be serious, but with the Hornets also missing Jason Smith (concussion) and Carl Landry (knee), Kaman should continue to see ample minutes for the time being. He remains available in about a quarter of leagues.

Looking back

• Yes, he's for real -- and of course I'm talking about Nikola Pekovic. With 16 points and 13 rebounds on Monday, Pekovic actually outproduced his opposing center, some guy named Dwight Howard. In February, Pek is averaging 16.6 points and 10.5 boards while shooting 61.8 percent from the field. With starter's minutes, he's even showing a little in the blocks category. The Minnesota Timberwolves face the likes of the Charlotte Bobcats, Denver Nuggets and Jazz before the break, so Pekovic owners -- as if they needed more to celebrate -- could even see him push his rejection rate slightly beyond 1.0 blocks.

• With five more 3-pointers against the Miami Heat, Carlos Delfino (24 points, two steals) has amassed 16 triples in his past four games. (It's worth noting though that no team surrenders more buckets from downtown than the Heat.) The Milwaukee Bucks have five more games ahead of the break, making Delfino a worthy add in leagues of at least 12 teams.

• In his second start since missing more than a month with a hamstring injury, Corey Maggette (22 points, three steals) played an effective 32 minutes against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Bobcats play a ton in March and April, making Maggette a good down-the-road play in head-to-head leagues.

Kenyon Martin (10 points, four blocks and three rebounds) hit 5-of-7 shots in 26 minutes in his most productive game with the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers need someone to back up Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, making K-Mart another possible add in leagues of at least 12 teams.

Looking ahead

• And now we can talk about Jeremy Lin. Actually, Lin is only part of the story on Tuesday, as the New York Knicks visit the Toronto Raptors. Amare Stoudemire, who's been away from the team mourning the death of his brother, practiced on Monday and is expected to start. Carmelo Anthony (groin) didn't practice and isn't expected to play. Stoudemire figures to benefit as much as any Knick from Lin's presence; it will be fun to see them on the court together.

Derrick Rose (back) seems likely to be sidelined again when the Chicago Bulls host the Sacramento Kings. C.J. Watson hasn't shot well the past three games, but he remains a strong fill-in play.

Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap owners can rest easy. With the Jazz in the midst of back-to-back-to-back games and struggling, head coach Ty Corbin benched those two, along with Devin Harris and Raja Bell for the fourth quarter against the Hornets. Jefferson still had 14 points and 12 rebounds in 26 minutes, while Millsap managed just four points in 22 minutes. Both should be fine for Tuesday, when the Jazz visit the Oklahoma City Thunder.

• Here's a sneaky fill-in play for deep leagues: Corey Brewer. The Nuggets, who've floundered without Danilo Gallinari and others, gave Brewer a start against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday, and he responded with 19 points, five rebounds and a couple of steals in 34 minutes. On Tuesday, the Nuggets host the Phoenix Suns, who play the second of three straight games.



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