Mavs rotation unsettled without Nowitzki
The Dallas Mavericks got spanked by the Miami Heat by a 110-95 margin, and Rick Carlisle spread out the minutes among 10 players with no player logging more than 30 minutes or fewer than 16. The team's rotation has been all over the place this season with so many new pieces, and without centerpiece Dirk Nowitzki, Carlisle has been tinkering with ways to make the team work together. This means it's been maddening to own any Mav other than O.J. Mayo, as Darren Collison, Chris Kaman and Vince Carter have seen their minutes fluctuate. Additionally, Jae Crowder has seen big minutes at times, and players like Bernard James occasionally have big games as he logged 12 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks in 22 minutes Thursday with Brandan Wright and Elton Brand sidelined.
At this point, the team is treading water until Nowitzki returns, which is reported to be between Christmas and New Year's, but once that happens I expect a more consistent rotation to emerge. Mayo's value will likely diminish, and since we can't expect him to shoot 50 percent from downtown forever, he's a sell-high option until Dirk gets back. Once the dust settles, I think Darren Collison and Chris Kaman will surface as more consistent options, and Shawn Marion will retain his steady value. Since Dirk is close to returning, pay close attention to how minutes are managed when he does. We'll have a better indication of players' rest-of-season value once the team's best player is back in the lineup.
• Wesley Matthews logged 39 minutes in his second game back from a hip injury, scoring 20 points with 4 3-pointers, 4 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. He's had a quiet month, being hampered by injuries, and hadn't scored 20 points since Nov. 26, but the team needs his play on both ends of the court. This makes him an ideal buy-low option, as his stats should improve and injuries shouldn't be a concern long-term. He's considered an iron man and the games he missed this month were the first of his career.
• J.J. Hickson continues to roll, and after his 18 points and 18 boards Thursday, he is now averaging 16.8 points and 14.4 rebounds in his past five contests. He's averaging a double-double for the season, and while he doesn't contribute the blocks you'd want from a starting center, he's been a fantastic source of rebounds and field goal percentage and is showing no signs of dropping off.
• Kenneth Faried scored in single digits for the third time in the past five games and for the seventh time in his past 11 contests. He's experiencing growing pains that are typical of second-year players. Overall, he's been just fine, averaging 12.0 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 0.9 blocks in 29.1 minutes this season, although he's failed to improve on his per-minute numbers from his breakout rookie campaign and is ranked outside the top 100 on the Player Rater. It'll take some patience with Faried -- his long-term value is fantastic for keeper formats -- but owners expecting him to take a gigantic step forward this season should temper expectations.
• Glen Davis is out with a sprained left shoulder and could miss 4-6 weeks. Pay close attention to who gets the majority of his minutes, as both Andrew Nicholson and Gustavo Ayon have the skills to put up nice fantasy stats if they get more run.
• Jrue Holiday is a game-time decision Friday, as he has missed past four games with an injured foot. Evan Turner is also a game-time decision with sprained left ankle, so expect above-average contributions from Dorell Wright and Nick Young. Also, look for Jeff Teague to dominate, especially with Devin Harris questionable and rookie Maalik Wayns sticking him if Holiday is once again sidelined.
• Bradley Beal is questionable with a sore lower back, and Tyreke Evans could miss his third straight game with sore knee. This makes Cartier Martin and Jimmer Fredette, both highlighted in this week's Working the Wire, nice spot starts, as they could have increased opportunities to continue their recently improved play.