Nate Robinson worth owning for now
With Rajon Rondo out 1-2 weeks after hurting his left ankle in the fourth quarter against the New York Knicks on Wednesday, it is now on Nate Robinson to facilitate the Boston Celtics' offense, and despite the fact that he didn't have a great game against the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night, Robinson should definitely be in fantasy lineups through the end of this month (assuming the Celtics are a bit cautious with Rondo).
Robinson, however, is anything but a sure thing. Yes, he's averaging 16.0 points and 5.4 assists in five games as a starter, and he's making 39 percent of his 3-pointers on the season, but Thursday night was his first game with multiple steals, so he's not the multi-category force he was when he was a fantasy stud with the Knicks. Beyond that, he's far from consistent. One of the games he started was a win against the Nets in which he played only 20 minutes, and Thursday night we saw how mediocre his numbers can get when he's not having a great shooting night.
Everything considered, Robinson certainly deserves a spot on fantasy rosters for the next two weeks, but to expect anything more than the numbers he's averaging as a starter would be folly, and once Rondo's back, you will probably need to drop Robinson from your roster again.
If you were worried about the Celtics' defense after Wednesday night in New York, you can probably rest easy now. Outside of a good shooting night by Marvin Williams and some inspired point guard play off the bench by Jeff Teague, the Celtics shut down the rest of Atlanta's good players. Put it this way: Josh Smith and Al Horford combined for just nine points, and eight of those were Horford's. Paul Pierce had a season-high 10 assists, and while that sort of thing hasn't been common with Rondo out of the lineup, it's a possibility during the next couple of weeks. Glen Davis is averaging 15.4 points and 7.0 rebounds in his past five games with the Celtics' razor-thin big-man rotation; given that he's not blocking shots and adding only one steal per game during that stretch (while shooting just below 50 percent from the floor), that still only puts him right on the fringe of fantasy usefulness in most leagues. Kris Humphries continues to be extremely impressive for the Nets. He had 17 rebounds in the win Thursday against the Wizards and has averaged 9.8 points, 12.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in his past five games. As long as Nick Young is playing around 30 minutes per game on a regular basis for the Wizards, it appears he's worth starting on your fantasy team. He had 22 points against the Nets and has averaged 18.6 points, 2.0 3s and 1.4 steals in his past five games. Not only did Manu Ginobili make his second consecutive game-winning shot (a running bank shot with 4.2 seconds left against the Nuggets), but he took the game-sealing charge on Carmelo Anthony. That said, it probably goes without saying that it wasn't a banner fantasy night for Manu (you can't have everything). Ty Lawson finished with 15 points (6-for-10 shooting) and seven assists for the Nuggets and definitely belongs in fantasy lineups until Chauncey Billups returns (and maybe even after that).
Considering how average the Knicks made the Celtics' defense look Wednesday night, I'm certainly expecting some more fireworks when the Heat come to MSG on Friday. With Carlos Arroyo questionable for personal reasons, it might be a good night to make sure you've got Mario Chalmers in your lineup for the Heat, especially if you need 3s and steals. Gerald Wallace is doubtful with a sprained right ankle for the Bobcats against the Hawks; there's really no one to play instead of him (unless, inexplicably, you're a big Dominic McGuire fan), but Tyrus Thomas has posted two straight double-digit scoring games in limited minutes and definitely should be playing more in general. I'd keep an eye on him, and would even play him if I was desperate for blocks. Last time Deron Williams and the Jazz faced Chris Paul and the Hornets, the Jazz won big and so did Williams (26 points, 11 assists, five steals). This time, the game is in New Orleans, and I'm especially intrigued by the fact that Marcus Thornton might be working his way back into the Hornets' rotation. He had 19 points in 24 minutes Wednesday against the Kings, and the Jazz are pretty susceptible to good shooting-guard play. He doesn't belong in your lineup quite yet, but this could be the game that gets him there.
Seth Landman is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.