Vince Carter's stock rising with Suns
Vince Carter is quietly developing some fantasy value in the desert. VC continued his recently solid play on Sunday, scoring 19 points with 7 rebounds, 3 3-pointers and 3 steals against the Cavs. He is averaging 17.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.2 3s and 0.8 steals in 32.8 minutes in the past five games since joining the Suns and returning from injury. Those numbers are better across the board than what he was putting up in Orlando, and as he grows into his role Carter should start flirting with 20 points per game. I actually see him as a good buy-low candidate, because he hasn't put up flashy numbers in Phoenix, so he hasn't seen his perceived value inflate significantly. But the numbers, playing time and style of offense are all much better situations for a fantasy player to be in, and Jason Richardson left a big scoring hole in Phoenix when he left. This should result in much better averages, and if he can stay healthy, Carter's new home is a lucrative fantasy environment that should help him get back on the fantasy radar.
DeAndre Jordan continued his recent rebound and block rampage, with another 13 boards and three blocks on Sunday. That brings his averages in the past three contests to an insane 15.0 boards and 5.0 blocks per game, and based upon his insane production in Chris Kaman's absence, it'll be interesting to see how the Clippers handle his minutes upon Kaman's return. One thing's for certain, I wouldn't drop Jordan when Kaman comes back even if it looks as if Jordan's minutes are going to be reduced significantly, because Kaman always poses an injury threat, and we've seen what Jordan can do when given run. Al Harrington was big off the bench for the Nuggets on Sunday, dropping 20 points with 7 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 3s in 31 minutes. With rumblings of a Carmelo Anthony trade becoming more and more real, the Nuggets' lineup will be all shaken up, and Harrington could be a huge beneficiary, as they'll likely be looking to replace Melo's scoring, and that's just what Harrington likes to do. Manny Harris went off for the Cavs on Sunday, dropping a career-high 27 points with 8 rebounds, 4 3s, 2 assists and a steal. This came on the heels of a 16-point, 10-rebound, 4-assist performance on Friday, and for a team looking for offense from anywhere it can find it, Harris should continue seeing significant minutes even when Daniel Gibson returns. Harris has definitely put himself on the map for deeper leagues, as he's demonstrated the ability to score and knock down 3s as well as collect solid rebounds for a guard. Pay attention to how his minutes are impacted when Gibson and Anthony Parker return from injury, because in this recent stint Harris has flashed the type of talent to make him fantasy-relevant. Jared Dudley scored 21 points with seven rebounds and five 3s in 43 minutes off the bench for the Suns on Sunday, and has retained his value despite Carter's presence. He's averaging 15.6 points with 2.4 3s and 1.0 steals per game in his past five, all games with Carter in the lineup and Dudley coming off the bench. Dudley still has value as long as he's playing the sixth-man role in Phoenix, and should continue to provide scoring punch and 3s for the Suns.
With only three games on the docket Monday, you won't be forced into any tough decisions about starting or sitting one player versus another. The Bobcats face the Grizzlies and are banged up, with Gerald Wallace, Tyrus Thomas, Stephen Jackson and Nazr Mohammed all listed as day-to-day. Since Wallace and Thomas provide a lot of the defense for the Bobcats, I wouldn't be surprised to see big performances from the Grizzlies' swingmen, namely Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo. Kevin Garnett should return this week, and perhaps even Monday, and the Celtics undoubtedly need his presence in the lineup with Jermaine O'Neal banged up. I'd wait until he plays to insert him into your starting lineup, although it's huge news for Garnett owners that he should return this week.
Josh Whitling is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.