Who benefits from O.J. Mayo's suspension?
News came down on Thursday that Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo, already in the midst of an extremely tough season, will be suspended for 10 games for violating the league's anti-drug program. Considering the season Mayo has been having, this may not seem like that big of a deal to fantasy owners.
On the other hand, Mayo's name has been in many trade rumors in recent weeks, and a 10-game suspension could either speed up or halt that speculation. For all his flaws this season -- his shooting percentage has declined from 46 percent to 41 percent, and all his other numbers are down, too -- Mayo still has a considerable amount of potential, and there are lots of teams out there who need shooting guards. In the right situation, Mayo could be a valuable contributor in fantasy leagues down the stretch.
For now, at least you can go ahead and bench Mayo until he's done with his suspension, and subsequently avoid the nightly dilemma of deciding when to play him. In lieu of Mayo, you may want to look at Tony Allen. Allen is finally healthy again and can provide big numbers in steals even in limited action. In addition, you can probably expect starting point guard Mike Conley to keep playing close to the 39 minutes he got against the Nets on Wednesday, which makes him a better play in the coming weeks.
As I mentioned on Thursday morning, Landry Fields had done absolutely zip in two previous outings against the Heat this season, but he bounced back from those (and from his recent poor play in general) to put up 19 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists in the Knicks' win on Thursday. All of a sudden, he again looks like a great play moving forward. James Jones again made the most of his extra playing time with Chris Bosh out of the lineup for the Heat, putting up another 15 points, all on 3-pointers. With Bosh out at least another week, Jones is a great play for the next few games. Not much to report from the Mavs' win against the Rockets, except that Tyson Chandler might be humbly throwing his name into the All-Star consideration hat (if David Stern insists on picking a player actually listed as a center) with some great performances of late. He had 21 points and 15 rebounds against the Rockets on Thursday night, and is averaging 15.8 points and 9.4 rebounds in his past five games, while making 31 of his 33 free throws during that stretch. Kendrick Perkins once again looked good returning from injury for the Celtics against the Trail Blazers, and if he can carve out 25 minutes per game in the coming weeks, he'll be worth picking up in fantasy leagues. Finally, Paul Pierce managed to tweak his right ankle and didn't play in the fourth quarter against the Trail Blazers. No word yet on his status, but the Celtics play on Friday night, so you may want to look into other options given how conservative the C's have been with injuries this season.
The big news for Friday is that Derrick Rose is questionable with two stomach ulcers that evidently have been causing him some serious pain. C.J. Watson, Rose's backup, is capable of putting up some stats if he gets minutes, so keep an eye on Rose's status if you need some point guard stats off the waiver wire on Friday night. Not to keep harping on Landry Fields, but he had 15 points and 11 rebounds last time the Knicks faced the Hawks, and coming off his amazing performance against the Heat, he really should be in all lineups Friday night. Raja Bell, Paul Millsap and Deron Williams are all listed as questionable for the Jazz against the Timberwolves on Friday, so it's probably a good night to get C.J. Miles into your lineup. He's averaging 11 points, two steals and nearly two 3-pointers in his past five games.
Seth Landman is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.