Fantasy basketball owners should always be looking to take advantage of situations that can give them a leg up in weekly matchups. Adding hot players on nights with a lower volume of games is one way to do that. The Los Angeles Lakers’ scorching hot Jodie Meeks is a perfect example of someone who can serve as a great plug-and-play with Tuesday’s condensed, four-game schedule.
» Meeks is easily the best player to target for tonight. With Kobe Bryant out, the Lakers have turned to Meeks, as well as Nick Young, to carry much of the scoring load. Coach Mike D’Antoni prefers to bring Young off the bench, which means Meeks has been starting. The good thing is that neither have been really been dipping into one another’s minutes, both averaging over 30 minutes a game in January. Since Bryant went down with a knee injury on December 17, Meeks is averaging 15.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists, but the two stats that stand out the most are his 2.1 steals and 2.1 three-pointers made during that 13-game period. In fact, Meeks is 85th overall during that time span, according to BasketballMonster.com – ranking higher than guys like Tony Parker, Zach Randolph, Jeff Teague and Dwight Howard. Meeks is ripe for the picking in 39 percent of ESPN.com fantasy leagues.
» The Lakers’ opponents on Tuesday, the Cleveland Cavaliers, can also provide fantasy owners with some interesting spot-starters. The Lakers are the second-worst team in the NBA when it comes to defending the shooting guard position. The Cavs’ Dion Waiters and C.J. Miles are two lesser-owned guys that stand to make a killing vs. the Lakers’ porous D on Tuesday night. Waiters, who is available in 42 percent of ESPN.com leagues, is coming off a four-point, 1-of-7 shooting clunker, but in his previous nine games the former Syracuse product is averaging 15.9 points and 1.1 threes. The shooting percentage isn’t there (41.4 percent on the season), but he makes for a great spot start facing a team allowing 105.1 points per game – good (or bad?) for 29th in the league. Miles is also a guy in the same boat as Waiters, but while Waiters has been coming off the bench for the Cavs, Miles has been starting. He has been on fire of late, putting up 17.6 points, 1.6 steals and an inhuman 3.0 three-pointers in his last eight games, which included a 10 three-pointer night vs. the Sixers last Tuesday. Miles is far more accessible than Waiters, with availability in 76.4 percent of ESPN.com leagues. The matchup is the same, so deciding who to add may hinge on who is still a free agent in your league.
Other Players to Consider:
Amar’e Stoudemire (75 percent available) is getting healthier for the New York Knicks, and with that have come increased minutes and production. His stats can be hit-or-miss on a nightly basis, but he’s topped the 20-point mark three times in his last 10 games and is playing a reasonable 23 minutes per contest during that span. … He’s a free agent in just 19 percent of ESPN.com leagues, but the Pacers’ George Hill is worth pickup if your league is one of those he’s still available in. After having a breakout year in ’12-13, Hill is having a season to forget, but don’t let that stop you from considering him tonight. His points and assists are down from a year ago, but he’s averaging 1.5 threes and nearly a steal a game. Plus, the Pacers’ opponents tonight – the Sacramento Kings – are the 25th-ranked team in fantasy vs. opposing point guards.