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Fantasy Basketball: Taj Gibson could be a second half breakout star


Taj Gibson

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

It seems clear to many observers, yours truly included, that Taj Gibson is the best option the Chicago Bulls have at power forward.

In today’s edition of “All Wired Up”, I’ll delve into the fantasy strengths of potential waiver wire gold like Gibson and the Hawks’ DeMarre Carroll.

» Taj Gibson, PF, Chicago Bulls (34.6 percent owned on ESPN.com) 

26 points (11-15 FG, 4-6 FT), 0 three-pointers, 5 rebounds, 2 assists,1 steal, 3 blocks, 0 turnover vs Cavaliers

The writing has been on the wall for quite a while. Gibson is the Bulls’ future at power forward, having signed a contract extension last season that pays him $33 million over four seasons.  The amnestying of Carlos Boozer seems a foregone conclusion this summer.  But the surprising thing is, Gibson is outplaying Boozer this season and definitely looks to be Tom Thibodeau’s preferred option at power forward.

With Boozer sitting out against the Cavaliers, Gibson got the start and exploded, tying his career high in scoring with 26 points.  But aside from the spot start on Wednesday, Gibson has been a great value fantasy player that is criminally underowned in leagues.

Over his past eight games, Gibson is averaging 12.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game, which slots him comfortably in the top 100 at Basketball Monster.com over the past two weeks (at number 81 to be exact.)  Even with Boozer in the lineup, Gibson plays the majority of crunch time and is averaging 28.5 minutes a game over the entire season.  There is every chance that Gibson gets an even bigger chunk of the minutes as the season progresses, but even if he doesn’t and remains as the Bulls first big off the bench, his fantasy value is rock solid and should be owned across the board.

» DeMarre Carroll, SF, Atlanta Hawks (2.1 percent owned):

17 points (6-7 FG, 2-2 FT), 3 three-pointers, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 0 blocks, 1 turnover vs. Magic

If you asked 100 people who claimed to be NBA fans, I doubt that more than five people would be able tell you which team Carroll plays for.  Smart fantasy players, however, have been all over Carroll all season.  He has started every game he’s played in this season, averaging a healthy 30.8 minutes per contest, with no real competition for his minutes.

He is Basketball Monster.com‘s number 53 player the past month, with averages of 10.5 points, 1.4 three-pointers, 5.1 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game.  That sort of value is insane and with the Hawks bench being one of the worst in the NBA, there’s absolutely no reason for his form to drop off.

In fact, his last two games have netted 19 and 17 points, with three three-pointers in each contest, perhaps signifying that a rise in value is in the offing. I own Carroll in all deep leagues and many standard leagues and I’d recommend you do the same.

Tags: Atlanta Hawks Chicago Bulls Demarre Carroll Fantasy Basketball Taj Gibson

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