Jan 22, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Chicago Bulls power forward Taj Gibson (22) celebrates a three-point basket by small forward Mike Dunleavy (not pictured) in the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Basketball: Bulls' Taj Gibson is a must-own player in all leagues

taj gibson

Bulls’ PF Taj Gibson is a must-own player in all fantasy leagues (Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

The Chicago Bulls’ Taj Gibson is available in many fantasy basketball leagues, but that’s something that needs to change immediately.

I’m always shocked when I see certain players with very low ownership across many popular fantasy sites — and Gibson is one of those players.  There’s absolutely no reason he shouldn’t be 100 percent owned in anything but the shallowest of formats, yet he continues to sit on many waiver wires.

Over his last 10 games played, Gibson is averaging 16.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.1 steals, and 1.7 blocks.  In seven of those games, the fifth-year pro came off the Bulls’ bench, but his numbers skyrocket when he’s thrust into the starting lineup — averaging 23.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 2.3 blocks.

The mantra among fantasy basketball owners is that if Carlos Boozer sits, you add Gibson, but judging by his numbers, Gibson is someone that should be owned regardless of whether Boozer suits up or not.  Fantasy owners don’t seem to be getting the hint, though.  Gibson is somehow owned in just 84.9 percent of ESPN.com leagues and in an appalling 54 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

The Bulls currently reside in fifth place of the abysmal Eastern Conference — tied with the Washington Wizards — and they have a solid three-and-a-half game lead over the eighth-seed Charlotte Bobcats.  It’s unlikely a team this talented will miss the playoffs, meaning Gibson should continue to see plenty of minutes down the stretch.

Gibson’s minutes have crept up every single month this season, from 24.6 in Oct./Nov. to 33.2 in February.  His numbers are even more staggering as a starter.  In seven starts, he’s averaging 18.6 points and 9.4 boards in 41.7 minutes.

Boozer is a serviceable fantasy power forward, but owners can only rely on him for scoring and rebounding, while Gibson provides stats in those two categories, plus blocks and steals.  The defensive-minded Gibson — not Boozer — is clearly the favorite on a Tom Thibodeau-coached team that prides itself on a defense-first game plan.  Over the past month, Gibson is No. 62 on Basketball Monster.com’s player ranker, while Boozer is No. 157 — and I see no reason why that gap won’t continue to grow even further apart.

Right now Boozer is dealing with a calf injury and everyone and their mother knows the Bulls are planning on using their amnesty clause on him this summer.  Those two things, plus his recent public displeasure for his lack of playing time, makes him more expendable to Thibodeau.

If you own Boozer, why not try offering him to the Gibson owner in your league?  By name alone, he/she may bite.  Having Gibson for the fantasy playoffs will prove to be far more valuable than having to walk down that road with Boozer.

Tags: Carlos Boozer Chicago Bulls Fantasy Basketball Taj Gibson

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