There’s been a ton of moves made this offseason, with many more to come. As of July 29, here’s my 10 players who have seen their fantasy value rise this summer:
1. Louis Williams, PHI – Now Philly’s starting point guard with Andre Miller in Portland, Williams will have to adjust to facing first units more often but he has a chance to shine. It remains to be seen if he can run a team consistently, but he might not have to with Andre Iguodala there to run the offense occasionally. Williams is a clear fantasy starter right now.
2. Amir Johnson, MIL – A perfect spot for Johnson (unless and until the Bucks add some depth like Hakim Warrick). With little to speak of up front at either the ‘3’ or ‘4’ positions, the athletic Johnson has a chance to earn valuable minutes and help fantasy teams with his shot blocking.
3. Carl Landry, HOU – The man typing this is an admitted Landry fan, and thus excited about Landry’s opportunity this year. With Yao Ming out, the Rockets have Luis Scola, unproven David Anderson, banger Chuck Hayes – and Landry. An energy guy who can play multiple positions, it would be foolish for Houston to not put this fellow on the court for at least 30 minutes per game. One of my sleepers.
4. Courtney Lee, NJN – For Lee’s title aspirations, his trade from Orlando to New Jersey was a disaster. For his fantasy value and the potential of his future earnings, this is cause for celebration. The starting SG position in New Jersey is Lee’s to lose, and the tough second-year player won’t do that.
5. Shawn Marion, DAL – Marion is on this list only because he was so bad last year. Marion needs a good point guard to thrive, and Jason Kidd is still good enough to get the most out of him. And with the lack of serious big men on Dallas’ roster after Dirk Nowitzki, Marion should log a ton of minutes at both forward positions. They will also look to him to really focus on defense, and fantasy owners would love to see his steals and blocks get back to previous levels. They can.
6. Jason Maxiell, DET – Maxiell is the forgotten man in Detroit after the major changes made by the Pistons. With Chris Wilcox and Charlie Villanueva in town, you might think Maxiell will still be relegated to bench duty. But Maxiell is – get this – better than both guys, at least defensively. And somebody has to play center. I like Maxiell to see a huge bump in minutes since he needs to just outperform the perpetually-underperforming Wilcox and Kwame Brown.
7. Zach Randolph, MEM – Randolph improved his stock dramatically with a move from a crowded Clippers frontcourt to a barren Grizzlies one. He’ll slot right in at PF, playing alongside Marc Gasol, and get back to his 20 and 10 ways (okay, maybe 18 and 9, but it will be nice to count on Randolph again won’t it? Did I really just type that?).
8. Luis Scola, HOU – Back to the Yao situation, which is really just unfortunate for all involved. That is, unless Rockets fans are pacified by Scola’s fantasy ownership percentage rising this year. He’s clearly one of the team’s top offensive options, but keep in mind that no matter how much he plays he is still basically a three-category guy: points, rebounds, FG%.
9. Channing Frye, PHO – All signs point to a big fantasy bump for Frye, who is limited statistically but nonetheless talented enough to be a nice backup fantasy center. He could indeed start in Phoenix, and will fight with Robin Lopez and Louis Amundson for the right to flank Amare Stoudemire. Phoenix’s ability to go small this year will be hurt by the loss of Matt Barnes and the knowledge that Grant Hill ain’t playing 82 games two years in a row. Frye will get run.
10. Darko Milicic, NYK – Chris Duhon owners already know: it doesn’t matter how much you suck, Mike D’Antoni can save you. Darko is in a great situation, but keep in mind that even he can screw this up royally. D’Antoni will continue to go small often with David Lee (probably) at center, but Milicic is at least an intriguing center going into the season because he can block shots, something the Knicks need desperately. If Darko plays, he will produce. (Wait, did I really just type that?)
Got any ’09-10 risers yourself? Drop ’em in the comments.