Apr 5 2013 9:44AM

Fantasy Friday: Finish-Line Finds

The fantasy basketball season is 93 percent complete, which means we are now in the stretch run for the money.

If you're in a head-to-head league, you are probably headed toward the championship round next week. And if you are in a points league, you are 12 days away from the fantasy finish line.

With that being the case, we thought you might need some last minute plug-ins, if any of your starters happen to have gone down with injury lately.

Here are the five best fantasy finish-line finds out there--one for each position--with each player now available in a majority of ESPN fantasy leagues.

ANDRE DRUMMOND, DETROIT PISTONS CENTER: We've been drumming up support for Mr. Drummond awhile now, and I can't believe he is still owned in only 40 percent of fantasy leagues. His midseason back injury had something to do with some owners dropping him, but the 19-year-old rookie sensation is back, and now he is in the Pistons' starting lineup, averaging 9 points and 8 rebounds in 21 minutes per game during the four starts. That stat line might be better than any free agent out there, but keep in mind, if the Pistons center gets an increase in playing time, he will pay off big time. Drummond's per-36-minute stats on the season translate to 14 points, 14 rebounds, 3 blocked shots and 60 percent field goal percentage. Drummond does have a Kryptonite (34 percent free throws), but he is putting up unprecedented numbers for a teen and could get a minute increase so that Coach Lawrence Frank can see what he truly has in his 6-10, 270-pound center. Drummond's 22.2 Player Efficiency Rating is the best in NBA history for any teenager, topping Kyrie Irving's 21.4 in 2011-12, Anthony Davis' 21.2 in 2012-13, Tracy McGrady's 20.6 in 1999 and 17.4 in 1997-98, Kobe Bryant's 18.5 in 1997-98, LeBron James' 18.3 in 2003-04, Carmelo Anthony's 17.6 in 2003-04 and Dwight Howard's 17.2 in 2004-05. Get the picture? If you're in a keeper league, make sure you get Drummond because he can help you at both the finish line and beyond.
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TIAGO SPLITTER, SAN ANTONIO SPURS POWER FORWARD: San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich is certain to rest his stars Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, not to mention Kawhi Leonard, over the Spurs' next six games. And because of that, Splitter--who has not missed a game all season--is likely to be the continued benefactor of his fellow Spurs' rest time. In his 53 games as a starter this year, the 6-11, 240-pound Splitter is averaging 11 points and 7 rebounds in 28 minutes per game while shooting 56 percent from the field. It's an efficient stat line like that which has contributed to the 28 year old's 18.7 PER. You never know. Pop may rest Splitter too, but the fact that the Spurs big man has not missed a game all season means the odds are good in his favor. He is only owned in 41 percent of the fantasy leagues and has been a steady improving contributor all season long.
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WILSON CHANDLER, DENVER NUGGETS SMALL FORWARD: It really is surprising that Chandler is only owned in 20 percent of fantasy leagues, especially since he came back from hip surgery almost three months ago. Granted, his game didn't really get clicking until after the All-Star break, but since that time, Chandler has been a fantasy find, averaging 14 points and 5 rebounds in 27 minutes per game while shooting 49 percent from the field and 78 percent at the line. It's so hard these days to get a contributing small forward that it is just shocking that Chandler is still available in four out of five leagues. With the Nuggets still fighting for a No.3 seed--and Chandler now averaging 28 minutes per game during Denver's last five contests--he's a good play for the stretch run.
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JIMMY BUTLER, CHICAGO BULLS SHOOTING GUARD: Meet the future, Jimmy Butler, who is also doing quite well in the present. The 23-year-old wing has steadily seen his minutes increase all season (from 16 minutes per game in November to 31 mpg in March) and now Coach Tom Thibodeau has enough confidence in his young stud to play Butler a Luol Deng-type 43 minutes per game in the Bulls' last five contests. There is no doubt that Butler has earned the shooting-guard wing position alongside Deng--bumping the other Chicago vets to the side in the process--and that he will likely hold this spot down for years to come. In the last six games alone, Butler has averaged 16 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 1 block per game. If you can find another free agent shooting guard who can do all that, then take him. Butler is only owned in 14 percent of fantasy leagues now. Get him!
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BRIAN ROBERTS, NEW ORLEANS HORNETS POINT GUARD: I am not as strong on Roberts as I am on the aforementioned four, mainly because Roberts still comes off the bench to support Greivis Vasquez and Eric Gordon. I wanted to hype up Atlanta Hawks point guard Devin Harris here, since he is only owned in 12 percent of leagues, but he is a day-to-day injury risk, whose ailing big toe may force him to miss a game or two. So if you do need a point guard during this stretch run, go get Roberts, who is as solid as they come. He is only owned in 3 percent of fantasy leagues, yet produces a steady 14.97 PER all season long. With inefficient rookie Austin Rivers going down for the season with a hand injury, Roberts has seen his playing time off the bench rise. Coach Monty Williams must like what he sees because in the last five games, he has given Roberts even more playing time and the 27-year-old rookie has responded. In the last five games, Roberts is averaging 11 points and 6 assists in 31 minutes per game, while shooting 51 percent from the field. It's not sexy. But if you have a need to fill, Roberts is reliable.
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