Fantasy Forecast: No power surge from Ibaka

Week 4 of the NBA season marks the “slow down week” in terms of the number of games played for teams. Only one team plays five games, the Clippers; That being said, there are still 24 teams with three games which means guys nursing injuries aren’t likely to get much rest.

Right now the big injury is Chris Paul’s strained hamstring. The good news is that the MRI came back negative for any significant injuries. He is questionable for Monday’s game against the Nets, but owners will want to make sure he is in their line-up unless he is officially ruled out.

On a side note, owners of Monta Ellis will want to make sure they supplement their line-ups with additional help in the FG percentage fields until Stephen Curry gets back. Ellis is launching scud missile after scud missile in Curry’s absence and his owners are the ones suffering. Pad him with an extra PF or C that gets you a 50-plus percent shooting night to even things out.

Start ‘em

Kyle Lowry: Lowry missed two with a foot injury, but has returned to his fantasy league stud status with back-to-back monster games last week. The guy is averaging 15.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, 9.4 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.3 3PG this season. Not bad for a guy taken in the middle of the 4th round in most drafts.

* Ricky Rubio: Over the last week, Rubio is averaging 13.2 points, 10.6 assists and 3.0 steals a night. Those numbers put him in the top 25 for all fantasy basketball players and he is making a believer out of his critics early in the season.

Anthony Morrow: The Nets are starting the season right where they left off last season, losing. However, Morrow has been able to fly somewhat under the fantasy radar this season (owned in 66 percent of leagues) because of his truly one dimensional role with his team. If you need 3-pointers, Morrow is averaging 2.5 3PG, and 12.4 points a night overall. He won’t help you anywhere but 3’s and points, but he can be had on some waiver wires or via trade for fairly cheap if you need those stats.

* Luke Ridnour: Ridnour isn’t your traditional SG, but you can’t ignore the 12.3 points, 3.3 assists, 1.3 3PG and 1.2 SPG he is putting up either. If you need a utility player and he is on the waiver wire, give him some serious thought.

Caron Butler: If someone had told me five years ago that the Clippers would be the hot ticket in L.A., I would have slapped them and hit them with a restraining order just so I wouldn’t have to hear their crazy talk again. The Clippers have flipped the script and the Lakers are looking up at them in the standings as of Sunday night. Butler is doing his part for the new-look Clippers with his 16.1 points and 4.3 rebounds a night, so play him without reservation until he gives you reason not to.

Kris Humphries: With all the Kim drama behind him, Humphries has found his groove within the Nets struggling offense and has managed to put up 16.3 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals and blocks over his past four games. I like him this week with the Nets 4-game schedule and would have no problems picking him up in a cap league if the price is right. * Kevin Love: The guy is simply a beast, enough said!

Samuel Dalembert: Dalembert is available in about 40 percent of leagues, so go pick him up before reading the rest of this article if you are in one of those leagues! Over the last week, he is averaging 9.8 points, 6.7 defensive rebounds, 4.0 offensive rebounds and 2.0 blocks a night. The rebounding split is amazing and the blocks are just icing on the cake. The guy has the confidence of his coaches and he should continue to get the minutes as long as he can stop fouling out like he did on Saturday.

Sit ‘em

Serge Ibaka: Ibaka was someone I was high on coming into the season, but he has been the exact opposite thus far. Averaging just over 24 MPG, Ibaka’s fantasy stats are erratic (7.1 PPG and 5.9 RPG) and his real-time defense is to blame. At best he is a liability to the Thunder on the court defensively, and that translates into a bench role in the NBA and a waiver wire role in fantasy basketball. Cut him and find someone else ASAP.

Devin Harris: The off-season was rough for Harris in many respects, and it looks like the troubles aren’t over yet. So far Harris is averaging just 8.7 points and 4.5 assists per-game, and he is turning the ball over 2.3 times a night. I think he is better than the numbers show, but stashing him when there may be a hot FA on the waiver wire right now is hard to recommend. I’d sit him until further notice at the very least, and give some serious thought to cutting him outright if there is a sexy FA on the wire.

Paul George: I named George as one of my sleeper picks in the pre-season and I’m not backing off that prediction. However, the Pacers are one of the teams that play just three games this week, and George looks like he could use the rest given his erratic totals the last few games. His value is in points and 3’s, so be aware and beware.

Rashard Lewis: The one-time fantasy stud has turned the corner and is little more than waiver wire fodder these days. The Wizards are losing almost every single night and that looks to be taking a toll on its players. This season Lewis has been moved out of the starting lineup and is averaging just 9.1 points and 3.8 rebounds a night. Cut him right now!

* Derrick Williams: I was sure that Williams would see some extra run at SF with Michael Beasley out, but I was apparently wrong. Williams’ minutes have been on a steady decline since his 30 minute game on Jan. 8th against the Wizards, and he finished with just 16 minutes against the Hornets of Friday. If you want to cut him for someone like Samuel Dalembert, I have no problems with that move at this time.

Kendrick Perkins: Perkins has been nothing short of a bust this season with his 5.4 points and 6.1 rebound averages. The only bright side to his play are the 1.2 blocks a night he is giving the roughly 40 percent of owners brave enough to carry him on their rosters. If you own Perkins, cut him loose and grab Dalembert or B.J. Mullens off the waiver wire.

* Darko Milicic: This season Milicic has seen his fantasy value plummet. Without rubbing salt in the wounds, the reality is Milicic is putting up 5.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and just 0.8 blocks a night this season. There is no reason to own him in even the deepest of leagues at this point.

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