- Josh Whitling, Fantasy Basketball
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Valentine's Day is all about sharing love with that one special person. But I'm all about spreading the love. Mostly to strangers. From shallow to deep leagues, there's enough of my Working the Wire love to go around, and I want to provide options to those in all formats. I understand that my suggestions don't always appeal to you; if you're in a 10-team league, my recommendations of players owned in less than 1 percent of leagues wouldn't sniff a roster spot in your world. Conversely, players available in more than a quarter of leagues are long gone to those of you in deep leagues. So I try to please a wide range of fantasy owners. This week, I'm going to cover a variety of players who are worth monitoring in all types of leagues and, in an attempt to share the love with as many people as possible, hit more players with fewer words per player. Here are some widely available options for leagues of all shapes and sizes; hopefully there's someone who fits the hole in your roster so I can fill the hole in your heart.
DeJuan Blair, PF/C, San Antonio Spurs (41.1 percent owned): Blair has been scorching recently, scoring a career-high 28 points Wednesday and averaging 15.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 0.6 blocks in 30 minutes per game in his past five contests. He has been fantastic all season on a per-minute basis, and now is getting more playing time due to his hot play and Gregg Popovich's tendency to rest Tim Duncan as the season progresses. He has at least one steal in each of his past 11 games and at least 11 boards in five of his past six. He still will put up some clunkers but is productive enough when on the court and is seeing enough PT recently to be worth owning in all formats.
Kendrick Perkins, C, Boston Celtics (20.1 percent owned): Shaquille O'Neal is likely out until after the All-Star break, and Perkins is starting, a role he might not relinquish even once Shaq returns. He's averaging 10.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks and shooting 56.7 percent from the floor in his past five contests, four of them starts. He won't provide much in the way of points and is awful from the stripe, but he should be a solid source of boards, blocks and field goal percentage for the rest of the season.
Jonny Flynn, PG, Minnesota Timberwolves (15.1 percent owned): Flynn has been a disappointment since returning from injury in mid-December, failing to earn the starting nod over the surprisingly stellar Luke Ridnour. Well, with Ridnour out with a personal issue for the past five games, Flynn has picked it up, averaging 11.6 points, 5.8 assists, 1.4 steals and 0.6 3s in 30 minutes per game. He'll likely go back to the bench once Ridnour returns, although his decent play should earn him more than the 17.1 minutes he was averaging before his current starting stint. Flynn has upside and still should be in the Wolves' long-term plans, so they'll likely want to give him more run to evaluate exactly what that means. He should be a decent source of assists, 3s and steals, and since assists are so tough to find on the wire, he's worth considering if you're in need of dimes.
Jose Juan Barea, PG, Dallas Mavericks (2.3 percent owned): Barea is prone to scoring binges, and February has been especially kind to him thus far, with averages of 15.7 points, 3.8 assists and 1.8 3s on 52.2 percent shooting from the field and 84.6 percent shooting from the stripe in six games. His minutes have increased with each month of the season, and this month he's at 25.3 per game, compared to his season average of 20.6. DeShawn Stevenson has been ineffective recently, averaging just 19.6 minutes per game with 1 3-pointer in his past five, and Barea is benefitting. It's also a plus that Barea can play both guard positions, since it wouldn't be surprising if Jason Kidd's minutes diminished as we near the playoffs in an attempt to keep his aging legs fresh. Barea is playing his best ball of the season, with double-digit scoring efforts in five of his past six games, and should continue to be a valid source of points and 3s with helpful assists.
Jodie Meeks, SG, Philadelphia 76ers (2.7 percent owned): Meeks is a streaky shooter who slumped in January after a fantastic December in which he averaged 11.3 points and 1.8 3s per game. He's back at it, notching double digits in six of his past seven contests, and averaging 13.6 points, 2.2 3s and 1.4 steals per game in his past five. He's a great source of 3s, with 1.7 per game on the season, and he's nice from the stripe, shooting 88.9 percent on 2.5 attempts per game. If you need 3s, grab him while he's hot, because he provides them in bunches and is in the midst of a torrid streak.
Eddie House, PG/SG, Miami Heat (1.1 percent owned): House is doing what he does best, acting as a spark plug off the Heat bench and draining clutch 3s. Recently, he's doing it at an increased rate, with 2.2 3s and 11 points per game in his past five compared to 1.4 3s and 7 points per game on the season. He offers little else but has the green light and sees enough open looks to capitalize on his 44.1 percent shooting from downtown on the season. If you need 3s, House should be able to provide between 1.5 and 2 per game for the rest of the season in this role.
Timofey Mozgov, C, New York Knicks (1.1 percent owned): Mozgov had disappeared from Mike D'Antoni's rotation but re-entered the starting lineup recently with Ronny Turiaf sidelined and turned many a head with his 23-point, 14-rebound performance Jan. 30. He's remained in the starting lineup since, averaging 11.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game while shooting 65.7 percent from the floor. Turiaf likely is out until after the All-Star break, which is another three games, so Mozgov has a window to shine and convince the coach he deserves the PT regardless. His recent averages are worth starting in most formats, so he has short-term value in any league, and his strong play could keep him relevant. D'Antoni can be fickle with his short rotations, though, so grab Mozgov and start him with confidence for the next week, then monitor his usage once Turiaf returns.
Christian Eyenga, SG, Cleveland Cavaliers (0.9 percent owned): One of the few bright spots amid the Cavaliers' epic dismalness is the emergence of Eyenga, whose defensive stats from the shooting guard position are impressive. He's averaging 0.8 steals and 1.1 blocks in 26.4 minutes per game on the season, and in 12 starts, he's at 1 steal and 1.3 blocks. In his past five, he's at an astounding 1.8 steals and 1.8 blocks to go along with 11.4 points, 0.8 3s, 3.8 rebounds and 2 assists per game with just 0.8 turnovers. His blocks from the guard position are his most noteworthy category, although he also provides steals and a little of everything else. His playing time should stay around 30 minutes per game with the Cavs obviously evaluating their pieces for the future, and if you're in need of defensive stats, Eyenga has emerged as a surprising provider of both blocks and steals.
Anthony Parker, SG/SF, Cavaliers (0.7 percent owned): I've always liked Parker's fantasy game, but he's disappointed this season, largely due to his terrible 39.8 percent shooting from the floor. Compared to his career mark of 44.8, Parker has been off this season, but things are looking up. He missed some time due to injury in January but is off to a fantastic start in February, averaging 2 3s and 2 steals per game in his past five while shooting 53.7 percent from the floor in 28.4 minutes per game. He is good for 3s and steals with low turnovers, and even provides around three assists per game when he's on his game.
Austin Daye, SF/PF, Detroit Pistons (0.5 percent owned): Daye's playing time has increased lately, as he's averaging 26.2 minutes per game in his past five, compared to 18.3 on the season. He's got the tools to be a versatile player who can provide some across-the-board production once he acclimates to the league a bit more, so for now, most of his worth is in 3s, where he's averaging 1.4 per game in his past five contests. He has long-term potential in 3s, steals and blocks, with averages of 1.0 3s, 0.4 steals and 0.4 blocks in just 18.3 minutes per game on the season, so if you're looking for a high-upside option who provides 3s from the frontcourt positions, Daye is worth a deep-league look.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, SF/PF, Milwaukee Bucks (0.2 percent owned): Mbah a Moute has gained some notice recently with performances of 14 and 19 rebounds in games this month, and is averaging 8.8 rebounds per game in February. He is all defense, and after averaging 0.7 steals and 0.5 blocks per game in January, he is worth a look in the deepest formats if your team needs boards with a few steals and blocks thrown in.
Gerald Henderson, SG, Charlotte Bobcats (0.1 percent owned): Henderson is the key man off the Bobcats' bench, and has recent games of 14 and 15 points, while averaging 9.8 points, 4 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 25.4 minutes per game in his past five contests. Paul Silas seems to like him, and he's shown the ability to provide some scoring punch off the bench, so in the deepest of leagues, Henderson is showing some worth. He should be able to average around 10 points per game from here forward.
Josh Whitling is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.