Thomas Wood: April brings lots of things -- playoff races, lottery tanking, etc. -- but for fantasy purposes, it brings opportunities to largely unknown and ignored players. Rebuilding teams give big minutes to young bench players to see what they've got, and that means fantasy values. Who have you seen that's getting big minutes and is producing after flying under the radar all season?
Shap: My favorite time of the year. I love out of nowhere players, and often you can find it in youth. But even more commonly, you can find it via injury or trades. One particular guy I like via injury is generally a guy you won't care to have on your team, but you have to play him on necessity. That's Charlotte's own Bad Hands Biyombo, who in April's 5 games is averaging 9 ppg, 9 rpg, and a staggering 3 blocks per game filling in for Big Al Jefferson.
TW: I kinda like Biyombo. He's just an incredible athlete, and he's been getting better on offense.
I've got a guy along those lines -- not a young player, but a guy who's been in the league for a few years and is getting an opportunity (or, in his case, another opportunity): Omri Casspi. Casspi, though, isn't necessarily benefiting from injury, but from a coaching change. I think he fits George Karl's system better than Karl's predecessor's. He's been good for 19 and 5 with a couple assists, also in 5 April games. He also chips in a steal per game, which is a nice bonus.
S: Oh yeah, Casspi went crazy the other day. I remember him well from the old small forward carousel the Kings use to have when he first came into the league.
Speaking of three-point shooting wings, Quincy Pondexter seemed like a throw-in to get Memphis Jeff Green, but he's fitting in swimmingly with the Pelicans and ironically could be that wing to spread the floor the Griz so desperately crave. In 5 April games he's averaging a modest 12.4 ppg but a great 3.2 3pg, and his threes have been climbing month to month. He's getting very steady playing time, a category that is often all a player needs to pile up all those counting stats this late in the season.
TW: I've been a Pondexter fan back to his days at Washington, and I can't believe the Clippers haven't been able to snag him, considering how cheaply he's been acquired at least once.
Playing time is definitely the key, and New York's Shane Larkin is playing 10 more minutes per game in April than in March, from 28 to 38.4. He's not scoring a ton (8.8 per game), but he's averaging 5 boards and 5 assists with nearly 2 steals. Seems like a nice way to get a second point guard on the cheap.
S: First Alexey Shved and now Larkin. New York has got to get stats from somewhere and point guard seems to have been a prime spot for them.
Speaking of bad teams with inefficient point guards, how about speedy Ish Smith? I thought Isaiah Canaan had a great chance to produce in Philly with MCW gone, but he never seemed to fit. Ish Smith on the other hand is getting praise from teammates and coaches alike and is thriving, averaging 12.4 ppg, 6apg, and 1.2spg in 24 games with the Sixers. While he might not lead the Sixers to a title, he can give you great stats on any of these remaining Philly games.
TW: Ish is faster than speedy. He's a jet on legs. He's jumped over Isaiah Canaan for that top PG spot in Philly. They must have Canaan pegged at that 6th man spot.
Well, I've got a guy for you who might one day help a team to title, and that's Utah's Rodney Hood. Have you seen this guy's April numbers? I'll admit I had no idea until I began poking around the NBA.com stat pages doing research for this. How do you like 20/5/3 with nearly 2 steals and 2 threes a game from a rookie wing. I loved this guy at Duke, thought I was completely wrong when he couldn't struggled early, and have quietly slid back into his bandwagon. Amazingly, he's only shooting 27% from three this month after breaking 40% in the past three months, albeit in a smaller role. I can't wait to see what this guy does in a full season next year. See ya Alec Burks.
Disclaimer: Even though this is a sponsored post with affiliate links, all of the opinions in this post are my own. And as an FYI, FanDuel gave me some cash to play its daily fantasy games.