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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fantasy focus: Tayshaun Prince and Ryan Hollins

You might remember Tayshaun Prince as a very good defender whose defensive reach and left-handed jump shot caused many teams problems when Joe Dumars' Pistons were an intimidating bunch -- not a 16-31 team that has one fewer win than the Indiana Pacers.

Fantasy owners now recall Prince as an oft-injured shell of himself, one who has played in only 15 games this season because of back and knee injuries.

It's much too early to be overly optimistic, but Prince has shown some encouraging signs in the last five games since returning from a sore knee. He has averaged 11 points and 5.4 rebounds in that span, and in the last two, he's totaled 27 points and 17 rebounds on 12-of-26 shooting (46.2 percent). The latter percentage isn't impressive, but it's much better than Prince's season average of 41.2 percent -- 4.8 below his career norm.

Prince is available in more than 73 percent of the leagues on for a reason. But if you need help at forward, or if you're in a daily league in which you play everyone on your roster based on the schedule, he's worth considering.

From Bad Boy to serviceable reserve -- the 2009-10 Pistons.

-- Showing some bite: In four NBA seasons, Ryan Hollins has averaged 3.5 points and 2.1 rebounds in 10.8 minutes per game. He's also the key to the Timberwolves' resurgence.

The latter is a slight (OK, huge) exaggeration, but Minnesota (11-38) is 2-0 since Hollins was inserted into the starting lineup. In that span, the center has 35 points, six rebounds and four blocks in 60 minutes. Hollins is 13 of 19 from the floor in the two contests.

This is a bigger reach than believing "Pants on the Ground" would become a song we couldn't get out of our heads, but Hollins -- who is owned in 0.4 percent (yes, 0.4) percent of the ESPN leagues -- is worth monitoring in the next week or two.

One, he's a center, a position at which you can't have enough help. Two, he's shooting 54.1 percent from the field and, if given minutes, might help you in points and blocks.

The bad (believe it or not, Hollins has negatives): The 7-footer is averaging all of 2.9 rebounds in 17.1 minutes this season.

Again, this is a reach, but Hollins should be on your watch list.

Pants on the ground, pants on the ground ...

-- Chris Paul update: After knee surgery Thursday, the Hornets point guard will be out 4-6 weeks. Considering most leagues begin their postseasons in Weeks 21 or 22, and this is Week 15, Paul owners will be fortunate if they get their first-round selection back in time for the playoffs.

Keep that in mind if your league's trade deadline hasn't passed. As I wrote Monday, Darren Collison is more than an adequate replacement for Paul on your roster.

The Hornets rookie has 42 points and 41 assists in three games since Paul was injured.

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