by Emry DowningHall

With my fantasy team in dire need of some frontcourt relief, and stacked at the point guard slot, I pulled the trigger on a deal that sent Devin Harris off for Elton Brand on Wednesday afternoon.

That night I got back to my apartment around 9 p.m., and flicked on the 3rd quarter of the Bucks-Sixers game in hopes of catching a 20-point, 20-rebound and 5-block effort from Brand.

Instead of a brolic stat line, Sixers play-by-play man Mark Zumoff announced that Brand had left his feet on a pump fake and suffered a separated shoulder. What a beating!

Brand’s slated to miss one month, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him take a bit longer to get back on the floor. The “good news” is that he doesn’t immediately require surgery, but if his shoulder doesn’t respond, he’ll certainly go under the knife.

As bad as that trade worked out for me, at least I didn’t sink $80+ million into the deal. These new look Sixers are off to a rough start, and it will be interesting to see how the team responds with Brand on the shelf.

Samuel Dalembert should seize this opportunity to emerge from the boulder he’s been living under the entire season, and should be picked up if he was dropped in your league. Thaddeus Young will start in Brand’s absence and should also be added if available.

Carlos Boozer is the fantasy Grinch this holiday season, here to steal Christmas. On top of his third MRI, he also announced he’ll be opting out of his contract this summer and will be out at least one more week. At this point, the full extent of his injury is unclear, frustrating his owners to no end. The best-case scenario is that he won’t require surgery and will return sometime this season.

While Boozer is shelved, Paul Millsap has looked like the waiver wire pickup of the year. He hustles double-doubles on a nightly basis. Even after Boozer returns, Millsap has played so well he will still demand minutes and be worth owning.

Because of his ability to get rebounds and steals from the point guard slot, Rajon Rondo had all the potential to be a fantasy monster going into the season. Even so, many owners were getting their snooze on, and he fell to later rounds in a lot of drafts.

This was a direct result of the inconsistency he showed at times last season. In only his third year in the league, that’s already a thing of the past and he’s established himself as an elite fantasy and on the court point guard. He put up one of the most impressive triple-doubles in recent memory; expect him to stamp his ticket to Phoenix shortly. I’d normally recommend selling high in this situation, but I fully expect Rondo to keep this up; unless I was overwhelmed with a deal, I wouldn’t let him go.

NBA Fantasy Line of the Week
Marcus Camby, 19 points, 27 rebounds and 4 blocks
He Still CanWith respect to the financial benefits of the deal in the midst of a recession, the Nuggets did Marcus Camby dirty this summer when they traded him to the Clippers for next to nothing. I’ve always been skeptical of Camby’s health as a fantasy owner, but when healthy, there’s no one better to anchor your squad’s rebounds and blocks tally.

Last Wednesday, he painted 19 points, 27 rebounds and 4 blocks on Chicago. The Bulls’ depleted frontcourt surrendered big games all season, but Camby’s effort was premiere.

Camby’s owners may want to consider selling high before Chris Kaman returns from injury. Between those two and Zach Randolph their individual production should fall unless a trade happens.

I wasn’t able to post a column last week, so there’s a lot to cover on the waiver wire—let’s jump right into who you should be looking at in your leagues:

Boris Diaw – Since being traded to Charlotte, Diaw has posted monster lines. He’s looking like the player he was for Phoenix two seasons ago and shouldn’t be available in any leagues. His center eligibility makes his production that much sweeter.

Jamario Moon – He’s starting at the SF slot in Toronto and is a nice source of hard-to-fill categories like steals and blocks. He’s also a decent rebounder and has the ability to hit a three and score some points. I liken Moon to a poor man’s Andrei Kirilenko.

Samuel Dalembert – Is he the most disappointing fantasy player of the year so far? Are the Sixers the most disappointing team? If a new coach and Elton Brand missing a month aren’t enough to get some production out of Sammy, nothing else will. I would add him in all leagues and hope this is the spark he needs to return to last season’s form.

Antonio McDyess – Although I wouldn’t add McDyess outside of 14+ leagues at this point, his production and playing time need to be monitored. His presence also crushes whatever value you were Revitalized?getting from Jason Maxiell and Amir Johnson. Those guys can be let go at this point.

Mike James – I’m going to stop short of saying that James should be added in all leagues, but his production since the trade to Washington does warrant an immediate pickup. Last night he had 17 points, 8 rebounds, 5 dimes, and 2 steals in a loss to Dallas. He’s transitioning nicely in Washington and has emerged as a solid fantasy addition.

Derek Fisher – Jordan Farmar is out with an injury this week and the Lakers play four times. Fisher is going to get plenty of minutes and fantasy owners who aren’t worried about transaction limits should get him into your lineup at least for the short term.

Marco Belinelli – The fact is that Belinelli plays for Don Nelson so his fantasy value is totally contingent on Nelly’s mood that evening. But he’s been great lately. The Warriors have been crippled with injuries and Belinelli is playing well enough to be added in all leagues. I wouldn’t expect long-term value, but in the short term he looks like an excellent addition.

Thaddeus Young – After getting off to a tremendous start this season, Young has cooled off and may have been dropped in your league. He’s starting for the injured Elton Brand and should be added in all leagues at least while Brand is out with a separated shoulder.

Nenad Krstic – Unless you’re in a very deep league, there’s no sense in adding Kristic right now. He may become the starting center in OKC, but he will still share time with Collison and Petro. Monitor his situation and keep him in mind if he opens with a big game and strong conditioning.

Jarrett Jack – He’s been performing well even when T.J. Ford is in the lineup. He may not be worth adding while Ford is healthy, but certainly keep him in mind if Ford ever misses extended time with an injury, which he has been known to do.

Thanks for reading and supporting the column! The NBA lineup for Christmas day is packed, so make sure you have your rosters set! As always, leave your questions in the comments section and I will get back to you ASAP. Happy Holidays!