By Emry DowningHall

If you’re still in contention for your league’s fantasy championship, go ahead and brush your shoulders off.

Injuries are always a major factor in deciding who’ll take home the hardware at the end of a fantasy season but there’s nothing worse than surprise DNPs during a playoff week.

After battling a slew of depleting injuries this season in my main league to Gilbert Arenas, Chris Bosh, Gerald Wallace, and most recently Dirk Nowitzki, fantasy fortune smiled upon me as Zach Randolph and Andrew Bogut (flu and nasal surgery) were both in the starting lineup for my opponent last week.

I almost felt bad for the guy, until his two guard, Kobe Bryant came out on Friday and dropped a cool 53 points, 9 treys, 10 rebounds, and 3 steals. Wow. See what a little sympathy can get you? Trust that it ended as quickly as it began.

I was able to pull out the week, but having exhausted all my waiver moves for the season, I’ll be unable to get my add/drop on, and will need an inspired effort from the likes of Joakim Noah, Chris Quinn, and Jarrett Jack – players I added because of extra games last week, who’ve now found a permanent home on my roster due to maxing out my transactions.

Elton Brand and Jermaine O’Neal likely have active owners thinking, “Better late than never” as both former all-stars are slated to return this week.

I’m not surprised with Brand’s quest to get back on the floor, especially after his comments earlier in the season that he, “Feels bad for his fantasy owners.” Anyone who’s ever owned or matched up against Elton Brand knows his production is elite, and even in a limited capacity he’s going to put in serious work. He’s expected to make his debut Thursday against the Kings.

Jermaine O’Neal declared his intentions to play in Monday nights game against Miami, and followed through with 18 minutes for 9 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists.

It’s no coincidence J.O. scheduled his return against a frontcourt of Earl Barron and Mark Blount. Wise move, even if he only expects to play 20 minutes a clip the rest of the way, it’s always good to get your rocks off against a NBDL caliber roster in a NBA uniform.

Alright, let’s get down to business. Here are this weeks waiver selections. You will see one or two repeats in here from last week, but that’s because they have continued to hold value, making them excellent pickups this late in the season.

Joakim Noah – Noah’s owners were emulating that freakish dance from last years NCAA tournament after he posted 18 points, 15 rebounds, 2 dimes, 2 steals and 4 blocks on Saturday. This was an absolute monster performance from Noah who deserves consideration in all leagues, as well as from the producers of, “Dancing with the Stars.” Jason Taylor’s got nothing on Noah.

Delonte West – D. West was back at it on Sunday dropping 18 points, 4 threes, 6 boards, and 11 dimes in a monster fantasy effort and clearly his best game as a member of the Cavaliers. He’s been more than inconsistent since joining the team, but if you think this is a sign of things to come, make sure to get him in your lineup ASAP.

J.R. Smith – A co-captain of the “Gets Mine” team, Smith had a nice week for fantasy owners and deserves to be in lineups while performing at this level. His talent is borderline ridiculous and his confidence is through the roof, as long as he’s getting minutes from coach Karl, he’s worth starting.

Sasha Vujacic – The man knocked down 18 threes last week. If your league counts total three pointers made as a category, get him in your lineup. Similar to JR Smith, Vujacic gets his when he’s on the floor. Also like Smith, he’s got his stroke working and will contribute for fantasy owners this week.

Chris Quinn – He had an awful week shooting the ball but still contributed in enough other categories (assists, steals, rebounds) to warrant adding. His value is contingent on Jason Williams and Marcus Banks not being able to perform, but as long as their DNP-INJ, as amazing as it sounds, Quinn deserves to be starting in all formats. Take that Shaquille O’Neal! Last night he had 15 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals.

Joel Przybilla – I originally added The GhostFace Przybilla as an add/drop player, but he’s been so solid, I’ve started him every week since. Outside of boxing out, Joel doesn’t offer any value but he also wont kill you in a category (I’m talking to you Josh Boone) and deserves an add in most formats and for any owners looking for rebounds

Jarrett Jack – “The Portland Trailblazers announced today that Brandon Roy could be shut down for the remainder of the season.” As long as that holds true, Jack holds value.

Martell Webster – See above, and add accordingly if you need a SF.

Steve Blake – See above, then see above, and add accordingly if you need a PG or a source of three pointers.

Leon Powe – LP pasted 17 points and 13 rebounds on the Heat on Sunday. I know, I know, your intramural team could hang with Miami at this point but with the Celtics looking to keep KG fresh for the playoffs, Powe could be in line for some big games the remainder of the year.

Mike Finley – He’s scored at least 16 points over the last four games and is shooting very well from three. He’s far removed from his former all-star status but remains a solid waiver pickup and will provide owners with scoring and treys. Let’s call Finley a jump-off waiver addition. He’s not someone you have to commit to, so pick him up and use him while he’s hot, and then move on. That joke sort of wrote itself.

Rasho Nesterovic – Nes-Te-Rovic slid his way into the Toronto starting lineup and as a result should be getting some burn on fantasy teams in need of a starting center. He’s scored in double figures in nine straight games and although he’s not a beast on the glass, he puts in enough work to be serviceable in 12 team leagues.

Paul Millsap – He’s more of an add/drop player because his value is tied to the DNP status of Okur and AK47, but right now their ailing and Millsap is going to get tick. He recorded 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks on Sunday in 29 minutes and should be owned until that water runs dry.

DeShawn Stevenson –DH had 27 points, and 8 trey balls on Sunday. Antonio Daniels suffered a wrist injury and was a DNP-INJ on Monday. Stevenson can be added in all leagues, and Arenas’s questionable status combined with Daniels injury should ensure plenty of finger waiving the rest of the regular season.