The final week of the fantasy season is like moving out of an apartment you’ve lived in for a quite a long time. You’re taking that final look around, and things are looking a hot mess.
You’ve got the league wide injury list, extended version. Players are shutting down to rest for the postseason, or just to rest, and a couple of guys you didn’t even realize were in the NBA, are now contributing 30 minutes a night and becoming fantasy factors, and not just in Miami.
Meanwhile, out in the Western Conference, the top 10 teams are still putting in serious work jockeying for playoff position. While it’s damn near impossible to draft in October based on what teams are going to be locked into a playoff race, anyone with Dallas, Denver, or Houston starters on their roster can expect a lot more consistency then an owner holding onto Boston or Detroit All-Stars.
I don’t usually run a list of injuries in this column, but this being the final week of the season and with so many players taking time off, I decided to run through the guys who recently shut down or I believe may have played their last game of the season.
No doubt a guy like Vince Carter or Gerald Wallace would hit the floor if they were playing for a contender – Ok, maybe not Carter – but you’ll notice a lot of parallels with players whose teams are mathematically eliminated, and season ending injuries. There must be something in the water of those sub .500 ball clubs.
Corey Maggette (hamstring), Richard Hamilton (might play in one or two remaining games, but what’s the point, it’s playoff time), Vince Carter (ankle), Drew Gooden (ab-strain), Gerald Wallace (groin injury), Brad Miller (leg, could play but it’s time to let Hawes live) Mo Williams (ab-strain), Celtics Big Three (season’s over kid, it’s playoff time), Martell Webster (heartbeat), Joel Przybilla (broken hand), Gilbert Arenas (he will play again, but too risky to start), Chris Kaman (back) are all very risky plays the rest of the way.
The waiver wire in this final week is like shooting around in a gym with the lights turned off. You might make a couple, but you’re going to miss the majority of your attempts. That’s because almost all the players on the waiver wire have value contingent on other guys sitting out.
In last weeks column I gave you Leon Powe, Chris Quinn, and Jeff Green. All three of those guys had nice weeks for their team and continue to offer owners value and should be picked up in every format. Powe has slid into the lineup and taken a chunk out of KG’s minutes, Quinn is the man down in Miami, and Green exploded on Sunday for 35 points in a win over Denver.
Considering the season is pretty much a wrap in Boston and Detroit, savvy fantasy owners will look to add the guys who are going to pickup the starters minutes. Rodney Stuckey immediately comes to mind in Detroit. He’s a guy who will shoot at a high clip, rebound and pickup some assists. Detroit is a veteran team and they wont risk injury or fatigue with these meaningless final games. You can also look at Jason Maxiell who’s played very well this season when given the minutes needed to produce.
The same can be said about the Boston Celtics, who have their minds fixed solely on decorating the rafters with another banner. This means limited minutes and a sprinkling of DNP’s for Pierce, Allen and Garnett.
Their minutes and shots are going to be soaked up by Leon Powe, James Posey, Tony Allen, and Eddie House. They will all provide value during the week, but of the group, I like Powe and House to be the most productive during this stretch.
Here are some further waiver candidates to consider for the final week. All these guys deserve to be monitored for add, depending on need an injury/shutdown scenarios for their teams.
Josh Powell – The Kaveman has called it a season, clearing the way for production from Powell. On Sunday he had 22 points and 10 rebounds and should be able to produce in the double-double range the rest of the year. Pick him up ASAP.
Ramon Sessions – Mo Williams is going to miss more games the rest of the way and Sessions will get burn in his place. That “welcome back” game winner he put in Arenas’s mouth will give him plenty of confidence to close out the year and owners can expect plenty of dimes from Sessions.
Tyrus Thomas – Drew Gooden is likely done for the year, and this might finally mean Tyrus Thomas will throw some consistency on the fantasy board. Since I just wrote that sentence, it likely has guaranteed he won’t, but give him a shot anyway. He’s a good source of rebounds, and blocks and will also get some buckets in transition.
Spencer Hawes – His value is contingent on Brad Miller’s injury situation. Either way, the Kings are out of the playoffs, and it makes sense to develop Hawes in game rather than practice. He’ll play but becomes and instant addition the minute Miller shuts down.
Travis Diener – He’s been playing more minutes lately. Keep an eye on his tick and put him in your lineup if you need assists. He may have to share time with Flip Murray, but remains an ideal add/drop player at the guard slot.
Wilson Chandler – If Isiah Thomas is going to save any face from his dreadful tenure with the Knicks it will be for his ability to draft well. The juries still out on Chandler, and I’m guessing he will get consistent minutes the rest of the year. Put him in your lineup as an add/drop and monitor his production. If he plays over 33 minutes, hang onto him.
Channing Frye – Ghostface Pryzbilla’s season is a wrap, and Frye will get minutes by default. He’s not a great, or even a good rebounder, but he can shoot the ball, and will put up decent numbers at the five spot. He’s not a guy you should run out and pick up, but if you need an extra game or two from a player who qualifies at center, you could do worse.
Matt Carroll – He was very productive when Gerald Wallace went down earlier in the season with that nasty concussion. He provides scoring and three balls and wont hurt you in any category. Jared Dudley also performed well in Wallace’s absence, and should be added to rosters in need of rebounds and points.
Good luck in the final week of the fantasy playoffs. Make sure you’re on top of the waiver wire, I know names like Josh Powell or Ramon Sessions don’t exactly jump off the page, but those are the guys who will make the difference this week. Plug them in and let them put in their work for your roster.