By Emry DowningHall
Remember the Dynasty album, track #4, Streets is Talking? Jay-z raps, “Everybody whispering, pss-pss-psspering”
Well the fantasy basketball equivalent of that whispering took place this week for those of you who followed the come up, and break out of Nets rookie Sean Williams.
Williams is the super-talented, super-troubled forward-center from Boston College who started his first NBA game on Saturday. Before Lawrence Frank gave him the nod he had been making noise all week puttng up blocks and boards and had the New Jersey fans begging for him to get more tick.
In the first start of his career he recorded 22 points, 8 boards, and 2 blocks. Respect.
I have never seen the buzz for a waiver guy this electric. I am in a 14-team “expert” fantasy league representing SLAM with other members of the media that cover fantasy hoops. After I scooped up Williams on Tuesday night I received three emails from other owners cursing me for beating them to him. Although it always feels good to receive praise for a waiver move, it was right on time, my front court is all sorts of banged up!
Williams should be owned in ALL formats. It’s very possible he could be the best waiver wire pickup this year. If he is still available in your league, don’t read another line until he has been added to your roster.
This week I want to take a look at some guys who are dealing with injuries, and are likely still on your squad. These are fringe players that owners have the tendency to hang onto longer then they should. If you’re still putting up with Larry Hughes, Eddie Jones, Nene, Rodney Stuckey, Marquis Daniels, Al Thornton, Kwame Brown, Robert Swift, or a Euro from Toronto (actually just Rasho, or Jorge Garbajosa) let them know they don’t have to go home, but they can’t stay on your roster.
Out in L.A., Corey Maggette owners got some bad news when it was revealed his hamstring injury was more serious then the suits originally thought. Maggette will miss 2-3 weeks with the injury and with Elton Brand, Cuttino Mobley and Al Thornton already roughed up, this leaves Sam Cassell, Ruben Patterson, Tim Thomas and Chris Kaman to carry the workload on offense. Chances are Cassell, Thomas and Patterson are available in your league and should be given consideration for a short term plug-in while Corey nurses his hammy. Also watch how Mobley progresses this week, he is returning from injury, but claims to be around 70% and could still produce.
The Houston Rockets have Tracy McGrady owners breathing easy with the news that T-Mac should be back in the lineup for Wednesdays game against the Mavs.
My Gilbert Arenas induced panic attacks continued Monday when it was announced that Agent Zero missed practice after missing Saturdays game with soreness in his knee. The Wizards made a statement that both moves were simple precautionary but when it comes to knees, pain is a problem. Right Amare?
If you’re itching to snatch Randy Foye before another owner gets him, fall back. The Wolves gave an update on his condition Monday and it wasn’t the news owners were looking for. They said that Foye will likely miss 3 more weeks, so no reason to run out and grab him yet. If you have stuck it out with him until this point, what’s another three weeks right?
We’re already into the 4th week of the fantasy season, can you believe that? Teams are starting to cement their positions in the standings and owners who don’t like what their squad is bringing to the table, pay close attention to the guys you need to be watching on the waiver wire.
Beno Udrih – I know I had Udrih on this list last week but he has continued to perform and is now worthy of a pickup in almost every fantasy league format. I wont argue that his value is contingent on Mike Bibby’s thumb injury but while Bibby is in street clothes, Udrih is putting up numbers to the tune of 23 points, 5 dimes, and 4 boards like he dropped on the Pistons on Sunday.
John Salmons – I thanked Salmons for his production for the first 3 weeks of the season and then cut him for Juan Carlos Navarro. Salmons was snatched up as soon as he hit the waiver wire. In the past week Salmons was a very popular drop across fantasy boards, but don’t let this fool you. The reason for the drops was the return of Ron Artest to the SF slot in the Kings starting lineup. Salmons was told he would be coming off the bench, pouted, and stormed out of the locker room. He was eventually fined by the Kings for his behavior. However, that seems to be in the past and with Mikki Moore playing at a less then spectacular level it’s possible that Artest slides to PF making room for Salmons returning to the SF position. Pick him up and see how he falls into his new role.
Earl Watson and Delonte West – Luke Ridnour is out with a leg injury and this leaves the PG duties to Earl and D. West. Neither guy is a lock for the starting job, as both have struggled with their game this season, but keep your eye on who steps up and wins the job. If you’re choosing between the two, go with Watson and wait on West.
Juan Carlos Navarro – I mentioned that I dropped Salmons for JCN on Friday. This was before Salmons blew up in double overtime against my Knicks, but who wouldn’t produce in two extra frames right? Navarro is going to provide owners with three point production and some dimes. He is starting right now for the Grizz and has been playing around 30 minutes a game. With Pau Gasol in a funk perhaps the Memphis coaching staff thinks bringing in Navarro will get him going. Either way, go grab him off the wire.
Louis Williams – Kyle Korver is going to be out for around 10 days with a groin injury and even though his minutes could go to Rodney Carney, I think Williams is going to win the battle. A couple friends of mine were at the Sixers game on Friday for their amazing comeback against Portland, and said Williams was the engineer. Right now he may not be ready for a pickup but if you like his upside I think you should snatch him right away, why risk it? Stash him on the bench and wait for Billy King to trade Andre Miller.
Mikki Moore – I know I was talking greezy on Moore earlier in the column but on Sunday he put down 10 points and 9 boards in a win over Detroit. I mentioned earlier he could lose his starting spot if Artest moves to the 4 but for right now the Kings bigs are banged up and Moore is an intriguing option going to boost your frontline.
I’m coming a little light this week on my waiver suggestions but between Udrih, Williams and JCN there are some strong players in this list. I got a few emails asking me if Kevin Durant should be dropped and I am vetoing that move. First off it’s tough to complain about his abysmal field goal percentage, you saw that coming right? He is a slender fella so banging with the trees down low isn’t an option as of yet. Hopefully you didn’t reach too high for him, but if you own him, hold onto him. Maybe you wait until he strings together a few solid games in a row and try to trade him? Just don’t give up on him yet.
If you play in a league with less than 12 teams and David Lee is somehow available, it looks like Isiah Thomas has realized what every basketball fan has known for over a year now. David Lee needs to be in the starting lineup for the Knicks. Obviously he is a rebounding machine and provides a high FG % as well. If he’s out there, grab him.
Alright guys, have a great holiday. If you are going to be traveling don’t forget to set those lineups ahead of time so you don’t miss any games. Talk to you next week.