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Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008 at 1:13 pm  |  77 responses

Fantasy Basketball, Week 8

Treating the Brand Burn, and coping with Fantasy Grinches.

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!

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  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Here’s my fantasy: That people focus on the real-live basketball players on the actual court, not on what their statistics mean for fake wins and fake losses in an alternate reality that shouldn’t exist.
    But I’m old-fashioned that way.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Nothing personal, Emry.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    Here’s the odd crux of it: The best fantasy managers do just that, Ryan. You can’t win unless you focus on watching the games.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    I had a sh!t week last week but I’m afraid to trade anyone on my squad besides maybe Brook Lopez.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    People have followed, memorized and obsessed about sports stats since newspapers started printing them many, many years ago. Sure, fantasy takes it to another level, but it hasn’t changed things.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    Ryan Jones just ruined this post for everybody. What a Debbie Downer.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    And Emry, how bad can it get to make that Harris/Brand deal on the day he gets injured? Did you consider vetoing it?

  • Andrej

    i had the best week yet i took over 3rd place and soon enough second what do u think of my team http://games.espn.go.com/fba/clubhouse?leagueId=75268&teamId=1&seasonId=2009

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    what about aaron brooks?

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ Moose

    My Team:
    OJ Mayo
    Dwyane Wade
    Al Jefferson
    Kevin Garnett
    Kevin Martin
    Emeka Okafor
    Derrick Rose
    Tayshaun Prince
    Gerald Wallace
    Josh Smith
    TJ Ford

    I am in need of another center and Bogut is available. Who should I drop? Or should I not do anything? And basically most players are available in the pool, it’s only an eight team league. So can I have some help please? Duhon and Nate Rob are also available.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ Moose

    Oh yeah . . . and I’m in desperate, desperate need for three pointers. Last week I lost 60-18 in that category.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ Moose

    Rudy Fernandez, JR Smith and Jameer Nelson can shoot threes the best on waivers, most likely. Or any trades you think I should propose?

  • http://allday-fadeaway.blogspot.com Nbk

    I can’t believe i am saying this but you should pick up diaw if he is available moose

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ Moose

    I understand picking up Diaw might be a good idea, NBK, but I already get a ton of rebounds and I have a lot of power forwards. And if I picked him up, who could I drop?

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ Moose

    And yeah Emry Robinson can also shoot threes well. It’s looking like I might have to pick him up. But the question is, who to drop?

  • http://allday-fadeaway.blogspot.com Nbk

    Diaw qualifies as a center homie

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    dude, pick up jameer!!!! you should have done this last week!

  • http://allday-fadeaway.blogspot.com Nbk

    Its hard you would have to drop probably prince but that might not be a good idea.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ Moose

    Thanks for the advice, fellas. I’ll wait until Emry gets here to make a decision, though.

  • http://allday-fadeaway.blogspot.com Nbk

    your team is stacked moose, bogut for prince might work but diaw has been a fantasy beast since he moved to charlotte

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry DowningHall

    @RyanJ: It’s all good, and I understand when people are down on fantasy sports, but I disagree that closely monitoring the stats of individuals takes away from the purity of the game.

    Though I agree the real game comes first, doesn’t fantasy just bring more support for the league by allowing another outlet for people to follow the NBA?

    It’s also fair to argue that by following box scores closely you gain a deeper understanding of rotations, trends, and efficiency.

    I personally am on the to each their own tip, so even tho we disagree, I’m very happy to have you in the comments.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry DowningHall

    @Ryne: I’m the commish of the league so I technically could have canceled the deal but that would have made me a super-dirty customer. It was horrendous timing, but I liked the deal when I made it and though I wouldn’t have made it if Brand had been hurt, I gotta ride with it. I tried to tell the other owner he was colluding with Brand, but he didn’t buy it.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry DowningHall

    @Tarzan: I left Aaron Brooks out of the list because Alston is supposed to come back for the next game and that should eliminate, or dampen his value.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    I am not and never will be converted, Emry, but I appreciate the thoroughness.

  • http://allday-fadeaway.blogspot.com Nbk

    Fantasy sports are excuses for fans to watch games that have no signifance to them. Not everyone is a die hard basketball fan, some people just like their hometown team, and for those people to get more interested in whats happening outside of their city they need some kind of incentive to watch other teams.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry DowningHall

    @Moose: You said you need 3 pointers, are you talking about made 3 pointers, are 3pt %? In any event, Nate is a great pickup for you – If you need a center, swapping Tay for Bogut wouldn’t be a bad option. He had a nice week last week and should be rolling now that he’s healthy. Diaw should also qualify as a center in your league and he will help with rebounds and threes as well.

  • Ol’ Marty-Mart

    Ryan: Only in Fantasy NBA can you appreciate the output of Mareese Speights’ 4 blocks last game, unless you are a fan of the Sixers. It broadens your knowledge of players around the league, enables you to manage your own team, and keeps you on top of all the news around the league.

    Sure, Wins & Losses are really what it comes down to for the true fan, but for the die-harder looking to strut their hoops IQ, Fantasy is the only way. Don’t get hung up on the word “Fantasy” just appreciate it for what it is; an in-depth form of competition that brings into account a number of variables by which players are evaluated upon.

    Just because Mr. Fantasy appreciates the fantasy value of a player like Mike James on a putrid Washington team doesn’t mean he fails to recognize the importance and beauty of team basketball. It isn’t one or the other. It’s just MORE – which is all we want.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    I turned down AI for Rondo, straight up, two weeks ago. Seriously.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry DowningHall

    @ciolkstar: Smart man. AI’s points are easily made up and if he keeps leaving Mike Bibby open and blowing defensive assignments and getting called out by Mike Curry, he wont be on the floor.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    Exactly Emry. With Granger, Joe Johnson, Caron Butler, Melo and Devin Harris points are the least of my concerns. But with Melo missing time I had to drop DJ Augustin and his bum ankle to snag JR Smith in a 4 game week.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    Ol Marty Mart just made the exact argument I wanted to regarding fantasy hoops. Its also a way for people who (admittedly) spend way too much time worrying about sports a to compete, with friends (ideally, some leagues are just srangers online) over who’s basketball “knowlege” and insticnts about player trends is superior. Besides, its more fun than commenting on SLAMonline all day.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    Here’s my squad:

    PG Devin Harris (PG)
    SG Joe Johnson (PG,SG)
    G Danny Granger (SG,SF) INJ
    SF Caron Butler (SF)
    PF Al Horford (PF,C)
    F Carmelo Anthony (SF) INJ
    C Andrew Bogut (C)
    Util Rajon Rondo (PG)
    BN J.R. Smith (SG)
    BN Brook Lopez (PF,C)
    BN Thaddeus Young (SF,PF)
    BN David Lee (SF,PF,C)

    Any glaring weaknesses? Any input is appreciated…

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    ^^ 10 team // H2H // 9 cats

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ Moose

    OK Emry, I’ll do Tay for Bogut . . . but who should I drop for Robinson?

  • http://allday-fadeaway.blogspot.com Nbk

    nobody

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    Hey Moose: maybe try to package Kevin Martin with Okeafor (who could be hurt by Diaw’s emergence) for an elite big (Chris Bosh?)or 3 point shooting SF, then you could add lil Nate without having to drop someone.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    Moose: There’s really no one else on your roster thats droppable, even in an 8 team league…

  • http://allday-fadeaway.blogspot.com Nbk

    Louis Williams has been a beast since Mo Cheeks got fired though if anyone plays in a L that has too many teams and not enough good players.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ RV

    chris andersen!!!

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ RV

    Moose, no offense, but every week you’re looking for replacements because you needs something, so try to create a well balance team. Its difficult to create one that excels at every stat, but if you can excel on 75% of them then you’re on your way to victory. There’s a lot of tools at your fingertips, use them. check who’s done what the last month AND for the season, check stat totals, stat averages. Check your weaknesses week after week and what stat you can afford to take away from. Check the strengths and weaknesses of the other teams as well, for example, it does no good to have a super scoring team (or try to build one) if the rest of the league doesn’t really have high scoring teams.

  • Dallas J

    Harris for Brand thats crazy

  • http://allday-fadeaway.blogspot.com Nbk

    Harris for Brand even if Elton is healthy is a sketchy trade but your team is pretty stacked. Gerald Wallace may see a slip in production the closer we get to the trade deadline because rumors are going to swirl around his name. Just a little forewarning if that starts to happen.

  • GOAT

    Ryan Jones is a huge Debbie Downer.

    I’ev been reading SLAM since issue #5 and Ryan is the only editor from the past 13 years who I really couldn’t stand his writing. Maybe it was cuz his first issue as Ed. he put Vince Carter on the cover. Maybe it’s because he rides LBJ’s jock in a creepy Ahmad on MJ kinda way.

    Either way, go complain to someone who cares please.

  • http://allday-fadeaway.blogspot.com Nbk

    And bill russel retired in 1969 so my bad shaq is the most dominant center in the last 40 years.

  • http://allday-fadeaway.blogspot.com Nbk

    oops wrong post

  • GOAT

    Now on the fantasy tip, I need some advice Emry.

    I’m in an 11 team league, where we have two keepers. The past few seasons I’ve been rocking with Nash and Dwight. It’s looking like I’m going to let Nash ride into the sunset and replace him with Granger as a keeper. My question is this……should I trade Dwight for Bosh (it has been offered to me). I’m giving up lots in fg% (which I need), boards and blocks, but getting my hometown boy. Dwight and Bosh are probably my two favourite players in the game, so having either is a huge bonus……even though I bleed Raptor Red & Black, I’m not sure I want to get rid of Dwight (he hasn’t peeked yet). whaddya think?

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    goat, you are retarded for even considering that trade. and you better keep granger. nbk, thats funny

  • dubya816

    I built a pretty good team with mostly non all stars and it’s just cuz I payed attention to the NBA so I don’t see how fantasy ruins it.

    PG-Chauncey Billups
    SG-Jason Richardson
    SF-Josh Smith (I don’t wanna take him out cuz he’s my boy)
    PF-Amare Stoudemire
    C-Andris Biedrins (Big Steal)
    G-Hedo Turkoglu
    F-Nene
    Util-Marquis Daniels, DJ Augustin, and Tracy McGrady.
    I’m in 4th in a 12 team league.

  • http://fjsdklf.com Jukai

    Thanks to BLong’s SLAUGHTER, I am now first in our fantasy league. Awesomely first.

  • http://fjsdklf.com Jukai

    I still can’t tell if my Devin Harris for David Lee trade was a good trade, but with Jason and Chauncey and Lebron putting me perfect in assists, I can’t really say I care.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    @ Jukai: Click “accept” to my trade proposal.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry DowningHall

    @ciolkstar: Tho your team looks strong, you may be a bit weak at the C slot and loaded at the guard – You might wanna package for a premiere center.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry DowningHall

    I should clarify that in the league I traded Harris for Brand in, we count both rebounds and offensive rebounds so a Center is the premiere position to own.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry DowningHall

    @GOAT: I wouldn’t do that deal. Bosh has been down since Sam M. left and Dwight hasn’t peaked, you’re right. Unless you think his knee is anything serious, OR you can get the Bosh owner to sweeten that thing for you…

  • http://fjsdklf.com Jukai

    Teddy-the-Bear: Lamar Odom for David Lee?
    Do you think I don’t watch basketball?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry DowningHall

    Odom may be the runner up to Sammy D. for worst fantasy player so far… at least it was announced Odom will be coming off the bench before most drafts.

  • http://fjsdklf.com Jukai

    The worst thing is that he proposed that trade when we are going up head-to-head Emry.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    My team:
    Iveron
    Joe Johnson
    Bibby
    Mike Miller
    Pau Gasol
    Artest
    Biedrins
    Chandler
    Josh Howard
    Ramon Sessions
    Jermaine O’Neal
    Amar’e Stoudemire
    I also have one open bench slot that I fill with a player I need for this week e.g. 3 pointers/steals= Ronnie Brewer.
    Is it worth trying to ship any of these guys/drop them?
    The free agent pool is really bad right now with Dalembert the headliner- but I don’t need him obviously.
    Boozer just got dropped, but he’s injured. Foye, Barbosa, Moon, Pietrus, Brewer are all available, but I’m not sold on any of them. What do you reckon?

  • http://slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    That hurts, GOAT. Your Rothian ability to slice through sentimentality in the search for awkward truths, coupled with your cruel yet whimsical way with detail (so much like Murakami, only without the obscure jazz references) has long made you my favorite commenter. But now, this. F*ck.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry DowningHall

    @Jukai: Can’t knock the hustle, trying to get a deal done. Happens to me all the time with guys offering junk for good players.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry DowningHall

    @Hursty: Are you doing well in the league? If so, why not stash Boozer and see what happens with the knee. You should know a week from now and be in good position if he’s coming back, if not you can drop him. Stay away from Barbosa for sure b/c the Suns only play once this week, Pietrus will be your guy for the long ball.

  • http://fjsdklf.com Jukai

    hahahah, he’s not Emry!

  • http://weblogs.newsday.com/sports/fantasy/baseball/ Jon

    Great trade for Harris!! Any other players you can tell me that will get hurt, lol!!

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ RV

    You’re welcome Jukai, but you’re next…

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    i was finally able to fix my team that was severely lacking assist numbers, ive added ridnour and lou williams. giggity

  • Bryant Reeves

    anyone who drops Boozer this early should be kicked out of their league.

  • Teddy-the-Bear aka Emry’s buddy.

    Just click “accept”, Jukai.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    @ Bryant Reeves: He has a knee injury, you idiot.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Do this NOW, Jukai. Man you know I’m only doing this for you. Don’t be ungrateful.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Wait, I mean Quads.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry DowningHall

    I think Bryant Reeves was saying that dropping Boozer before the results of his MRI indicate he will miss an extended period of time is premature. Though getting kicked out of a league for doing it is a bit severe, I agree it’s too early to take the plunge.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry DowningHall

    Happy Holidays everybody… thanks for all the comments and questions, the contributions have been great so far this year and I’ve really enjoyed giving some advice and reading your suggestions. Santas dropping plenty of NBA action on our heads tomorrow, so let’s all enjoy that and keep those rosters active!

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Marry Christmas.

  • G-O

    Should I drop deng for jeff green?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry DowningHall

    @G-O: Tough call, but I would rather have owned Green up to this point and see no reason for him to slow his roll, go for it… tho if he’s a free agent try a 2 for 1 package including Deng first.

  • j-o

    should i drop andre miller for nate ?

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Im looking to fill my final bench spot and Deng and Peja Stokavoic are hanging around. I picked up Peja as soon as he was dropped and still have him (even though he’s in an extended slump with injuries).
    Keep him or drop him for Deng? They both have around the same stats except that Peja has 2 more 3ball makes per game and shooting 5% lower. Assists, points etc are all about equal.
    Have a happy xmas/holidays Mr. Fantasy! :)

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