Fantasy Basketball, Week 10
Injured stars make fantasy gems. And Patience meets Reward.
With all the hype surrounding the holidays and the general blitz that coats the New Year, I’m not mad at you if you’ve been slackin’ on your fantasy pimpin’ lately. However, 2009 is the year of your fantasy retaliation, and I recommend forming your resolution strategies around the waiver wire, and dominating your leagues.
Even if a fantasy resolution isn’t at the top of your list, this column will still keep you on point with what you need to know going forward in ’09. Holiday season or not, the NBA doesn’t slow down, and the player news and waiver activity is… wait for it… really heating up.
Being a new year, let’s kick things off with some good news surrounding a few players that have been held on the injured list since the start of the year, yet are still owned in almost all leagues. If, for any reason, they happen to be available in your format, now’s the time to grab them. You can’t afford to have them showcasing for another owner’s squad.
Mike Dunleavy Jr. actually made his season debut last night for the Pacers. ‘Dun Jr. has been clouded in mystery all season with little information being leaked about his knee injury, even in Indiana. At times, it appeared surgery was a serious option, but he’s worked out for over a month on the court and is now back on the floor.
Dunleavy should reward owners who remained patient, but it won’t be an overnight thing. He’s missed a ton of time, and even the best conditioning programs fail to prepare players for NBA game speed. He gained wolf-status in a lot of circles last season, and though he shouldn’t start anywhere near that level, he will certainly help your squad.
Last night he had 14 points, 2 rebounds and 4 dimes in 21 minutes off the bench.
The downside here is the value of Marquis Daniels is going to take a serious hit. If you currently own Daniels, it’s been a terrific ride, but I would begin looking for alternative options immediately.
Reports out of Golden State indicate that the man who infamously laid that moped down, is almost ready to be cleared for practice. The announcement certainly came as a surprise to me. I thought the Warriors would hold Monta Ellis out much longer–if he returned at all–given the team’s woes this season. This is obviously great news for Monta owners, but I still recommend caution until we actually see him on the court, and how he responds to Nelly’s “Dr. Moreau” coaching style.
Although it’s not up to par with the Dunleavy and Ellis news, Gilbert Arenas also participated in some two-on-two with his teammates and is said to be rehabbing ahead of schedule. Why does it seem like we’ve been down this road before?
The bottom line is, Gilbert has essentially missed 1.5 seasons with knee injuries, and just signed a $110 million contract with one of the worst teams in the League. They’d be foolish to rush him back on the court and should protect their investment through rest and rehab.
In the history of the NBA, has there been a more injury riddled team than the 2008-09 Los Angeles Clippers? They currently have eight healthy bodies, and while that’s horrendous for the organization and fan base, it offers waiver opportunities for fantasy owners. Eric Gordon, Mardy Collins, and Steve Novak will be forced to play big minutes. Gordon is playing well, and should already be owned in all formats.
Collins is the only healthy point guard on the roster (Go’head Temple Owls!) and has actually played very well in his last two starts. If you want to use him as an add/drop guy, go for it. I started him this week in the DroppingDimes league and he had 17 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals in his first start. That’s very solid production and it should continue until Baron Davis returns from injury.
I’m sure you’ve already heard about Carmelo Anthony’s fractured hand that’s going to put the West Baltimore stud (pause) on the shelf for 3-4 weeks. When an injury like that shows up on the SLAM Wire, fantasy owners need to be asking themselves, Which Denver Nugget is going to be picking up that slack? This way, you can grab him off the waiver wire, early.
Unfortunately, there isn’t going to be one solution to Melo’s absence but J.R. Smith and Linas Kleiza are going to be the main beneficiaries, and should be owned in most leagues. In Melo’s first game out with the injury, Kleiza had 21 points, 7 rebounds and 2 dimes. While J.R. Smith chipped in with 21 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.
Speaking of injuries without a singular beneficiary, Stephen Jackson will miss two weeks with a strained hamstring. As SLAM’s own Holly Mackenzie as my co-signer, there’s no doubt JAX is one of the toughest players in the League. Even still, you’ve got to imagine he has little motivation to struggle through this latest injury based on the Warriors play this season. Nelly, excuse me, Dr. Moreau, could turn to pretty much any player on his active roster as the solution. I don’t have the strength to speculate beyond Keleena Azubuike at this point. Dr. Moreau has taken quite a toll on me over the years.
It’s been a minute since I put down some waiver wire suggestions, let’s take a look at who to consider this week:
Yi Jianlian – Yi has put together back-to-back solid games this week, and although he’s the type of player that always burns owners once they get him in their lineups, I added him in one league and am crossing my fingers going forward. Hey, he’s the No. 3 vote getter for power forwards in the Eastern Conference All-Star voting, so he has to be owned in all formats, right? Or am I missing something… sarcasm.
Mardy Collins – I already banged out Mardy’s case for ownership earlier in the column. He’s worth an add at least until Baron Davis returns from injury, and perhaps longer if Davis decides to take the season off, since he’s apparently realized he’s now a member of the Clippers.
Eric Gordon – Something’s wrong if he’s currently available in your league, assuming there are more than eight teams.
Anthony Parker – He’s starting again in Toronto and has been putting up solid numbers in his last two games. Last night he dropped 15 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks.
Rudy Fernandez – He should post some big numbers while Brandon Roy is down with injury. He’s an excellent addition as a add/drop guy in smaller leagues and worth permanent consideration in 12+ leagues for any owners in need of three balls.
Nenad Krstic – He had a horrendous season last year in New Jersey, but was coming off very strong numbers the season before. OKC will welcome his experience and size in the middle, and because of the scarcity of available centers in most leagues, he’s worth a gamble in all formats.
As always, I’m here for your fantasy questions and comments. Just post them in the comments box, and I will get at you ASAP. Thanks for reading and remember, don’t sleep! In this case, it’s not the cousin of death, but don’t let your rival add that waiver player you coveted!