Fantasy Basketball, Week 14
Later Von Wafer…or until TMac gets injured again!
Michael Redd wears No. 22, but his magic number is 88. That’s the amount of games he’s going to miss over the past three seasons after tearing the MCL and ACL in his left knee.
Redd’s injury problems are well documented in fantasy circles and, as a result, many owners steer clear of the sharpshooter on draft night. If you gambled on Redd this season, hopefully you knew what you were getting yourself into. Though the dealer is raking in your chips, there’s plenty of time to recover via the waiver wire and opportunities arising from the trade deadline.
The loss of Redd will open up plenty of minutes in the Milwaukee backcourt and that means Ramon Sessions should be added in all formats. As soon as I heard the word on Redd, I grabbed Sessions in a 12-team and 10-team league, and I’m excited about his potential.
There are more stable coaches for providing fantasy opportunities than Scott Skiles, but Sessions is absolutely in a position to succeed. He played his first game with Redd sidelined Monday night and had 18 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals. That’s a very solid line, but it’s not out of line to hope for more assists going forward.
Luke Ridnour should also see a boost in minutes played, which can only help his consistency. If you need a solution at point guard and Sessions has already been snagged, Ridnour is a decent second option due to the Redd fallout.
The Grizzlies took the title of head coach off Marc Iavaroni’s hands on Friday and replaced him with Lionel Hollins. While this shakeup wasn’t headline news, it does have some interesting effects for fantasy owners.
Hollins immediately handed the starting point guard duties to Mike Conley and has been playing him over 30 minutes per night. Consistent production is exactly what fantasy owners need to get a reading on what Conley is capable of doing. This situation is very similar to Andray Blatche‘s emergence after Eddie Jordan was let go in Washington.
Conley is now an intriguing add for owners in need of a point guard. Though he’s never been much of a consistent option, it looks like he’s going to get a chance right away and is worth a shot.
Speaking of Blatche, Shaquille O’Neal’s mammoth frame has sent him to the injured list for two to four weeks. O’Neal and Blatche banged knees during Mondays game, and Blatche suffered the worst of the collision—no surprises.
With the Wizards suffering through a miserable season, why not let JaVale McGee play some extended minutes in Blatche’s absence? McGee has shown flashes of brilliance this year and posted decent rebounding and blocked shot numbers in stretches. This will be another opportunity for him to contribute, and owners in 12+-team leagues should consider adding him right away.
The return of Tracy McGrady and Ron Artest signals the end of fantasy value for Von Wafer. Owners who jumped on the Wafer/Rafer backcourt in Houston have enjoyed a nice ride in the absence of the Rockets superstars.
Do you realize that Wafer scored in double-figures in 11-straight games before McGrady’s return to the lineup on Sunday? To the surprise of pretty much everyone he also showcased a consistent three point shot and enough athleticism to keep him around the League permanently—at least in a reserve role. Wafer’s stretch run is yet another example that mid-level production in the NBA is absolutely based on opportunity.
Let’s keep that theme rolling as we once again bring up former Temple star Mardy Collins. A calf injury ended Collins’s terrific three-week fantasy run and owners who enjoyed his services should give him a standing ovation. Perhaps Mardy knew to quit while he was ahead because Baron Davis returned yesterday. Though it’s safe to cut ties with Collins, don’t forget about him when Davis once again goes down with a phantom injury in L.A.
Fantasy owners enjoying the fruits of the Carmelo Anthony injury need to start making other plans. The Melo fellow is aiming to strap on the headband for a Jan. 30 return. This doesn’t mean Linas Kleiza and J.R. Smith should be dropped, but take a look at your waiver wire and weigh your options. Smith’s been red hot and his production is likely to continue with Anthony back in the lineup, though it won’t be as consistent. Anthony’s return bumps Kleiza to the seventh man in the rotation and his owners should seriously consider grabbing a guy like Sessions if he’s still available.
We’ve already taken a look at Ramon Sessions, Luke Ridnour, Mike Conley and JaVale McGee. Let’s check out who else is making noise on the wire.
Freddie Jones and Ricky Davis – How banged up are the Clippers? The fact that these two are potentially relevant in fantasy leagues should go a ways in explaining it. Although both Jones and Davis have put together solid stat lines in recent games, they are both inconsistent and shouldn’t be picked up outside of 14+-team leagues. Baron Davis’ return makes these guys a gamble for an add/drop fill-in.
Raja Bell – I’m not claiming Larry Brown can be sexually aroused by a style of play on the basketball court, but if he could, Bell would fit the bill. His defensive prowess and long distance shooting is going to keep him on the floor in Charlotte, and Bell’s responding well. He’s an excellent source of 3 balls and points and occasionally will add some assists and steals. He should be owned in 12+-team leagues right now.
Mickael Pietrus – Fresh off injury, Pietrus blew up for 27 points, 10 rebounds, 4 dimes and 1 steal against the Pacers on Tuesday night. Although he’s not starting for the Magic, Pietrus is the best 2 guard on their roster. He was producing at a reasonable clip before a hand injury put him on the pine. Although he wont get numbers like this every time out, he’s worth a look in 12+-team leagues.
Next week I’m going to take a look at players to potentially target prior to the trade deadline, as well as fantasy playoff team schedules. Thanks for reading, and please leave any comments or questions below.