Fantasy Basketball, Week 17
Trades, comebacks and bromances.
Hopefully you were able to fall back and enjoy the All-Star festivities and everything that comes with the League’s showcase. As much as I appreciate TNT’s coverage, I think holding Charles Barkley’s return until after the break was a mistake. The highlight of the weekend isn’t the All-Star game, or even the dunk contest, it’s listening to Barkley’s commentary during the events.
With the All-Star break, and the midway point of the season behind us, it’s time to fall into your fantasy grind the rest of the way. The trade deadline is fast approaching and inevitable there’s going to be guys who aren’t currently holding value, becoming must adds after Feb. 18. Though I always stress the importance of the waiver wire, at no point is staying on top of things more critical then in the upcoming weeks.
With that said, I’m going to be shortening the column in order to drop twice a week. This way I’ll be able to focus on more potential waiver adds, as well as discussing injuries or trades that need immediate review.
Let’s start by taking a look at the four-player deal between the Raptors and the Heat that took place this past Friday. The Heat received the frontcourt help they’ve been looking for in Jermaine O’Neal and also Jamario Moon, the poor man’s Shawn Marion. Ironically, the poor man’s Marion is replacing Marion on the Heat’s roster as he and Marcus Banks head to Canada.
Jermaine O’Neal’s numbers with the Heat will remain fairly consistent to what they were in Toronto with the potential for a slight increase. He’s going to start at the 5 and will be a solid source of points, blocks and rebounds. The question mark here is obviously his health and whether or not he can remain on the court. Although history says no, he should fit better in the Miami system, which can be a great motivator at this level.
Jamario Moon has struggled with consistency this season, and I think his production in Miami will be very similar. He shouldn’t be picked up outside of 12+-team league.
Udonis Haslem is the guy who stands to take the biggest hit in the trade, with O’Neal taking away his minutes at the 5, and Beasley splitting time at the 4. I’m not recommending dropping Haslem, but monitor his numbers and evaluate after O’Neal gets acclimated.
Andrea Bargnani should already be owned in all leagues, and this move will only further benefit him. He’s steadily improved his play in recent weeks and knowing he has a consistent spot in the starting five should do wonders for his mental.
Marion has been nothing short of cheeks during his stay in Miami, and a trip up to Canada could be the break he needs to get his swagger back. Marion will always be a guy who’s most productive within the flow of an offense, but he’ll have more plays called for him on the Raptors, and more shot opportunities. Bryan Colangelo has a certified bromance for Marion which should keep what’s been described as a fragile mental, in good spirits.
A few guys are set to return from injury after the All-Star break, and others are stepping up in place of fallen teammates on this week’s waiver wire adds:
Yi Jianlian – He’s fixing to return from a broken finger and needs to be looked at in all leagues. Yi has put together a string of nice games before the injury took place, and although rookie Ryan Anderson has been solid in his absence, Yi is the player to own in New Jersey.
Delonte West – Although West’s return has been set back a week, he’s still worth stashing on your bench. He was really filling up the box score before going down with a wrist injury, and with Sasha Pavlovic on the IL, there will be plenty of burn for the former St. Joseph’s (losers of 3 straight to the Temple owls) product.
Joel Przybilla – The Ghostfaced Pryzbilla is on this list in case Greg Oden’s knee injury turns out to be serious. Monitor that situation and if Oden’s going to miss any extended time, add Joel right away. Update: Oden’s injury appears to be a chipped patella in his knee. The extent of the injury isn’t public yet, but this situation needs to be looked at closely.
Chris Kaman – The Kave Man says he’ll return to the Clippers after the All-Star break. I’m and bit skeptical and will believe it when I see it, he should still be owned in all leagues in the off chance he’s able to produce.
Joakim Noah – Drew Gooden may require surgery for a sports hernia, leaving plenty of minutes in the front court for Noah. He’s hit double-digits rebounding the past four games with at least a block in each one. Noah was producing at a high level at the end of last season and seems poised to return to form this year.
Kevin Love, Craig Smith and Ryan Gomes – Al Jefferson’s torn ACL has ended what was shaping up to be a very special individual season. Clearly, the Wolves wont be able to replace his production but there are going to be a lot of shots and rebounds to go around. Kevin Love should be owned in all leagues and should be a double-double threat the rest of the year. Ryan Gomes is going to pick up much of the scoring slack and should be owned in 12-team and greater leagues. Craig Smith is the wild card here because he’s currently injured, but may end up starting at center when he returns and needs to be watched closely going forward. His rebounding numbers aren’t traditionally high, but he may have no choice but to hit the boards with big Al on the shelf.
Jose Juan Barea – Jason Terry is going to miss at least two more weeks of action leaving the Mavs shooting guard spot to Barea. He’s responded very well as an injury fill in this season and will contribute in points, assists and steals while Terry is sidelined. If you’re in need of guard help he deserves a look in 12+-team leagues.
Javaris Crittenton – This is an interesting situation because he’s still sharing minutes with Mike James, even though the Wizards season is completely lost. Eventually, Crittenton will take over the job, and when he starts getting 30+ minutes a night, could be a monster. He can put up points, assists and rebounds and all logic points to him getting the majority of the minutes going forward. Keep in mind these are the Wizards we’re talking about, so it’s best to wait for the minutes to arrive before adding him.
Okay so, this column didn’t end up being any shorter than any of the others… What can ya do? As always, thanks for reading, leave your questions and comments below and I’ll get back to you ASAP.