Fantasy Basketball: Take Charge
Free agents who can help you in the playoffs.
by Charles Peach / @Charles_Peach
Most head-to-head leagues are one week away from beginning the playoffs. For many, securing a playoff spot depends on winning this week’s matchup. At this point, you’re stuck with your team – like it or not. However, making a few shrewd waiver wire pickups can help swing categories in your favor. Therefore, the guys listed below could very well be the catalysts that help us nerds bring home the fantasy hardware.
Before we get there, I’d like to go on a brief, non-fantasy related rant. Why are the Blue Devils the only team, year after year, that “get it” when it comes to drawing offensive fouls? Is it uncool to take a charge? No one will ever take a charge in streetball because you’ll never get the call. But with three officials on the floor who are more than ready to blow the whistle and dying to overact the offensive foul signal? You’d be crazy if you didn’t look to draw a charge on every play. That is, unless you dislike winning.
You see, when I was in high school, I was a runt. I was too small to make the basketball team. Then, I had a growth spurt before my senior year and finally made varsity. I rode the bench like a champ until one day the coach dusted me off and stuck me in a game. Up to this point, 95 percent of the basketball I had played in my life was not officiated. Within 20 seconds, my teammates were picking me up off the floor after drawing a charge. So simple! I slid over on help defense into the paint, their point guard bowled right over me, and we’re going the other way.
So, yeah, this play from yesterday’s ACC Championship might’ve been a blocking foul by Kyle Singler. The fact of the matter is the referee has a split-second to make a call that, in all fairness, would take a 30-minute roundtable discussion between Jay Bilas, Gus Johnson, Seth Davis, and Bob Knight to get correct. Duke wins because Coach K has mastered the system. He forces the referees to make these types of calls, as often as possible. In many cases, a potential career-highlight for North Carolina’s Dexter Strickland fizzles into yet another Duke momentum killer.
On second thought, I am going to make this rant topical after all. I think I’ll lobby to make “Charges Taken” a fantasy category for next season. You know who leads the NBA in that department this year? Grant Hill. The best Dukie the League has ever seen. Oh, and he’s thirtyfriggineight years old.
ON THE WIRE
Here’s how I’m going to break it down this week. The first group of players should be considered solid additions for the remainder of the season. They play for one of the following teams: Boston, New Jersey, Phoenix, Sacramento, or Washington. Why? They are the only five teams that play the maximum amount of games from this point forward. The second group will consist of short-term options you should consider just for this week’s matchup.
Aaron Brooks – Filled in for Steve Nash on Sunday and posted 19 points and 10 assists with zero turnovers. The Suns are battling to get into the playoffs, but against the Magic they showed little fight and were blown out 111-88 at home. As soon as they find themselves out of contention I’d expect Nash to sit out the rest of season. Brooks could light it up in any game Nash misses, including Monday’s game against his former team, the Rockets. By the time fantasy championship week is here, Brooks could be a huge contributor.
Nenad Krstic – In eight games with the Celtics, he’s averaging 13.5 points and 7.8 rebounds while shooting 55.7 percent from the field. Considering Boston’s terrific upcoming schedule and how out of shape Shaq will be when he finally returns from his 16-game (and counting) absence, Krstic should definitely be owned right now.
Jordan Farmar – Even though Deron Williams is supposed to return this week, keep Farmar in your queue. Reports say that Williams’ wrist needs a couple of weeks to heal. Plus, his wife just gave birth. Wouldn’t it make sense to take time off at the end of a meaningless season? I know his owners don’t think so. This seems like a fairly realistic scenario, so just stay tuned in to the Nets news.
Jason Thompson – He’s been coming off the bench and playing about 25 minutes per game. He’ll get you around 10 points, 6 rebounds, and a block, which doesn’t sound like much but with a maxed out schedule adds up to be worthy of a pickup.
Francisco Garcia – I like him because he’s a sneaky, steals and blocks contributor. Not only that, he’ll help out in the threes department.
Trevor Booker / Jordan Crawford – Flip Saunders is letting the rookies play. Andray Blatche is reportedly going to miss another game due to a shoulder injury, so Booker will get another start. Crawford can get you some points and steals but he’s a very risky play because of his poor shooting clip and high turnover rate.
Reggie Evans – Rebound Reggie is the only guy on this list who plays only three games this week. However, he only played three last week but it didn’t stop him from pulling down 44 rebounds. Could you use 44 extra rebounds in your matchup this week?
Jeff Teague – Where did this come from? After four straight losses, none of which did Teague play more than 14 minutes, he gets plugged back into the starting lineup and leads the Hawks to a win against the Blazers. He finished with 24 points on 11-of-17 shooting, five steals, four rebounds, three steals, and three assists. Pickup Teague and hope Larry Drew rolls with the same lineup for the remainder of this week, at least.
Jodie Meeks – He’s been going streaking lately. Meeks has tallied double-figure points and hit at least two three-pointers in each of the last eight games. He’s also recorded at least one steal in each of the last nine games. He’s getting it done efficiently too, keeping the turnovers down and the field goal percentage close to 50 percent. The Sixers play four games this week, making him a very solid option.
Spencer Hawes – After not surpassing 20 minutes in five straight games, he’s played 31 and 23 minutes in the last two. Doug Collins might be looking to get him into playoff form. If so, he could be another valuable Sixer to own this week for those in need of a boost in rebounds. He’ll also knock down the occasional three-ball and block a shot or two.
Mike Bibby – The 5-of-5 from behind the arc that he posted in the Heat’s last victory is tantalizing. In the last three games, he is 9-of-12 from downtown and his playing time is slowly increasing. With four games this week, he could be the guy who puts you over the top in the threes category.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute – Steals are always tough to prepare for, but The Prince might be able to get you a handful of them this week. He’ll also crash the boards.