Fantasy Week #7: Fill It Up

by December 11, 2007

By Emry DowningHall

I remember the morning after Kobe got busy to the tune of 81 points on the Toronto Raptors I almost fell out of my chair when I saw the box score. I actually refreshed the fantasy page assuming it had to be a mistake. I’m not trying to compare the two performances but Josh Smith’s line last night against Orlando had me doing the same double take.

It was the Vida Guerra of stat lines, and if you’re familiar with Vida, you know what I’m talking about. J-Smooth poured in 2 trey balls, 25 points, 16 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 blocks. Critics will bang him for shooting 35% from the field but fall back with all that nonsense. Josh Smith should be known as J-Smooth aka Mr. Fill It Up.

If you grabbed him on draft night, chances are you’re right near the top of your fantasy league. In the same way Dwight Howard virtually ensures a W in rebounds each week, Smith holds down the blocks category. I feel for any league where an owner has both those monsters on a roster, that wouldn’t seem fair.

I heard all the “wrong place at the wrong time” explanations about the shoot-out that took place Sunday morning involving Pacers point guard Jamaal Tinsley and I’m not trying to discredit his account, but after three incidents of this nature, it might be time to call it a career for Indy nightlife.

Tinsley has been filling the stat sheet this year for owners but all basketball aside, we’re all just happy he wasn’t hurt during this foolishness. The Pacers have said he wont be disciplined and he should be making all starts going forward.

I took a lot of verbal abuse this weekend as the Knicks forgot to show up in a home and home series against the 76ers. Living in Philly and rooting for the Knicks isn’t the easiest thing under normal circumstances, but during a year when the 76ers are supposed to be worse off than the Knicks a two game sweep was truly embarrassing. Marbury gets a pass because he is grieving, but Eddy Curry and Zach Randolph were both amazingly bad.

Remember in Anchorman when Baxter eats the entire wheel of cheese but Ron can’t be mad at him because he’s so amazed? That’s sort of what we have with the Knicks front line. Randolph averaged three points and three rebounds against Philadelphia, while Curry had 12 points and five rebounds on Friday, and followed that up with six points and two boards Saturday. That’s unreal! Who on the Sixers is keeping them from putting in work? Jason Smith? Sammy Dalembert? Reggie Evans? I doubt fantasy owners are finding this funny, but I think the Ron Burgundy approach is the way to go for now. To Zach’s credit he did bounce back nicely in another loss to Dallas Monday night.

On the other end of the spectrum Josh Howard and Deron Williams were doing their thing this weekend. Howard’s performance was a dagger because I was going up against an owner with him in their lineup. He dropped a cool 47 points on 14 of 19 shooting, 10 rebounds, and 4 treys. Deron set a new career high in points with 41, he also added 3 treys, 3 boards, 7 dimes and 2 steals. Both Howard and Williams have been crushing teams this season and both guys deserve to suit up for the Western Conference team come All-Star weekend.

I came weak in last weeks column, but this time around, I think I got my game up on the waiver wire pickups. Let’s start with the obvious selection:

John Salmons – The pickup of the week is the man from Miami, Johnny Salmons. With Kevin Martin out 4-6 weeks Salmons owners are going to enjoy plenty of production from the man with the wild chin hair. Salmons is really a great option and shouldn’t be available in your league, but if he is, grab him ASAP. The Martin news is rough but 4-6 weeks is far an apocalyptic scenario. Speaking of Martin, a reader asked me in last weeks comments section if I though K-Mart was deserving of becoming the official K-Mart of the league, surpassing Kenyon Martin. At first, I liked the idea but after some thought, no way. It’s about tradition right? Somewhere far, far away Antoine Carr is nodding his head in agreement.

Travis Outlaw – Some people have complained that I didn’t give Outlaw any love this year but that’s because he was a popular sleeper pick and therefore wasn’t available in most leagues. Well at this point I was late to the party and Outlaw is entrenched in the Portland lineup, averaging over 30 minutes a game. If he is available, make it happen.

Keith Bogans – I picked up Bogans for his ability to get steals but have been pleasantly surprised with his ability to stroke the three. The Magic strap it up four times this week and next, making Bogans a solid guard addition to a roster.

Luke Ridnour – I’m hesitant to recommend picking up anyone on a team that plays three guys at the same position. I think Luke is the best man for the job and I also think Seattle should be shopping him for a trade at some point so he will see the floor. If you are in desperate need of point guard help, give him a shot.

Dorrell Wright – 19 points and 17 rebounds on Friday night? 16 and 12 last night? Wright is starting at the SF slot and from the looks of it, isn’t going anywhere. If he’s still hanging around in your league snatch him up immediately.

Francisco Garcia – I already gave love to one member of the Kings but there’s room for Garcia as well. He wont be the player Salmons is going to be but he will produce with Martin out. He backs up Udrih and Salmons and plays the defense owners need to fill those tough categories. He’s worth a pickup in most leagues.

Craig Smith – The Wolves somehow managed to beat the Suns Saturday and Craig Smith was in the starting lineup for that game. To me, that means he should see more tick. With Smith at the Four Al Jefferson slid to the five spot and the two looked like a tough combo down low. Smith’s minutes may be inconsistent when Antoine Walker is healthy but he can really fill it up with some extended tick. You might have to be a little patient with him but I think his stock is on the rise.

Mikki Moore – Here’s another guy whose stock is on the rise. Center is a depleted position in a lot of leagues and Moore is totally entrenched as the guy in Sacramento. His play has improved lately and if you start two centers in your league, I think he’s worth a pickup. I grabbed him in a couple of my leagues.

Fantasy numbers are going to be up this week because all teams are playing three or four times. That means that week #7 should be the best gauge yet as to where your squad is at compared to the rest of the league.

I think there’s some real talent on the waiver list this week and guys like Dorrell Wright, and Craig Smith have enough upside that you might want to think about trading for them if they’re already snatched up. Smith will be a bit of an investment so don’t give up too much for him, just try and slide your garbage onto another squad with one of those Homer Simpson, “Doo-Doo-Doos”

A good strategy for getting a guy like Wright or Smith is to have them thrown in as a part of a deal but try and do so without making them a focus. If you’re making a trade for a top tier player, and you’re close, squirm a bit and ask to sweeten the deal with a waiver guy. Chances are the other owner will be focused on the bigger picture and you can really help yourself out.

Oh yea, and it looks like it’s time to run out and grab Randy Foye off the wire. He had his knee evaluated Monday and he said he was, “100% confident that it would be fine.” That could be wishful thinking but it’s not worth risking it and letting him fall into another owners lap.

Finally, fantasy owners in need of rebounds might wish D-Leaguer Rod Benson was available on waivers, who knows he may be shortly. Did you see what he did Sunday night? 28 points and 28 boards, setting a D-League record. We see you. Alright guys, talk to you all next week.