My ESPN NBA.com Fantasy Basketball team was hit by a couple of significant injuries last week, losing Kevin Martin (and his 30 ppg average) for 6-8 weeks, and Tony Parker to a sprained ankle. The Parker injury isn't serious - he's listed as day-to-day. But Martin's is exactly the sort that creates major challenges in fantasy NBA leagues.
First, some background: NBA teams have an active roster of 12 and up to three "inactive" players. There's no "disabled list." Like many fantasy NBA leagues, mine follows that same model. This one uses a ten-man active roster (PG, SG, SF, PF, C, G, F, 3 UTILS) and a three-man bench.
So, I can't add anyone to replace Martin without dropping a player.
And that's the problem.
If a long-term injury hit one of my spare players… someone like Jonny Flynn or Mario Chalmers… I'd drop him and look to the wire. But Martin is one of the league's top scorers - it's worth my trouble to work around his absence. Besides, if I drop a player of Martin's caliber, some other owner will snap him up in a second.
That means I might have to make a move with another player that I like - a Chalmers, or a Lou Williams - to find a viable Martin replacement for the next two months. For now, I'll try to hang on with Williams and Flynn in Martin and Parker's regular spots - and hope no one else gets hurt. (I'm looking at you, Manu Ginobili.)
The most popular adds in ESPN NBA.com Leagues this week:
Picks for the Week
The first set of picks is for players in standard leagues - guys who will typically be available in your average 10 team/15 player roster league. The second group is for owners in very deep leagues, and will be based more on speculation than actual numbers. The third batch of players will be guys I've mentioned in previous columns that still seem to be available in a lot of leagues and worth a look.
All "percent owned" stats are taken from ESPN NBA.com Fantasy Basketball - your mileage may vary.
Roy Hibbert (35.4% owned) - Hibbert has played well enough in Troy Murphy's absence that Jim O'Brien almost has to find him a larger role.
Tracy McGrady (30.4% owned) - Depending on who you ask - McGrady or the Rockets' team doctors - McGrady could be back in the next week, or by the end of the month.
Brendan Haywood (20.7% owned) - Three double-doubles in his last four games, though they've come with Antawn Jamison on the shelf.
Udonis Haslem (20.1% owned) - Miami coach Erik Spoelstra has been using Haslem at multiple positions - even asking him to guard some tough small forwards. The additional versatility means more minutes for the veteran.
Ty Lawson (19.1% owned) - We knew it was a matter of time before Lawson supplanted Anthony Parker as Denver's primary backup at the point. Looks like the transition is happening already.
Corey Brewer (14.6% owned) - Among the league's most prolific thieves… but watch his minutes. After playing 30-plus in Minnesota's first five games, he was down to 24.5 in his last two.
Quentin Richardson (9.6% owned) - Maybe being traded 43 times during the offseason was a motivator for Q-Rich. Maybe it's the fact that he's playing for a new contract. Either way, he's become a regular contributor in Miami.
Tyler Hansbrough (8.5% owned) - Indiana is going to bring the rookie along slowly - he' going to be limited to 16 minutes a game for a while. But he showed potential in his NBA debut, scoring 13 points in just 14 minutes.
Toney Douglas (1.0% owned) - Douglas made quite an impression on Knicks fans in Monday's loss to the Jazz, scoring 21 points (9-14 from the field) with three threes and two steals in just 23 minutes. Chris Duhon better watch his back.
Josh Boone (0.3% owned) - Boone got the call to start for the injured Yi Jianlian. He's putting up very respectable board/steal numbers this season and should contribute blocks as well.
A Second Look:
Larry Hughes (45% owned) - Hughes is filling up a lot of categories on the box score, averaging 1.2 made threes, 4.3 boards, four assists, 2.5 steals and .7 blocks per game and scoring in double figures.
Chris Douglas-Roberts (13.3% owned) - Though you might want to wait until he's back - he's fighting a nasty case of the flu.
Taj Gibson (0.8% owned) - Starting for the injured Tyrus Thomas
Article first appeared on 11/11/09