Working the Wire
By Charlie Zegers
RotoWire Hoops Editor
Sometimes waiver wire transactions are obvious. When the "Dwyane Wade: out for the year" story hit the Internet, fantasy players everywhere put in claims on Ricky Davis. That's a no-brainer.
But Ricky Davis was already owned in a lot of leagues the savvy owner knows to dig a bit deeper. Davis had value coming off the bench, right? That means if Davis moves into the starting rotation, the guy who replaces him as bench scorer will have value too.
Call it the transitive property of fantasy NBA rosters.
Watching for these chain reactions becomes far more valuable at this time of year, when players like Wade start shutting things down for the season due to nagging injuries or opt for early surgery in the hopes of being fully rehabbed for the start of the 2008-09 campaign.
Here's a look at the two examples (with percent-owned stats from Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner in parentheses):
The injured player: Dwyane Wade
The obvious fill-in: Ricky Davis (94.1%)
Secondary options: Marcus Banks (0%), Daequan Cook (0.7%)
The injured player: Eddy Curry
The obvious fill-in: David Lee (90.8%)
Secondary options: Malik Rose (0%), Randolph Morris (0%)
Obviously, some of the secondary fill-ins come with a really big "approach with caution" label. We're not suggesting you put in a waiver claim on Malik Rose just outlining a strategy to use in digging for help on the wire when the next frontline player packs it in for this year.
This Week's Picks:
The first set of picks is intended for players in shallow leagues. The recommendations will be players who are available in 40-70 percent of all Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner leagues on NBA.com. The second group is for deep leagues more speculative picks, more "sleepers" guys who are available in more than 70 percent of Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner leagues. Feedback and questions are always welcome.
Nate Robinson NYK [PG]: Amazing what a 45-point outburst will do to a guy's "percent owned." Little Nate had been in the 20 percent range before he dropped a career-high on Portland. But be forewarned Robinson's big night came with just about every other offensive threat on the Knick roster out of the lineup Jamal Crawford (hand), Eddy Curry (knee) and Zach Randolph (foot) were all out. We expect Robinson to be a decent fantasy option down the stretch, particularly if Crawford's hand injury lingers. But don't be surprised if he follows up the occasional big night with the sort of game he had Monday against Dallas (5 points on 2-of-14 shooting).
Beno Udrih SAC [PG]: Feels like we've been writing about this guy for the better part of the season, but finally folks seem to be catching on. His percent owned is now just shy of 70 percent; but if you consider the fact that he's scored 23 or more in five of his last seven games, that number still looks low.
Kendrick Perkins BOS [C]: Centers are to fantasy hoops what catchers are to fantasy baseball most of them don't merit a roster spot, but every team needs at least two so just about every starter in the league finds his way on to someone's roster. That being the case, I was surprised to see that Perkins was hovering in the 1 percent owned range until earlier this week. But Perkins has been on a tear of late scoring in double-figures in five straight games and posting four straight double-doubles. His percent owned has surged to 13 in the last week easily the most-added player in Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner.
Earl Watson SEA [PG]: Over his last five games, Watson is averaging 15 points, handing out over seven assists, and netting 1.4 steals. But he's still on the wire in over 80 percent of Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner leagues.
J.R. Smith DEN [SG]: Full disclosure Smith is typically a player I like to avoid. He's had so many run-ins with coach George Karl, I can't help thinking he's just one bad shot, or one dirty look, away from a DNP-CD. But prejudices aside, I can't argue with a 17-point average in five March games, or the fact that he's shooting .538 from three in that stretch.
Matt Carroll CHA [SG,SF]: Carroll is coming off a highly-productive stretch over 17 points, six boards and two steals per game over his last five. That would make him a must-buy, but there's a catch. A good deal of his production came in minutes that usually belong to Gerald Wallace and not only is Wallace coming back, he's reportedly going to play small forward exclusively from now on.
Thaddeus Young PHI [SF]: One of the most impressive facets of Philly's run towards a playoff spot is the fact that they've done it in the midst of a youth movement that features players like Young. (Yes, I know the Sixers have a losing record they still deserve credit for passing a bunch of teams that were supposed to be far more competitive this year, like the Nets, Bulls, Pacers, Bucks, Knicks and Heat.) Young has topped double-figures in five straight games, including a career-high 22 points on March 9 against Milwaukee.
Theo Ratliff DET [PF]: Starting in place of Rasheed Wallace twice in the last week, Ratliff showed he still has some gas left in the 'ol tank against Chicago on Sunday, Ratliff scored 10 points, pulled down eight boards and swatted three shots in just 26 minutes of run. 'Sheed isn't expected to miss much time, so don't expect many starts but Ratliff could emerge as a rotation player for the Pistons and contribute blocks even in limited minutes.
Damon Jones CLE [PG]: Eric Snow will be sidelined for 4-6 weeks due to knee problems, which should mean additional playing time for Jones.
Keith Bogans ORL [SG]: Bogans isn't a big-time scorer, but he is averaging more than two made threes per game in the month of March. He's available in over 90 percent of Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner leagues.
Dan Dickau LAC [PG]: The zero-percent owned Dickau moved into the Clippers' rotation with Sam Cassell's departure, and he's regularly outplaying starter Brevin Knight. In his last six games, Dickau is averaging 24.2 minutes, 8.2 points and 3.3 assists while shooting 47.5 percent.
Article first appeared on 3/11/08