Working the Wire
By Charlie Zegers
RotoWire Hoops Editor
Not to take pleasure in another man's suffering… but for players scouring the waiver wire, the best injuries are the ones that end some poor guy's season.
Think about it. When Elton Brand's injury was announced, you knew you could pick up a Thaddeus Young or Mareese Speights and get value from him for the rest of the year. When Michael Redd tore up his knee, the run on Ramon Sessions looked like Toys R Us at Christmas. But with Andrew Bynum or Jameer Nelson or Andrew Bogut - even Carlos Boozer or Gilbert Arenas, you don't have that certainty. There's a good chance they won't play again this season, but you just don't know. If you're holding 'em, you can't really drop 'em. You might get value out of their understudies, but you don't know how long it'll last.
As the season goes on, more and more injuries will be declared "season-ending." Pay special attention to those announcements; they'll give you a good idea of who you can safely drop and which injury replacements will have the most value.
In such a market, the most valuable player out there is probably Portland's Raef LaFrentz. His $12.7 million deal expires after this season, and 80 percent of it is being picked up by insurance. That means instant relief - both on the cap and in real dollars -- to any team that can swing a deal with the Blazers. But when Raef LaFrentz is a more valuable commodity than Stoudemire or Chandler, the market becomes impossible to predict.
Another complication - let's say the Suns deal Stoudemire, or the Hornets deal Chandler. The Suns and Hornets are actually pretty thin in the frontcourt - you can't necessarily say if Stoudemire is dealt, Louis Amundson will become a valuable fantasy player.
The best advice we can offer - keep a close eye on the transaction wire as February 19th approaches, and be prepared to move quickly.
Jason Kapono (TOR) -Toronto coach Jay Triano reportedly gave Kapono these instructions: "Shoot, shoot, and shoot some more." If you're a fantasy owner, that's exactly what you want.