By Shannon McKeown
RotoWire Staff Writer
Time to Stream
If you're in a standard head-to-head league, the playoffs likely kicked off this week. And since an astute owner in your league has probably swooped in and grabbed all the available Bulls and Suns – both teams have a coveted five-game week – it's time for you to stream.
Streaming is a pretty basic concept: add players on a daily basis to get the greatest possible number of games played.
Why bank on game-time decisions like Tyson Chandler (ankle) or Richard Hamilton (groin) when you can pick up a new player to fill into their slot each day? And if you own a fringe fantasy player from a team with a two-game week - beware of players from the Rockets and Kings - that roster spot would probably be better filled by streaming in new blood each day.
This tactic can get hairy, as you'll likely be subbing in players with stat lines well below the norm on your squad, but those stat lines add up. Would you rather have two games from Aaron Brooks (11.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 3.0 apg) or a game each from Courtney Lee (8.0/2.2/1.1), Anthony Morrow (8.7/2.8/1.0), JaVale McGee (6.6/4.1/0.3) and Maurice Evans (6.9/3.0/0.7)?
It's time to ignore averages, cut any ties you have to guys who have gotten you to the playoffs but are now under performing, and accumulate the best possible stat totals. After all, it's all about winning, right?
Around the League
Every week, we'll use this space to track players whose fantasy value is improving, declining or uncertain. We're not particularly concerned with hot or cold streaks - all players toss up a 2-for-10 every now and again - unless they're extreme or seem to indicate an underlying problem or injury. Instead, we'll be looking at changes in playing time or role or skill level.
Brandon Rush (IND) – Rush found his way into the starting lineup Saturday night, and took advantage of the opportunity with 15 points and five boards. With Mike Dunleavey (knee) out for the season, Marquis Daniels nursing a wrist injury and T.J. Ford demoted to bench duty, Rush might finish the season as a member of the starting five.
Hilton Armstrong (NO) – The Hornets have won three straight since Chandler aggravated his ankle injury. Armstrong has been the starting center in all three of those victories, averaging 10.3 points, 6.7 boards and 1.7 blocks. While New Orleans is still vying for playoff seeding, they have a six-game lead over the ninth-place Suns, and with 13 games left, are all but a lock to advance to the second season. Simply put, Chandler doesn't need to be rushed back, leaving the door open for Armstrong to continue seeing increased minutes.
Glen Davis (BOS) – Kevin Garnett's return from a knee injury didn't bother Big Baby's game, as the sophomore forward poured in a season-high 24 points in Saturday's win over the Grizzlies. Garnett has been limited to less than 20 minutes in both games since returning, and with Leon Powe out for at least another week, Davis should continue to see extra run.
Nick Young (WAS) – Playing time has been bountiful for Young of late, as he's averaging around 30 minutes over the past six games. The extra playing time has resulted in a scoring spike to the tune of 15.8 points per game. A return by Gilbert Arenas (see below) would rain slightly on Young's parade, but he should still see enough time to help in points and threes.
Chris Douglas-Roberts (NJ) – Devin Harris' (shoulder) absence and Yi Jianlian's ineffectiveness have opened the door for Douglas-Roberts to see the court. In the past three games, he's averaging 12 points in 21 minutes. The Nets aren't in "tank-mode" yet, but as soon as they are, look for CDR to be one of the main beneficiaries.
Gilbert Arenas (WAS) – Agent Zero might finally be making a return to the hardwood. Arenas (knee) is targeting a return for Saturday's home tilt against the Pistons. His plan is to return for the final eight home games of the season and try to squeeze in a road game or two. This move defies all logic on the part of the Wizards, who are lottery bound, and could end up being nothing but hot air. Still, Arenas is one of the best scorers in the league when healthy, and he could definitely provide a shot in the arm to fantasy squads trudging through the playoffs.
Richard Hamilton, Allen Iverson and Rasheed Wallace (DET) – The Pistons are banged up right now, with Hamilton (groin) missing the past four games, Wallace (calf) the past seven and Iverson (back) out for the past 13. All three are said to be nearing a return, but have already been ruled out of Tuesday's tilt against the Bulls. The Pistons struggles have been well chronicled this year, and with a 3.5-game cushion over the ninth-seed (Charlotte), they have a little bit of wiggle room to be patient.
Tyson Chandler (NO) – The aforementioned Chandler had problems with his ankle flare-up last week, and he's missed three straight games as a result. Coach Byron Scott believes his big man will be ready by Wednesday, but Chandler admitted to being in serious pain and not close to 100-percent.
T.J. Ford (IND) – As previously mentioned, Ford has been relegated to role of backup point guard. Coach Jim O'Brien said the move was made as a result of Ford's disappointing play of late. Ford will still see enough minutes to post decent stat lines, but he'll have a tough time keeping up with his production to date.
Jamal Crawford (GS) – Coach Don Nelson and Crawford are in a squabble over playing time, and an end doesn't appear to be in sight. After receiving a Coach's Decision-DNP in back-to-back games last week, Crawford refused to play on Friday night, citing the need for more practice time before returning to action. Crawford has an opt-out clause in his contract and probably won't factor into the long-term plans of the Warriors, so don't look for this dicey situation to end well.
Larry Hughes (NY) - Hughes has been playing through an injured toe for the past week, and his play has clearly been affected, as he's only averaging 4.3 points in the past three games. To make matters worse, Hughes failed to tell coach Mike D'Antoni about the injury. He plans on playing sometime this week, but sat out Monday's game.
Article first appeared on 3/23/08