Under the Radar
By Kevin Payne
RotoWire Staff Writer
There are always a few things in life you can count on. Death, taxes and NBA injuries are some of the inevitable. In the world of fantasy sports, an injury can make or break your season. If your first-round pick goes down, likely your chance of winning the league does also. Conversely, being first to the waiver wire to pick up the hidden gem who is about to get minutes due to that injury can separate you from the rest of the pack. The real key is to weed out the posers from the legitimate guys who can add to your team. Let's look at some players to add to your team.
The following players have seen an increase in court time in the last week.
Eric Gordon, G, LAC - Following the trade of Cuttino Mobley to New York, and an injury to Ricky Davis, Gordon has found himself in the starting five for the Clippers. In the last four games he's averaged 36 minutes a contest, totaling 16.7 points, 3.6 steals, 3.6 three-pointers made and three assists. Gordon "tweaked a hammy" on Saturday night, but played 36 minutes in a loss at Dallas on Tuesday, so he appears fine. Expect the Big Ten's leading scorer from a year ago to be a solid fantasy contributor, even after Davis returns.
Paul Millsap, F, UTA - Here's the guy who has the potential to make Jazz fans think they are seeing a second coming of "The Mailman." Like Karl Malone, Millsap is about 6-foot-8 to 6-9, and plays at about 250. Both tenacious rebounders, Malone averaged more than 10 boards per game, while Millsap is the only player in the history of college basketball to lead the country in rebounding three years in a row. Both attended Louisiana Tech, and both play/played alongside talented NBA point guards (Deron Williams/John Stockton). While the comparisons are probably premature, it will be interesting to watch Millsap develop as a player the next few years.
Millsap has been the benefactor of Carlos Boozer's quadriceps injury. He's played at least 34 minutes the last four games, averaging 19 points and 11.8 rebounds while shooting more than 55 percent from the field. Boozer has been a notorious slow healer, missing 80 games between the 2004-2006 seasons. Don't be surprised to see Millsap remain in the starting lineup for another week and continue to produce similar fantasy numbers.
Luther Head, G, HOU - The oft-injured Tracy McGrady will be out at least the next three weeks rehabbing his injured knee, the best-case scenario after visiting Dr. James Andrews on Monday. Head has started in his place the last two games, with mixed results. After dropping 21 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals on San Antonio on Saturday, he scored only three points on 1-7 shooting on Sunday. Brent Barry sidelined with T-Mac the next few weeks, look for Head to get his chance to contribute.
J.J. Redick, G, ORL - The former Duke Blue Devil has found his way starting for the Orlando Magic after Mickael Pietrus sustained a thumb injury that will sideline him 3-5 weeks. He hasn't put up impressive numbers despite playing more than 30 minutes the last two games. However, keep an eye on him as there are limited options in Orlando, especially if you are looking for three-pointers and FT percentage.
This is our weekly look at players who can help your squad in the different roto categories.
Tim Thomas, F, NYK - What a difference a trade can make for a player's fantasty impact. Thomas will see a bump in his numbers across the board playing for his old coach Mike D'Antoni in New York. He's averaged 14.4 points, seven rebounds and a steal in his first three games with the Knicks. Expect him to continue to see 25-30 minutes a night and maintain those stats with the up-tempo Knicks.
Anthony Johnson, G, ORL - With Jameer Nelson out with a hip injury, Johnson has filled in admirably. In the four games Nelson has missed, Johnson has averaged 35.7 minutes, six assists, 3.75 rebounds and 1.5 three-pointers per game. Nelson is expected back within a week or so, but expect Johnson to continue handing out dimes while he fills in for Nelson.
Anthony Carter, G, DEN - Even though Carter was relegated to a backup role following the acquisition of Chauncey Billups, he has continued to provide decent stats for the Nuggets. In his last five games, he's averaged 5.6 assists, 4.6 rebounds and two steals. He's worth owning if you need assists, especially in weekly leagues when Denver has four games.
Ryan Gomes, F, MIN - With the news that Corey Brewer (torn ACL) is out for the year, Gomes' spot in the starting lineup got more secure. In the first game without Brewer, Gomes played 36 minutes on Monday night, scoring 16 points, which included four treys. He's been hot to start the year from beyond the arc, hitting more than 44 percent of his attempts this season.
Chris Andersen, F, DEN - Andersen missed nine games due to a rib injury, making his return last Thursday night. In three games since, he's averaged 2.6 blocks and 6.3 rebounds. He's not going to fill up the score sheet but is a decent source of blocks and rebounds. Also keep in mind that Nene Hilario doesn't have the best track record when it comes to injuries.
For the Sacramento Kings, Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes both gained power forward eligibility last week. Jarrett Jack obtained shooting guard status for the Indiana Pacers.
Article first appeared on 12/3/08