Under the Radar
By Kevin Payne
RotoWire Staff Writer
The next week could see the long awaited return of Gilbert Arenas. Arenas had what was first considered a minor surgery in September to clean up some debris in his left knee. Coincidentally, the surgery took place two months after signing a six-year, $111 million contract.
Fantasy owners partially knew what they were getting into when drafting Arenas. They would probably be without him for a couple months at worst. However, here we are with the next weekly scoring period falling in March, and Arenas hasn't logged a minute for the Wizards. Maybe his surgery was a little more than a cleanup job.
News has now come out that Arenas has been practicing with no limitations with the team since the All-Star break. He claims he feels better than ever and is nearing a return to a real game. This sparks an interesting controversy; given his history, should Arenas play again this year for Washington? It's easy to look and say "no" based on his injury history and the lost season for the Wizards. Management may look and decide they need to generate some revenue via ticket sales the second half of the year if Arenas is completely healthy. The 73 percent of fantasy owners with Agent Zero on their rosters are obviously hoping for a return, dreaming about the 28.4 points a game he averaged two seasons ago. My opinion? If he's over the knee injury, there are 111 million reasons for him to be playing in some capacity, immediately.
Now onto our weekly look at minutes, categories and player eligibility.
Here is the list of players who have seen an increase in playing time the last few games or expect to see an increase in the upcoming schedule.
Marquis Daniels, F, IND - Inexplicably, Daniels is available right now in more leagues than not. Fresh off a 28-point performance on Monday night, Daniels will see plenty of playing time the rest of the season. Daniels becomes one of the top scoring options for the Pacers with Mike Dunleavy out for the year and Danny Granger sidelined for at least two more weeks. Daniels has scored in double-digits in his last five games (an 18.6 point average) and was an excellent fantasy option earlier this year when Dunleavy was out. Grab him immediately if he's still available in your league.
Jason Maxiell, F, DET - With Antonio McDyess running with the first team in Detroit, Maxiell has moved into an important role off the bench for the Pistons. The forward has played 25 minutes in each of the last two games, and responded with 21 points, 18 rebounds and two blocks. He's also shooting a career-high 56 percent from the field on the season. Think of Maxiell as Paul Millsap-lite; he could be a valuable pickup if he continues to see minutes the rest of the year.
Drew Gooden, F, SAC - After missing the last 14 games, Gooden is expected back in the lineup for Sacramento on Wednesday night. While his role is up in the air for his new team, Gooden was averaging a four-year high of 13.1 points with 8.6 rebounds a game. Playing on a younger team in a rebuilding year, Gooden could post close to a double-double every game, provided he stays healthy.
Leon Powe, Glen Davis, F, BOS - Both will see an increased role with the knee injury to Kevin Garnett. Brian Scalabrine also went down to injury (strained neck) on Monday night. Powe is a better option of the two, but both forwards will see more court time until Garnett returns in two weeks.
This is a list of players who can help your fantasy squad in specific categories.
Rebounds and Blocks
Chris Andersen, F, DEN - "The Birdman" has been solid on the defensive end this year for the Nuggets. Overall, he's averaging 2.13 blocks per games, good for fourth in the Association. In the last four games, he has 22 rebounds and 13 blocks. The inevitable has finally happened in Denver, as both Nene and Kenyon Martin are nursing injuries. This means more playing time and continued "big man" numbers for the pride of Blinn College.
Shane Battier, G, HOU - Battier's seen a lot of court time with the season-ending injury to Tracy McGrady. Over his last three games, he's averaged 36.7 minutes and been firing from downtown. During that time, he's gone 10-for-17 from three-point land and averaged 4.3 rebounds, three assists and 1.6 blocks. He should continue to see significant minutes for the Rockets with T-Mac done for the season.
Lou Williams, G, PHI - Williams has found his scoring touch over the last month, scoring in double digits in six of his last seven games. Over his last four contests, he's averaged 16 points, two rebounds and two assists. He won't do much in any of the other categories, but he's a decent scoring option in deeper leagues.
The following players have received eligibility at a new position in the NBA.