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Category Strategy: When Minutes Aren't Everything

James Anderson

James Anderson

James Anderson is a University of Minnesota graduate, with allegiances to the Packers, Brewers, Bucks (sigh) and Gophers (double sigh). He is an editor and scribe at Rotowire.com, primarily focused on basketball and baseball. In 2013 he was a FSWA finalist for Fantasy Basketball writer of the year.

Trading for a top point guard

Russell Westbrook started the year a little slow, but you wouldnít know that by looking at his season stats. Heís on pace for a career-high 8.7 assists and 2.1 steals per game, and heís still shooting just 41.5 percent from the field, which means there is still more production to be had here. He shot 44 percent and 46 percent from the field in the past two seasons, respectively, and once his efficiency improves, we could be looking at 24 points, nine assists, and two steals per game. Anyone not named LeBron James or Kevin Durant should be offered up for Westbrook in a straight-up deal, as he is my pick to be the fourth most valuable player in fantasy for the rest of the season.

Another stud point guard to target in trades would be Deron Williams. He isnít a top-five fantasy talent, but heís also probably not going to finish the season shooting 38 percent from the field, which is where heís at right now. If Williamsí owner is in panic mode, he could probably be had for Rajon Rondo, Brandon Jennings, Stephen Curry, or maybe even Jrue Holiday, which would all be moves Iíd make.

CATEGORY STRATEGY

Each week this article highlights players who are widely available in standard leagues that can help in specific Roto categories. However, the information is still highly relevant to players in points leagues and deeper leagues. Remember, while each player highlighted can help in a specific category, thereís no guarantee for production in other areas.

MINUTES

Mickael Pietrus, SF, Raptors - He played 32 minutes in his first game with the Raptors, and put up a mediocre six points, two boards and one block. I mention this because he had 32 minutes, and usually a guy that gets that kind of run in his first game with a team would be worth a look, but itís Mickael Pietrus. Heís averaged double-figure scoring once in his previous 10 years in the NBA, while never averaging five boards or significant defensive stats. This is a case where the minutes donít tell the whole story, and Pietrus will soon see his role diminish on the Raptors once they realize that his best isnít an upgrade over Terrence Ross.

Kyle Singler, SF, Pistons - Heís playing the role Rip Hamilton played for the Pistons in his last years in Detroit. In his last five games, Singlerís averaging 13 points, 5.4 boards, 1.4 steals and 1.6 three-pointers, while shooting 56 percent from the floor and seeing almost 34 minutes per game. Singler isnít the type of waiver add thatís going to win leagues, but he should definitely be owned in more than the 22 percent of Yahoo! leagues heís currently owned in.

Jeffery Taylor, SF, Bobcats - Deep league owners should take note of the production Taylor has put forth in Gerald Hendersonís absence (2.4 steals and 2.2 3-pointers per game over his last five), but donít buy into the 30-plus minutes per game heís seeing right now. Henderson should be back either Monday or Wednesday, and Taylorís numbers will take a hit. He should continue to be a good source of steals and three-pointers for deep-leaguers, but heíll soon lose most of his standard league value.

POINTS AND REBOUNDS

Andray Blatche, PF, Nets - Over his last three games, Blatche has averaged 17 points and 10 boards, while playing 30.3 minutes per game. Of course, Brook Lopez has been out with a foot injury, but even when he returns, Blatche has proven himself enough to be the Netsí first man off the bench, and he should cut into Kris Humphriesí and Gerald Wallaceís minutes. He might not be the optimal addition for the long term in a 10-team standard league, but he should hold deep league value for the rest of the season due to his ability to help with points, rebounds, and field-goal percentage.

ASSISTS

Kirk Hinrich, PG, Bulls - Hinrich has been, and will continue to be the best source of cheap assists on the waiver wire until Derrick Rose returns (assuming he does). The only problem is, Hinrich doesnít do much other than dish, and he shoots a poor percentage. On a team that is otherwise loaded, Hinrich could be the perfect add if a steady string of 5-to-7 assists per game is what you need.

THREE-POINTERS

Caron Butler, SF, Clippers - Butler drilled a stunning nine three-pointers in a game against the Hornets last week, and while thatís clearly an outlying stat line, it could be that the Clippers are content to have Butler transition into mostly a spot-up shooter from distance, with other players more capable of making things happen off the bounce (eight of his nine shots Saturday were from three-point range). He is owned in 20 percent of Yahoo! leagues, which seems about right, based on his average of 25 minutes per night, but he is a legit option if youíre in need of three-point shooting, especially in deep weekly leagues.

STEALS

Mario Chalmers, PG, Heat - Players like Eric Bledsoe and Alonzo Gee, who have been mentioned in this space in past weeks remain good options, but Chalmers is making a case for ownership in standard leagues based primarily on his high steals totals. In his last two weeks, he has averaged two thefts in 25 minutes per game.

BLOCKS

I presented Larry Sanders here as an option last week, and he blocked 10 shots against Minnesota on Friday. Heís still available in 60 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Hereís another option if Sanders is owned: his teammate, Ekpe Udoh is available in practically every league and has averaged 1.6 blocks while seeing almost 25 minutes per game over the past two weeks.

FIELD-GOAL PERCENTAGE

Jonas Valanciunas, C, Raptors - Valanciunas being owned in just 30 percent of leagues while seeing almost 30 minutes per game recently is a bit of a joke. In addition to solid production in rebounds and blocks, he has shot 56 percent from the field over his last eight games, and should be one of the first guys you look for when checking the waiver wire in preparation for your matchups next week. Tiago Splitter is another great option if youíre looking for a guy who will make 60 percent of his shots.

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