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Category Strategy: Replacement's Value

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.

CATEGORY STRATEGY

Each week, this article highlights players who are widely available in standard leagues that can help in specific roto categories. While each player highlighted can help in a specific category, there's no guarantee for production in other areas.

MINUTES

Jimmy Butler, SG, Bulls - Yahoo!: 29% ESPN: 46.9%

No player in the NBA is averaging more minutes per game over the past two weeks (42.3) than Butler. He's taken advantage of injuries to Marco Belinelli and Richard Hamilton to emerge as a key contributor on this Bulls team, and has been a hot pickup in all formats. He's really not great at any one thing, although he does have 11 steals in his last five games (which I'm not really buying), but he sees so much run that he's valuable enough to own and start in 10-team leagues.

POINTS

Wilson Chandler, SG, Nuggets - Yahoo!: 54% ESPN: 34.2%

With the injury to Danilo Gallinari, Chandler is the number one pickup in this final week of the fantasy basketball season, as someone who could definitely be the difference between winning and losing your league. He posted 21 points, six boards, three assists, three three-pointers and a steal in 30 minutes Saturday with Gallinari out of the lineup, and he should continue to see that kind of run for the rest of the season. I also love Corey Brewer (22 points Saturday) as a waiver option, but Chandler offers more rebounding and three-point shooting, while Brewer will probably post slightly better defensive numbers. In very deep leagues, Evan Fournier is also an interesting option off the bench in Denver, as he's scored 17-plus points in two of his last three games.

Wesley Johnson, SG, Suns - Yahoo!: 14% ESPN: 11.9%

Johnson had a pretty disappointing outing Friday, scoring just nine points, but of the options widely available in deeper leagues, Johnson has the greatest potential to get back to scoring 20 points every few games, while also hitting a lot of three-pointers. The Suns are obviously solely thinking about next year, and that gives them every incentive to try to develop Johnson, who is still just 25 years old. He doesn't have the upside that Chandler or Brewer have, but if those two are scooped up already, Johnson might be your guy.

REBOUNDS

Josh McRoberts, PF, Bobcats - Yahoo!: 12% ESPN: 4.6%

Jason Thompson has 31 rebounds in his last two games, so he's obviously an appealing option, but DeMarcus Cousins should return to prominence for the Kings down the stretch, so Thompson is not as great of a pickup as his numbers might lead you to believe. Instead, I'm going to go with Josh McRoberts, who is averaging 11.3 boards in 40 minutes per game over his last four contests. He's strictly a rebounding option in my book, as he scored in double figures just once over that four-game span, and he won't shoot for a very high percentage. He should be available in most leagues, and could average close to 10 rebounds per game for the rest of the season.

ASSISTS

Beno Udrih, PG, Magic - Yahoo!: 32% ESPN: 48.5%

I mentioned Udrih here last week, and he went on to dish out 25 assists over his next three games. He's probably been added in most mid-sized leagues, but he's officially a solid play in all formats in my opinion as long as Jameer Nelson remains out with an ankle injury.

STEALS

Tony Allen, SG, Grizzlies - Yahoo!: 37% ESPN: 25.6%

Brewer and Butler, who I mention above, are decent options here. I don't expect Butler to continue to collect steals like has very recently, but Allen is the best bet to average more than two steals per game for the rest of the season, among widely available players. Another solid play here is Al-Farouq Aminu, who has seven steals over his last two games, while seeing 32.5 minutes per game in those two contests.

BLOCKS

Brandan Wright, PF, Mavericks - Yahoo!: 25% ESPN: 19.4%

Assuming that Jonas Valanciunas is already owned in your league, Wright is probably the next best option among players who are likely unowned. He is averaging 1.8 blocks per game over his last five contests, and he's only seeing just over 20 minutes per game during that span. If he were to start seeing the minutes that he probably deserves down the stretch, he could average two blocks per game the rest of the way. Andre Drummond is also a solid play here, but Wright offers more scoring potential.

THREE-POINTERS

Mike Miller, SF, Heat - Yahoo!: 6% ESPN: 8.2%

Miller didn't do much in his last outing, but he still played 23 minutes, and if he continues to be a part of the Heat's rotation with Dwyane Wade banged up, he'll hit a lot of triples before the end of the season. Prior to Saturday's stinker, Miller had hit 15 three-pointers over his previous three games, and he will continue to get good looks in Miami's well-spaced offensive attack.