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Category Strategy: Help on the Wire

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. Remember, while each player highlighted can help in a specific category, there's no guarantee for production in other areas.

POINTS

Gerald Green, SG, Suns
Green has probably been scooped up in your leagues after the injury to Eric Bledsoe (out at least a week), but considering Green is still available in 62 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 38 percent of ESPN leagues, it's worth noting that he should be scooped up and started this week in most leagues. He is averaging 15.9 points on 46 percent shooting in 14 starts this season, and he'll be in the starting lineup for this week's slate of games, and potentially longer. Jodie Meeks, Tony Wroten and Jeremy Lamb are other solid options here. I also like the idea of trading for one of Nick Young or Dion Waiters, both of whom are high-volume shooters who can probably be had for a relatively low price.

REBOUNDS

Trevor Booker, PF, Wizards
I feel like Ed Harken when he calls Ron Burgundy out of desperation at the end of the first Anchorman movie. It's killing me to do this… but the numbers are the numbers, and Booker is a capable rebounder, it's just a bit baffling that he's getting the minutes to produce like he has recently. If we look at Booker's last 15 games, a stretch where he has seen double-digit minutes in every game (he was barely playing before this stretch), he is averaging 9.1 rebounds in 27 minutes per game. Admittedly, he doesn't do much in any other counting stat category, but he's shooting 53.5 percent from the field over that stretch, which is useful. I'm not betting on him to remain productive for the rest of the season, or even the rest of the month, but as long as he's rebounding at this rate, especially lately (12.7 boards per game over his last three), he should be owned in more than the 13 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 4.4 percent of ESPN leagues he's currently owned in.

ASSISTS

Kendall Marshall, PG, Lakers
Since the last Category Strategy I wrote, several options have emerged here due to injuries to the guys in front of them, but Marshall's play over the last two games has really separated him from that group. Thirty-two assists in two games is impressive, no matter who you are, but it isn't incredibly surprising given everything we know about Marshall and the Lakers. In 2011-12, Marshall led the nation with 9.8 assists per game as a sophomore at the University of North Carolina, which is a pretty absurd average for a college player, considering the slower pace of play (35-second shot clocks) and the fact that games are 40 minutes instead of 48 minutes. So he definitely has the pedigree to rack up assists. His defense and shooting ability are lacking, but the Lakers have no other options right now, and he should have no problem averaging around 10 assists per game in the short term. Jordan Farmar (hamstring) is out at least three more weeks. Kobe Bryant (knee) and Steve Blake (elbow) are also expected to be out for the rest of January. Steve Nash said he hopes to return in February, but there's just as good of a chance that he retires in February. Xavier Henry, who was playing out of position at point guard for stretches could return this week, but given how Marshall has taken to the role, Henry isn't likely to steal any of his minutes. That means that for at least the next three weeks, Marshall has as much potential to dish assists as any other point guard in the league. Jarrett Jack, Darren Collison and Reggie Jackson should also be owned in most formats until the starting point guards on their respective teams return from injury.

STEALS

Jodie Meeks, SG, Lakers
Meeks continues to be a very strong option here, and remains available in more than 60 percent of leagues. Over the last two weeks, he's averaging two steals per game while also scoring more than 15 points per game, meaning he has a leg up on the likes of Corey Brewer and DeMarre Carroll, who are good options for steals, but who don't produce much elsewhere.

BLOCKS

Terrence Jones, PF, Rockets
Everyone soured on Jones a few weeks ago, as his production started to dip after an impressive start to the season, but he's quietly been playing some pretty good ball lately. Over his last 10 games, he's averaging 1.4 blocks per game, while also providing double-digit points and seven-plus rebounds, while shooting 52.7 percent from the field. Like Booker, he's not a great free-throw shooter, but he attempts less than two free throws per game, so he won't hurt you there. Equally important as Jones' solid numbers across-the-board, is the fact that the Rockets are still giving him more than 30 minutes per game, which makes him a pretty safe option. After being owned in most leagues a month ago, Jones is now available in more than 50 percent of leagues, and is once again undervalued. Taj Gibson is also a great option here.

THREE-POINTERS

Terrence Ross, SG, Raptors
Over the last 14 games, Ross has only failed to hit at least one three-pointer on two occasions, and is averaging 2.6 makes from behind the arc over that stretch. Those are pretty elite numbers, and he has debunked the thought that the trade for John Salmons and Greivis Vasquez could hurt his value, as he's made 15 three-pointers over his last five games. Knowing this, he shouldn't be available in more than 70 percent of leagues, which is currently the case.