RotoWire Partners

Category Strategy: Overdue

James Anderson

James Anderson

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


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.


Marvin Williams, PF, Jazz
Williams has gone for 20-plus points in three straight games. More importantly, he's attempted 15-plus shots from the field in three straight games, which gives reason to believe his productivity could continue. Now, he happened to go 5-of-8 from downtown in his last two games, and we know that won't continue to be the case each night, but the optimist would point to the fact that Williams is proving that he's a more than capable shooter from long range, and the numbers bear that out. He is shooting just a tick over 40 percent from behind the arc, which is the first time he's eclipsed that mark in his nine-year career. The Jazz beat the Heat on Saturday night, so suffice it to say they'll stick with what worked in that game, at least in the short term, and Williams was a focal point of the offense against Miami. He is available in more than 90 percent of ESPN leagues and more than 80 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Khris Middleton is another option here, but then you'd be buying into whatever it is the Bucks are doing, and thus setting yourself up for disappointment and befuddlement.


Jared Sullinger, PF, Celtics
I've been saying all year that Sullinger was the one guy in the Celtics' frontcourt to hold on to, and if you followed that line of thinking, you don't need me to tell you how fantastic he's been lately. He's averaging 23.8 points and 13.8 boards, while seeing 35.5 minutes per game over his last four games. He won't average those numbers for the rest of the season, but I'm buying this production more than I'm selling it, so if you aren't fortunate enough to have Sullinger on your team, I'd offer an appealing package in a trade for him, in case his owner thinks he can sell high. Coach Brad Stevens said he thinks Sullinger can be a double-double guy, and the raw ability is certainly there. For some reason, the Celtics beat writers seemed to be treating this breakout as some big surprise, when anyone who watches the team knows that Sullinger's talents in the paint know no bounds. When a reporter asked Gerald Wallace if he was surprised by Sullinger's last week of games, Wallace almost seemed pissed off at Sully for taking this long to start playing this way outside of practice. I'm not treating Sullinger like a top-50 player moving forward, but he's closer to that level than you might think.


Steve Blake, PG, Lakers
I'd been kind of hanging back, with regards to the Lakers point guard situation, not wanting to jump the gun on any one guy until we saw how it played out. The early returns point to Blake being the guy, at least in terms of the traditional point guard categories. He suffered a ruptured eardrum in Tuesday's game, which sounds pretty traumatic, but he stayed in the game and then went out the next night of the back-to-back set and put up a triple-double with 15 dimes. Granted, it came against the Cleveland Cavaliers calamity of a backcourt defense, which also got out of Jordan Farmar's way as he cruised to 21 points and eight assists, but 15 assists is still 15 assists even if it came against the sieviest (I don't care if that's not a word) backcourt in the league. In fact, I want to take this opportunity to remind all daily leaguers to start whichever tandem of point guards and shooting guards is playing the Cavaliers on any given night. You can thank me later. Blake is owned in most ESPN leagues, but is still out there in more than 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues. If you missed out on Blake, Farmar's not a terrible option either.


Patrick Beverley, PG, Rockets
Beverley's gradually getting less horrific with his shooting percentage, and he offers so much in the other categories, that he's worth scooping up in most category leagues. Last week I highlighted his rebounding prowess from the point guard spot, this week I'm pointing to his defense. Over his last three games, he's averaging 2.3 steals and 1.3 blocks, which warrants a look, despite the fact that he won't blow your mind with assists or scoring. He's available in more than 80 percent of Yahoo! leagues and more than 90 percent of ESPN leagues. Tony Allen is also a guy who's flying a little under the radar. He is nearing a return from a hand injury, and when he does come back, he'll be a solid option here too.


John Henson, PF, Bucks
Despite referencing the Bucks frontcourt quagmire as a reason not to go for Khris Middleton, if you need blocks, Henson is still worth the roster spot. He was dropped in a lot of leagues after his latest injury, and in two games back, has already swatted five shots. He doesn't need huge minutes to do damage either, and when he does see big-time run, he puts up big-time numbers across the board, so there's a lot of upside here. He's available in roughly half of all leagues. Ronny Turiaf, Greg Stiemsma and Elton Brand offer blocks and very little else.


Tim Hardaway, SG, Knicks
I still like Hardaway a lot here. He hasn't been making three-pointers at an outrageous rate lately, but he's still attempted six-plus from downtown in each of his last five games, while seeing 30.4 minutes per game over that stretch. He's not a Kyle Korver or Stephen Curry level dead eye, but the quantity has been making up for the quality during this recent stretch. He's available in a little over 80 percent of leagues.