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RotoWire.com Blog Post by Professor
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Trade Dwight Howard?
Posted by: Andre’ Snellings

The NBA regular season is extremely long, spanning six months and 82 games. Thus, the values of most players tend to fluctuate over the course of the season as they go through hot and cold periods. Even among the star players, there are generally periods of other-wordly play that contrast with periods of "just" great play. Only the mega superstars (just made that term up) can put up entire seasons of insane numbers with so few lesser games that they aren't even noticeable.

That leads me to this question: is Dwight Howard a mega superstar in the fantasy community? He played like one for the first six weeks of the season, and I definitely think that this won't even be a question by as soon as next season. But is he there yet?

I fully expect him to lead the NBA in rebounding this season, and he looks like a nightly threat to score 25 points with three blocks every night. But while he has shown that he can maintain this rebounding pace for entire seasons before, this is the first year he has put up scoring and defensive numbers like this. In real life, the Magic have built their whole team around him and are trying to ride him into championship contention...that is a lot of pressure. He showed that he could carry the load for that first six weeks, but over the last few the team and Howard have both slowed down a bit.

I put out there as food for thought that, if you can get someone to give you top-5 player in the league value for him, it might not be a bad time to deal Howard. I think he will be very good all season, but I don't know if he will be able to maintain the points and blocks at his current pace consistently for the next four months. Or, put another way, I don't believe that his value will ever be higher than it is now. It is risky to trade the best fantasy center in the league off of your roster, but if you get the right package back for him and he slows down it could be a chance worth taking.

So, I've just made an argument for trading arguably the most dominant force in the NBA. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me hear your thoughts...

The views expressed by RotoWire.com represent only the views of the writers; they do not represent the views of the NBA or any NBA team.
Posted by Professor at 12/28/2007 12:15:00 AM
Comments (3)

Picking in-season sleeper candidates
Back in October I wrote a blog about methods to use to pick sleeper candidates before your fantasy draft. The main methods were to look for either 1) young players with upside, 2) former stars that could bounce back from down years, or 3) players that have moved to new teams and could have new opportunities. Looking back on it now, I actually didn’t do too bad with my list of players that I generated as examples.

Fast-forward two months, and now everyone wants to pick up the next hot free agent before their league-mates beat them to it. So, I figured I’d adapt my preseason sleeper methods and see if I can apply it in-season. Here are a few names that I came up with:

1)Louis Williams, G, PHI (Young talent). Williams was drafted out of high school in 2005, and is starting to grow into his potential. He has had a few stretches of positive play already this season, but he hasn’t yet been given the keys to the team completely. But the 76ers seem extremely high on him, and once they are out of playoff contention he should get his chance to really see what he can do. I expect good things from him in the second half of the season.

2)Chucky Atkins, G, DEN (Former productive player). Atkins was never a star so he doesn’t fit exactly into my second category, but he has been a roto starter at times in his career and apparently my fellow bloggers like him as well this season. The Nuggets have struggled at point guard this season, and they have needed more outside shooting. Atkins could fill both of those needs when he gets healthy, and should take advantage of the open treys created by the opposing defense paying so much attention to Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony.

3)Nazr Mohammed, C, CHA (Follow the trade). I’m not fully convinced that Mohammed will be a roto starter in Charlotte, but he is a veteran player that has been productive in the past and he performed well in his first start with the Bobcats Wednesday night. Sometimes, with players that you thought were done as a fantasy producer, all it takes is a new situation to give their career a jump-start. We’ll see if that’s the case with Mohammed.


Posted by Professor at 12/20/2007 10:02:00 AM
Comments (3)

When do you cut an injured player loose?
I am the commissioner of a league in which I allow owners to substitute players from the bench if they have a starter that misses at least half of their games in a given week. This week I got bombarded with sub requests, with most of the teams in the league asking me to do an injury substitution. Getting all of those requests really brought home something that I knew but hadn’t really paid attention to: there are a lot of big names missing time these days. Some of them are huge, long-term injuries (i.e. Elton Brand, Gilbert Arenas, Mike Bibby) while some are/have-been more of a day-to-day/week-to-week thing (i.e. LeBron James, Tim Duncan). But either way, having an impact player out hurt (obviously) puts a big damper on fantasy teams. And it’s worse now than it was a few years ago, since the NBA got rid of the injured list and now most fantasy owners can’t even pick up an injury replacement without dropping their injured star.

That raises a question: when should you drop a player? For instance, I am not in any league where Elton Brand, Mike Bibby, or Gilbert Arenas are available despite the fact that they are expected to be out until at least February (and could potentially miss the season). On the other hand, I picked up Randy Foye (out at least another month, knee) from the free agent wire in a league today and myself dropped Antonio Daniels (out 2 – 4 weeks, knee) in a different league despite the fact that they in theory should be back sooner. So who should get dropped, and why?

For me, it all comes down to risk/reward and whether your team can afford to let them sit on the bench. Daniels was an adequate starter as an injury replacement, but even when healthy he isn’t going to win many leagues for you. And that particular team of mine is struggling, so I couldn’t afford to wait. That is why I let him go, despite the fact that he could be back in just a couple weeks. Foye, on the other hand, is more of an unknown, and I believe he’s more worth taking a chance on as his upside is to be an impact player. Makes the risk worthwhile.

If you’ve got one of the big boys like Brand or Arenas you likely can’t cut them. Let me rephrase, because I’ve actually seen it done…you probably SHOULDN’T cut them. They are just too good, and if/when they come back they most certainly can win a league for you. Of course, if your team is struggling and you just need some production…still don’t cut them. Instead, find someone in your league to trade you 75 cents on the dollar for them. 75% of Gilbert Arenas is still likely better than anyone that you can get on the FA wire, and the person that you’re dealing with could be getting a first-round pick in just a couple of months in exchange for someone they may- or may-not have been starting.

In closing: injuries can really put a hurt on a team. But the difference between a good playoff fantasy team and a lottery one is an owner that can roll with the punches, do the most that they can with their bad luck and still come out on their feet. And honestly…overcoming these stumbling blocks is what makes the game fun!


Posted by Professor at 12/17/2007 2:46:00 PM
Comments (0)

Celtics Settling Into Their Roles
About a month into the season the new-look Celtics seem to be settling into their team roles. Whereas Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen all took turns posting big games over the first few weeks of the season, in recent weeks they have settled into a more common pecking order. They each average about 20 ppg, but now they are all likely to be within a few points of that if the game is close whereas if it is a blowout one or more of them may score single digits. They each take turns in the offense, so there don’t appear to be many 40-point explosions on the horizon for any of them.

Pierce has become the primary offense initiator. He seems to expend the most effort among the three on offense, handling the ball the most and doing the most dribbling in the half-court set. This leads to him getting the most assists opportunities of the crew. Garnett, on the other hand, seems to be embracing a role as more of a traditional score or swing the ball big man. His assists numbers have really fallen in the past weeks, though if they gave a stat for “most-screens-set-that-led-to-open-shots-for-teammates” he’d be among the league leaders.

Garnett has taken ownership of the defense. He seems to spend most of his energy at this end of the floor, and he leads the team in boards, blocks, and steals. But unlike in seasons past with the Timberwolves, Garnett is getting plenty of help in all three areas so he isn’t posting as dominant of numbers as he seemingly could. Pierce also chimes in with good steals numbers.

Allen seems to have become the security blanket for Celtics Coach Doc Rivers. While he doesn’t own one end of the court the way Garnett and Pierce do, he is the one getting the most minutes. He is asked to be the back-up point guard when Rondo is on the bench, he is often guarding the best offensive wing on the opposing team, and he is the bail-out option on offense when everything breaks down (i.e. when in doubt, kick it out to Ray for a 3-pointer).

So what is the end result? In recent weeks all three are playing slightly fewer minutes, but Garnett is playing a lot fewer minutes (34 per night over the last 9 games). Also, all are ceding some of the things that they are good at to the other two to make the team run smoother and perhaps stay fresher. This might help them in their post-season aspirations, but for fantasy purposes this could lead to small downgrades in the roto rankings for all three of them moving forward.


Posted by Professor at 12/6/2007 9:19:00 AM
Comments (0)