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Category Strategy: Under the Radar

Kevin Payne

Kevin has worked for Rotowire just under a decade and has covered basketball, baseball and football. A glutton for punishment, he roots for his hometown Bills, Sabres and the New York Yankees. He hosts the RotoWire SiriusXM show every Wednesday and Friday and you can follow him on Twitter @KCPayne26.

Under the Radar

The season is quickly coming to a halt, and I thought now would be as good of a time as any to look back at my hits and misses from this season. We'll start with the misses:

-- I advocated trading Danny Granger when he went down with his plantar fasciitis injury back in December. Not only did Granger come back as scheduled, he's averaged 23.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and more than two three-pointers a game. He's shot a career-low 42.6 percent from the field, which isn't going to help your team in that category. Entering the season there was a pretty interesting debate as to who was higher, Kevin Durant or Granger. I'm pretty sure that's been put to rest, but don't let Granger fall too far next year; small forward is a pretty thin position.

-- I predicted that Carmelo Anthony would win the scoring title this year, and it looks like he'll be the third horse crossing the finish line. Kevin Durant and Lebron James will battle it out for that distinction; it'll be interesting to see how the two are used down the stretch to determine who comes out on top. Anthony has been a different player with Allen Iverson out of town and won't fall out of the first round (his ADP was 36 this year) of drafts next year.

-- Some of the players I've talked about in my column haven't done too well. This includes Johan Petro, Donte Greene and Martell Webster. You can't get them all right, and I try to put a disclaimer on the players I'm not totally in love with.

Now for the hits:

-- I'll start with one that's 50 percent correct. During the preseason I said that the Thunder would miss the playoffs this year but would make it next year. Obviously the Thunder will be in the playoffs this year, but seriously, no one outside of Oklahoma City was saying anything positive about the team before the season began. Just think if they acquire a legit big man in the offseason to play in the middle. This is a very young team who may not realize its potential for three to four more years. If I had to pick a team for next year to have a turnaround like the Thunder, I'd probably go with the Sacramento Kings.

-- I talked about both Tyreke Evans and Brandon Jennings before the season began as potential pickups. These were two players who could be found late in drafts or on the waiver-wire and paid handsome dividends, though Jennings needs to work on the shooting touch a bit more. This year has led me to believe strongly in drafting rookies, something I'll get into more next week.

-- I blew up Zach Randolph pretty good in the preseason (his ADP was 80). This was a player who had a three-year average of more than 20 points and 10 boards per game. I think it's safe to say he's found his niche in Memphis and like Anthony, won't come cheaply next season. This is going to be quite the offseason in the NBA; watch to see where players land who could be candidates to have a Randolph-like season.

Now onto our weekly look at player minutes, roto categories that waiver-wire players can help with and new position eligibility.


Hasheem Thabeet
- Fresh off his D-League stint, Thabeet is playing with the intensity of someone who doesn't want to leave the NBA again. He played a solid game on Monday with Marc Gasol out with a back injury. Playing 30 minutes, he scored 10 points with seven rebounds and three blocks. Look his way if you need "big man" stats from your No. 2 center spot.


Here are some players who can help your fantasy squad in specific categories.


Carlos Delfino, SG, MIL
- Delfino has rediscovered his shooting touch, scoring 44 points with 16 rebounds, six assists and three steals in his last two games. He's even more attractive for owners in weekly leagues as the Bucks have a four-game slate next week.


Brandon Rush, SD, IND
- Rush has 12 three-pointers over his last four games while averaging 15.7 points per night on 61.5 percent shooting. This is your best pickup option if you need the long ball.


Earl Watson, PG, IND -
Watson has handled the bulk of point-guard duties with T.J. on the mend with a bad groin. Watson has recorded an average of 10.6 assists over his last three games and plays five of his last six games at home. Scoring is not his strength but he's the best option available on the waiver-wire if you need assists.


C.J. Miles, SF, UTA -
Miles has averaged two steals per game over his last eight and at least 17 points over his last three games. This is the guy you want to pickup if you've got a shot to catch another owner in steals.


Every league has different rules regarding eligibility. Always check your rules to make sure your league recognizes the new position a player may be eligible to play.

Eduardo Najera, DAL
- Now eligible at small forward, power forward and center
Austin Daye, DET
- Now eligible at shooting guard, small forward and power forward


Article first appeared on 3/25/10