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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

Is it time to trade David West?

Since news of the Chris Paul knee injury happened over the weekend, I'm kind of late to the party to talk about it. Darren Collison, outside of five-team leagues, has likely been gone from the waiver-wire since Saturday night. Basically the Chris Paul injury has been rehashed over and over enough by other writers that there's nothing more to say. Or is there?

Earlier this season (Nov. 14 - Dec. 1) Paul sat with a sprained ankle, costing him eight games. Over that stretch, no player suffered more than David West. During CP3's absence West shot 49-for-121 (40.4 percent) for an average of 15.2 per game. For the rest of the season when Paul has played West has shot 280-for-550 (50.9 percent) for an average of 18 points per game. In Compiling these stats, I eliminated the three games since Paul's latest injury when West averaged 19 points per game. I'll concede that this may be nothing; eight games is a relatively small sample size. Maybe Darren Collison has gained some valuable experience since Paul's first injury, and there won't be much of a fall off for the next month. So don't go giving away West by any means, but at least watch over the next week to see what he does. If he starts to slump, there will only be so long of a window to convince another owner to trade for West while "he has an even more significant role in the offense" with Paul out.

Paul Pierce owners can breathe a bit easier than Chris Paul owners after it was diagnosed that he doesn not have a broken foot. While this injury doesn't sound too serious, it also doesn't sound as if Pierce will be back within the next week, and he could be out longer. The player to target here is Tony Allen, who filled in admirably for Pierce during a five-game stretch that Pierce missed from Dec. 25 to Jan. 2. Over those five games Allen averaged 11.6 points, four assists, 3.8 rebounds and two steals. While those numbers don't jump off of the screen at you, they're about as good as you'll find on your waiver wire.

As I mentioned earlier, Darren Collison has looked more than capable of being an adequate replacement for Chris Paul while he's on the mend. Last year I stated that I thought Texas was the best school in recent years to produce point guards with T.J. Ford, D.J. Augustin, Daniel Gibson and Royal Ivey on its resume. But this year has shown that UCLA should be given the nod as Point Guard U. Russell Westbrook has improved enough to add two assists on average per game, now averaging 15.9 points and 7.4 assists. Collison's 32 assists over the last two games is the same as Augustin has in his last 13 games. Throw in Arron Afflalo (it's a stretch but he's played a little point) and Jordan Farmar and it's UCLA by a landslide.

For owners in weekly leagues, next week's scoring period features only one team, the Magic, with three games. Take a look on you waiver wire and plug in someone like J.J. Redick or even Jason Williams (see below) for next week.

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


Jarrett Jack, G, TOR -
Jack could be in line for a boost in minutes with Jose Calderon sustaining an ankle injury Tuesday night. Jack should put up good scoring and assist totals for as long Calderon (out indefinitely) is sidelined. Look for Jack to consistently get 30-plus minutes in his absence.

Coby Karl, G, GS -
Anthony Tolliver, Cartier Martin, and this week brings us to Coby Karl. Karl is an interesting play in deep leagues, though, as evidenced by his first two games with Golden State, totaling 18 points, 13 assists, eight rebounds, three steals and a block. Unfortunately for Karl, Maggette's return on Wednesday night limited him to 16 minutes with no points and six rebounds. Nelson has been known to play the hot hand, though, so keep an eye on upcoming games to determine if he'll be useful going forward. Hopefully, Coby plays well enough to sign another contract after this current 10-day one runs out. The Warriors get Denver and Coby's dad at home on Feb. 25.

Jarvis Hayes, G, NJ -
Hayes replaced an ineffective Chris Douglas-Roberts in the starting lineup on Tuesday night after a game of inspired play off the bench on Saturday. This move is more likely to try to be a wakeup call to CDR, but it'll be interesting to see what Hayes can do with more minutes. Over his last two games he's averaged 14.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and one assist. Take a look in deeper leagues if you need help for scoring.


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

Rebounds and Blocks

Taj Gibson, F, CHI -
Gibson is my highlighted player for "big man" stats this week. He's starting to show some consistency with eight points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.33 blocks over his last five contests. His playing time seems safe; Tyrus Thomas hasn't lived up to lofty expectations and Joakim Noah's foot doesn't seem to be completely healed. At the very least keep tabs on him because he's a rookie; he'll make for a nice sleeper next year.


Jason Williams, G, ORL -
Williams once again was thrust into the starting lineup Tuesday night with Jameer Nelson sidelined with a knee injury. The injury to Nelson doesn't sound too serious, so he should be back on the court soon. That said, Williams is a sneaky play next week if you need assists because (as previously stated) the Magic have three games next week.

Field Goal and Free Throw Percentage

Grant Hill, F, PHO -
Hill has been hot lately, shooting a lofty 65.2 percent from the field and 90 percent (9-of-10) from the free-throw line over his last three games. He's also played at least 30 minutes and averaged four rebounds and 1.6 blocks during those three contests. In leagues that require a starting small forward he's even more of an attractive option, so take a flier if you need help at that position.


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.

Anthony Tolliver, GS - Now eligible at power forward
Jerryd Bayless, POR - Now eligible at shooting guard


Article first appeared on 2/4/10