Injuries are the great equalizer in fantasy sports, and in the really deep leagues, they are very difficult to overcome. In the 30-team league I've discussed in this space before, I took Gilbert Arenas No. 4 overall. Well, that didn't work out. My second-round pick, around No. 55 overall, was Kevin Durant. I dealt him already for point guard help, and to make room for Travis Outlaw. And my third-rounder was Kevin Martin. Not a good week for him, or his owners. My team, of course, isn't doing well, but what can I do? I'm trying to fix a difficult situation.
So it's a constant scramble to just fill an active team in that league, but I have Martin on other teams, and it's not such a tragedy, really. He's out a month, and that stinks, but I've found decent talent on free agency. None of these guys will score 25 points a night, but I don't feel like I lost any other category. Martin's a shooting guard, and if he was averaging 18 points a night with the other things he does, he wouldn't be a great fantasy player. But in my 30-team league, my backup was Thabo Sefolosha, so it looks like I'll be trading again!
In 10- and 12-team leagues, one can generally replace players through free agency, though the options at point guard and center aren't always top-notch. Fantasy basketball players are a fickle bunch when it comes to free agents. I took a look at the most recent add/drop list on ESPN and many of the same names from a week earlier are on there, but on different sides. Why is that? You picked up Troy Murphy for a reason, and now that things aren't going as well, you've already had enough? Well, yeah, when it comes to swingmen and ordinary power forwards, you can always find that on the wire.
Maybe it's not just fantasy hoops when this impatience occurs. Seems to me fantasy baseball players are no less waiver-wire crazy, and like baseball, there are plenty of games each week to make decisions. Still, if you liked Jarrett Jack a week ago, why the change now?
Let's take a look at the top 10 players you are adding and the ones you are dropping and see if we can make some sense of it.
Who you're adding
Anthony Carter, Nuggets: The optimist says, Carter is a point guard on a team that has a few really nice scorers in Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony. The pessimist says, when Iverson went off for 51 points Wednesday, Carter had only three assists, and took but four shots. Chances are you'll get tired of him soon, but for now he's No. 1.
Travis Outlaw, Blazers: He still isn't starting, but he sure is finishing. Outlaw has a pair of 20-point outbursts in the past week, and made the game-winning shot against Memphis. This is one pickup you might want to hold on to for a while, especially when he supplants Martell Webster as a starter.
Carlos Delfino, Raptors: The former Pistons shooting guard is getting more minutes than ever, and making good use of them. Delfino started December with three double-digit scoring games, and hit nine 3-pointers in 20 attempts. He can't keep that rate up, but he can get you 12 and 5 consistently.
Sebastian Telfair, Timberwolves: Can you believe this guy is only 22? Will his third team be the charm? Telfair isn't a big assist guy, and his playing time will likely be compromised now that Marko Jaric has returned, but he was playing 40 minutes a night and scoring in the mid-teens. It's not going to last.
John Salmons, Kings: And here's a guy who should be owned in 90 percent of leagues soon. With Kevin Martin hurting his groin and out for at least a month, Salmons steps right in. In eight starts he's averaging 20.8 points and 4.6 rebounds. You'd take that, right?
Jamario Moon, Raptors: He's a rookie in this league, but he's also 27 and playing a mature style. He's not a big scorer, but with 10.4 rebounds per game in his past five, along with two blocks per game, he deserves a spot on most teams.
Raja Bell, Suns: As long as Steve Nash is out there, Bell will see plenty of wide-open shots from behind the arc. Bell is averaging better than two 3-pointers per game, and in his past four he's averaged 16 points. No reason to think this can't continue.
Jason Maxiell, Pistons: Athletic big man looks like he's emerging, but can we count on worthy fantasy numbers consistently? You have to like the nine rebounds per game over the past five, and the fact all this production comes in limited minutes. He was barely owned a week ago, so he could be on the other list soon.
Antonio McDyess, Pistons: Not sure what has changed, since he's been starting all along, and his production has been a consistent 10 and 7. Maybe owners are realizing that near-60 percent field goal percentage isn't a fluke.
Others being added: The Jason Williams situation should be a lesson to fantasy owners. Plays badly as a starter, "demoted" to relief, plays really well and now you add him again. Monta Ellis is on this list, and should be, as is healthy Kyle Korver. Why is Elton Brand on the list? He's still far away from returning.
Who you're dropping
Troy Murphy, Pacers: You see, I don't think dropping him in deep leagues is all that wise, especially if you can get center eligibility. Like Salmons in Sac-town, you know his minutes will explode as soon as there's an injury, and Jermaine O'Neal is that injury.
Louis Williams, 76ers: The shots weren't falling over a three-game span in which he made only 4-of-24 field goals, but then he bounced back against Boston with 8-of-13. You watch, the day Andre Miller gets dealt somewhere, Williams will become a very good option.
Damien Wilkins, Sonics: Still starting and scoring, Wilkins hasn't shot as well of late, which is probably why he's getting dumped. He's the same player, however.
Andray Blatche, Wizards: Yes, all these names do look familiar, as in they were on the add list not long ago. Blatche hasn't scored much since his 12-of-14 game against Philly, but he's still a major shot-blocker at two per game.
Kelenna Azubuike, Warriors: Monta Ellis was playing so well, a change was imminent, but really, Azubuike hasn't been much different off the bench. He was probably owned in too many leagues to start with.
Sam Cassell, Clippers: Old and hurt, and you don't feel like waiting for 4.2 assists per night. I understand. I would have done the same thing.
Nick Collison, Sonics: I would not have cut him, though. Collison broke his nose and missed a few games, and everyone panicked. How many of you had him active when he returned with 18 points and 17 rebounds off the bench? This is an emerging player.
Sean Williams, Nets: He's still blocking shots, but he commits so many fouls, his minutes are too erratic. When you really need blocks, you'll find him, and you'll cut him when he annoys you.
Cuttino Mobley, Clippers: He was valuable when he was starting and shooting well. Now he's a sixth man who has hit 13 of his past 50 field goal attempts. Do what he doesn't, and pass.
Yi Jianlian, Bucks: He's not even having his occasional big games anymore. Ah, rookies.
Others being dropped: Cutting Antonio Daniels is a mistake. He's scoring less, but the dimes and the field goal percentage are up. Oh, and Gilbert Arenas is out two more months! I also wouldn't cut emerging Marvin Williams, or Daniel Gibson, Eddy Curry and Luis Scola. All have good upside. I think we again proved that at least half the most dropped list should be added.
Patrick (Chicago): "What do you think about this trade. I could deal Kobe Bryant and Mehmet Okur for Yao Ming and Kevin Durant. I'm in a 14-team, nine-category head-to-head league, and I need blocks and boards. Do you think Durant is enough to fill the hole that Kobe leaves?"
Eric: No, I really don't, but that's not a problem. Kobe is special, and there's a huge difference between what he brings in points, rebounds and assists to what Durant is doing. I do expect Durant to become more mature as the season goes on, but the main thing we'll see is better shot selection. I don't think he'll crash the boards much, or pass a ton. That said, the case can strongly be made for this deal because of how good Yao is, and what your team needs. He's a 22-and-10 guy who gets two blocks, and he shoots great, so the only real concern with him is durability. Then again, isn't Kobe a durability concern, too? So while I have concerns about the rookie, it helps you out. Make the deal.
Eric: After the most recent benching for Hinrich, I finally started to believe he will not be turning things around anytime soon. Then again, I fully expect Calderon to leave the starting lineup soon, now that T.J. Ford is back. Johnson is the best player in this trade, though even he is not in the top 50 on our Player Rater. This depends on need; I expect Randolph to remain close to a 20-10 guy all year, and Hinrich has to get better. I'd probably go against my stance of getting the best player in the trade, and take the side with the Bulls.
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