Fantasy Rumors: Oden's long-term value

Does Greg Oden have any fantasy value?

Greg Oden returned to the court last week for the first time since Dec. 5, 2009, and though it was just a four-minute stint in a preseason game it was still a meaningful step forward for the oft-injured big man.

But for fantasy owners what’s more germane is whether he has any true fantasy value. Indeed, any success he has this year makes for a great story, but can he ever again be a viable fantasy option? Fans remain fascinated with the former No. 1 overall pick. He still is owned in 0.7 percent of ESPN leagues, indicating some people still think he’s worth a flyer. But he’s not, at least not for this season, anyway.

Here’s the problem with Oden: he’s still a massive injury risk and his minutes will be carefully tracked all season. Chris “Birdman” Andersen (14.9 MPG, 4.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG and 1.0 BPG in 2012-13) also fills a similar role, and his presence on the roster allows the Heat to bring Oden along at a snail’s pace if needed. That being the case, Oden’s ceiling is probably no more than 15 MPG this season.

“Oden is a statistical wild card,” notes ESPN Insider Kevin Pelton. “As well as he performed on a per-minute basis in 2009-10, when he last played in an NBA game, that was four years and multiple surgeries ago. There's little precedent of a player returning to the NBA after missing such a long period of time -- certainly not enough to project how Oden will perform this season.”

Dynasty leaguers with extra room on the bench might view Oden as a good stash candidate if he proves he can stay healthy this season. For standard leagues, though, better backup center options for this season include: Jordan Hill, Bismack Biyombo, Byron Mullens, Vitor Faverani and even Steven Adams.

Here is some of the other chatter swirling around the NBA rumor mill that can impact your fantasy team…