Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Arming Yourself for the Final Push, pt 1.

OK, get ready. The final rush is almost upon us. You’ve been waiting all fantasy basketball year for this last push for the finish line. And while everyone else is worrying about if Wassamatta U is gonna beat State in the Tourney, or who to pick first in their fantasy baseball league (Pujols, dummy! I mean, A-Rod! er … whatever), you’re quietly snickering to yourself as you scan the waiver wires hoping to pick up those players who will put you on top.

With about a month left in the season, the one thing you absolutely cannot afford is to have unused games. The worst – worst – thing to happen is for you to be down by, say, 5 rebounds, but you had 3 unused games at center. Do you realize how crappy a center can be and still get 5 rpg? Look at some of the names who are averaging over 5 rpg over the last month: Jackson Vroman, Obinna Ekezie, Rasho Nesterovic, even Dikembe Mutombo!

Not exactly a murderer’s row, huh? But now that you’re facing the final month, some guys who you normally don’t want on your team might actually help you out in certain categories. In fact, let’s go category by category. OK, here goes:

It’s hard to imagine Reggie Miller being available after this past weekend, but if he is, he’s the obvious play here. Others include Matt Bonner, JR Smith, and Latrell Sprewell.

Michael Olowokandi has 9 boards in 18 minutes last night in his first game back from injury. He should be a spectacularly inconsistent rebounder, but could end up with maybe 7 a game over the rest of the year. Other possibilities include Kwame Brown and Jared Jeffries on the Wizards depending on how Antawn Jamison’s injury ends up, Dale Davis (especially with Jermaine O’Neal’s injury looking worse and worse), and Michael Sweetney.

Your best bet here is to check in on Monday’s As the Point Guard Turns, but my personal faves over the next couple weeks are Speedy Claxton, Eric Snow and Earl Watson.

Three Pointers
There are plenty of folks who can get you 1 or 2 3-pointers a night, so I’d look at what other categories you need help in before settling on one. You’ve got a nice variety of players here, so look for who is the best fit on your team overall, not just who will hit 30 3’s rather than 26 over the rest of the year.

You can find help in this category by basically going after any of the uppity young PGs. Tony Allen, Delonte West, Speedy Claxton, Earl Watson, Leandro Barbosa … one is as good as the other in steals.

This past week Jerome James has blocked more shots (10) than he’s rebounded (8), and if you need blocks he’s on fire right now in that category. You also might want to dust off guys like Dikembe Mutombo, Rasho Nesterovic or Theo Ratliff, but my favorite right now is Antonio McDyess, who at least has a chance of helping you in other categories.

The Percentages
It’s hard to pick up a guy simply for his percentages, but if you’ve gotta, well, obviously you can hope Reggie Miller is still around. If not, guys like Marc Jackson, Darius Songaila, and Corliss Williamson might be decent bets.

Tomorrow, we’ll go over which teams have the most games remaining, so that you can stock your roster with the players who will play the most over the last month.


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