Wednesday, November 16, 2005

On Camby

In yesterday’s column, in which I ranked the top 20 fantasy players right now, I was able to hold off on the number one fantasy player thus far until 15, at which point I took a deep breath, winced a bit, and typed the name “Marcus Camby” into the column.

It’s not like I was actually drafting him, or trading for him, or that I really had put any stock into the guy whatsoever, but still, it was a tough decision to make. You can’t ignore the stats, but you also can’t ignore these numbers: 63, 63, 46, 59, 63, 29, 29. Those are Camby’s games played in the first 7 years of his career, and they were enough to label him fantasy death.

But then in ’03-04, a breakthrough – Camby stayed upright for a career-high 72 games, and then last year put up a respectable 66. His combined 138 games the last 2 years are better than Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, Andrei Kirilenko, and Allen Iverson - and all of those guys are perennial first or early second round picks.

So how long must Camby play a bunch of games before fantasy players give him some respect? Well, he’s certainly put a wrench in our wait-another-year-or-two-and-then-give-in strategy, as he’s erupted for 16 and 14 with 3.7 blocks, 1.4 steals, and 56% shooting. All of a sudden, the critical time for Camby is right now. Buy or sell? Let’s examine:

First things first: there is no way Camby will continue to put up these massive numbers. Eventually he’ll slip down to something like 14/11 with 2.8-3 blocks and shooting just under 50%. Still, those are fantasy stud numbers, especially from a center. And a player like that is worth way more than the 40th pick where Camby was drafted on average. Now, granted, I don’t think his value is really in the mid-teens. But to say that he’s an early-20’s type player isn’t much of a stretch. With Nene out for the year, and K-Mart hurting, he’ll continue to play a major role for the Nuggets over the rest of the season – as long as he stays healthy.

That’s where the guessing game comes in. How many games can he really be expected to play this year? Well as DM said yesterday, I'm not a doctor - and I don't even play one on the Internet. But there are examples of oft-injured guys who recover to be reliable. Zydraunas Ilgauskas may be the best example, as he played just 29 games over two years early in his career, then rebounded with 66 games in ’01-’02, and has missed no more than 3 games in any of the last three years. So it’s not unprecedented for an oft-injured guy to come through with a reliable couple of years.

I’m not going to venture a guess on how many games Camby will play, but I will say this. Fantasy sports are all about gambling. At the end of the year, the winner of your fantasy league at some point made a decision to take a chance and that chance came through. Marcus Camby, right now, is one of those chances. If your team is struggling right now, and you need to take a chance if you want any hope of making it to the top of the standings, going after Camby is a decent idea. Even if your team is doing well, getting Camby at a discount could end up winning your league.

What’s fair value? Well, DM and I agree that Camby right now is a top-30 value, taking the injury risk into account. The more games he plays, though, the higher that value gets, so the time to strike is now. So if you’ve got Camby, and don’t want the risk anymore, only deal him if you can get a top-30 guy for him. If you want to try and add Camby to your team, and you can do it for less that that, than by all means pull the trigger.

It’s pretty rare that a guy can have such a critical year for his fantasy value at age 31, but that’s the situation Camby is in. If you want to ride the wave, you’d better get on quick – but we won’t blame you for staying on the sideline.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

going on this sell high line of thought...

what to do about stromile swift?? i think this is more of a sell not-so-high scenario but should i hold onto him or cut my losses? will he ever achieve the potential that everyone raves about?

btw, i passed over villanueva in favor of collison this weekend and someone picked him up. now my friend looks like rc buford to my isiah thomas...

5:27 PM  
Blogger bv said...

stromile swift ... at some point you've got to cut your losses. I'd wait another couple of weeks, though. there's no way you can get fair value for him in a trade, but you certainly don't want to just cut him. he's in fantasy no-mans-land right now. just hold tight unless you desperately need that roster spot.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Rook said...

Here's another non-PG comment. You mentioned Sweetney and David West in passing, and made it sound like you'd definitely prefer Sweetney over West, when I assumed you'd have said the opposite. What are your thoughts more generally on those two, along with the other PFs who have had unexpectedly great starts, like Collison and Haslem? Any predictions on who will have the best seasons?

12:09 PM  

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