Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Quality Game Is A Quality Game

I hope you don’t mind, but I’m continuing my break from point guard related columns. I mean, by this point you all know what’s going on. At least you should. And if you don’t, you probably never will. Instead, I’m going to talk about managing your roster in non-weekly leagues. Because while it’s of course vital to have the right players, it’s just as important to know how to use them. A lot of owners like to use the strategy of taking “games in hand” during the first half of the season and saving them up for a big run in the second half of the season. This is a risky strategy that can pay off if it’s managed perfectly, but more often than not, you’ll end up leaving games on the board, which is the absolute worst thing you can do, and really, is unforgivable.

I’m of the thinking that if you have quality games, use them no matter what. If you go ahead of the pace, that’s fine. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that you should just be throwing everyone on your roster into the starting lineup when they have a game. But if the situation presents itself, you have to go for it. When all is said and done, it doesn’t matter when you accumulate the stats, just that you accumulate them. Take my current situation, for example. I find myself +2 to +3 games at both PG and G. So does that mean I’m holding off on using games there to stop from getting too ahead of the pace? Not at all. I’ve got Kirk Hinrich playing some of his best ball of the season, a healthy Brevin Knight racking up assists and steals, Bobby Jackson getting a consistent 35 mpg and knocking down a bunch of 3s, Marko Jaric going through one of his good stretches with Troy Hudson ailing and Richard Hamilton and Cuttino Mobley, who I never take out of the lineup. There is really no reason to have any of those guys on my bench right now. The only reason you should save games is if you think you’ll be able to get a higher quality performance at a later date. I can’t be assured of that with those six guys above.

But I can be sure of that when it comes to my center situation. This is where I’m saving up my games, as I’m -11 there. This is my preferred way of saving up games. I look around my league and see teams who are -5 to -7 at every position, and it’s just going to be very tough for them to make up all of those games with quality performances. Yes, the waiver wire does have some better pickings later in the season as the teams at the bottom of your league probably pay less attention, but it’s still unreliable. But if you go under at one position, you can deal with that. Like I’ve said in some previous columns, I have serious center issues, which gives me something in common with probably 80% of you. Rasheed Wallace continues to be a pleasant surprise, but when Yao Ming went down and Brendan Haywood lost his marginal value at the same time, I was left with just one option. But I didn’t go the Erick Dampier/Lorenzen Wright/Francisco Elson route. Quality is quality, and those guys weren’t going to give me quality. It helped to know that Pau Gasol would eventually qualify at center (that made my weekend, as he qualifies there as of Saturday in Yahoo leagues).

I’m taking a chance here and hoping that I can trade from my one strength to help my weakness. As I continue to go over the pace at the guard positions, those players become less valuable to me. As the trading deadline nears, I put myself in a position where the value of those players will be higher to everyone else in my league than they will be for me. While there’s still no surefire way that I’ll be able to pull something off, it should help me out. Even if I’m not able to make a deal to help make up those games at center, at least I’ll be able to focus my waiver wire pickups. If you find yourself down games at every position, you have to constantly play the wire, picking up and releasing players every day over the last month just based on who is playing that night. If I’m on target except for center and am in need of blocks, I can hone in on specific players to help me in that one category. I’ve found that’s the best approach at the end of the season, using your games to make up ground in one category. A couple years ago I needed a boost in 3s at the end of the season and had no problem using my extra games on Walter McCarty during the last month, to help me specifically in that one category. This year it could be a guy like DeSagana Diop or Theo Ratliff who comes aboard to try and get me an extra 20 blocks or so over the last few weeks.

So what’s the bottom line? Don’t be afraid to use quality games when you have them. Don’t save up too many games in hand; it’s harder than you think to use them all, especially if you only have a few bench spots to play with. And if you must save up, try to focus on one category and position. Has anyone out there come up with any other strategies for dealing with this situation?


Anonymous Charlie said...

Bobby Jackson...does Chucky's signing cut into his production? If he's receiving about 35 mpg right now, will he drop under 30? And I just used my waiver spot on him (slim pickings, it's a 12-man league)

12:39 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

I'm surprised that Bobby Jackson wasn't already picked up. Regardless, his value certainly takes a hit with Atkins on board. Speculation is that Atkins may even start and they'll use Jackson as a spark off the bench for offense; regardless, I wouldn't be surprised to see Jackson get hurt again at some point.

I actually dropped Jackson last night and picked up Eddie Griffin again (just the 2nd time this season). He's come off back-to-back double-doubles and is shooting a good percentage. Hell, even if his percentage is bad (40%-ish PG style) and he gets solid blocks, rebounds, and the occassional three, then I'll be happy with that out of the center production, as with Kobe I'm punting percentages nearly every week anyhow.

Rumor is that Kandiman is going to be out of town...hopefully it won't be for a starting-caliber center. When Griffin gets more than 25 minutes, the Wolves have a perfect record save the last Philly game, which was won at the buzzer.

Overall, I guess I'm desperate for blocks in my H2H league, as with G. Wallace down, my only legit source is Dalembert, as my other big guys like Brad Miller, Troy Murphy, Krstic, won't get it done and Artest is still out (doh!).

I guess it's a pipedream, but if Grffin could just get 36 minutes a night then he would be a super fantasy player that would make my team just that much better (to where maybe I could unload Krstic to someone desperate for C-help).

1:33 PM  
Blogger DM said...

Yeah, B-Jax's run of solid play (which wasn't all that solid due to his horrid FG%) is probably over, but it could take Atkins some time to get acclimated as a full member of the rotation. I wouldn't be surprised to see Jackson steal some of Eddie Jones's minutes at SG, where he's more comfortable.

I have Jackson and I'm holding on to him for now so I can monitor his minutes over the next few. He might actually be just as effective with 30 as 35 if it means fewer bad shots. We'll see.

3:10 PM  
Blogger JM said...

Nice article. Important stuff to think about for us Roto guys. I have been playing ahead of my projected # of games (I'm +2 or +3 for each of my slots, except UTIL where I'm at -1). I've been trying to work in guys who've played well for short spurts,i.e. Kenny Thomas, L.Barbosa, and Bobby Jax.

However, I recently decided that Bobby's FG% and FT% were hurting me too much, so I dropped him yesterday to pick up (Don't laugh) Tyronn Lue.

Lue, like his teammate Josh Childress has been very underrated this year.
Similar to Josh, both struggled as starters early in the season, but have played much better off the bench.
In the 19 games since Lue became a 6th man, he's put up the following #'s: 13 pts,4 assts,1 3pt, 1 stl, 49%FG (9 att), 89%FT (3 att), 1.6 TO in 25 minutes.
He is #82 on the basketballmonster.com player rater for 9 category leagues over that span of time.

He may not wow you in any one area, but like Childress, he helps a bit in lots of areas, without hurting you anywhere. Ideal for your Util spot in a 12-team, 9 category league.

So...as much as it seems strange to have 2 (non-starting) Hawks on my team, it's what I've chosen to do.
The numbers don't lie. My main team needs are TO,FG/FT%,assists, and he helps a decent amount in each of those.

Does anyone else have any Tyronn Lue thoughts???

My main concern is playing time consistency, since the Hawks have such a deep rotation. Luckily their starting PG (Royal Ivey) only plays 10 min/game, freeing up time for Lue - who the coach likes a lot for his veteran leadership, especially with so many young teammates.

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey guys off topic but donyell marshall and barbosa have just been dropped in my league and i'm wondering if either are worth a pickup.

i'm lookin for mainly 3s w/o hurtin myself anywhere else, and i'd be droppin raja bell for either one of those guys if i did make a move.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

Well if you have Raja, I don't know if either of those two will really help in 3PTM specificallly, as Raja makes a decent clip. I am starting to get wary of the Suns though, as they add Barbosa and Amare back into the lineup it will get crowded and I'm aware the role players won't be as valuable.

However, Marshall should see split time in Clevland and be a decent source of threes in addition to rebounds, steals and blocks. I'd probably go after Marshall, but I haven't really followed him or Barbosa much this year. More importantly, whom were those two players dropped for?

10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

both were dropped by same owner for j.crawford and m.blount

1:25 AM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

I can see dropping Barbosa since he's on such a deam team that will only get better if/when Amare comes back. I'd probably go with Marshall simply because I think he has the most "upside" of the bunch. What I mean by that is that the Cavs aren't that huge on the inside and if Z or Gooden (who's already sat out a few games) don't play, then Marshall's production will be good. Right now he's averaging 10/7 with 2 threes and nearly 1 block/1 steal, which is more versatility then you'll find with the other guys. The FG% hurts, but it isn't like Raja Bell will really be helping you with that either. And Bell, like Barbosa, may have trouble finding lots of minutes. Phoenix is incredibly deep, so it may be hard for anyone to consistently find lots of minutes:

Phoenix depth:

PG: Nash/House/(Barbosa)
SG: Bell/Barbosa/(Jones)/(Diaw)
SF: Marion/Jones/(Diaw)
PF: Diaw/Amare*/Burke/(Marion)
C: Thomas/(Amare)(Diaw)

As you can see, they have a solid nine-man rotation (when you don't include Burke) that is athletic and great at shooting.

So...minutes will depend on who's HOT. I love Phoenix for their up tempo game and it makes great fantasy numbers (what other team has two players go in the first round, let alone three), but the role players may start eating at each other's value soon, as 150-point games don't happen too often.

3:13 AM  
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