Tuesday, March 21, 2006

3-2-1 Contract

The contract push can come in all shapes and sizes. Last year, Jerome James went bonkers for 2 or 3 games in the playoffs, and in doing so earned himself probably 15-20 million dollars. In ’03-04, Mark Blount qualified as the “Best Pickup I Ever Made Mid-Season,” averaging 13.1/9.6 with 1.3 blocks and 55% from the field over the second half of the year, earning himself a massive contract that he (shockingly) never lived up to.

This summer will see a particularly poor crop of free agents, and most teams have their eyes on the summer of '07, when all the big names hit the market. Still, there will be teams with money to spend now, and that means some less than stellar players will be getting some nice deals.

With this in mind, let’s look at a couple of fringe players who might work hard for the money, so hard for the money.

Joel Przybilla, POR
Przybilla is my favorite pick for a guy who can come out of nowhere to put up big numbers, and for a couple of reasons. One, we saw him do it last year, where over the last 33 games he turned into a blocks machine, turning away 3.55 shots per game while chipping in 9.5 points and 10.2 boards on 58% shooting. Two, from Blount and James all the way back to Jim McIlvaine, teams are always willing to overpay big guys, so he’s got plenty to gain. Finally, with Old Man Ratliff struggling with a sore ankle, the flu, and lord knows what else, the time is there for Przybilla if he earns it. It’s not like the Blazers are going anywhere, so they’ve got nothing to lose by playing him.

Personally, I like Przybilla, and I think he’s a solid starting job away from being a nice fantasy center. Before the year started, I had him in the same tier as Samuel Dalembert, and sometimes risks work out, sometimes they don’t. But just has Dalembert’s season took a turn for the worse seemingly out of nowhere, perhaps Przybilla can turn his around in the right direction.

Bonzi Wells, SAC
Admittedly, Wells probably won’t be sitting on your league’s waiver wire, but as he continues to split time with Kevin Martin, he might start showing up in the drop column. Don’t let him stay there long. Hanging onto the last playoff spot in the West by a thread, I’d look for Rick Adelman to start giving more time to the veteran down the stretch. When healthy, Wells has been a very solid utility guy for fantasy teams, providing great rebounding (the 8 per game is easily a career high), and nice steals at 1.9 per game. Wells will turn 30 in the offseason, and this is likely his last shot at a big deal. Helping the Kings into the playoffs would earn him a nice payday in the offseason.

Bobby Jackson, MEM
Jackson has been battling with Chucky Atkins for playing time, and dealing with injuries at the same time. He did just turn 33 years old, so it’s not like he’s going to get a huge deal anywhere, but he’s such a huge asset in threes, that it doesn’t take too much else to make him worth a spot on your fantasy team. He could just as easily average 11 points as he could 16 points over the rest of the year, so if it looks like he’s about to hit on a hot streak, don’t hesitate to grab him.

Rasual Butler, NOK
Butler is a pretty deep sleeper, but this year’s FA crop is pretty thin, so he could play his way into a nice deal as a rotation guy. He’s seen his minutes steadily increase all year (Monthly averages: 15.3, 19.9, 21.0, 24.3, 25.1), and if he finds his shooting stroke from long range (he’s shot .125 in March after hitting 40% in February), he could see himself cracking the 30 mpg barrier. He won’t excel in any particular category, but he’ll provide a little bit in threes, blocks, and steals, and down the stretch, and that could be a nice complement to the right fantasy teams.


Anonymous bigmrpig said...

WOOOOOOOOOO! CARLOS BOOZER CENTER ELIGIBILITY! That means I can keep Jumaine Jones and not get another center :D

6:27 PM  
Anonymous bigmrpig said...

PS: plus he's averaging 23 and 10 since starting at center :D

6:38 PM  
Blogger bv said...

no arguments here, BMP...boozer looks like a great asset to those teams that didn't give up on him. I wonder they're even still in the race at this point, though...

6:47 PM  
Anonymous bigmrpig said...

He actually got traded in my league while still injured, then dropped. His comeback was so much earlier than expected no one realized it was going to happen. I picked him up while he was playing that first game, then I actually dropped him again when he put together some not so great games and I didn't think he was going to improve. I even got him back from FA though, no one picked him up off waivers. I suppose no one wanted to take the gamble this late, especially when there are a lot of good FAs at the forward position (i.e. Kenny Thomas). I'm sure if anyone expected he'd start playing center he would've gone in an instant, it was his sole forward eligibility that made it possible for me to get him.

7:19 PM  

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