Blogs > N-H Fantasy Sports

News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Fantasy focus: NBA injuries

Fantasy owners likely were prepared to play the rest of the season without big men Elton Brand and Andrew Bogut before word broke this week of their latest injury news.

Thus, the blow didn't have much impact. Jameer Nelson? Leave it to the little guy to make you feel as if your fantasy team played the role of Stuart Scott and Mike Breen in the amusing ESPN commercial, with the less-than-imposing Nelson as Shaquille O'Neal in a Scrabble game with an endless supply of the letter Q.

Let's look at three of the biggest injuries of the season from a fantasy perspective:

Out: Andrew Bogut, for at least eight weeks with a stress fracture in his back. In: Francisco Elson and Dan Gadzuric.

I know what you're thinking. "Elson and Gadzuric? I'd rather have J.J. Hickson and Lorenzen Wright."

Well, you're right. The good news: Elson and Gadzuric combined for 16 rebounds Tuesday. The bad news: You can't play them both as one person.

Gadzuric, who is averaging 3.5 rebounds in 13.2 minutes per game and had nine rebounds in 18 minutes Tuesday, only has value in very deep leagues in which you're desperate for rebounding. Otherwise, he and Elson should not be on a roster.

A more relevant Bucks injury is the reported broken thumb suffered by point guard Luke Ridnour. If the recent reports are true, shooting guard Ramon Sessions, whom we identified last week as a valuable target with Michael Redd out for the season, is even more relevant as a starting point guard. Sessions has a combined 39 points, 13 assists, five steals and five rebounds in his last two games, and he should be a regular fantasy starter.

Another player to watch in Milwaukee: Charlie Bell. If Ridnour is out for an extended period, Bell likely would play a lot more minutes as the Bucks' starting shooting guard. He'll help you in one category -- points (he averaged 13.5 as a regular starter with the Bucks in 2006-07 -- but hurt you in field-goal percentage (39.9 this season) and doesn't dish out enough assists (2.0 in 23.6 minutes per game) to be an effective starter.

Out: Elton Brand, for the season with a shoulder injury. In: Samuel Dalembert, Thaddeus Young and Willie Green.

Brand has played in only six games since injuring his shoulder Dec. 17, and he wasn't very effective in his return, so the announcement that he was done for the season doesn't have as much impact as it might appear.

Young, a small forward, and Dalembert, Philly's starting center, should see more consistent minutes with Brand out.

Both have fantasy value, especially Young. In his second season, Young is averaging 13.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game, and he's shooting 47.6 percent from the field. In January, he averaged 14.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals and shot 50.8 percent. He's played 36 minutes or more in eight of his last nine games, and is worth starting in 10-team leagues.

Dalembert, because of his position, is also worth a spot in your lineup. He's a decent rebounder (8.5 in 24.6 minutes per game), an effective shot-blocker (1.8) and won't hurt you from the field (49.8 percent) or free-throw line (77.4).

Green, like Charlie Bell, is a one-category player. He can score, as evidenced by his 23 points in 29 minutes in his return to the starting lineup on Thursday. If you need 15 points per game, he should get you that if he continues to be a regular. If you're hoping for a guard who rebounds, gets a couple steals and four or five assists per game, he is anything but Shaq-tastic.

Out Jameer Nelson, possibly for the season with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. In: Anthony Johnson, Tyronn Lue, Courtney Lee and Mickael Pietrus.

Nelson will soon decide whether to rehab his shoulder or have season-ending surgery. Even if he doesn't opt for the latter, he will miss quite a few weeks and likely won't be the same player who was selected as an All-Star and was one of fantasy's biggest draft-day steals this season.

Johnson scored a season-high 25 points Wednesday in his first start in place of Johnson, but the veteran is a poor shooter (41.3 percent for his career) and has never averaged more than 9.2 points or 4.8 assists per game. You'd have to be a big Magic fan to believe he's worth a roster spot.

The most intriguing option is Lee, a rookie who scored 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting Wednesday. OK, it was against the Clippers, but Lee has been effective in his last three games (13.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.3 steals, 55.6 percent from the field, 7-for-11 from 3-point range). He is a name to remember if you need help in the backcourt.

Another possibility is Pietrus, who should improve upon his averages of 12.1 points and 3.3 rebounds in 25.6 minutes per game with Nelson out. He won't hurt you in the percentages (47.1 from the field and 82.1 from the free-throw line), but he's not going to rack up the assists (1.1 per game), which is a drawback for his position.

I would wait on Lue, who was productive in Atlanta two seasons ago, but is only a .437 career shooter and is guard who doesn't register many steals.

And yes, we've made it this far without mentioning J.J. Redick, whose stock has fallen so far Nelson's absence shouldn't result in the former Blue Devil making his 2009 fantasy debut.

If you acquire him, you must really want the one or two 3-pointers per game he will provide. I will now end this blog before I am overtaken by the urge to make a Dick Vitale joke.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home