Fantasy Daily: Waiver Wire
The under twenty club. No this is not a list of girls that Roman Polanski has been with but rather, this is a list of the top players available in less than twenty percent of ESPN leagues. While these may be viable players in standard twelve teams leagues, this article is directed to owners in slightly deeper leagues, whether it be a fourteen-team league or simply a league with more roster spots. Hopefully my lingering anger from last nights Celtic’s loss doesn’t come through in my writing. Seriously though, why can’t Rondo shoot? He took lessons all summer from Mark Price and still has as much control over his release as Betty White has over her bowels. I’m sorry. That was a low blow. You should never make fun of somebody so old that her cataracts have started getting cataracts. Now before I start making too many enemies, enjoy the wire.
Omri Casspi (4.8% ownership)
Elaine Dickinson: Would you like something to read?
Hanging Lady: Do you have anything light?
Elaine Dickinson: How about this leaflet, "Famous Jewish Sports Legends?"
To think, only a year ago this would have been an appropriate statement. Sure we’ve got Youkilis and Braun in baseball, but even Sage Rosenfels is a half-blood. Rosenfels! But things are changing. After the Jewish Jordan ended up playing like the Jewish Danny Vranes, all hope seemed lost…until now. With a twelve point per game average and a top ten three point shooting percentage, Omri Casspi is showing that he really is one of the chosen people. At 6’9 the Kings have used Casspi at shooting guard, small forward and even power forward in some line-ups. More impressive than anything is Casspi’s ability to quickly adapt to the American game. The European game is played with a shorter three-point line, a wider lane and up until 2006, a 30-second shot clock. Casspi’s adaptation to this slightly different brand of ball has allowed him to showcase his skills and is clearly shown through his increased production. After averaging 10.7 and 4.1 in November, Casspi is dropping 13.8 and 4.6 in December. Casspi is also being more aggressive as shown by his 4.1 free throws attempted in December (up from 2.8 in November). The non-start against the Lakers (in which the Shootah from Judah still put up 15 and 10) came on the heels of five consecutive starts for Casspi, which included three 18+ point scoring efforts. While in these games Casspi was used as the starting small forward, it would be of no surprise if he got more run at the four, and Spencer Hawes took a seat on the bench. OC is a twenty-one year old rookie with a great stroke and surprising athleticism. Pick him up now in deeper leagues and keep an eye out in standard formats. If Sacramento gives Casspi starters minutes, they could have a reincarnation of Peja Stojakovic on their hands.
Yi Jianlan (16.6% ownership)
I can’t believe I am writing this. Watching Yi play is like masturbating. He’s the only one who enjoys it and he should be arrested for doing it in public. However, here I am willing to make an exception. Yi has the tools to succeed. He is athletic and has a reasonable looking jumper, especially for a seven-footer. He’s still young (somewhere between 22 and 30), and is on a New Jersey team surrounded by very little talent. Sometimes fantasy isn’t about who is the best player, it’s about who has the best opportunity. I’d rather have Lamar Odom than Stephen Jackson, but one of them is a ball-hogging starter and the other is an unselfish reserve. The fact that Yi’s main competition for minutes is Josh Boone makes him a pretty safe bet to play thirty minutes per game. In the six games he has played this season, Yi is averaging 13 and 7 on 45.6% shooting in thirty minutes. Call me crazy, but I think he can keep up those numbers. He should be the third or fourth option, depending on whether Chris Douglas-Roberts continues to be a focal point of the NJ offense. With all the double teams that Brook Lopez attracts, Yi should be able to get his confidence up with some easy baskets, and that could open up his mid-range game. This Nets team is 2-28 and ranks last in the NBA in scoring at under 90 points per game. With that in mind, New Jersey should be more than happy to play the defensively challenged Yi in exchange for the limited offensive production he provides. And a word of advice to our foreign import…chicks dig the blowout.
Erick Dampier (18.9% ownership)
This is troubling. After writing about my new man-crush Omri, I have to write about an underachieving seven footer with no D (huge pet peeve) and an overpaid center. Bill Simmons recently wrote that his favorite charity was the Mark Cuban Big Man Scholarship Fund, and I couldn’t agree more. Dampier is in sixth year of his seven year seventy-three million dollar contract, and no, that is not a misprint. While he may be waaaay overpaid, you don’t have to take on that salary for your fantasy team. With averages of 8.5 and 9.8 to compliment his 68.7% field goal percentage (sweet sassy molassy) and two blocks per game, Dampier could be a very valuable contributor to any team. Sure his 57.8% shooting on freebies leaves a lot to be desired, but with only 2.8 attempts per game, he won’t cripple you in that category. The return of Drew Gooden to the line-up should make prospective owners hesitate, but Dampier remains the starter and has actually improved his stats this month (9.5 and 10.6 in December on 71% shooting).
Kenyon Martin (15.7% ownership)
Another affordable K-Mart, and they both are armed to the teeth with firearms. But seriously, the Grand Kenyon is a terrific player on both ends of the floor. Martin’s current averages of 10 and 8 are reason enough to click the add button but it’s the 1.2 blocks and 1.3 steals that sweeten the deal. Martin may not have the athleticism he had before his numerous leg injuries, but don’t sleep on him. K-Mart still has terrific leaping ability, fantastic strength and even better reflexes. Even at age 32, Martin has plenty of gas left in the tank and should have a much higher ownership than his one-dimensional back-up Chris “The Birdman” Anderson. Looking for some fantasy ammo? Load up at K-Mart.
David Solar can be reached at David@hoopsdaily.com