Fantasy Daily: Waiver Wire
It’s easy to be distracted and overlook our beloved fantasy with the myriad of events that are currently materializing in the NBA. The all-star game is fast approaching; the looming trade deadline has provided exciting buzz, and a new Collective Bargaining Agreement this off-season could shape the entire league. Waking up and hearing ruminations about a Ray Allen for Kevin Martin trade have made my heart beat faster than that of Robin Williams during the eighties. Said rumor almost serves to mask the positive sports news of the last week…excluding the Celtics extremely poor play of course. The Colts and Peyton Manning were denied a second ring by a loveable Saints team; Bubba Gump Schrempf sits atop the fantasy standings, and notorious attention whore Kim Kardashian wasn’t shown once last night. With that said, I am feeling good about this week. (Perhaps not as good as Drew Brees who gets to bask in eternal glory or David Caruso whose ability to dramatically remove spectacles has somehow led to a lucrative career.)
Nate Robinson (72.8% ownership): His ownership is up 5.5% in the last week, and I have covered this Napoleonic dynamo many times, so please take note. Listed at a generous 5’9, Robinson might very well be the most athletic player to ever grace the NBA hardwood. Now, he has taken the starting point guard spot away from the struggling Chris Duhon and has the opportunity to show the world he is more than a dunker. After averaging 17, 4 and 4 last year, Robinson has struggled to duplicate his production this season. Fewer minutes and a tiff with head coach Mike D’Antoni led to a mass drop in ownership. Now with more playing time, Robinson should have an even greater opportunity than last year in this high-octane offense. In only two games as a starter, Robinson has averaged 19.5, 4 and 6.5. Sure it’s a small sample, but the important number is 35. That’s how many minutes Robinson averaged during those two games; five minutes more than he averaged during his last year’s breakthrough season. If Gilbert Arenas is like a hibachi, Nate Robinson is 30 Rock’s fictional pocket microwave. The man goes 0-60 faster than a Bugatti Veyron. He’s lightning quick, can jump over seven foot centers, and has a killer jumper. So do yourself a favor and pick up Nate the Great. If you were a free agent he’d do the same for you.
Darren Collison (53.3% ownership): Just a week ago, Collison was owned in only 7.1% of leagues. Apparently his ownership rose faster than an eighth grader at Hooters. Now do I think he is a great player? No. Does he have any value when Chris Paul returns? No. Do I think he will provide high-level production for the next four to six weeks? You better believe it. Collison exemplifies the notion that sometimes fantasy value is just a matter of playing time. The rookie from UCLA is averaging only 7.7 points, 2 rebounds and 3.6 assists, but as a starter those numbers balloon more than George Clooney’s ego. In the 13 games that CP3 has missed, Collison has gotten the start and averaged 15.5, 3.4 and 7.7. Those numbers include a steal, a three, and a 91.7% mark from the charity stripe. With numbers like that, you’d be a fool to let Collison idly sit on the waiver wire. He won’t blow you out of the gym with his athleticism, but his four years of college helped him develop terrific decision-making ability that he couples with great quickness. If New Orleans is out of the playoff picture a month from now when Paul is supposed to return, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Collison log more minutes, or see Paul get shut down altogether. With a roster full of players that struggle to create their own shots and big-men that demand the ball in the post, Collison might be in the perfect situation to inflate his stats. It might not be ideal for New Orleans fans or Chris Paul owners, but fellow managers take note. DC is a tremendous option.
George Hill (10.3% ownership): When Tony Parker went down with an injury, Hill stepped in and played the point. With Parker back, most people thought Hill would find his way to the bench. Au contraire mon frère. Hill has now put together a string of ten consecutive starts, scoring in double figures each time. In 14 starts this season as a guard, Hill is averaging 16.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists with only 1.4 turnovers to worry about. In these games Hill has also shot an impressive 48.9 perfect from the floor and chipped in with 1.2 three-pointers. Personally, I’ve been crushing on Hill since his IUPUI (or ooey-pooey) days. At only 6’2, he has guarded bigger players including his lockdown defense on the 6’9 Kevin Durant. With a 37.5-inch vertical and a 6’9 wingspan, the 6’2 Hill plays much bigger than his listed height, and with only ninety percent availability, much bigger than his ownership as well. I have long thought Hill was a player that just needed the minutes to prove his worth. It appears the aging Spurs have injected this shot of life into their starting line-up, and the time is right to reap the benefits. Hill’s current level of scoring could fall, but with Manu struggling and a high likelihood that the Spurs will rest their older players down the stretch, Hill could help you win leagues. A player with such a high upside and such low ownership doesn’t come around every day. Make the move. After all, while some people think the only type of ship worth a damn is friendship, I know it to be ownership…. Or possibly Battleship.
Jarrett Jack (20.8% ownership): Sorry Jose Calderon owners, but it appears Jack has usurped our favorite Spaniards starting gig (my condolences to Pau and Marc Gasol, but you two are uglier than Ben Wallace’s jump shot.). For those who haven’t followed this battle closely, Jack took the starting point guard gig from Calderon while he was out with an injury. Upon JC’s return, Jack was still playing well and more importantly, the team was winning. Jack is currently averaging 12.2, 3.2 and 5.5 in 29 games as a starter and is logging an impressive 31 minutes per game to boot. While Calderon and Jack finish games together, Jack is averaging more minutes and has the team playing its best basketball of the year. While Jack will help out any owner, Roto leaguers please pay attention. Jack is shooting 52.3% from the field, 83.3% from the line, and adds a steal and a three with only 2.2 turnovers per game. While his production isn’t as impressive as Calderon’s was last season, he is an efficient player who offers production in any league regardless of format. Fellow owners heed my advice. You won’t want to find yourself getting Jacked up during the playoffs, so act now.