Mother lode or fool's gold: Thinking out of the box at playoff time
Having trouble setting your lineup for Week 23? Tamer and Trevor lend a hand by evaluating whether to start three borderline players next week.
Batum's second season got off to a rough start when he was forced to have right shoulder surgery shortly before the opener. Since returning on Jan. 25, Batum has been a worthy waiver wire pickup given his ability to contribute in up to seven categories. Can he crack your starting lineup in week 23?
I am not in favor, however, of starting the Frenchman in Week 23. One of the problems with Batum next week is that he only has three games. A lot of comparable small forward-eligible players have four games in Week 23, like
Walker was not even on the fantasy radar as a Celtic since he saw the court sparingly as an end-of-the-bench player. His minutes have become more consistent since he was traded to the Knicks at the deadline, but the volume was not enough to warrant fantasy consideration. Walker's stock skyrocketed, however, when late last week it was announced that
Walker's biggest assets are points, threes and field-goal percentage, which could all take a hit in Week 23. Another problem I see is relying on a player in the playoffs who has never received big minutes in the NBA. Walker could easily play 30 minutes a night and produce very little for your fantasy team (his five-point performance on 2-of-8 shooting from the field in 29 minutes last Sunday is a perfect example). Even worse, the easily agitated
Hill, incredibly, has become a durable player late in his career after having his prime marred by injuries. He has played in at least 70 games for a third consecutive season which has allowed him to be a consistent, reliable fantasy player. Is he worth a starting spot in Week 23?
Next week Hill is a good play with four games on the Suns schedule. In addition, unlike Walker and Batum, Hill is a known commodity and is very consistent from game to game. For instance, over his last 16 games he has scored in double figures 12 times, grabbed at least five rebounds 14 times, and recorded either a block or steal in a game 13 times. His field-goal percentage has struggled a bit as of late (44.9 percent in March), but the law of averages says he is due for a few good shooting nights since his shooting percentage this season is 48.1 percent. Hill won't be the reason you win in Week 23 but he also won't be the reason you lose, and there is something to be said for that. Plug Hill in, let your superstars do their job and you should be in good shape. He gets a Mother Lode from me.
*All stats up to date as of 3/23/10