Fantasy Lab: Digging deep on wire
After tackling keeper league rankings for players 22 years old or younger last week, the Lab got a few questions from readers in deeper leagues (14- and 16-team leagues in these instances) asking for player recommendations. So this week, the focus is squarely on the players not sexy enough for the majority of people in those standard 12-team leagues.
Let's do some quick hits for those owned in less than a third (33 percent or under) of all Yahoo! leagues but owned in more than 5 percent of leagues. Then we'll swim over to the deep end of the free agent pool and dive deep to discover not diamonds in the rough but rather pearls in the oysters, if you will. You will? Well, you shouldn't have. But it's excellent that you did!
Now in descending ownership percentage order:
The Cavs' best bargaining chip in trade, there's a strong possibility he could end up a starter wherever he lands. Or the team can hold and wait for the inevitable Shaq injury.
The wide-bodied rookie used this recent four-game road swing to settle in nicely to the starting center spot, where he's a Hoover personified, vacuuming in rebounding totals of 21, 16, 8 and 13.
While the minutes aren't where they need to be for him to be as effective as last year when he was starting, West's off-the-court issues seem behind him for now. But he wasn't worth owning until he finally remembered he was a shooting guard and started launching threes again.
The ownership level for Lopez is skyrocketing as you read this. Owned in fewer than 5 percent of leagues last week, Lopez is at 20 percent ownership now in Yahoo! and has climbed from 2 percent to 41 percent on Sportsline as of Tuesday evening. If you haven't heard the news, Brook's slightly less-talented twin is back from injury and is now the starting center in Phoenix. He had 19 points (80 FG%), 7 boards, 1 steal and 3 blocks in his first start. He also has 12 blocks in his last three games, if that kind of stuff interests you.
Cisco is due back from wrist surgery in a week or so. His all-around game played well last year when the Kings were lacking talent and healthy bodies. The Lab wouldn't expect the same now that the purple people are getting huge contributions from
For Speights, this season has played out like a single round of seesaw: first he was up, then he was down. Odds are he'll be back up again scoring at a high clip and rebounding well off the bench; the odds increase greatly when GM
Back from a bout of pneumonia, Blake has played three healthy games and is averaging 13 ppg, 2.7 3pg, 4 rpg, 4.7 apg and 1.0 spg.
Or maybe this should be
Despite plantar fasciitis, Gibson continues to do yeoman's work for the Bulls. For reasons unbeknownst to fantasyland,
The Bobcats have won eight of nine games this month and it's no coincidence that Murray has seized the come-out-gunning, sixth man role in that time. Not too many players owned in so few leagues can offer any help in points, yet the Philly native is averaging 13.6 ppg in January including 1.6 3pg and 88.9 FT% on 3.0 FTA.
The ownership level on Humphries is definitely on the rise after last week -- his first as a New Jersey Net. Is this the beginning of Humphries' breakthrough? Humphries bounced to the L from the University of Minnesota after his freshman year, a campaign that saw him lead the Big 10 in both scoring (21.7) and rebounding (10.1), the first frosh to ever accomplish that feat. The Jazz drafted him 14th overall but he was buried on
When we're delving this deep into the abyss of the free agent pool -- the 5 percent and below region -- the focus tends to shift pretty quickly to defensive-minded big men, usually backups. This is because size makes it easier to block shots and rebound, which in turn, takes the scarce center-eligible players and gives them legitimate value as category specialists on the end of your roster. If said big man becomes a starter via injury, improved play, strategy or the coach's whim, you might be holding found fantasy gold. Turiaf was a prime example of this last year and figures to be again this year. When incumbent starter
With Flip Saunders less than enthused about
The Brockness Monster 'tis not a man, 'tis a remorseless rebounding machine! Brockman was a ferocious rebounder in college, and as the axiom goes, if you rebound well in college, you'll rebound well in the pros. That saying usually applies to those on the shorter side though, and at 6-7 and a hefty 255 pounds, it's not a surprise the senior from Washington fell to the second round. Regardless, the Kings need interior toughness and rebounding and Brockman has carved himself a nice role in recent weeks, highlighted by a career-high 14 rebounds on MLK day. If you need boards, he'll get them by the bushel if he gets any burn.
A native of Brazzaville, Congo, the 20-year-old Ibaka is an intriguing prospect who has acclimated to the NBA game far quicker than anyone could have anticipated. A sinewy athlete blessed with great leaping ability and a wingspan that would make