Sifting “The Pile”: What To Do With 10 Borderline Fantasy Hoops Players
We’re roughly halfway through the fantasy season and closing in on the trade deadline. By now, we’re clear on which players have value and which ones don’t. But there are a few names that keep popping up on the wire in standard-sized leagues that just won’t quite seem to go away.
While I recognize that many leagues have different sizes and rules, let’s just settle on a 12-team, 13-player roster (the size of my main league) as a sample.
So let’s sift through "The Pile" and see who could have some value and who we should throw back.
Rudy Fernandez: Portland Trail Blazers
Pros: He can do a little bit of everything when he’s rolling. Playing in injury-ravaged Portland means lots and lots of minutes.
Cons: He sometimes shows an amazing ability to play a lot of minutes and make zero fantasy impact while on the court. The emergence of Batum and Matthews, along with the quantum leap of Aldridge (finally!), doesn’t leave a lot of room for Rudy’s upside.
Final analysis: The off games, plus the atrocious FG percentage, means that he has just as much a chance of hurting your team as helping it.
I’m not buying.
Gilbert Arenas: Orlando Magic
Pros: He’s a proven scorer, three-point shooter and distributor. Gilbert can score in bunches in a very short period of time. Orlando traded for him because what they had wasn’t working, and he gets paid too much money to just rot away on the bench.
Cons: Plays behind a guy (Jameer Nelson) that his coach loves. Suffers from chronic arthritis, knee soreness, poor shot selection and kookiness.
Final analysis: I hate to say this because I’ve long been one of the few Gilbert fans over the years, but you’ve got to cut bait here. Orlando’s offense doesn’t always guarantee that he’ll have the ball in his hands and when he does he’s not terribly efficient with it.
After yesterday’s rock-bottom performance, I think you’ll be seeing him pop up on a lot of wires.
Daniel Gibson: Cleveland Cavaliers
Pros: A lot of run on a terrible team looking for a go-to guy. Scores pretty well and shoots a lot of threes. Guard rotation in Cleveland is a who’s-that of injured and unknowns.
Cons: High volume 40-percent shooters are a little scary. Never steals the ball. Has DNP’d in 10 of the last 20 games—you can’t produce if you aren't on the court.
Final analysis: I actually think Boobie is worth a stash if you’ve got the space. When he’s rolling, he can get up into the high 20s with a bunch of threes and some good assists. Very Gordon-esque.
J.R. Smith: Denver Nuggets
Pros: I almost feel like I don’t even need to write about J.R. because we all know the story. Oooooozing with potential. Can explode literally like very few people in the entire league. Steals a lot of balls and rebounds well for a guard.
Cons: Can’t seem to stay out of his coach’s doghouse due to defensive lapses and poor shot selection. Doesn’t really play that many minutes anyways. Isn’t shooting as many threes as usual. Plays on the same team as Carmelo Anthony.
Final analysis: But what if he didn’t? If Melo were to get traded (which at this point, you’ve got to think is going to happen), J.R. would stand to be one of the main beneficiaries. Stash him and enjoy the steals while you wait on the Melo trade.
This is one of the few guys on the pile who could really breakout into an every week starter.
Johncarcorsan Salmagsovino: Milwaukee Bucks
Pros: This fictional gentleman is actually a combination of Corey Maggette, Carlos Delfino, Ersan Ilyasova and John Salmons. All have their nights, so all have their pluses. Mags brings scoring and high-volume free throw percentage, Ersan can board, score and shoot the three when given the time, and both Delfino and Salmons do a little bit of everything (and occasionally a lot of everything).
Cons: Injuries, Skiles and one another.
Final analysis: A combination of nagging and serious injuries and Scotty Skiles mercurial rotations make each of these guys a risky proposition. But all have value and all have proven upside in this league. If you’re interested in attempting to tap the Milwaukee frontcourt market, the upside is definitely there.
Kris Humphries: New Jersey Nets
Pros: Despite the fact that no one seems to want him starting besides Avery Johnson, Humphries produces. He shoots a great percentage from the field and has only two games with less than five rebounds since December 1.
By comparison, he has five games of 15 or more during that same time frame.
Cons: Avery likes him now, but that could change at any moment. With the Melo-to-Jersey deal looking all but dead, he will have to contend with ownership’s desire to get more minutes for Derrick Favors.
Final analysis: Hump’s been a warrior and provided brave owners with great value against all odds. He has certainly improved his curb appeal with the addition of a Kardashian, but the minutes are starting to slip into the low 20s and the 10-10-2 weeks are turning into 8-8-1s. Stop gap at best.
Grant Hill: Phoenix Suns
Pros: Beautiful percentages. Big games are rare, but frequent enough (and big enough) to get your attention. Seems to be rebounding a lot this year, as well as chipping in other stats. Aging nice guy reputation makes you feel good about owning him.
Cons: Classic teaser. Big games are frequent enough to get you to pick him up and start him. Then you get the 8-4-1. Is never the focal point of his offense, and rarely out-produces his minutes.
Final analysis: My friend Jamaal is big on pro guys like Grant (or Shane Bats, if he’s out there) off the wire because while they may under produce, they will never hurt you. If you start Grant for a week, you never know what you’ll get, but you’re probably not going to get a 4-for-16 (see J.R. Smith, Rudy Fernandez).
Charlie Villanueva: Detroit Pistons
Pros: Another very skilled teaser. Can offer a rare combination of points, blocks and threes for a big man.
Cons: Also offers a rare and deadly combination of injury-proneness, occasional disappearing ability and crowdedly inconsistent rotationitis.
Final analysis: You just can’t write a waiver wire article without including Charlie V, but let this article officially stop the ride—I want to get off.
For that matter, someone else can play the entire Detroit/Kuester game. For me, life is too short.
Robin Lopez: Phoenix Suns
Pros: Great size. Has a starting job. Has Steve Nash. Shoots very nice percentages for a big man. Has a lot of hair.
Cons: An angry bald man is taking his job.
Final analysis: Lopez is simply not rebounding enough, blocking enough shots or playing enough minutes to warrant fantasy consideration. He is still big and there is still plenty of opportunity, even with Gortat around, but you have to think if RoLo were going to produce, he would have already.
Andris Biedrins: Golden State Warriors
Pros: He still ranks as one of the longest tenured Warriors, and despite the departure of Nellie, the Warriors are still the Warriors. You can’t just forget how to block shots and rebound, can you? Can you?
Cons: Terrible free throw percentage, although he has only attempted nine free throws this year. Frontcourt a lot more crowded with David Lee in town. Shots in general are a little tough to come by in GS between Curry, Ellis and Dorell Wright.
Final analysis: Biedrins has never been a big scorer and his free throw percentage has always been beyond awful. When he was averaging 11 and 11 with a block-and-a-half, he was a must-start.
Now he’s a bit of a forgotten man in Golden State. There are signs of life here, though. I’d adjust the scoring down, but there’s hope here yet.