Van Damme and Injury Woes: Fantasy Basketball's Stopgaps and Pickups

Grant Correspondent IDecember 13, 2008

This morning, I was watching Timecop out of one bloodshot eye and realized two things: Mia Sara (Ferris Bueller's girlfriend) is gorgeous, and this movie is a lot worse than I remember. I suffered through two commercial breaks for a fight scene before I realized I was craving for Jean-Claude Van Damme to hurt someone.

As a society, are we cheering for injuries? I know we are not going to the movies to bask in Jason Statham's acting abilities. In the fantasy sports world, are things any different?

While a hyperextended knee can be devastating to your team, geeks such as myself enjoy the roster spot in hockey or baseball when a player goes on the injured reserve or disabled list.

However, in fantasy basketball, I've never participated in a league that allows the shelving of the hurt. It is therefore imperative when someone goes down to find players in the free agent pool that are going to be more than speculative pickups. Below is a short list of stopgap power forwards that meet this criteria.

Anderson Varejao - Cleveland Cavaliers

A couple of days ago, Zydrunas Ilgauskas suffered an ankle sprain. As all Deron Williams owners know, this type of injury can be persistent. Anderson Varejao thusly warrants an immediate pickup.

Last season, when Ilgauskas was sidelined with a back problems, Varejao filled in admirably averaging 8.7 points and 10.1 rebounds in the span. This Brazilian is not known for his scoring prowess, but he is on a Cavalier squad that ranks close to top of all offensive categories.

This season Varejao has an excellent 57.9 field goal percentage, but be warned, he is a 69 percent career free throw shooter.

Matt Bonner - San Antonio Spurs

Matt Bonner has recently broken in to the San Antonio starting five. With a healthy Tony Parker Longoria and Manu Ginobili, the Spurs are finally resembling the team we know and love.

Averaging 11 points, eight rebounds, and one assist a game this month, which are incidentally the only games he has started so far, Bonner has helped his team to a 4-1 December record. The former Florida Gator also comes with a three-point perk, posting a 40.3 percent career average behind the arc.

Hakim Warrick - Memphis Grizzlies

Hakim Warrick has a special place in my fantasy heart because he helped me out of the cellar at the end of last season. Scoring off the bench in double digits four out the last five games, the Syracuse alumni is again making his NBA presence known—without having started a game all year.

As a sixth man this season, Warrick is averaging 14.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and one assist per game. However, last year, he was a 16.9 point and 6.9 rebound performer in all the games he started.

Keep in mind the Grizzlies have a brutal schedule next week versus Miami, New Orleans, and Charlotte, but all these contests will be played in Memphis.

Ryan Gomes - Minnesota Timberwolves

With Corey Brewer out for the season and Mike Miller dealing with ankle problems, Ryan Gomes deserves some short term fantasy consideration. This widely available forward is putting up 10.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.

On Sunday, Minnesota plays the Lakers, which bodes well for Gomes. He is a 56.3 percent career shooter versus Los Angeles and with plenty of expected garbage time, Gomes could post a nice stat line.

Author's note: All research was done prior to Dec. 11, so numbers do not include Friday night's games.