My goal in any basketball draft is to grab as many guys in my Top 100 as I can. Because my rankings and projections are usually unconventional, as discussed in a previous post, it’s pretty normal for 90 percent of my roster to be among my preseason Top 100.
As I also noted in an earlier post, I always tend to trust the numbers instead of how I “feel” about a player’s prospects. But there comes a time when some players just need to be cut loose or stashed on the best.
Of course, when that time comes depends on the situation of your particular team. For instance, in one of my 12-team, eight-category roto leagues I am currently in ninth place.
It’s not a huge headache as I still have the least amount of games played in the league, mainly due to injuries and my unwillingness to play ineffective players. I’d rather fall behind than shove an unworthy player into an active spot.
My current shortcomings are due to a handful of unfortunate picks (Paul Millsap, T.J. Ford, Kirk Hinrich, Nate Robinson, Michael Redd). Each of those players were ranked 97th or better in the preseason and yet all of been nearly worthless due to injury, lack of playing time or just plain awfulness.
For the first two months of the season I maintained enough faith in the projections that I made few moves and patiently waited for each of these players to sort themselves out. But once I fell into 11th place, it was time to stop waiting for rotting fruit to ripen.
There are currently seven players on the roster that are clear Top 75 players. Instead of losing ground while waiting potentially irredeemable players to return to their talent level, it’s time to fill in the gaps with available players whose short-term value may have provide the team a spike. Once those players return to their former roles, it’ll be time to find the next hot hand.
For owners who are looking for a brief injection of talent, I’ll continue to post such noteworthy pickups as the season goes along. Here are some current opportunities:
Sam Dalembert (C, Philadelphia 76ers): Dalembert is likely to lose a ton of value once Mareesse Speights returns around Christmastime. But he’s been the 65th best player in eight-category leagues over the past month, according to Basketball Monster.
Dalembert has grabbed 11 rebounds or more in six of his last eight games and has blocked 20 shots during that span. And his percentages (.475/.795) are solid as well, even enough he doesn’t attempt enough shots to make a huge impact in those categories.
Dalembert only contributes in two categories, but makes a heavy impact. Speights will not be 100 percent right way, so there’s another three weeks or so of 10 rebounds and two blocks per game in Dalembert’s lanky frame.
Jarrett Jack (PG/SG, Toronto Raptors): Despite his subpar game on Tuesday night, Jack remains a strong play as long as Jose Calderon remains sidelined. And so far, no one really knows how long Calderon will be out with a hip injury that many fear is a serious issue.
For his career, Jack is averaging 12.5 points, 5.1 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.9 3-pointers per 36 minutes. He a career .446 shooter from the floor and .850 from the line. With enough time, he’s a solid point guard.
Jack has gotten 30-plus minutes in six straight games and that trend should continue as long as Calderon remains injured. Jack may just average 13 points, six assists and 1.2 steals for the rest of the season.
As always, the recommended strategy is to grab these guys to take advantage of their increased importance. Then, just prior to the value dissipating, try to unload them in a trade with an owner who may not realize just why the player was on such a hot streak.