Welcome to championship week! Congratulations for climbing the mountain and cementing your status as fantasy elite.
Just one more thing to do: leave YOUR flag on top of that mountain. Just one problem: the league’s best players are dropping like bass at a Disco Biscuits show.
That noise you hear is the fantasy collective — or at least what’s left of it — scrambling for the waiver wire in search of replacements for Dwight Howard, Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, David Lee, Marc Gasol, and the list goes on and on.
Is it fair for the injury bug to strike with such might just as you’re reaching the mountain top? No, but as your mom said when you first cried about not getting your every wish: “Life ain’t fair kid, get over it.”
So let’s not sulk and pout about it (insert L.O. joke here). Let’s hit up the only place you can find help this late in the season: the waiver wire. Here’s a few names to ponder as we approach title week.
With Marc Gasol healing a bone bruise in his knee, I need a big man replacement for the NBA TV fantasy finals. I’m going with Faried, who was the second best PF across eight cats last week. Believe it or not, he was still on waivers in our 20-team league!
Three things I love about The Manimal: defensive stats, his non-stop motor, and the Nuggets facing blood games every night.
Faried is thriving under the pre-playoff pressure, averaging 11.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, and 1.1 steals in only 26.4 minutes in eight games in April.
Here’s another rookie who was recently dropped in two of my four leagues. I doubt he’s available in your league, but if you need a guard, give waivers a look-see just in case.
I face a lineup dilemma in the championship of the 5-cat league my brother runs. I can’t play Raymond Felton (weirdness), Paul George (three total blocks and steals in last five games), or Manu Ginobili (Pop goes the DNP), so I am left to choose between Knight and Aaron Afflalo.
I chose Knight, because Detroit has four games this week, and because Lawrence Frank is dedicated to developing his point guard of the future as much as possible.
Knight was third among point guards on the eight-cat charts last week, and April has proven to be his best overall month of the season, so you don’t have to worry about any wall hitting going on…
In 24 games since the All-Star break, Afflalo has averaged 17.9 with 1.7 threes per game. His percentages have been 49-43-83, making him one of the top 2s in the game since the break.
Afflalo and the Nuggs play four games this week and I fully endorse him as a pickup-and-play in championship week. That said, I favor Knight for his upside in the assist and steal categories. Afflalo is not a thief, averaging just 0.6 steals in 33.2 minutes this season.
A lot of people gave up on Lil Nate when Charles Jenkins took over the starting PG job, but the veteran is vastly out-playing the rookie. Don’t underestimate the fact that Nate is a free agent this summer–he has EVERYTHING riding on the line right now.
In the last five games, Nate is averaging 17.4 points, 6.8 assists, and 2.2 threes in 26.6 minutes, compared to 4.4 points on 35 percent shooting with 4.0 assists in 21.4 minutes for Jenkins.
If you’re in a league that runs championship week all the way till the final night of the season, then Nate makes an even better play because the Warriors play seven games while most teams play six.
With Marcus Camby and Gerald Wallace traded, with LaMarcus Aldridge out for the season, and with Raymond Felton and Nicolas Batum on shutdown watch, that pretty much leaves Matthews as the guy for the Blazers down the stretch.
One of the best three-point shooters in the league had eight on Sunday, proving he’s ready to shoulder the load in championship week.
That’s it for now. Good luck and check us out next week when we bring down the curtain on the 2011-12 regular season…
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