To kick February NBA off, I wanted to focus on delivering value plays through “handcuffs”. At this point of the season the players who have taken the leap into relevancy have had their salaries adjusted, however, injuries can pop up at any moment. Below I am going to identify some direct handcuffs to notable injured starters, as well as some players who would be must plays almost nightly with one injury/trade – think Ty Lawson last year after the Carmelo Anthony trade sent Billups to New York.
Andre Miller – Ty Lawson is a dynamic threat on the court but something tells me injuries will keep popping up on the North Carolina product. He is expected to return soon, but if he suffers a setback Andre 3000 is your man. He is quickly approaching the $13,000 range but without Lawson he is almost an automatic 30. Andre is a perfect play any time Ty is questionable, given that he can produce in the event Lawson plays. Use the late tip off to your advantage and don’t forget it was not too long ago when he led the NBA in assists.
Avery Bradley – It’s very unclear what is going on with Rajon Rondo but those familiar with DraftStreet have certainly seen this name played almost nightly. He isn’t nearly the handcuff as Andre Miller but he also comes at a price tag under $5,000.00 meaning he opens up the ability to add another star to your roster. Recent news has Rondo out through the All Star break so if you absolutely need to have Dwight Howard and LeBron James on your squad look for the short-term Boston point guard to deliver 3 times his value while freeing up plenty of cash.
Jerryd Bayless – The former lottery pick showed flashes at the end of last year when Jose Calderon was injured. However, he is still behind the Spaniard on the depth chart (it also doesn’t help that Jose has played extremely well this season).
Drew Gooden – Point-blank, this guy is a fine wine that is only getting better with age. I am always scared to plug him in and then after the first quarter he is reflecting six points and four rebounds. He is a great safe option if you are trying to project a forward under $10,000.00
Rodrigue Beaubois – Jason Kidd is hurt and that petty much locks Roddy Buckets into a 30 minute a game role. He is nearly the polar opposite of Jason Kidd but at this point that may not be a bad thing.
Andrew Bynum / Pau Gasol – I know it’s obvious based on their tag that they are both individually dominant players yet I see so much more if one were to be injured or traded. It’s a situation to monitor, as you would have a safe alternative in Snake Drafts featuring Dwight Howard.
James Harden – Scott Brooks is a frustrating coach for fantasy owners but in the event Thabo Sefolosha misses time I would expect Harden to perform like the $15,000 guys. I love the safety he provides and his 24+ points nightly help at his price. He could push for 40+ minutes if Thabo doesn’t play so make sure to check the Thunder’s Twitter account.
Tyler Hansbrough – It has been a quiet year thus far for Psycho T but something tells me if he pushes for 40 minutes he would perform in the Kris Humphries, Rudy Gay, Gerald Wallace tier. Needless to say that’s good company to keep.
I can’t stress the importance enough regarding checking the health status of your players. It’s nearly impossible to win without a rostered player so make sure you are on the correct end of the late news. The new RotoGrinders Lineups page and Twitter Feed should help you out with this process greatly!
As always Happy Grinding!