Tuesday, January 15, 2008

5 Stopgap Fantasy Basketball Forwards

As those of you who have scoured the fantasy basketball waiver wire have probably noticed, the pickings are quite slim. As a service to those with injury-ravaged rosters, in the next 3 days FSE will name 5 stopgap options at each position. 

It is important to note that many of these guys tend to be inconsistent and as such cannot be recommended as fantasy regulars. However, for fantasy owners in a pinch, these players can serve as adequate backups and have the potential to provide a solid performance given the right matchup. Today, we focus on the forward position:
  1. Anderson Varejao - Since returning to the team following an extended holdout, Varejao has worked his way back into the Cavs rotation and is beginning to get starter minutes again. He has had a few big games and is averaging around 8 points and 9 rebounds a game.  Of all the guys on this list, Anderson has the best chance to be a bonafide double-double threat and become a solid bench option at the forward position. 
  2. Luis Scola - The 27 year old Argentinian star has been up and down this season due to a great fluctuation in his playing time from game to game. Scola has begun to receive more consistent playing time of late and has responded with some big scoring outputs. In fact, over the last month when playing 24+ minutes, Scola is averaging 16.8 points and 7.3 rebounds. He's a good play against weaker defensive teams now and could make a bigger impact as the season wears on.
  3. Travis Outlaw - Outlaw was actually a hot commodity in early-mid December where he registered five 20 point outings in a 7 game span; however, as the month wore his minutes dwindled a bit hurting his production. Outlaw has found himself back on the waiver wire in many leagues despite posting a solid 13.2 points and 5.3 rebounds thus far in January. The Blazers have been playing really well for a while now and Outlaw is a big part of that success. He can provide admirable contributions for a team in need.
  4. Luke Walton - Walton's value raises with the recent injury to Andrew Bynum. As I wrote here yesterday, the Lakers may choose to play a smaller lineup more often in the wake of the Bynum injury. This would give the versatile Walton a greater chance to contribute in a variety of statistical categories including points, rebounds and assists. He has been getting consistent minutes in January, topping the 30 minute mark 4 times in his last 6 games. If this continues he has the potential to put up 10+ points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists on any given night, making him a worthy complementary piece on your roster.
  5. Mark Blount - He is the guy I have the least confidence in on this list, but given Miami's woes and Shaq's decaying health, Blount may be in line for starter minutes soon. In the month of January, Blount has been starting in place of an injured Shaq and playing around 30 minutes a night. In that time he is averaging a very serviceable 14 points and 5 rebounds. Shaq is scheduled to be in the lineup as the Heat face the Chicago Bulls tomorrow night, so you may want to hold off on Blount for the time being. But keep him in mind because it is almost a certainty that Shaq will be shutdown sooner rather than later as the Heat's season is all but over. 

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