Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fantasy Basketball Desperation Station - Yao Injury Special Edition

The season ending injury to Yao Ming, a consensus first or second round pick, has left many fantasy rosters in a state of disarray. Unfortunately, the center position is not particularly deep and the waiver wire tends to be absent of quality big men at this point in the season. 

Earlier today we highlighted Carl Landry and Luis Scola as the Houston players who emerge as decent fantasy options in the wake of Yao's injury. Now, let's take a look at some stopgap options who can fill in at center for you and help weather the storm. 

Top Options

Mark Blount, PF/C Miami Heat - Despite averaging over 14 points and 6 rebounds in 9 February games, Blount is only owned in 26% of ESPN leagues and may very well be available on your waiver wire right now.  Blount is the unquestioned starting center on a bad Heat team and is consistently seeing 30+ minutes a night. With the Heat on the verge of tanking and nobody on the roster challenging him for the starting role, Blount should be a productive fantasy center the rest of the way. Yao owners, snatch him up immediately.

Josh Boone, PF/C New Jersey Nets - We have spoken about Boone extensively in the past and mentioned him as a good replacement option in our first Yao post of the day. His minutes continue to be a bit inconsistent despite landing the starting role, but as has been the case all season, when playing 25+ minutes he has produced. Over the months of January and February Boone is putting up around 10 points, 8.5 rebounds and shooting 55% from the field.  As the Nets continue to rebuild on the fly, Boone should see more minutes and can help fantasy owners in points, rebounds, FG% and blocks. 

Specialists

Rebounds

Jeff Foster, PF/C Indiana Pacers - Foster is averaging 8.6 rebounds a game on the season and over 9 a night in the month of February. Foster consistently sees 25+ minutes a game and can also contribute in FG% and steals. 

Erick Dampier, C - With Desagna Diop in New Jersey, Dampier is the Mavs only legitimate center option. Dampier is playing a season high 27 minutes a night in February and grabbing 8.4 rebounds a night. The big man out of Mississippi State should continue to see ample playing time and be a force on the boards while adding around a block a night. 

Kurt Thomas, PF/C San Antonio Spurs - Thomas averaged 8.8 rebounds a night in Seattle and picked up where he left off in his first game with Spurs grabbing 9 boards in only 13 minutes. Thomas should see 20-25 minutes a game with the Spurs and continue averaging close to ten rebounds a contest. KT also has the ability to contribute some in defensive categories. 

Blocks

Darko Milicic & Sean Williams - Both youngsters have struggled of late; however, they are each averaging 1.8 blocks a game. With some consistency in playing time, Darko and Williams can be an excellent source of blocks and put up good rebounding numbers.  

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