I’ll Be Damned: Category Hunting

Rudy can fail, but you might have to take that chance if you need threes and/or steals.

I hate daily-lineup fantasy leagues.

I’m sure I’m in the minority, but I just can’t stand how the best players on the free agent list end up going to whoever happens to be on line when news breaks. You’re on the computer all day and have no life? Congrats, you’re a great fantasy player!

I’m being dramatic, but these leagues where you can pick up as many as five players in a week if not more just get under my skin. I much prefer leagues that lock lineups every Monday and/or use a free agent auction budget for pickups.

But since most of the fantasy leagues on Yahoo! and ESPN and such are daily-lineup formats, you might as well use it to your advantage. I don’t love the term “streaming” and associate it more with pitchers in fantasy baseball, but streaming in hoops is a strategy if your league allows it.

I thought it would be helpful this week if I offered up the top waiver pickups based on individual categories. If you need something specific, take a gander at these potential additions…

(based on Yahoo!’s ownership percentage and stats over the last month)

THREE-POINTERS
Threes have always been the most abundant stat available on the wire, mostly because so many three-point shooters are rather poor in most stat categories and not worth owning. Right now there are 49 players who have averaged 1.5 threes or more over the last month, and 107 who have averaged at least 1.0. Of the 49 who have hit 1.5, 16 are owned in less than 60 percent of leagues and have played at least 10 games. Here are a few of the better bets for threes:
Kyle Korver, CHI – 12% ownership – 2.2 threes
Mike Dunleavy, IND – 57% – 2.1
Rudy Fernandez, POR – 23% – 2.1
Daniel Gibson, CLE – 37% – 2.0
Jodie Meeks, PHI – 10% – 1.9
Carlos Delfino, MIL – 33% – 1.9
Eddie House, MIA – 5% – 1.8
Mike Miller, MIA – 39% – 1.8
C.J. Miles, UTA – 38% – 1.7
Shane Battier, HOU – 57% – 1.7

BLOCKS
Just 37 players in the entire league have averaged 1.0 blocks or more in the last 30 days while playing in at least 10 games. Of those 37, 12 are available in less than 60 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Here are the ones to target:
Darko Milicic, MIN – 56% ownership – 2.3 blocks
DeAndre Jordan, LAC – 45% – 1.6
Samuel Dalembert, SAC – 48% – 1.4
Shane Battier, HOU – 57% – 1.2
Marcin Gortat, PHO – 55% – 1.1
Chuck Hayes, HOU – 42% – 1.0

STEALS
There are 75 players who have at least a steal a game and have played in at least 10 games in the last month. Just 20 averaged 1.5, and of those 20 just three are available in less than 60 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Here they are:
Tony Allen, MEM – 9% ownership – 2.0 steals
Rudy Fernandez, POR – 23% – 1.8
Chuck Hayes, HOU – 42% – 1.7
Carlos Delfino, MIL – 33% – 1.5

FREE THROW PERCENTAGE
This is a tougher one. We need to find players who have enough attempts to at least make a dent in your favor. There are 52 players who have averaged at least 3.0 free throw attempts per game in the last month while playing in 10 or more games and shooting 80 percent or better from the line. Of those 52, just five are available in less than 60 percent of leagues:
Ramon Sessions, CLE – 55% ownership – 85.9 FT%/6.1 FTA
Lou Williams, PHI – 55% – 87.0/4.6
Tyler Hansbrough, IND – 11% – 86.5/4.0
George Hill, SAS – 49% – 88.9/3.9
Marcin Gortat, PHO – 55% – 86.4/3.1

FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE
For this difficult category to manage we’ll search for players available in 60 percent or less leagues who have averaged at least 6.0 field goal attempts per game and played in at least 10 games in the last month while shooting 53.0 percent or better from the floor. I found eight:
Thaddeus Young, PHI – 58% ownership – 53.1 FG%/10.8 FGA
DeJuan Blair, SAS – 56% – 54.0/10.0
Marcin Gortat, PHO – 55% – 58.1/8.9
Chuck Hayes, HOU – 42% – 60.6/7.3
Greg Monroe, DET – 41% – 61.1/7.1
Ty Lawson, DEN – 25% – 53.5/7.1
Josh McRoberts, IND – 14% – 62.0/6.5
Reggie Williams, GS – 34% – 54.5/6.3

We see several common players on these lists, notably Gortat, Hayes and Delfino, who shouldn’t be on the wire in standard leagues. That they are still available in around half or more is a testament to just how many people lose interest in fantasy basketball as the season goes on. If you play in a competitive league, easy options like those won’t be available to you, and you’ll have to take some fliers. It makes sense to stream based on category need, based on the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent that week in head-to-head leagues, and based on team schedules, both week-to-week and for the remainder of the season.

I’ll Be Damned is a weekly look at the fantasy basketball landscape for now but might soon switch over to a full-time, full-throated defense of LaMarcus Aldridge as both an All-Star and MVP candidate. Follow Jeff on Twitter or contact him using the form at the top of the site.

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