I’ll Be Damned: Gonna fly now

Is Jeff just blowing smoke?

Greg and I can never figure out if the phrase “take a flier” should be “take a flyer” or not. I think both are correct, since they are colloquial sayings. I see the former more often, but according to the dictionary both mean sheets of paper, both mean a person or thing that flies in the air, but only ‘flier’ means taking a chance on something. So I’m going with  ‘flier’.

Where I’m headed with this has to do with – you guessed it – fantasy basketball. The game we love. At least in the offseason. During the season it’s a never-ending gauntlet of injuries, wacky coaches tinkering with lineups, and sporadic, confusing news coming out of various media outlets. I hate it. I would love to just play my 10 best players every week without a care in the world, but that’s not how this works. To make things worse, many leagues feature daily lineup changes and pickups at any time of the day, basically rewarding people who are on-line more than others regardless of their fantasy acumen. As someone who fancies himself having a profound acumen (at least that’s what I tell the ladies), this frustrates me to no end. I’m often left choosing between various piles of crap on the waiver wire and making lose-lose decisions.

Most fantasy analysts will examine recent trends and make recommendations from there. So-and-so has had three good games in a row so they make a good pickup. Fine. But in the cut-throat world of daily-lineup pickups and streaming, this often isn’t good enough. Which is why I’m going to use this space this week to suggest some out-there fliers for your perusal.

The twist: most of these players are going to be coming off bad games. My motto is: you never get a player’s previous stats, only his future ones. With desperation time setting in for owners trying to make their league playoffs or make that final push to a roto title, chances are going to have to be taken. I’ll take a look at some players who have been bad lately but could provide quality production in the next few weeks. Fliers, if you will. Come fly with me.

LATE-SEASON FLIERS
Qualifications: Must be ranked 150 or higher in the last 14 days of average statistics according to Yahoo!, and also owned in 50 percent or less of leagues.

Shaun Livingston, CHA
Yahoo! Rank, last 14 days: 176; Y! Ownership: 4%
Stephen Jackson‘s got a troublesome hammy and the Bobcats are playing a lot of journeymen these days. Livingston has had a nice season and could get some extra run down the stretch here.

Trevor Booker, WAS
Rank: 181; Ownership: 1%
Booker’s someone to perhaps consider as a speculative add as the Wizards season goes further and further down the toilet. There could be real minutes available if Rashard Lewis remains limited or out and Andray Blatche suffers another injury.

Derrick Favors, UTA
Rank: 224; Ownership: 15%
Favors violates my rule in that he just had a really nice game. Expect more as Paul Millsap nurses a knee injury. You might want to grab Favors ASAP as he’ll be a hot pickup should Millsap not play Wednesday.

Gordon Hayward, UTA
Rank: 275; Ownership: 2%
When making wild speculative adds like we are doing, look for situations where a young player on a floundering team has a chance to take minutes from a veteran in the name of future progress. Think Hayward, behind Raja Bell on a struggling team playing up-tempo ball.

Goran Dragic, HOU
Rank: 210; Ownership: 6%
We know that Dragic is a talented player, and he should be one of the go-to scorers on the Rockets’ second unit the rest of the way, with a chance to see a huge bump if an injury strikes the Houston backcourt.

Nick Collison, OKC
Rank: 167; Ownership: 2%
It’s too bad most leagues don’t reward pick-setting. Collison is generally awful but his ability to flirt with 10 rebounds on any given night with Kendrick Perkins out of the lineup for a few weeks could help you win a close H2H battle.

Delonte West, BOS
Rank: 161; Ownership: 1%
Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen both need a rest and West is going to be the man backing up both guard positions as soon as he returns from his latest injury. West is under the radar because he’s been hurt practically all year, but I like him to provide nice deep-league value over the final month here.

Jeff Andriesse writes his weekly fantasy hoops thoughts every Tuesday here at Damn Lies & Statistics. He promises that if any of his fliers don’t help your team, you get your money back. Follow Jeff on Twitter to talk some hoops.

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