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Wednesday March 19, 2008 9:54 am

Wire to Wire - 03.19.08

Charlie VillanuevaWire to Wire aims to be your waiver wire resource for all of your fantasy basketball needs. It will dive into playing time trends, injury replacements, and even an occasional category specialist—all of which can be found on a typical waiver wire within your fantasy league at any given time

With the fantasy playoffs soon approaching, it’s getting to the point where games-remaining is a big determinant in whom you’ll be adding-dropping over the next week.  Leagues that lock rosters after a certain point will definitely want to pay attention to this.  Those that allow streaming – while I don’t condone – will want to pay close attention to this as well.  With that said, here are the players that should be on your current radars, given league settings. 

Shallow Leagues

Charlie Villanueva, SF/PF, Milwaukee Bucks
Though suffering from a sprained ankle on Monday night, Villanueva has been on a tear since the beginning of March, averaging 22 points, nine rebounds, and 1.5 threes per game over the last six.  With Yi Jianlian missing time thanks to a ligament strain, it has (finally) opened the door for CV to perform.  Couple this with the number of games that Milwaukee plays over the final four weeks and the former UConn Husky is your must-add player over the final stretch.

Josh Powell, SF/PF/C, Los Angeles Clippers
Whether Elton Brand returns or not, it appears that Chris Kaman could be close to being shelved for the season with a back injury.  In his absence, Josh Powell has been getting the starts at center and is producing some solid statistics.  The last two games have seen an average of 12 points, 11 rebounds and at least a block – with no signs of slowing down given the playing time.  Owners of Kaman will definitely want Powell on their team, but do not hesitate to pick up the 25-year old big man if you could use some help over the final stretch.

Rony Turiaf, SF/PF/C, Los Angeles Lakers
On the premise that we can all use some help at the center slot, Pau Gasol’s multi-week absence will open up some playing time for Rony Turiaf.  The third-year big man has taken his extended playing time and performed well by notching 13 points, eight boards and three blocked shots.  Granted, he put up rough line the night before, but when a guy shoots over 50 percent from the floor over his career, you have to assume that there will be more good nights than bad ones.  Like Powell, Turiaf has a very attractive eligibility in fantasy circles.  If one LA big man is gone off of the wire, grab the other.

Tim Thomas, SF/PF, Los Angeles Clippers
The abovementioned injury to Chris Kaman and the Clippers moving into “future mode,” there has been an increased need for scoring.  And there is no better garbage-time scoring forward in the league than Tim Thomas, who has now notched four straight games of double-figure points to go with healthy rebound and three-point totals.  We all know that Thomas is no stranger to the occasional rough shooting night, but if you’re in need of a quick, end-of-season boost in threes, look no further.

(Last Week: Luis Scola, Matt Carroll, Elton Brand, Craig Smith)


Standard Leagues

Ronald Murray, SG, Indiana Pacers
Jamaal Tinsley continues to be worthless, and Travis Diener simply didn’t get the job done.  Enter Flip Murray.  The journeyman guard has now earned a starting slot with the Pacers and has provided instant statistics.  Six of the last seven games have seen Murray in double figures, and he has been an absolute beast in the steals department by ripping 10 over the same stretch.  You never know when the rotation can change, but for now I recommend riding the hot hand – and that hand belongs to one Flip Murray.

Chucky Atkins, PG, Denver Nuggets
One of my bigger sleepers coming into this season rewarded me with an injury-plagued campaign.  For what it is worth, it appears that the veteran point guard is healthy and ready to ball, as seen by his 18-point, five-rebound, five-assist average over the past two games.  There is no doubting that Allen Iverson will be the man in the Denver backcourt, but as the season winds down and the occasional blowout will occur, I’m thinking that Atkins finds a way to sneak into games for about 20 minutes per.  This should be enough PT to generate at least a little value down the stretch.

Brandon Bass, SF/PF, Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks forward is about as inconsistent as they come over stretches of this season.  I’ve added him and dropped him within days about three or four times this year, and have a feeling that I’ll be doing it again in the near future – as I’ve added him again in the DroppingDimesExpert League.  He’s provided Dallas with four double-figure games over the past five along with a healthy total in boards and steals.  He could fall off of the face of the earth by the end of the week, but it’s worth a shot at this point.

JR Smith, SG, Denver Nuggets
It’s always the same story with Smith.  One night, he can go off for 20-plus, the next night, he may get single-digit minutes after doing something to tick off George Karl.  Like Tim Thomas above, if you’re looking for a boost in threes, they come by the buckets with Smith – as seen by his 22 treys for the month of March (eight games).  If it’s any consolation, Smith had only 17 minutes two games ago and still dropped 12 points with two threes, a steal, and a blocked shot.  Not bad efficiency, bad attitude or not.

(Last Week: Dikembe Mutombo, Thaddeus Young, Carl Landry)


Deep Leagues

Charlie Bell, SG/SF, Milwaukee Bucks
In the Charlie Villanueva note, I mentioned the number of games that the Bucks play over the final four weeks.  Couple this with the recent play of one Charlie Bell and you have yourself a pair of like-named Bucks that should be rostered in most leagues over the final month of the fantasy season.  While Bell’s STL:TO ratio hasn’t been as hot as it was last season, he has been getting near 30 minutes a game on a team that isn’t playing for very much in terms of a championship.  The only reason I have Bell listed for deep-league owners is because Desmond Mason’s return may put a damper on things.  For now, he’s worth a look.

Smush Parker, PG, Los Angeles Clippers
It’s not likely to be pretty with Smush, but given the current situation with the Clippers, there is a solid chance that the white flag comes out and they give every valet’s best friend a shot to run the point.  He’s responded to some playing time with going 1-for-13 over the past two games, so by no means am I saying to run out and get him.  However, if Parker’s playing time starts getting consistent, it isn’t far fetched to see him playing over Dan Dickau.  That’s when you know things are bad in L.A., but if it helps your fantasy team, who cares?

Earl Barron, PF/C, Miami Heat
While the injuries and all-around disappointment continue to plague the Miami Heat, Earl Barron managed to put up 21 points with Shawn Marion missing time with an injury.  While some reports have said that Barron managed to find Pat Riley’s doghouse after the game, it’s tough to pass up a guy that just blew up the scoring table during his first sign of minutes.  There’s a good chance he’s still available in your league, so keep an eye on his PT over the course of the week and jump on him if he keeps producing.

Rasho Nesterovic, C, Toronto Raptors
Who knew that Rasho Nesterovic was capable of putting up 20 points, eight rebounds, two blocks and two steals?  Certainly not the Sacramento Kings, on whom Rasho went to town.  He’s since followed up the huge game with a 13-point, 12-rebound outing against the Jazz.  Chris Bosh can return at any time, but you could likely do a lot worse than Nesterovic at the end of your bench over the home stretch.  Definitely give him a look before someone like Earl Barron, just realize that it may be short-lived. 

(Last Week: Jason Williams, Luke Walton, Anderson Varejao, Mickael Pietrus)

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