SleepersMarch 4, 2009

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Sleeper Watch

By Phil Londen

With all the post-trade deadline prizes now claimed, it is once again time to scour the waiver wire and search for production to shore up injury-depleted fantasy rosters. If you are looking for blocks on the cheap, there is no better source out there these days than Denver’s Chris Andersen.

Chris Andersen
Chris ‘The Birdman’ Andersen certainly has had a unique journey to and through the NBA. In his second stint with the Nuggets, the Birdman has helped fill part of the shot blocking void left behind by Marcus Camby after he was unceremoniously jettisoned for financial reasons. To the shock of those who wrote him off for good (which is essentially everyone), the Birdman has been providing valuable fantasy production. Andersen is not a good fit for every fantasy team; he is essentially a one trick pony that provides tremendous production in blocks and very modest production in rebounds and field goal percentage without providing high turnovers. In fact, the Birdman averaged a whopping 3.3 blocks per game for the entire month of February. While you may have some latent memories that have kept you from picking him up already, add 33 percent-owned Chris Andersen if you need blocks heading into the playoffs.

Nenad Krstic and Thabo Sefolosha
With Kevin Durant out with a Grade II sprained ankle, Oklahoma City’s second highest scorer, Jeff Green, was the natural candidate to step up. When Green sat out against the Mavericks with a sore back, some wondered who would pick up the slack for the Thunder. Nenad Krstic and Thabo Sefolosha both elevated their games and delivered a humiliating nine point loss to Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks. Krstic led the way with 26 points on 62 percent shooting, six rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Sefolosha chipped in with 15 points on 54 percent shooting, a three, seven rebounds, two assists and a block.

Many fantasy owners are hoping that Nenad’s game against the Mavericks will prove to be a turning point in Krstic’s season and that more production will follow. Sefolosha, however, has already been quietly stringing together a solid string of games fsince being traded to the NBA’s newest franchise. Over the past 3 games, Thabo is averaging 14 points on 48 percent shooting from the field and 78 percent shooting from line, 8.7 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and 0.7 blocks with 1.3 turnovers in 37 minutes of action. With Krstic only being owned in 11 percent of Yahoo! leagues and Sefolosha only owned in 9 percent, give either one of these Thunder players a look if you have room for a speculative add.

Carl Landry
Having dealt with more than their fair share of injuries this season, the Houston Rockets have remained competitive largely because of their talented bench. One of their primary weapons off the bench is low-volume, high-efficiency Carl Landry. Much like the Birdman, Landry is only helpful for teams with very specific needs. Landry is a perfect compliment to teams that strive for efficiency and is a member of the exclusive 50/80 club. After being discarded by fantasy managers following an ankle injury, Landry is only owned in 8 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Landry is also a good player to handcuff to Yao Ming down the stretch in order to provide some insurance in the event of another season ending injury to the Pride of China.

If your team is struggling and you are looking to add a player with some potential to provide the coveted fantasy goods, consider Chris Andersen, Nenad Krstic, Thabo Sefolosha and Carl Landry to see if they have what your team needs.

Phil Londen is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Phil in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of plonden.
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