We love using sports to describe other sports. As fringe guards go, Reggie Jackson is the safe pick whereas Alec Burks is capable of hitting the home run. But today, let's talk about punting. Category-leaguers often employ the strategy of selective quitting on a stat to maximize their potential in several others. So for those of you who gave up on turnovers in Week 2 or said goodbye to assists when you drafted Carmelo Anthony, here are some of the league's most available punters.
(All stats up to date through March 5 games. Info provided by NBA.com and NBAwowy.com)
Everybody gets points, right? Sure, no players scoring zero have Fantasy value ... other than Kendall Marshall, who's gone scoreless in four of his last five games. But there's an 85-percent chance he's not available in your league.
Mario Chalmers is a more realistic option. He's available in half of leagues, and has been steadily stealing and dishing throughout the year. On the season, he's a top-10 steals guy and ranks 35th in assists per game -- ahead of guys like Jose Calderon, Andre Iguodala, Josh McRoberts and Tyreke Evans. His threes and free-throw rate have dropped now that he's playing actual point guard, so if you're punting on points this might be the guy for you. He gets a few points, and usually they involve at least one three, but don't expect more than 17, his high on the season. Chalmers has scored between 12 and nine points a yawn-tastic 24 times in 52 games.
He could also be a nice late-season sleeper if LeBron or Wade miss time down the stretch. With Wade off the floor, Chalmers has assisted on 20.6 percent of Miami's made field goals and 22.9 percent when LeBron's off the floor. He scored a predictable 12 in a recent LeBron-less win over Chicago but did pass out nine assists and snag two steals in 40 minutes.
You know who loves to shoot? Vince Carter loves to shoot. He only makes it 41 percent of the time, but you can probably live with that if you have Kyle Lowry or Josh Smith anchoring your team. If you're forced to embrace the brick, then Carter's 2.9 made threes per game and 86 percent free throw rate over the last two weeks might interest you. His 5.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.0 turnovers per game over that span don't hurt either.
Not sure he'll stay this hot the rest of the season, so make use of him now, while he's doing a bit more than score. It won't be efficient, but there will be threes. Carter's hit 18 over the last five games.
There's also a 29 percent chance Dion Waiters is available in your league. He's back to full health and scoring -- going for 24 points and three assists in 23 minutes his first game back. He'll be another name to consider if you're punting on field-goal percentage, as he's shot 42.6 percent on the year.
Last but not least, Kenneth Bazemore makes less than 42 percent of his field goals, but has still found ways to be effective nightly for the Lakers. He's less of a scoring/threes guy and more of a rebound, assists and steals guy, but that's not to diminish his ability to score (he's been in double figures in all seven games playing for his new team). He's available in 43 percent of leagues, so give him a shot if you're OK with inefficiency.
This might be the hardest category to punt, since board machines like P.J. Tucker and Reggie Evans come so cheap. But, just in case you've already given up, I present to you Brandan Wright -- the Roto free agent for you. His 4.3 rebounds per game on the season has kept him from gaining relevance in standard leagues. But if that ship has sailed for you, then good news: Wright shoots 65.8 percent from the field, 73.1 percent from the free throw line, blocks at least one shot per game and scores close to 10 points a night.
His offensive efficiency stems from the fact that pretty much all he does is dunk. He's been great defensively soon too, blocking seven shots and recording six steals over the last four games. Wright's benefited from Devin Harris' return and has been consistent enough to take Dejuan Blair's minutes and cut into Samuel Dalembert's. Other no-rebound options include the Hawks current frontcourt. Elton Brand has been assisting and blocking well as of late, and Pero Antic can stretch out to the three-point line while shooting a high percentage from the field and the line.
Dimes are the hardest to find, meaning there's a good chance you stopped looking once you realized how far behind you were. So now guards like Patrick Beverley and Jodie Meeks, who hardly ever assist, carry some real value. Beverley's been stealing opponents basketballs and Jeremy Lin's minutes lately, averaging 1.6 steals and 2.2 made threes per game over the last two weeks.
Meeks has also been catching and shooting efficiently over that span, hitting 54 percent of his field goals, including 2.0 made threes per game. These are two guys with serious limitations, but they mostly have to do with playmaking, so worry not assist punters.
Guys like Dwyane Wade and Tyreke Evans have great value even though they almost never shoot the long ball. Your team might have some of these two-point specialists dragging down your three point category. Might as well go all-in on the mid-range.
There are plenty of 2-point warriors depending on what you're looking for. If it's balance and scoring, go with the dependable Alec Burks. If you want steals, give Tony Allen a try. He's made 65.4 percent of his field goals since returning from injury and should be a nice source of steals once he gets back into the swing of things.
For assists, there's Devin Harris, who has averaged 5.3 helpers per game over the last two weeks. And for low turnovers and solid free-throw shooting, go with Brian Roberts, who hits 93.5 percent of his free throws and only coughs it up 1.3 times per game.
Andrew Bogut is one of the best players in Roto, but his 34.4 percent free-throw rate is easily the worst in Fantasy. That's why it might be smart to close your eyes and pretend free throws don't matter. If you do, guys like Maurice Harkless and Chris Andersen have a lot more value.
Harkless has been playing more and more for Orlando, and has been putting up poor-man's Thaddeus Young numbers. He's scored in double figures in each of his last five games, while averaging 13.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 3.0 steals, 1.3 blocks, 1.3 made threes and 50 percent field goal shooting over the last week.
Meanwhile, Andersen if a dunk/block specialist logging 20.0 minutes per game over the last two weeks. His production is similar to Brandan Wright's but swap out the lack of rebounds for a poor free-throw rate. His scoring is also pretty bad, so save him for deep leagues.
You might employ a specialist to play catch up in this department, but if you're too far behind the next guy, then devote your roster space to a different battle. Amar'e Stoudemire barely swats anyone, but he has been scoring efficiently and rebounding well for a bench player lately. His 13.8 points, 5.3 boards and 57-percent shooting over the last 30 days should garner him some Roto love.
Or maybe you're in a shallower league and you need threes. In that case, check free agency for Channing Frye, who blocks less than one shot per game on average but hits 2.1 threes a night.
Steals are so random that they're both tough to punt and tough to focus on. In the off chance that you've given up on them, Greivis Vasquez might be the free agent for you. He's averaging a measly 0.3 steals per game on the season, but he's established a consistent role with Toronto. Over the last two weeks, he's averaging 13.0 points. 3.3 assists and 2.3 made threes while sinking all of his attempted free throws.
Here's the one that some of the best team's quit on. The high-usage Fantasy studs who often win owners championships also average the most turnovers.
The good news is, you can now roster Tony Wroten without hesitation. For how few minutes he averages, Wroten does not belong among the league's most turnover prone players, but there he is at 2.8 per game on the season -- more than Kyrie Irving, Paul George and Josh Smith. Now that you don't have to worry about his mistakes, you can enjoy what he does well: log meaningless stats for the worst team in the league.
The 76ers instantly earned that title when they traded away Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner. We've shied away from recommending Wroten because of his recklessness with the ball, but the fact is he's a consistent scoring option, with good potential for assists, rebounds and steals. The 76ers have pretty much no one else, so if you were on the fence about Wroten, check your turnover rankings and then decide.