Miami Heat options after the big three
Other than the big three, which Heat players are worth drafting in fantasy?
The Miami Heat are a fantasy enigma this season. Obviously, a major question is how the big three's stats will be affected playing alongside each other. However, they're not the only players on the team (no, really!), so it's crucial to identify whether any members of the supporting cast will have enough fantasy value to be worth a pick in the late rounds. Here are notable candidates for fantasy value aside from the triumvirate of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh:
Mike Miller: The most intriguing supporting cast member, Miller has the skills to contribute in the right system as seen in his 2006-07 season with the Memphis Grizzlies, as he averaged 18.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists and a whopping 2.9 3-pointers per game while shooting 46 percent from the floor and 79.2 percent from the stripe. However, Miller's numbers took a step down the following season for the Grizzlies, and then he floundered for the Minnesota Timberwolves two seasons ago and the Washington Wizards last season, barely cracking double digits in points. He's still been a decent source of assists (4.5 and 3.9 per game the past two seasons, respectively) and 3s (1.2 and 1.5), and is always awesome in the percentage categories while grabbing at least six boards per game, but he's been on the fringes of fantasy relevance since leaving Memphis.
With the Heat, he'll play a crucial role backing up both LeBron and D-Wade, and likely playing alongside them for stints when the team runs small and one of the studs brings the ball up. With that kind of talent surrounding him, and plenty of open looks, he should definitely perform better than the past two seasons and reclaim fantasy worthiness. He should once again average about four assists per game, but score in the 12-14 points-per-game range with good rebound numbers, especially if you're playing him at guard. Expect excellent percentages while he flirts with two 3s per game. He's not flashy, but should contribute in several categories and is definitely worth a late-round pick as a glue-type player who hurts you nowhere and is efficient. He's a safe 11th-round option who has the potential of some big games if either LeBron or Wade goes down, and undoubtedly has fantasy value this season as the fourth option for the Heat.
Joel Anthony: Anthony is a shot-blocking beast (1.4 per game for his career while averaging just 17 minutes), but so far in his career, that's it. He's likely to start at center, keeping the aging Zydrunas Ilgauskas fresh, and should get significantly more minutes than he did last season backing up Jermaine O'Neal. Anthony should hover around two blocks per game (he averaged 1.9 per game in 16 starts last season) and could end up among the league leaders in that ever-scarce category. Even though he doesn't provide much else, his peripheral numbers should increase with his minutes. Anthony is a blocks specialist worth one of your final picks if you're feeling shaky in the hard-to-get swats department.
Mario Chalmers: Chalmers was a fantasy darling as a rookie, averaging 10 points, 4.9 assists, 2 steals and 1.4 3s, but those numbers dropped significantly last season to just 7.1 points, 3.4 assists, 1.2 steals and one 3. Now, he'll be embroiled in a fierce battle with Carlos Arroyo for the starting job. Even though Arroyo outplayed him for stretches last season and is reported to be looking better in camp, Chalmers has a superior fantasy skill set and is a better late-round gamble than Arroyo. He's a risk, but the upside is significant enough in assists, steals and 3s to make him worth selecting in a round ending with "teen."
Eddie House: House has always hovered around 20 minutes per game and never played enough to warrant fantasy ownership in most formats. His only chance this season is if an injury occurs to LeBron or Wade, so he should be ignored on draft day, but is someone to monitor if a big gun goes down, as he can score in bunches and be deadly from long range while providing decent steals. He might have value at some point, but not unless a catastrophe occurs.
Udonis Haslem: Like House, he will have value only if an injury occurs, although if Chris Bosh does go down, Haslem is a great rebounder and can hover around the nine boards-per-game mark with significant minutes. Ignore him on draft day, though, as he isn't enough of a "high reward" player to be worthy of a pick.
Carlos Arroyo: Arroyo is a solid facilitator with good percentages, but he doesn't accrue 3s or steals, which makes him worthless in the fantasy realm. Even if he wins the starting job over Chalmers, he doesn't do the things you need from a fantasy point guard, and is completely ignorable in the fantasy world.
Josh Whitling is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.
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