Commentary

Hot players to get off the wire

Updated: April 6, 2012, 3:26 PM ET
By Josh Whitling | Special to ESPN.com

Cunning daily and weekly roster management is paramount in maximizing your prospects for victory, especially at this point in the season. In roto formats, it's time to be especially mindful of your games played limit; be sure to fulfill every available game at each position. This often means rotating bench players in and out of your lineup on a daily basis to make up for games missed due to injury. It's especially important to mine the waiver wire and fill your bench with start-worthy players and definitely time to cut bait on injured or slumping players in favor of current flavors of the week. In head-to-head formats, a similar strategy applies, as you should be picking up and dropping players on a weekly basis depending on how many games they have that week in order to maximize the stats you get. This strategy of "streaming" players is often what separates successful teams from complacent ones as the season winds down.

Let's take a look at some widely available players who can help fill our your roster and are worth starting in certain formats based on their recent hot play:

[+] EnlargeCarl Landry
Derick E. Hingle/US PresswireA healthy Carl Landry could really help fantasy owners in the final weeks.

Carl Landry, PF, New Orleans Hornets (18.8 percent owned): A career 53.5 percent shooter from the floor, Landry has been a disappointment this season. His 49.1 percent mark is the lowest of his career. His lack of production is primarily due to injury, however, as he missed most of February and March with a knee injury and has been unable to find his groove. He returned for four games in March, averaging 18.3 points on 60 percent shooting with 7.5 rebounds, 0.5 steals and 0.5 blocks per game, and saw his ownership percentage shoot up briefly. He then missed two games with an ankle injury and was subsequently dropped by many teams -- rightly so, based on the aforementioned importance of maximizing your roster's productivity. Well, he's back, and he should step right into averaging 12-15 points on excellent shooting with solid rebounding numbers and about half a steal and half a block per game. He's worth a roster spot in any league where you need a boost in field goal percentage, as he is efficient and should see plenty of looks as the most versatile scorer in the Hornets' frontcourt.

Glen Davis, PF, Orlando Magic (10.7 percent owned): Big Baby has been dominant his past three games, averaging 21.3 points, 11 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 0.7 blocks per game while filling in for Dwight Howard for two games and Ryan Anderson on Thursday. Davis' success is directly tied to his increased opportunity, although the fact he was so productive when given a chance for more minutes, snaring a season-high 16 rebounds Sunday and scoring a season-high 31 points Tuesday, indicates that he should be in line for more PT even when the Magic frontcourt is fully healthy. He doesn't boast impressive peripheral stats and isn't especially efficient in field goal or free throw percentage, but when given a chance, he can score and rebound with effectiveness that makes him worth a roster spot in deeper formats. Monitor his productivity once Howard and Anderson are both back in the lineup, as that will be the true test of his value for the remainder of the season.

Terrence Williams, SG/SF, Sacramento Kings (8.6 percent owned): One of the more talented guards to enter the league over the past few years, Williams has struggled to translate his talent into consistent production, playing for his third team in three seasons. He seems to have found a niche in Sacramento, scoring in double figures in three straight games and flashing his ability to post numbers in several categories, as demonstrated by his averages of 13 points, 7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.7 steals and 0.7 blocks per game in that span. He's had stints of productivity in the past that hint at his huge potential, most notably in April 2010 when he averaged 14.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 0.6 steals per game in seven contests to close out his rookie season. Much like his backcourt mate Tyreke Evans, Williams possesses the ability to contribute heftily in rebounds and assists and is one of those players who undoubtedly has the tools to put up some incredible numbers if he can put it all together and find the right landing spot. He's benefited in the past two games from the absence of Marcus Thornton, but even in the last game with Thornton active, Williams got the most minutes off the Kings' bench and should continue seeing significant minutes based on his play as of late. Williams' upside is the highest of any player highlighted here, and if things click, he could be a difference-maker in fantasy leagues down the stretch. Add him liberally and keep your fingers crossed that the wheels don't fall off.

Marvin Williams, SF, Atlanta Hawks (4.4 percent owned): You'd be hard pressed to find a veteran fantasy hoops player who hasn't had Williams on his team at some point in the past, as he's consistently been on the bubble of fantasy worthiness throughout the course of his six-year career. Despite his lowest scoring average since his rookie season, Williams is averaging 1.0 3-pointers per game for the first time in his career and has turned it up recently with double-digit scoring in seven of his past eight contests. In that span, he's averaging 11.8 points on 52.2 percent shooting from the floor, with 5.2 rebounds, 1 steal, 0.8 3s and 0.4 blocks per game, and despite the fact that he doesn't have a single statistic that pops out, he shouldn't hurt your field goal percentage, is money from the stripe and provides just enough 3s, steals and blocks to be worth owning in deeper formats if you need some scoring punch. He and Terrence Williams are on divergent ends of the spectrum, as Marvin is all about predictability with low upside, but sometimes a fantasy roster needs a reliable source of production. Marvin Williams provides that, so add him if you need about 10 points per night with modest rebounds, steals and 3-point production.

[+] EnlargeJan Vesely
Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty ImagesJan Vesely should get more playing time as the Wizards play out the string.

Jan Vesely, SF, Washington Wizards (1 percent owned): Vesely is a key piece of the Wizards' future, and the fact the team is giving him heavy minutes down the stretch illustrates that they're already focused on next season and beyond. He has put up some promising per-minute numbers as a rookie, with 0.6 steals and 0.5 blocks in just 17.3 minutes per game, and has averaged 1.1 steals and 53.3 percent shooting in nine starts. He's all about potential, with impressive quickness and leaping ability for his size, and at some point in his career, he should be a fantasy stud who contributes especially well in steals and blocks. His high level of talent and athleticism should translate into some big games down the stretch now that he's getting significant minutes, so if you need a productive combo of steals and blocks in a deeper league, Vesely is a viable option with intriguing upside.

Austin Daye, SF/PF, Detroit Pistons (0.6 percent owned): A popular fantasy sleeper on draft day, Daye has had an unimpressive season that has been hampered by injuries, and he failed to improve any of his numbers from last season. His career averages of 0.6 3s, 0.5 blocks and 0.5 steals in 16.4 minutes per game, however, represent the type of 3s/steals/blocks combo that makes fantasy owners drool, as he clearly possesses 1/1/1 potential in those categories. His statistical potential is tantalizing, and after averaging 1 steal, 0.5 blocks and 0.4 3s in 14.6 minutes per game last month, he could be worth a flier down the stretch if you're looking for a high-risk/high-reward 3s/steals/blocks option.

Anthony Parker, SG/SF, Cleveland Cavaliers (0.7 percent owned): Parker is on a hot streak that is worth pouncing upon, averaging 15.7 points, 3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2 steals and 1.7 3s per game over his past three contests. We know he's capable of putting up solid fantasy numbers for stretches, especially in points, 3s and steals, and right now looks like one of those periods of productivity. He's the hot hand in Cleveland since Kyrie Irving is out with a shoulder strain, so feel free to view him as a short-term option who will produce well above his season averages for the next seven to 10 days while Irving is sidelined.

Ronny Turiaf, PF/C, Miami Heat (0.1 percent owned): He has nabbed the starting center job in Miami and is the definition of a one-dimensional player who will help you only in the defensive categories of blocks and steals. He could flirt with two swats and half a steal per game if his minutes increase, as his career averages of 1.4 blocks and 0.4 steals in 17.8 minutes per game indicate. He's definitely worth a deep-league look for those looking to bolster their production in defensive categories.

Josh Whitling

Fantasy Basketball
Josh Whitling is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.

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