by Ray Kuhn
Quite simply, things change. You project, analyze and research as much as you want prior to the season, but sometimes that is just not enough. Things happen that are surprising, both positively and negatively. This week let’s look at 5 players who are currently owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues that you would not have expected to see them on that list at the start of the season.
- Glen Davis, Orlando Magic, 45.4%. This is quite simply injury related as prior to his shoulder injury Davis was performing well (16 points and 7.9 rebounds per game) and was owned in just about every league. The injury is a shoulder strain and it is being reported that he will miss 4-6 weeks because of it so it is safe to assume that he will return by the end of January. If you have roster space to stash him for a month, do it. Davis is a very good frontcourt player with dual eligibility between forward and center. These types of players do not often come available for free, so take advantage of it.
- Ben Gordon, Charlotte Bobcats, 42.2%. Some people, myself included, thought that Gordon would be nice offensive option off the bench for the Bobcats this season. While he might not be the most efficient or game changing player, he would put up points. That has happened to some degree, but I’m sure not to the degree that fantasy owners wanted it. Gordon is averaging 12.8 points on the season and has been sidelined the last few games with a knee injury. It does not appear that the injury is too serious so he should be back soon. If you are looking for backcourt help, then Gordon could be a good option for some scoring but more importantly help in the 3-point category. So far this season is making an average of 1.9 per game which does give him some value as that is the extent to which he will provide value to you making him a pretty decent need based acquisition once he is fully healthy.
- Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards, 25.7%. Beal was a high draft pick that has been mentioned in this space previously. Currently playing time and shots are not an issue for Beal, but in order for him to have more value; he needs to start making more of them. It does not seem like his opportunity will go away as the Wizards are a young team and Beal is a player they are looking to build around. But his 35.5% shooting percentage from the field will not help you, and hurts even more since he is averaging close to 12 shots a game. Unless you could afford to stash Beal away, he is simply not own able, especially after his 2 point outing against Cleveland this week.
- Elton Brand, Dallas Mavericks, 28.8%. Brand’s inclusion on this list is twofold. First of all, just based on name recognition and past performance you would think he would be owned in more leagues but more importantly he should have capitalized on the absence of Dirk Nowitzki. However Brand has done just the opposite only averaging 6.6 points on the season to go with his 6.2 rebounds per game. Upon Nowitzki’s return I would expect to see Brand’s playing time decrease a little more, and with no sign that an improvement is coming, the waiver wire appears to be his rightful home.
- Ersan Ilyasova, Milwaukee Bucks, 39.3%. Based on how he closed out last season, people expected big things from Ilyasova coming into this season. So far he has not been able to live up those expectations averaging 8.7 points and 5.5 rebounds on the season thus far. There was a stretch of games a few weeks ago where it looked like Ilyasova had found his groove and was going to rebound, but he just has not been able to keep up that performance level. He is still a decent option and possibly worth a roster spot but it does not look like he will fully live up to his preseason expectations.