As assets, weaknesses become clear, specialists help with balance
Leandro Barbosa has become Raptors best scorer with Andrea Bargnani out
Earl Watson has gained playing time with Devin Harris' star falling in Utah
Bismack Biyombo has played more with Boris Diaw in Paul Silas' doghouse
We get a lot of "What do you think of my team?" kind of questions at Give Me The Rock and I'm sure that there are some owners out there who want to know how their team's stack up versus the rest of the competition. One of the better ways to assess the overall value of your team is to use a player rater like we have over at GMTR.
"The GMTR player rater is specifically designed to provide player ratings for head-to-head (H2H) leagues. It does this by estimating the probability that a team would win a statistical category (on a per week basis) with a specific player versus without that player. The resulting probabilities can be transformed into actual fantasy wins, represented by a measure called Wins Over Replacement Player, or WARP."
Simply add the "WARP" of all of your players, filtering for all of the games played in the season so far, and compare it to the total WARPs of your opponents' teams in your league. From there you can see a numerical visualization of how your team stacks up. That's how you can track the overall value of your players' season-to-date performances. Generally speaking, players who perform well across many categories tend to have good WARP ratings.
We're four weeks into the season and it should clear to owners what their teams' specific strengths and weaknesses are. Your team can be doing well overall, but has yet to win a rebounds or three-point shots made in any match-up. This is where category specialists come into play. These are players who may not necessarily have good WARP scores but excel in delivering valuable production in very specific categories.
In the rotisserie format, specialists can help teams that happen to be cellar dwellers in the standings of a particular category. In head-to-head daily changes leagues, these players can be added and dropped, cycled through within a week to boost specific categories that being contested during a specific matchup. So even if these players don't have great overall fantasy value, they serve a purpose on fantasy teams.
Based on totals over the last two weeks here are some players you may want to consider adding to your fantasy team to bolster specific stats. In parentheses is their percentage of ownership in Yahoo leagues.
Leandro Barbosa, G, Toronto Raptors (21 percent) -- Barbosa has made the most of Andrea Bargnani's injury and has managed to average 15 PPG over the last couple of weeks. For now, he remains the Raptors' most consistent scoring threat off the bench.
Tayshaun Prince, F, Detroit Pistons (42 percent) -- After a slow start, many disgruntled drafters dropped Prince. Recently he's found his stroke and has been regularly dropping 20 points over the last 5-6 games. He's flying off most FA pools, but might still be available if you're in a shallow league.
Marreesse Speights, F/C, Memphis Grizzlies (20 percent) -- You can't expect Speights to block or steal the ball too often, but he is the starting PF in Memphis while Zach Randolph is out due to injury. He's averaging 7.5 boards per game over the last 14 days.
Omer Asik, C, Chicago Bulls (4 percent) -- Starting center Joakim Noah has had a slow start to the season. He's currently dealing with a sprained ankle. Asik has been a decent reserve and is a good contributor in rebounds and blocks when he gets minutes.
Jodie Meeks, SG, Philadelphia 76ers (36 percent) -- Meeks is an underrated shooter and has been heating up for Philly lately. He's the starting SG but splits minutes with Evan Turner and Louis Williams. That's been enough to knock down 2.2 bombs from downtown over the past two weeks.
Mike Miller, G/F, Miami Heat (17 percent) -- With Dwyane Wade out due to injury, expect Miller to get more minutes moving forward. Even if Wade does come back sooner rather than later, Miller doesn't need much playing time to knock down treys as he's a catch-and-shoot kind of guy. His biggest negative at this point is the worries about his ability to stay healthy.
Earl Watson, PG, Utah Jazz (2 percent) -- Devin Harris has been struggling for Utah and has even been put on their trading block. Watson is averaging 5.6 APG lately and can be expected to contribute across other categories if Harris continues to lose favor in the eyes of Utah's coaching staff.
Kirk Hinrich, PG, Atlanta Hawks (3 percent) -- He has yet to play a game for the Hawks as he's been recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. News is that he's close to a return and might even get on the court sometime this week or the next. If 100 percent healthy, Hinrich will likely back-up Jeff Teague but see about 20-plus minutes a night at the point guard position and can be counted on for about four assists a night.
Bismack Biyombo, PF, Charlotte Bobcats (4 percent) -- The Bobcats drafted Biyombo for his wingspan, athleticism and defensive prowess. With Boris Diaw currently spending time in coach Paul Silas' doghouse, we can expect Biyombo to see a rise in minutes depending on matchups. He's been averaging 1.4 BPG, but recently tallied 11 points and four blocks against New Jersey through 18 minutes.
Omer Asik, C, Chicago Bulls (4 percent) -- As mentioned earlier, Asik has been a good back-up center for the Bulls and has even been averaging 2 blocks over the last 14 games.
Courtney Lee, G/F Houston Rockets (5 percent) -- Lee has recently overtaken Chase Budinger in the Rockets' rotation. He's a solid on-the-ball defender. He's averaging two steals per game since returning from injury.
Thabo Sefolosha, G/F Oklahoma City Thunder (4 percent) -- Probably the single biggest reason why James Harden has yet to crack the Thunder's starting lineup is Sefolosha's defensive focus and presence. Sefolosha started the season in very underwhelming fashion, but has recently begun to come up with some productive, fantasy-viable games. He's averaging 1.4 steals a game over the last couple of weeks and may be a good steals booster for a game or two every now and again.