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Fantasy Fix

Dwight Howard is officially trade bait. The NBA's leader in rebounds and blocks may earn his "Superman" nickname most nights, but he's falling well short of the all-world status I was hoping for this year.

Howard is No. 1 in two categories, within the top 10 in free throws-made, and near the top 20 in total points. So why am I complaining? Well, that free throw mark is terribly deceiving. Howard is only making 57 percent of his free throws, so to make that many, he is taking more free shots (and missing more) than almost everyone else in the league. And, when you are shooting 57 percent from the line, but taking more attempts than anyone else on the typical fantasy team - well, count on losing the FT% battle every single week.

Also, Howard really needs to be a Top 10 scorer overall to help offset his big weakness. He has had big, big games scoring, but often follows them up by barely breaking into double figures. If all this isn't enough, there are signs that Howard is losing his grip in his chief skill categories. For example, in the last month, rookie Brook Lopez has more blocks than Howard (who's still-stellar per-game average of 3.3 has actually slid dramatically in the last month), and Marcus Camby has more rebounds.

Howard is far from being a one-trick player like Ben Wallace, but we had higher hopes for this year, didn't we? I'm hoping I can hook a high scorer.

Meanwhile, the experts are exploring ongoing injuries and working the waiver wire:

* Roto Arcade highlights the return of Raja Bell from injuries and the departures of D.J. Augustin and Al Horford for the infirmary. Bell has been treated well by his trade from Phoenix to Charlotte so far.

* Fantasy Basketball Cafe has Nets Bobby Simmons and Ryan Anderson as its Sleepers of the Week, with the theory that Yi Jianlian's broken finger will create opportunities for them. The sad part of this story is that Yi, in the last week or so, finally seemed to be turning into NBA stud that many of us thought he would be last year upon arriving in Milwaukee.

* At the CBS Sports Community, there's a blog about the possibility that Allen Iverson could move to a sixth-man role - either him or Richard Hamilton. Rip is coming off an injury and the Answer has not been himself this year. Meanwhile, Rodney Stuckey has been extremely good, not scoring like either of the others. Moving Stuckey into the starting five is one of those moves that may not make the most sense in the fantasy world, but makes a heck of a lot of sense in the real world.

Fantasy Football Round-Up
Why are we still doing a fantasy football round-up? Because the playoffs are going on, and what's happening will definitely have an impact on next year's draft positions. Already we have seen the rest of the world discover our favorite sleeper pick for next season: Darren Sproles. San Diego may be out of it now, but in one post-season game Sproles upgraded his draft spot by at least a round, maybe more. Larry Fitzgerald might be cementing his spot as the top WR pick next year, and Joe Flacco is getting experience that should help him be a solid sophomore QB next year.

The fantasy football expert wire is pretty quiet these days, but we still wanted to highlight CBS Sports' Waiver Wire Awards for the 2008 season, in case you missed it right before the holidays. That may give you a few more names to watch in next season's draft.


Dan O'Shea's Fantasy Fix appears every Wednesday. Tips, comments, and suggestions are welcome.

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