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Fantasy Fix: INJ In The NBA

Fantasy basketball is much more affected by player injuries than either fantasy baseball or fantasy football.

Baseball has a formal disabled list, and many fantasy leagues provide a DL slot that allows you to temporarily park one or two players without losing them for the season, and then pick up replacements on the waiver wire.

And while some of you might argue that pro football's system of "Probable," "Questionable," "Doubtful," etc. can wreak havoc with fantasy teams on a weekly basis, once a player has established a pattern of being injured for a couple games, the decision to drop him becomes a lot easier because the season is so few games, and players need to log a lot of healthy practices to get decent playing time and touches.

Not so in fantasy basketball, in which there is no DL and a heck of a lot of games.

Also, regardless of how long guys are injured, they rarely lose their real-world lineup spots. So you are often faced with the decision of whether to waste a roster spot on someone who should be very good most of the time, but may miss the next 10 games or so.

Right now, in fact, there are several players who were ranked in the preseason top 50 who have missed more than a handful of games with injuries. Should we keep them or cut them?

Brandon Roy, SG/SF, Portland: He's a primo scorer when healthy and looked poised to rise from a second-round pick to first-round pick with a strong campaign this season, but a pair of aching knees and reports that he's "out indefinitely" are major cause for concern: CUT

Gerald Wallace, SF/PF, Charlotte: A multi-category juggernaut and borderline top-10 player, Wallace has had a tough year with two or three injuries already, the latest of which is a bad ankle sprain that will see him miss multiple games. Still, his overall talent may be worth the wait: KEEP

Andrea Bargnani, PF/C, Toronto: A nagging calf strain is the latest problem for a talented - but streaky - player. He shouldn't miss major time, and he's otherwise having his strongest season yet, scoring 21.2 PPG: KEEP

Danilo Gallinari, SF, New York: He will reportedly miss a solid two weeks minimum with a knee sprain. He averages a couple three-pointers per game, but his overall 15.3 PPG is replaceable. CUT

David Lee, PF/C, Golden State: He still averages a double-double (15 PPG, 10.1 RPG), but his production overall is down from last year. He missed eight games earlier this season and appears to have a nagging back injury that could keep him out of a game or two here and there. The double-double is worth tha trouble, but barely: KEEP

Andre Iguodala, SG/SF, Philadelphia: Achilles tendinitis doesn't sound good, and he's missed at least nine games with it. He could be out a bit longer, and is having an off year as it is, but 6.1 RPG and 5.5 APG is above average for a guy you can slot as a guard: KEEP

Troy Murphy, PF/C, New Jersey: One of the most injury-prone players in the NBA, yet his potential when healthy to average a double-double and sink three-pointers keeps him ranked around the top 50 when draft time comes around. He has been hurt often this year and is only averaging a few points per game on half his usual minutes: CUT

Expert Wire
* SI.com has New Year's resolutions, including staying away from injury-prone players. We hear ya.

* Bleacher Report offers some ideas for replacing Roy and another injured scorer, Caron Butler.

* SLAM Online is starting the yearly trade talk ritual. Expect rumors to be flying about Carmelo Anthony and others before the All-Star Game.

Fantasy Football
No player did more for his fantasy value during 2010 than Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay. He had 25 passing TDs against just 6 INTs, and finished second only to Michael Vick in rushing yards (364) by a QB. His 3,451 passing yards were a bit more pedestrian, but don't be surprised if Freeman gets taken as a late-second-round to mid-third-round pick in next season's fantasy drafts ahead of guys like Matt Ryan, Eli Manning and Carson Palmer.

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Dan O'Shea's Fantasy Fix appears in this space every Wednesday. He welcomes your comments. You can also read his about his split sports fan personality at his Beachwood blog SwingsBothWays.

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