Plenty of intriguing options on the Heat

November, 20, 2008
11/20/08
10:35
AM ET
It's not any great surprise, but Wednesday night's line by Dwyane Wade -- 40 points, 11 assists and five blocks -- has pushed him to first on the Player Rater. Meanwhile, Wade's team, the Heat, lost by six points to the Raptors. Normally I'd be spouting off about how even the best fantasy performances don't mean anything when it comes to winning and losing, but a closer look at the numbers reveals a couple of things.

First, Miami stands at .500, with six up and six down. In fact, the Heat have been a bit unlucky. Wednesday night, for instance, they lost in part because the Raptors were 9-of-13 from 3-point range. Second, for the season, the Heat are +3.6 in point differential, which is good enough for fourth in the Eastern Conference. (Before the loss to the Raps, they were actually at +4.5, fifth in the whole league.) While it is true they have played one of the league's weakest schedules thus far, they are a team that is still coming together. Their third best player, Michael Beasley, is a rookie; they are starting another rookie, second-round pick Mario Chalmers, at point guard; and their center, Udonis Haslem, is only 6-foot-8 and does not block even a shot per game.

Dwyane WadeAlain Mounic/Presse Sports/US PresswireDwyane Wade (second from right) leads a more talented Heat team this season.
In terms of fantasy, on the one hand, we're right back where we started the season. Wade could be the best player in the league, but will he stay healthy? Even if he does, will it be enough to keep the Heat afloat?

Rather than a roster that doesn't add up, look at the Heat as a place to find what might be untapped value. Shawn Marion owners are probably starting to feel pressure to deal him because he has been largely disappointing in the early going. For those of you who don't own him, now might be a good time to buy low (though the window might be closing after last night's 20-point, 14-rebound showing). Chalmers seems like a disappointment already even though he was drafted in the second round and is currently owned in less than a quarter of fantasy leagues, but he's worth a prospective look because he's the Heat's best option at the point and should improve as the season wears on.

Finally, playing with a superstar isn't easy for players at first. Wade is on the top of his game right now, which means he's pretty close to being the best in the league (except that LeBron James is so good right now that there can be no debate). Trying to play alongside that sort of talent can be daunting at first. I'm encouraged at how Miami has remained in the mix in the early part of the season, and it seems to me that as the players become more comfortable, we could see a ton of fantasy production from them.

Under the Boards

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 19
HIGHLIGHTS
Dwyane Wade, Heat: 40 points, 3 rebounds, 11 assists, 5 blocks versus the Raptors.
Chris Kaman, Clippers: 25 points on 11-for-13 shooting, 14 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 blocks at the Thunder.
Caron Butler, Wizards: 32 points, 4 3-pointers, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals at the Hawks.
LOWLIGHTS
Tracy McGrady, Rockets: 16 points on 5-for-14 shooting, only 1 rebound and 1 assist versus Dallas.
Derrick Rose, Bulls: 1-of-8 shooting from the field, zero rebounds, 1 assist and 3 turnovers at Portland.
Joe Johnson, Hawks: 7-for-22 shooting, 7 turnovers versus Washington.

This just in: Greg Oden is good. Like, 11 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in 17 minutes good. His minutes are going to fluctuate because he can't stop drawing fouls, but he's playing extremely well and isn't even at his best yet. He got an offensive rebound against the Bulls on Wednesday on a missed free throw that was so impressive that I immediately felt special for having witnessed it. He's a fantasy dilemma because there's always a chance that he's going to get hurt, but Oden owners must be pretty happy campers, albeit reluctantly, these days. … I know it's a leap, but if Marvin Williams can ever put up some consistent defensive stats, he'll be an all-around fantasy stud. Wednesday night's line: 21 points, 14 rebounds, four assists, one steal, two blocks and a 3-pointer. Like Philly's Thaddeus Young, Williams has already added the 3-ball to his repertoire this season, and at just 22 years old, he still has room for improvement. I don't want to read too much into a good game against the Wizards, but the point is that Williams has real potential. One day he's going to start having games like this one on a regular basis, and you'll want to be in on the ground floor. … Speaking of not wanting to read too much into a good night against a bad defense, check out Clippers' center Chris Kaman's line of 25 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and four blocks against the Thunder. Kaman has had three consecutive games of at least 15 points and 13 rebounds, and as a result he's in my lineup every night until that changes. … Andrew Bogut rebounded from his pathetic performance against the Nuggets on Tuesday to tally 16 points and 20 rebounds against the Jazz on Wednesday. I'm just telling you this so you know he's fine and needs to be in your lineup, despite the occasional hiccup. … Mo Williams is doing two things really well right now: making 3s and making free throws. He's just slightly below 40 percent on the long bombs so far this season, and he's a ridiculous 30-of-31 from the line. One of those stats is fluky, and it's not the treys. A large part of the Cavs' success in the early part of this season has been due to Williams' ability to make defenses pay for giving extra attention to LeBron. Given how good "The King" has been, it's hard to see that changing.

Seth Landman is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.

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