This is the Sub .500 Club, highlighting the best players who are still available in more than 50% of ESPN.com fantasy basketball leagues. Keep in mind that for the most part, ESPN and Yahoo! have the same ownership rates, although ESPN's tends to be slightly higher.
Tyler Hansbrough (30.9%):
Adding Hansbrough means doing it in spite of Granger and Hibbert's almost-universal ownership, meaning you're implicitly asking three Pacers bigmen to be productive at the same time -- which is hard to do when they're getting drilled on a nightly basis. However, Hansbrough appears to be legit. He's averaging 19.4 points and 8.0 rebounds in his last five games as a starter, and is young enough that he's still getting minutes in the garbage time of blowouts. It's worth noting that he's played well with Hibbert and Granger both struggling and the Pacers doing everything to drop out of the playoff race. But with the Pacers set to play the New York Knicks twice in three days, the same Knicks that allowed Kevin Love to get 31-and-31, there's no reason to hold back on him if you're in need of a double-double threat. Expectation Level: Moderately High.
Carlos Delfino (49.0%):
Much like Beno Udrih, if owners are willing to come to grips with his shortcomings, Carlos Delfino can be a solid fantasy addition. There isn't a more productive three-point shooter out there; he makes two of them a game, averages over 4 rebounds, has been a steal magnet of late (he's collected 3 steals in four of his last six contests) and regularly gets 25-30 minutes a night in Milwaukee's starting lineup. But because he's in Milwaukee, he isn't a dependable scorer and will occasionally disappear with lackluster games that make you want to cut him. Make no mistake: he's probably the best guy you could pick up if you're strictly in need of shooting. Just don't expect him to become anything more than he already is. Expectation Level: Stagnant, But Still Decent.
Tyrus Thomas (40.8%):
His Per-36 minutes stats are All-Star caliber, and he's playing on a team in desperate need of athleticism since moving Gerald Wallace to Portland. But Boris Diaw is an enormous roadblock in Tyrus Thomas' production. As such, Thomas is pretty much only good for defense as long as he's coming off the bench. He's reeling in close to 6 boards and 2 blocks a game in under 22 minutes, but that's still not enough to deserve universal ownership as long as he's second on the Bobcats' power forward depth chart. Expectation Level: Meh.
Chase Buddinger (39.6%):
Since moving into the starting lineup thanks to Shane Battier's deportation to Memphis, Buddinger has been terrific, scoring in double-figures in nine of 10 games and playing at least 29 minutes in all of them. He's doing well, but don't trick yourself into thinking that removing Aaron Brooks and Battier allows him to become a 20-point scorer; prior to the trades, neither was scoring double-digits on a regular basis. And also keep in mind that Luis Scola has been injured lately, which allowed even more scoring chances for Buddinger that will soon dry up. He's good, but like Carlos Delfino, don't add him with the thought of him becoming a superstar this season. Expectation Level: Tempered Optimism.
Tracy McGrady (18.2%):
He'll never return to his days in Orlando and Houston, when he was one of the most dynamic scorers in the league, but that doesn't mean that Tracy McGrady can't still be a fantasy superstar. He's been fantastic as long as he's been getting minutes, and is averaging 11.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.3 steals in his last three games since returning to the starting lineup. The problem is that he's playing under wacky John Kuester, who routinely messes up his lineup and is liable to bench McGrady the next game as likely as he is to start him. Have a short leash with him, but don't ignore the only player readily available who can give you Andre Iguodala numbers on a fairly consistent basis. Expectation Level: Great Now, But Talk To Me In A Week.
DeAndre Jordan (15.7%):
It's hard to recommend someone who continually gets outplayed by his bench counterpart, Chris Kaman. Nonetheless, Jordan can be a very useful add on a short-term limit. His 1.7 blocks per game are in elite company, and unlike many role players, he actually steps his game up when he faces tough opponents. He had 21-and-9 against Boston, 10 points, 5 rebounds and 4 blocks against Denver, an 8-16-3 line against Houston, a separate 4-block game against Boston and a 3-block, 8-rebound game against the Lakers. For now, he's simply useful for his shot-blocking, but he's shown tremendous promise in his limited time as the Clippers starting center. Expectation Level: Decent Now, Could Be Camby-esque Later.
Hakim Warrick (8.8%):
He's averaging 22 points and 6.5 rebounds since moving into the starting lineup for the Phoenix Suns, although he did most of the damage in his first game against the Houston Rockets. Warrick has a chance to get regular minutes with Channing Frye out for two weeks, but don't expect Warrick to suddenly bloom into a 15-point scorer. This is his sixth year in the league, and he isn't going to go far beyond his career averages of 9.9 points and 4.2 rebounds. He can be productive, but his 32-8-4 line against Houston was probably the exception to the rule. Expectation Level: Slightly Peaked, But Mostly Nonexistent.
Samardo Samuels (5.8%):
Who needs Hakim Warrick when Samuels is ripe for the taking? Whereas Warrick's production will dry up as soon as Frye returns, Samuels has carte blanche in Cleveland's starting lineup now that Antawn Jamison is out for the year. And whereas Frye's injury only opened up 11-12 points a game, Jamison was the Cavs' leading scorer, leaving a giant gap for someone like to Samuels to fill in. J.J Hickson has a stranglehold on the center spot, but there's more than enough scoring to go around on what's easily the worst roster in the NBA. He's averaging 15 points and 7.6 rebounds in his last five games, and with his minute allotment consistently set at 31-35 a game, his numbers may actually be sustainable. Expectation Level: Surprisingly High, For This Season At Least.
Chuck Hayes (12.3%):
With virtually no acclaim, Hayes has been one of the best waiver-wire pickups for a center all season long. Since coming back from an injury an January, Hayes has collected at least 6 rebounds in all 28 games he's played, getting 8.2 rebounds per game in January, 9.8 in February and 9.2 in March. He's also an underrated passer, with fairly impressive assist numbers that culminated in his last five games in February, in which he averaged 7.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists. While that was probably the high point of his season, he's not a bad look in spite of his obvious issues scoring the ball. Expectation Level: There Are Worse One-Day Pickups Out There.
Reggie Evans (4.1%):
He is, without out a doubt, the best free-agent rebounder available. He's pulled down 27 of them in his two games since returning from an injury. It's hard to see Evans, in his final year in Toronto, getting a ton of minutes in a lost season, and with youngins' Ed Davis and Amir Johnson worthy of playing time. But Evans doesn't need a lot of time to pull down double-figure boards, and there are plenty of them to go around with Bargnani's inability to rebound and Johnson's injury concerns of late. Expectation Level: One-Category Superstar, Seven-Category Bum.
Gerald Henderson (4.1%):
His fantasy relevance hinders on how healthy Stephen Jackson and D.J. Augustin are. With Captain Jack out, Henderson was scoring 20 a night for the lowly Bobcats, who were desperate for any sort of scoring they could get. With Jackson back on Friday, Henderson played 34 minutes and had 12 points, 3 steals, 2 rebounds and an assist; steals aside, that's about what you can expect from Henderson with Jackson healthy. Good, but not great. Expectation Level: Okay For Now, Check Back Later For Injuries.
Jeff Teague (0.4%):
Currently owned in less leagues than Allen Iverson (and yes, you read that correctly. Iverson's still owned in 0.6% of leagues), Jeff Teague vaulted himself into consideration on Saturday by a shakeup from Hawks coach Larry Drew, moving Teague to point guard, Kirk Hinrich to shooting guard, Joe Johnson to small forward and Marvin Williams to the bench, where he'll no doubt spend most of his time doing the team's laundry and wondering why he got picked over Chris Paul in the 2005 NBA Draft. And Teague responded in style, playing 44 minutes against Portland and racking up 24 points, 3 assists, 4 rebounds, 5 steals, 3 blocks and a three. Woah. Obviously, a line like that simply isn't realistic for the future, nor is Joe Johnson scoring 11 and Kirk Hinrich scoring 0. But Teague played incredible in his first game as a starter, and is worthy of interest if nothing else. Expectation Level: Curious, But We'll Need More Evidence.