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A well-needed break for players, fantasy owners

Jameer Nelson is among many who will use the All-Star break to heal.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Over the last week I have written at least two articles concerning the alarming rate of injuries and illness going around the NBA and destroying fantasy lineups everywhere.

Currently watching from the sidelines are: Carlos Boozer, Gerald Wallace, Jason Terry, Delonte West, Andris Biedrins, Tracy McGrady, Mike Dunleavy, Chris Kaman, Andrew Bynum, Rudy Gay, Andrew Bogut, Michael Redd, Al Jefferson, Steve Nash, Tyson Chandler, Jameer Nelson, Chris Bosh and Gilbert Arenas...18 fantasy players who would start in anybody's lineup.

So happily for all concerned we have arrived at the All-Star break giving players time to heal and recover for the stretch drive.

Fantasy owners should take the time to rest as well, or maybe make sure their loved one gets the Valentine's Day they deserve, because we're about to head into a busy time in the fantasy world.

The NBA will return from break next week and owners will be preparing for the trade deadline and the stretch run to the championship.

The NHL has already had it's winter All-Star festival and is working on it's own stretch drive.

And Major League Baseball will make the call to pitchers and catchers next week, the first indicator of spring and the arrival of the fantasy marathon known as the baseball season.

By April, all three sports will overlap and time for one's family and friends, much less our golf game, becomes harder to work into the schedule.

So enjoy the weekend.

Just for the record, here are my mid-season choices for the 2008-09 NBA All- Fantasy team.

Guard

Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers - One could certainly argue for Chris Paul or Dwayne Wade, but Bryant has done it all. He's averaging 27.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 5.0 apg while shooting 47.5% from the field, 35.0% from three-point range and 86.9% from the foul line.

First-Half Bargain - Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City - Durant had a preseason ADP (Average Draft Position) of 40, but if the draft were held today, he would likely be a top-10 selection. He is averaging 25.5 ppg, 6.7 rpg and 2.8 apg, and shooting better than Kobe from the field (47.9%) and from three-point range (42.9%).

Forward

I'd like to be clever and pick someone not named LeBron James, but that would just be silly. James is the best player in the league and his 28.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 7.0 apg and 1.3 bpg are just a small indicator of how he dominates a game.

First-Half Bargain - Al Jefferson, Minnesota - Until he suffered a season- ending knee injury, Jefferson was playing much better than his preseason ADP of 25. He was averaging 23.1 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 1.6 apg and 1.7 bpg. Too bad he won't be around in the second half.

Center

Dwight Howard, Orlando - If only he would shoot better than 58.8% from the free throw line, then he really would be Superman. Alas, we'll just have to enjoy what he can do and that is rebound, score and block shots. Can't argue with 20.5 ppg, 14.1 rpg, 1.3 apg and 2.9 bpg.

First-Half Bargain - Andris Biedrins, Golden State - Biedrins is a "poor man's" Howard, he scores 13.0 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 2.0 apg and 1.6 bpg. Unfortunately, he also shoots like Howard from the foul line (56.0%). But with an ADP of 61, versus an ADP of 14.3 for Howard, he was a great choice for a seventh-round pick.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.