If you're like me, you are constantly looking for an edge that will separate you from the pack in your rotisserie league. You scour the wires. You read daily player news. You read fantasy articles for expert advice. You keep depth charts handy in the event of injury. That's why you come to NBA.com's Fantasy Resource Center.

Don't stop there. Although this information is helpful, there is a missing piece to the puzzle. How do you evaluate player value? Luckily for you, we have created the Fantasy Sports Performance Index (FSPI). The FSPI considers several factors:

Balance: Your goal is to own well-rounded players. These players should not only be strong in as many categories as possible, but you do not want players with glaring weaknesses that are tough to counterbalance. It's ok if your point guard makes the league average in three pointers. You can fill that in with a three-point specialist. What is hard to correct, however, is a situation in which your point guard doesn't make any three-pointers. You have an uphill battle.

Comparison Points: The true value of your player has to be determined by comparing him to the rest of the league. To be considered "good" you need to be above the league average in a particular category. To be considered "great" you need to be far and above the best in a particular category. So all players are compared to the league average and league maximum in each category to determine their FSPI.

Totals: Once every regular season game has been played, all that will matter is a player's totals. Whether or not Baron Davis has the potential to be a top-three point guard won't matter to you at that point if he spent half of the season on the bench nursing an injury. Totals are the most accurate reflection of a player's value today. It doesn't tell you what he will do tomorrow, but this is what he has done up until this point.

Averages: You can't, however, ignore averages. Baron Davis may be an injury risk, but chances are that you would value an injured Davis over a healthy point guard who gets 20 minutes per game. If you look at only totals, the backup is more valuable. If you only look at averages, Davis is clearly more valuable. By using averages you are taking into account potential. This player may be hurt, but when he returns to the court we expect a certain level of performance.

FSPI uses all of these considerations to give you an accurate assessment of player value. Each player is given an FSPI value for each standard rotisserie category (FG%, FT%, 3-pointers, Points, Rebounds, Assists, Steals, and Blocks) for both totals and per game averages. They are then given a total score for each of those stat collections that averages out all of their per-game and totals FSPI. We then give you a "Combined FSPI" that averages the scores for both totals and averages. If a player leads the league in a particular category, he gets a 10.00. If he is at the bottom of the fantasy barrel, he scores a 0.00. Easy, right? You want as many 10.0ís Ė or numbers close to 10.00 Ė as possible. Once you dip under 5.0 in a category, you are looking at an area of weakness that will need to be compensated for elsewhere.

The first question that I am often asked is how we handle Field Goal and Free Throw Percentages. While comparing a player to the league average and maximum in the cumulative categories makes sense, it doesn't give you a clear picture of dominance in the percentages. For example, Player A shoots 50% from the field; Player B shoots 60% from the field. Who would you rather have on your roster to help in the FG% category? If you said Player B, you should take a deep breath and think it over. If you said, "That's not enough information to make a determination," you are one smart dude. If you have a player who shoots 60% from the field in only 10 attempts on the season, his effect on your roster will be minimal. On the other hand, a player who shoots 50% from the field (which is well above the league average) and takes 18 attempts per game will be a very valuable player in this category. So before we evaluate these categories, we have to take another step. We compare the player's percentage to the league average and then factor in attempts.

Now you have a nice background on the system. Let's take a look at the top players in Combined FSPI through 3/22/06:

Combined Score FSPI (Year-to-Date)

PLAYER NAME, TEAM NAME FG% FT% PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PT TOT
1 7.78 7.14 6.12 9.82 1.59 8.28 6.31 3.88 6.36
2 2.97 9.94 10.00 4.29 4.48 8.10 1.42 6.68 5.99
3 5.81 6.12 8.89 5.86 6.36 6.80 3.06 4.86 5.97
4 8.33 7.76 6.23 10.00 3.87 5.66 4.72 0.37 5.87
5 9.13 7.17 7.03 7.87 2.54 4.30 8.80 0.05 5.86
6 3.54 9.13 8.20 2.74 5.44 8.08 1.20 7.06 5.67
7 7.13 7.73 7.72 4.54 6.25 8.06 2.62 0.56 5.58
8 7.15 8.73 5.58 3.41 10.00 3.47 0.46 5.48 5.54
9 5.80 10.00 7.48 7.12 2.60 3.00 3.82 4.32 5.52
10 5.86 7.22 7.88 5.52 4.54 6.16 1.52 4.34 5.38

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Not any major surprises here. If youíve followed fantasy hoops this far into the season, you know who has been a productive player and who hasnít. Moreover, your trading deadline is more than likely past, so what good will the FSPI do you at this point in the season? Glad you asked. Luckily for you, there are several ways to view player value. As mentioned earlier, you can sort by averages, totals, and combined FSPI. You can sort by position and individual statistical categories. What is especially nice, however, is that you have the following splits available to you as well: Pre All-Star, Post All-Star, Yesterday, Last 5 Games, Last 10 Games, Last 5 Days, Last 10 Days, Week-to-Date, and each individual month. Fantasy leagues are often won on the waiver wire at this point in the season. Spotting trends before your competition catches on will be your edge. So letís take a look at Combined FSPI for a couple of interesting splits: Post All-Star and Last 5 Games.

Combined Score FSPI (Post All-Star)

PLAYER NAME, TEAM NAME FG% FT% PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PT TOT
1 2.77 9.72 10.00 3.96 5.40 8.94 0.96 7.80 6.19
2 6.24 9.04 8.60 1.82 5.12 8.23 0.34 7.70 5.89
3 6.53 7.90 6.04 9.51 1.29 5.94 4.29 4.90 5.80
4 5.57 9.70 7.89 7.45 3.00 3.14 3.86 4.21 5.60
5 4.91 7.40 6.42 2.79 8.07 6.05 1.18 7.28 5.51
6 5.91 8.40 5.96 10.00 2.74 5.98 3.81 0.20 5.37
7 2.92 7.44 3.54 5.52 10.00 7.23 0.52 4.94 5.26
8 6.92 6.09 4.90 7.18 5.94 4.82 2.08 4.00 5.24
9 1.99 8.99 5.46 2.10 8.76 5.32 0.18 8.42 5.15
10 7.38 6.83 6.58 6.39 2.56 3.99 7.26 0.20 5.15

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Although there are no major shockers, the biggest surprise here is that Joe Johnson is a top five fantasy player Post All-Star Break. It is an interesting stat, but it doesn't help you find any available players. What we need to do is dig a little deeper and look at a smaller sample size. How about the top 25 over the past five games?

Combined Score FSPI (Last 5 Games)

PLAYER NAME, TEAM NAME FG% FT% PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PT TOT
1 5.22 6.62 6.82 3.24 6.92 7.14 0.00 10.00 5.74
2 7.60 5.77 7.39 2.94 6.92 6.43 0.52 7.62 5.65
3 3.84 8.08 10.00 6.92 6.34 5.00 2.10 2.86 5.64
4 5.41 6.84 4.77 5.88 4.61 5.72 8.94 2.38 5.57
5 5.77 9.41 8.52 7.20 2.88 2.86 4.21 3.34 5.52
6 9.82 6.69 6.31 3.38 10.00 2.14 0.52 5.24 5.51
7 7.42 6.10 5.28 7.36 6.73 5.00 1.05 4.76 5.46
8 4.55 10.00 6.19 10.00 2.30 6.43 4.21 0.00 5.46
9 3.30 8.84 6.14 2.80 7.88 6.43 0.00 7.62 5.38
10 4.80 7.30 8.98 2.80 5.19 9.28 1.58 2.38 5.29
11 6.76 9.91 8.41 2.64 5.76 4.28 0.00 4.29 5.26
12 6.96 7.77 7.27 6.76 3.84 3.58 4.74 0.00 5.11
13 5.29 6.69 5.40 7.94 1.53 5.00 4.21 3.34 4.92
14 2.40 8.08 6.31 4.26 3.26 7.14 3.16 4.76 4.92
15 2.26 8.38 7.39 4.12 3.84 5.00 2.63 5.72 4.92
16 5.79 8.61 6.31 5.00 2.69 7.86 0.00 2.38 4.83
17 6.61 6.66 6.14 2.36 2.30 7.14 1.58 5.72 4.81
18 4.57 7.07 6.59 3.53 4.42 4.28 1.05 6.67 4.77
19 5.30 7.11 6.54 8.38 2.50 2.86 0.00 5.24 4.74
20 6.50 9.85 7.39 8.97 1.15 1.43 2.63 0.00 4.74
21 3.53 8.41 6.99 2.64 6.53 7.14 1.05 1.43 4.72
22 3.21 9.33 7.16 1.76 5.19 2.86 0.00 8.10 4.70
23 7.42 5.40 4.94 8.97 1.92 2.86 5.79 0.00 4.66
24 3.33 6.82 8.52 2.06 7.30 6.43 0.52 1.90 4.61
25 3.32 7.28 2.56 4.42 9.42 7.14 0.52 1.90 4.57
25 7.39 7.73 3.92 5.44 2.69 7.86 1.05 0.48 4.57

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Whoa! First of all, Joe Johnson is a top two player during the past five games. Let's get over that. What is between two and 25 is not all that surprising. The players at one (Mike James) and 25 (Bernard Robinson), however, are what opens eyes. It is unlikely that James is available in your league. Not available, but the guy is certainly on an incredible tear. Robinson, on the other hand, may very well be available. Dig a little further and go into the top 50 and you may just find the missing piece to what could be the fantasy championship puzzle.

Also take a look at the Fantasy All-Star Squad, which was determined by using the FSPI.