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Fantasy Basketball: Waiver Wire Pickups & Box Score Thursdays

I have been a little under the weather the last few days, so I unfortunately did not have a chance to get to post potential waiver wire pickups yesterday in my daily column. As a result you will get a double dose of fantasy goodness today.

We'll start off by highlighting some players available in less than 60% of Yahoo! Leagues that I recommend picking up immediately.

Marcus Thornton SG, Sacramento Kings (49%)

I pimped Thornton in this exact space a week ago when he was on his way to Sacramento. At the time, as a member of the Hornets, Thornton was only 27% owned in fantasy leagues. Now all the way up to 49%, his ownership should continue to skyrocket as he's averaging 21 points off the bench as a member of the Kings. Tyreke Evans owners would have been smart to pounce. Thornton still has to out-perform incumbent SG Jermaine Taylor to earn the starting job, but he is doing a pretty nice Evans impression even as a bench player. Thornton should continue to score and be an asset in the 3-pointers and steals categories. He's my pickup of the week.

More pickups of the week and box score highlights after the jump...

Wesley Johnson SG/SF, Minnesota Timberwolves (44%)

The ever-streaky Johnson is on a pretty nice 2-game tear going for 20 points (including 3 3-pointers), 8 rebounds and 1 steal versus the Lakers on Monday and then followed that breakout game by filling the stat sheet against Detroit: 11 points, 4 boards, 4 assists, 1 steal and 3 blocks. The lanky rookie from Syracuse is averaging almost 1 steal and block per game on the season, and if he extends his breakout to a season-long streak, he will carry your team across the board.

Chase Budinger SF, Houston Rockets (42%)

Budinger, alluded to in Monday's column, will not score 20+ points per game like he did against New Jersey and Cleveland, but he can be an excellent source of 3-pointers as the new starting SF of the Rockets.

Kris Humphries PF, New Jersey Nets (58%)

I'd rather not mention Humphries, but the thing is he is not being picked up in enough Yahoo! leagues. Maybe leagues are abandoned already or that fantasy leagues are allergic to anything Nets-related. Either way it's inexcusable. Humphries should be universally-owned. He's averaging almost a double double on the season, and he's starting to block shots on a per-game basis. With Deron Williams running the show in New Jersey, I'd give Humphries a call.

Anthony Randolph PF/C, Minnesota Wolves (39% owned)

This is a shot in the dark, but Randolph was very highly regarded in the off-season. He was set to start at PF/C with Amare Stoudemire in the Knicks' front court in the high-scoring Mike D'Antoni offense. Unfortunately, Randolph's talents could never out-weigh his work ethic, and he had struggled to see any minutes. The Wolves saw his potential and traded for him since they don't have enough options in their loaded front court (sarcasm alert!). Randolph got his time sooner than later in last night's 114-109 win over the Pistons going for 19 points, 10 rebounds and adding in a steal. The ultra-talented youngster could thrive given the minutes and the right mindset, but he will have to rely on injury in order to do so. It's important to note starter Darko Milicic was out for last night's game. I'd give Randolph a shot if I had room on the bench. It won't hurt. Owners in keeper leagues should definitely take a stab.

To keep things kind of terse, let's quickly sum up the standouts in this week's box scores:

Sunday February 27th: Phoenix Suns 95, Cleveland Cavaliers 91

JJ Hickson at times forgets to rebound. This game was not one of those times, good news for his fantasy owners. Hickson went for 22-16 with 2 steals and 1 block against the Suns. In the wake of PF Antawn Jamison's season-ending injury, Hickson should thrive in his starting role.

Monday February 28th: Sacramento Kings 105, Los Angeles Clippers 99

Marcus Thornton can't get enough love in these columns. The newly acquired SG went off against the Clippers with 29 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and even throwing in a blocked shot for good measure. It's only a matter of time until Thornton is anointed the team's starting shooting guard. Thornton followed up his Kings debut with a 26 point night with 4 three-pointers in last night's loss to the Blazers. I'd expect nights like this while he's on a mission to prove the Hornets wrong.

Tuesay March 1st: Toronto Raptors 96, New Orleans Hornets 90

There were many big nights on Tuesday including Jason Kidd's triple double for Dallas, but one name stuck out to me when browsing the box scores: Jose Calderon. The Toronto PG was one of the biggest fantasy busts last season even splitting time with Jarrett Jack. As a result, he became a draft-day bargain as he's averaging 9.2 APG this season. Against Chris Paul and the Hornets, Calderon went off for a season-high 22 points, 16 assists and 7 rebounds. Most importantly he went 5-5 at the charity stripe. It appears his free-throw stroke is back. What stood out the most to me was how Calderon was only 3 rebounds shy of a triple-double. While the aforementioned Kidd routinely throws up triple doubles, Calderon is not known for his rebounding prowess unlike Kidd. In the game before this one, Calderon had 8 rebounds. Keep an eye on the Toronto Box Scores to see if this is a sign of things to come or a fluke.

Wednesday March 2nd: San Antonio Spurs 109, Cleveland Cavaliers 99

This week I seem to be split on focusing on the losing teams. Once again I chose the lowly Cavaliers to focus on because believe it or not value can be had on terrible teams. JJ Hickson had a huge game on Sunday with Antawn Jamison in the lineup, but last night it was Jamison's replacement Samardo Samuels with the huge game. And against one of the top teams in the league, no less. The raw Samuels put up a nice 23 points-10 rebounds-3 assists line as the new starting Power Forward for the Cavaliers. Honestly I did not think he would put up such a big game so quickly. Samuels is a relatively known and undrafted raw rookie, and I am not sure what to expect going forward. He is uber-talented, so a double-double with blocks can be expected, but for how long? How will this affect JJ Hickson? I'd expect Hickson and Samuels to split the big nights for the Cavaliers for the rest of the season.

Any players to focus on or pick up? Share in the comments below.