When the new weekly scoring period starts on Monday, we will be exactly one month away from the end of the regular season. This season will be like no other with more games in fewer days and fantasy owners need to be on their game for the stretch run, especially for daily leagues. In fact, for the first time since I can remember there are six games that will be played on NCAA Championship Monday on April 2nd, a day that the NBA usually has off.
If you’re in a roto league where you find yourself a little behind in the reaching your maximum games or your league has no sort of restrictions to how many players you can add, you might need to look to new depths for adding players. I can talk about adding Klay Thompson, Wilson Chandler, Nate Robinson , Jason Thompson, Goran Dragic, Zaza Pachulia, Alonzo Gee, Ramon Sessions, Wesley Matthews, Spencer Hawes, Carlos Delfino, George Hill and Jordan Crawford until I get blue in the face (I’m quarter Smurf), but we’re going to dig a little deeper this go ‘round. This week’s Waiver Wire Scoops is going to focus on guys that are available in 95 percent of leagues (except one guy) and there’s even a section below that has guys that are owned in 0.0 percent of leagues. I hope even you shallow-league owners enjoy this column and learn some things about players that nobody else would cover.
By the way, if you do want to discuss guys mentioned in the paragraph above, make sure you tune your internet radio dial to Pick-N-Roll after the games end on Tuesday and Thursday nights. It’s 30-plus minutes of fantasy basketball discussion. If you’re a die-hard owner, I can pretty much promise you’ll enjoy it.
Let’s get to it after the jump:Follow @MikeSGallagher
Again, these guys are all available in 95 percent of ESPN leagues. I have arranged them for overall value. Owners should remember that a need can trump value and grabbing a guy that can help you win might have more value than a guy makes your team better on paper. Where’s Lee Flowers when you need him?
Courtney Lee (HOU)- Courtney Lee might have been a couple days late in proving what he could do for the Rockets. If Kevin Martin had gone down with a shoulder injury a couple days before, there’s a good chance the Rockets may have been more likely to deal him at the deadline. In the five games since Martin went down, Lee has put up 16.0 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.0 SPG and a stellar 2.6 3PM in 37.4 minutes. The bad news is that Martin’s injury isn’t expected to keep him out long and he could be back at any point. His owners should certainly enjoy the Lee ride while it lasts though. It’s worth mentioning that Lee was playing 28.2 MPG in the six games prior to Martin going down and he might be able to garner more of the offensive work. Lee was shot six shots or less in four of those games, which is unlikely to happen often even when the Rockets get back to full strength. Yeah, Lee could have been the cover boy, but he already had that distinction in February (article here). UPDATE: Kevin Martin is out "indefinitely" with his shoulder injury. To be clear, it doesn't mean he's out for the year, but Lee is certainly worth owning in almost any league.
J.J. Barea (MIN)- It might be time to anoint J.J. Barea as one of the bigger winners from the Rubio ACL injury. Barea lit it up on Wednesday with 18 points, 11 assists, a steal and two from downtown in 30 minutes of action. The untrained eye might chalk up the big line to garbage time, but Barea was not in the game for the last four minutes of the game and only had five points and two assists in his eight fourth-quarter minutes. The Northeastern product is also coming off a 10-dime contest on Monday in 27 minutes of action. Potential owners might shy away from the 38 percent shooting and only 0.3 SPG this season, but the upside for assists, points and triples make him a lottery ticket that may be worth a scratch off (preferably with a dime).
C.J. Watson (CHI)- Derrick Rose is still day-to-day with his groin injury. Watson was impressive yesterday with 15 points, four boards, three dimes and three from distance in 32 minutes. Owners in competitive leagues would be hard-pressed to find a better spot-start for Saturday’s game with the Toronto Calderons (assuming Rose sits, of course). UPDATE: Rose is considered week-to-week by beat writer K.C. Johnson. Watson is a very, very interesting add now.
Brandon Rush (GSW)- Richard Jefferson’s first game with the Warriors looked like he was going to play the part of Buzz Killngton for Brandon Rush by cutting the Jayhawk’s minutes to only 22. Rush struggled in those minutes and didn’t even shoot the ball once while Jefferson shot it 14 times. The last two games have been brighter days for Rush with 30.5 MPG, 12.5 PPG, 2.5 3PM and 1.5 BPG. There’s no denying that Rush is a better defender than Jefferson and he should alleviate some of the defensive pressure to their new superstar Klay Thompson. There isn’t a heck of a lot to like with Rush, but at least he has the trifecta of being useful in steals, blocks and threes.
J.J. Hickson (POR)- The Blazers pulled a fast one of the Warriors by claiming the mercurial power forward from the Kings. Hickson’s departure from Sac Town seemed inevitable once he said it was "unfortunate" that he was traded there. While we were all expecting him to be cut, not many expected the Blazers to claim him. Hickson enters an advantageous position with the likes of Joel Przybilla, Craig Smith and Kurt Thomas as the only other candidates to log frontcourt minutes next to All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge. One would think they wouldn’t claim Hickson for nothing, right? The problem with Hickson is a paltry 37 percent from the field this year and he’s not an adept shot blocker with just 0.7 BPG in his 28 MPG from last season (only 0.5 this year). All that said, there’s opportunity here and he could turn himself into a low-level asset in deeper leagues.
Martell Webster (MIN)- Webster’s perpetually ailing back deserves some sort of accolade by keeping him active for seven weeks. Webster has been a sizeable portion of the Minnesota rotation lately with 26 MPG in March, including 30.8 MPG in his last five. Webster’s skills as a three-point shooter gives him upside and he might be on the upswing soon.
Gary Neal and the Spuritos (SA)- Tony Parker pulled his hamstring in Wednesday’s game with the Wolves last night. The good news on Parker is that strain is "mild" and the Pop guessing game can start at no games missed. The timing is pretty bad for San Antonio as they’ll be busy bees starting Friday as they’re scheduled to play five games in six games. Neal started at point guard in the second half and turned in a productive line of 16 points, three assists, four steals and two triples in 28 minutes. Neal is expected to pick up the slack at the one if Parker needs to miss a game. He’s worth a speculative add. As for the rest, Neal shifting over opens up some more minutes for Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard. Leonard got 38 minutes on Wednesday and is the preferred add. Of course proceed with caution when you’re adding any San Antonio player.
Daniel Gibson (CLE)- Boobie has a boo-boo to his ankle right now which has caused him to miss Wednesday’s action. Two games prior to going down, the Longhorn launched eight attempts from behind the arch and converted on five on them on his way to 18 points. The magnitude of the injury is not known outside of the fact that X-rays were negative on the 26-year-old shooting guard, so he could miss several games for all we know. Owners in most leagues should just keep an eye open for now.
Matt Barnes (LAL)- Ramon Sessions has been helping more than himself and Kobe since he showed up in LA. Matt Barnes has seen an uptick lately with his last three games producing 10.3 PPG, 7.3 RPG and 2.0 3PM in 29.0 MPG. Barnes seems like a better fit for Sessions slashing, up-tempo style of play. If Sessions continues to come off the bench with the second unit, Barnes could see plenty of open looked on kick-out passes while filling up other categories.
Marvin Williams (ATL)- The UNC product has been on the mend for five games with a hip ailment. He is expected to return on Friday though. Williams had a streak of three double-digit scoring games going and he made four triples in one of those games. He was starting to build some form of value and it’s possible he can return to some form of fantasy relevance.
Taj Gibson (CHI)- Taj is one of the best possible handcuffs in the fantasy world. If Joakim Noah or Carlos Boozer ever had to miss games, Gibson would vault to near must-own territory. In just 19.5 MPG this month, Gibson has posted 8.3 points, 6.2 boards and 1.2 blocks. Believe it or not, Taj had more fantasy value than Tim Duncan in the past 15 days. He should already be owned in really deep leagues.
Jason Smith (NOH)- Gustavo hasn’t had his Ayon the Prize lately. Jason Smith is back and he played 26 minutes on Wednesday and put up 12 points and seven boards in the loss. Smith had a few good games in him earlier in the year and he might get an extended look now that he’s over his concussion.
Jason Maxiell (DET)- He cooled off quite a bit in his past two games with only 4.5 points and 3.0 boards in those two. Let’s chalk it up to bad matchups for him against the Clippers and Nuggets. He might turn it around, he might not. His upside isn’t that high regardless though.
Kevin Seraphin (WAS)- Nene Hilario bad a very impressive debut on Wednesday which demoted Seraphin to just to just 16 minutes. He was efficient in that allotment with 12 points and two blocks against the Nets though. Seraphin is worth mentioning because everyone that has ever owned Nene knows how brittle he can be. Nene has already missed 16 games this year and the Wizards have a back-to-back-to-back set coming up on Saturday. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Washington sit Nene for one of those games. If they don’t sit him, then there’s a decent chance Nene won’t come out of the weekend unscathed.
Kirk Hinrich (ATL)- Hinrich has been logging some serious minutes lately with 38.7 MPG over his last seven games. The problem is that Captain Kirk isn’t really putting up the corresponding numbers in said minutes. Not to mention that the Hawks have been inclined to go small with no Marvin Williams. On the plus side, Hinrich has 1.6 3PM in that aforementioned seven-game stretch and he has an OK ceiling despite the miniscule 3.3 APG in those games.
Ekpe Udoh (MIL)- It’s a shame that Udoh found himself in fantasy jail by going to Scott Skiles State Penitentiary at the deadline. His minutes with Milwaukee haven’t been pretty with only 17.5 MPG in those two. He was able to swat four shots against the Blazers and pulled down six boards, so there could be light at the end of the tunnel. He won’t be able to accumulate the numbers he had in Milwaukee, but he still is ranked as the 5th-best player in blocks per 48 minutes. It wouldn’t be a shock to see Skiles give him minutes and it might take a Andy Dufresne-type effort to get out of SSSP.
Dominic McGuire (GSW)- The Warriors missing out on Hickson may have given the other DMC in Cali a shot for some deep-league value. McGuire didn’t do much on Wednesday with Jeremy Tyler getting more minutes (more on him below), but before that he logged at least 28 minutes in three of his four games leading up to Wednesday. He was able to block four shots in those 19 minutes on Wednesday and has averages of 1.4 blocks and 1.0 steals in his last five games.
Luke Babbitt (POR)- Hey, maybe the Blazers give him a chance to show what he can do. He does have 13.8 MPG in his last four games and has taken 2.5 3PA in those games.
Jodie Meeks (PHI)- The Evan Turner train has been parked back at the station lately with his last two games being headlined by a combined 4-of-18 shooting for just eight points. Meeks kept Turner at bay for quite some time and it might be time for Doug Collins to get the Kentucky Wildcat back in there. The Sixers have lost four of their last five games. Meeks only has allure to owners that desperately need triples.
Markieff Morris (PHX)- Morris had a decent outing against the Heat on Tuesday with 12 points, a trey, a block and a steal in 22 minutes. He got four more minutes of burn on Wednesday at Orlando and was able to muster just four points. Phoenix is still in the hunt for a playoff spot by trailing the banged-up Rockets by only two games for the eighth seed. If they do fall out of it, Alvin Gentry and the Suns could opt to give Morris a few more minutes. He can do a lot of things for a fantasy team with his hands in the rebounding, steals, blocks, threes and points categories. On a side note, Robin Lopez had a decent game last night, too. Of course he’d need a Gortat injury to get his own paragraph.
Andris Biedrins (GSW)- Biedrins is shooting 11.1 percent from the free-throw line. Amazing.
Gilbert Arenas (MEM)- You’d have to shoot me to pick up Gilbert Arenas.
Some guys owned in 0.0 percent of leagues
Alec Burks (UTA)- If you’ve followed me on Twitter (and why wouldn’t you?), you might find me gushing over Alec Burks at every chance I can get. Burks is one of the most aggressive rookies in the league and it seems like his style suits the current Jazz roster. On Tuesday night, the day Josh Howard announced he had damage to his femoral cartilage, things were looking up early as Burks entered the game a couple minutes early in the first quarter. He played a 13-minute spurt, then was only out there for 12 minutes in the second half (he usually logs most of his minutes in the second half). Burks has a lackluster game by making 1-of-6 from the floor for just two points in one of his most important games of the season. I’m not ready to give up on him just yet after Tuesday’s dud. This was a bad matchup for him with his underwhelming defensive skills against the NBA’s second-highest scoring team. We’ll see how he fares on Thursday against the Kings.
Jeremy Tyler (GSW)- J-Ty was one of the most interesting draft picks in the 2011 draft class. He is an athletic freak at 6’10", has a 7-foot-5 wing span and recorded a vertical leap of 33.5 inches at the NBA Combine. That’s nice and all, but Tyler has yet to make himself an impact player in the league. Wednesday was a step in the right direction though with a season-high 16 minutes in the starting lineup. He was able to eradicate two Hornet shots, scored four points and pulled down four boards. Owners in deep leagues should certainly keep an eye on him. Oh yeah, #FreeJeremy.
Manny Harris (CLE)- Am I just putting him in here because his full name is Coperryale L’Adorable Harris? Maybe. Silly name aside, he did log 20 minutes on Wednesday, took two 3PA (missed them both), grabbed six rebounds and scored 11 points. Daniel Gibson could be out for a little while and the Cavs did just sign him for the rest of the season. L’Adorable also had four 20-point games last year and it’s not like the Cavs are loaded in the backcourt.
Patrick Patterson (HOU)- The arrival of Marcus Camby certainly put a damper on the possible outbreak of Pat-Pat. Although he hasn’t been all that bad with 11.5 points, 4.0 boards and 1.0 blocks in the 26.0 for his two games with the Camby Man. He’ll need an injury to Scola (one of the toughest players in the league), Camby or Dalembert to have an impact though.
Jamaal Tinsley (UTA)- This year’s top pick in the NBA D-League has proved to be a great one by Eric Musselman and the LA D-Fenders brain trust. Tinsley has actually been useful by owners in deeper leagues as a plug-n-play option since Earl Watson. His last five games have yielded 8.6 PPG on 55.6 percent from the field, 4.0 APG, 0.6 3PM per night and 0.4 SPG. Watson’s ankle still isn’t better just yet and it’s not like Devin Harris is invincible with respect to his health.
Wayne Ellington (MIN)- As mentioned above, it might be time to award J.J. Barea the silver medal in the Rubio Replacement Awards (Ridnour the obvious gold). Although the Tarheel was useful in his last game with 15 points, three steals, a block and a trey in 23m minutes. Yeah, garbage time was a factor, but we’re talking about guys that are owned in 0.0 percent of leagues here. Plus he has gone on hot stretches before.
Gary Forbes (TOR)- Dwane Casey has probably given us fantasy basketball writers more gray hairs than our girlfriends/wives have all year. Forbes was the latest wrench in the rotation with a big weekend that had him put up 15.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.5 BPG, 0.5 SPG and 1.0 3PM in 24.5 MPG. He has since cooled off with only 17 MPG in his last two games though. Who are we to rule out Dwane "Just For Men" Casey from giving a random guy significant minutes?
Mickell Gladness (GSW)- Gladness signed a 10-day contract with the Golden State Warriors Thursday morning. He’ll take his total 28 minutes with the Heat to the Bay Area to compete in one of the weakest starting spots in the league, the GSW center spot. Gladness actually showed some upside in the D-League with 1.8 BPG and 70.0 percent from the field in 20.8 MPG back in December. He is 6-foot-11 and might get some minutes. Heads up, 60-team leagues.
Hasheem Thabeet (POR)- Thabeet goes on for Portland and the second pick of the 2009 draft hit the hardwood on Tuesday. The Husky put the word ‘garbage’ in garbage time by shooting 0-of-4 from the field, 2-of-2 from the line and pulling down a board in four minutes. This game was one of the worst losses by any team on the season and all 12 of Portland’s players were in the minus in +/-. The 13 Bucks that played were all in the plus, but I digress. We all know Thabeet can block shots and maybe the Blazers get desperate and give him a looksee.
Anthony Davis (CHA)- He probably has as much value as Mr. Thabeet.
Thanks for reading!