We're only a couple weeks into the NBA season, and the waiver wire pickings are slim.
It's 2am in the cougar bar - and you gotta take what you can get.
The free agent game is always tricky - as you're dealing with the best of the worst. But slow starts, injuries, breakouts and lack of hype do affect your propensity to identify sneaky talent...
So put your beer goggles on, splash on some cologne and let's take a look around the league at a few guys that can help you...
1. Kelly Olynyk, BOS, PF/C
Terrible hair aside, people forget Kelly Olynyk was taken 13th overall only 3 NBA drafts ago.
Last year, as a sophomore, he averaged 10.3 PPG, 1.0 3PM and shot a respectable 47.5% from the field. He doesn't get a lot of blocks or boards (although he does chip in), but he also gets more steals than most bigs (1.0 STL last season).
The most infuriating aspect of Olynyk's game though isn't his pedestrian big man numbers: it's his coach. Olynyk's spot in the rotation seems secure, but uncertain. He plays, but his minutes fluctuate wildly. Last game, he played 27 minutes with 19 points, 3 3PM, 7 REB, 4 AST, 4 STL, 1 BLK. The previous game? 0 points in 10 minutes played.
The Celtics have a whole bunch of inconsistent bigs, so it's possible Olynyk works his way to the top of the food chain. Considering his age, skill level and upside, a breakout isn't impossible to foresee.
It's also not certain.
If you have a spot, I'd take a flier on Kelly. If he doesn't end up with steady minutes, you can always go fishing back in your FA pool...
2. Arron Afflalo, NYK, SG/SF
Afflalo seems set to return next week, and nobody's talking about him.
I personally believe he's an undervalued asset.
While his role on the dysfunctional Knicks is far from concretized, check out the scoring averages for Arron in his last few years in the league: 15.2, 16.5, 18.2, 14.5
He's a pure scorer, and gets some decent counting stats too.
I'm banking on heavy usage on a terrible Knicks team, but their sheer ineptitude could also HURT Afflalo. I mean, young players are likely the priority on a team that SHOULD BE focused on development.
But the Knicks have been really stupid as an organization for decades, so don't bet against AA playing 30+ MPG right out of the gate.
If healthy, I'm guessing: 15 PPG, 4 REB, 2.5 AST, 1.5 3PM, 83% FT. Those numbers would play in any format...
3. Dewayne Dedmon, ORL, C
Since I'm a professional stats nerd, double D got my attention last year for his studly block % and rebounding %.
You're talking about a player who got 5 REB and 0.8 BLK in ONLY 14 MINUTES A GAME last year.
Unsurprisingly, his role in the rotation has increased this season - and he's currently starting (that may/may not change). He's currently playing around 30 MPG - averaging close to a double double and around 2.5 BLK the last 3 games... If he sticks in the rotation like this, we could be looking at the new rule (as opposed to the exception).
I added him in 2 dynasty leagues this weekend, and I'm firmly aboard the Dedmon train in deep leagues. Standard league upside here too, so don't discount him...
4. Will Barton, DEN, SG/SF
Will Barton is another under-the-radar asset I picked up in a dynasty league last season.
Once he came over from Portland last year, this 2nd rd pick basically came out of nowhere and put up really solid numbers in 28 games: 11 PPG, 4.6 REB, 1.9 AST, 1.2 STL.
With very little hype this season, he's actually improved on those numbers slightly this season.
He's not a difference-maker yet, but the numbers are going in the right direction.
I'm not ready to sign off on him in standard leagues, but he's a must-get in deep leagues - and there is value in dynasties here too. At the very least, Watch List him. He could have 12-team value in the next couple months...
5. Kosta Koufos, SAC, PF/C
I've had Kosta in a 20-team league for 3 years now, and he's always found a way to stay useful.
Now as the friendlier, crappier version of DeMarcus Cousins, K2 continues to produce. 9.6 PPG, 60 FG%, 7.7 REB, 0.7 STL, 1.1 BLK.
The numbers are a little skewed with Cousins being in and out of the lineup, but Koufos has upside. Even with a healthy Cousins, he could be a decent running mate. I've got him somewhere between deep league and standard league status, but he's somebody who could sustain his value all season.
I'm not entirely sold, but I don't disbelieve either.
You could do worse.
That's what she said.
In summation, you're not gonna find the next James Harden on the waiver wire - even this early in the year.
It's just not gonna happen.
But James Harden's 3rd best friend twice removed?
Sometimes it's all about realistic expectations.
Just ask Kanye West's publicist.