Playing the Waiver Wire for Week 4
Who should you target off the waiver wire this week? Our Chris Towers and Joe Polito help you maximize your roster spots for the short term and down the road.
We saw more movement on the waiver wires this week than any other so far, with six different players earning additions in at least 25 percent of CBSSports.com leagues. All of them have emerged from relative obscurity over the last week, thanks largely to joining their team's starting lineups. Can Fantasy owners expect this excitement to turn into long-term value for these guys?
As you'll see below, I'm not particularly sold on this crop of most-added players, most of whom seem likely to contribute just short-term value. I am buying in to Terrence Jones , however. Jones is a talented forward who seems to fit what Houston wants to do offensively pretty well. Omer Asik's trade demands have opened a void in the Rockets' front court that Jones seems well-suited to fill that role. And it's not just him -- deep sleeper Donatas Motiejunas could emerge as an intriguing option if the Rockets opt for more size in the front court.
One additional detail to note with the two Lakers players featured: Kobe Bryant inevitable return will likely hurt their value, as his high-volume scoring necessarily takes shots away from teammates. If you are looking to pick up Steve Blake based on how much he is creating for the Lakers, you might want to consider selling high on him before Kobe comes back and changes the dynamic.
Most Added players
Jordan Hill , F, Lakers: Jordan Hill is hardly what you picture when you think of a prototypical Mike D'Antoni big man. You're not going to ask him to spread the floor, and he hasn't exactly developed a reputation as a sterling pick-and-roll finisher. He is, however, the team's best defensive big right now, and his energy has allowed him to flourish over the last week or so. He enters play Sunday averaging 17.0 points and 10.3 rebounds per game over his previous three. There isn't much of a track record in Hill's past that suggests that this kind of production is sustainable over a long period of time, though he's also never received big enough minutes to prove himself like this. He put up 15.2 points and 13.0 points per-36 minutes a year ago, so he could be worth starting moving forward if he keeps receiving 30-ish minutes consistently.(65 percent owned; +53 percent)
Steve Blake , G, Lakers: We know Mike D'Antoni's offense has a tendency to inflate point guard production, but Steve Blake's last few games has gone beyond any reasonable expectations. Blake enters Sunday's game with a three-game double-digit assist streak; he hadn't had a double-digit assist game in three full seasons before this week. Given how valuable and rare assists are, his massive increase in ownership makes perfect sense given that information. Blake is averaging 6.5 assists per game for the season, and is clearly the team's top option at point guard without Steve Nash around. He seems like someone who should be owned in even more than 63 percent of leagues, as he is running the offense better than any of the team's other options right now. (63 percent owned; +47 percent)
Jordan Crawford , G, Celtics: The scarcity of assists has also fueled Jordan Crawford ascension to the top of the most-added list. He is averaging 6.0 per game to go along with 13.6 points over the last five games, while serving as the only thing resembling a point guard on Boston's roster with Rajon Rondo out. Crawford, who averages 3.1 assists per game for his career, is up to 4.5 for the season. That has come without a big increase in minutes, which means coach Steven Adams actually has him distributing and working within the offense well. I am skeptical that this will last -- once a gunner, always a gunner, I say -- but his production right now is tough to ignore for owners trawling the wire looking for assists. Add Crawford, but don't hold on to him too tightly. If he regresses to his usual style of play, don't feel bad about dropping him in a few weeks. (60 percent owned; +41 percent)
Tony Wroten , G, 76ers: Acquiring Tony Wroten for essentially nothing has been one of Sam Hinkie's shrewdest moves. Wroten floundered in a limited role as a rookie with the Grizzlies, he has been a perfect fit for their fast-paced offense. He is averaging 13.2 points, 3.2 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game through the first 11 games, while mostly serving as a backup point guard and sixth man. This big jump in his ownership probably isn't due to his solid play off the bench, however; he is en vogue right now thanks to a three-game stretch as a starter in place of the injury Michael Carter-Williams . Right now, we don't know when MCW will be back on the court due to a foot injury, but Wroten should continue to be productive as long as he starts. Unfortunately, Fantasy owners shouldn't expect him to be a long-term fix, as Carter-Williams isn't going to be ceding playing time when healthy. (44 percent owned; +34 percent)
Terrence Jones , F, Rockets: Jones' numbers aren't particularly impressive since becoming a full-time player, but I might like his upside as much as anyone else on this list. He's not quite the stretch four for the Rockets are looking for to play next to Dwight Howard , but he should be able to improve on his 42.9 percent shooting mark over his four-game stretch of playing 30-plus minutes. Especially since he is shooting just 48.0 percent on 25 field-goal attempts with five feet of the rime; given his athleticism, that should only improve. He is already benefiting from Howard's presence on the boards, as he is averaging 10.3 rebounds per game in that same stretch. Jones is skilled enough on offense that he should be expected to improve on that side of the ball from where he is at right now. This is a sleeper with big-time breakout potential, especially because there don't seem to be any contenders for his job right now.(35 percent owned; +32 percent)
Most Dropped players
Vitor Faverani , C, Celtics: Just when we thought he was gone, Faverani was back in the starting lineup Saturday against the Timberwolves, playing 27 minutes and nearly recording a double-double. Faverani has given the Celtics much-needed rim protection and floor-stretching when he has been on the floor, so I don't expect him to disappear from the rotation. But, after he topped 20 minutes in each of Boston's first four games, he has reached that mark just twice in the last seven games. Dropping Faverani is the right move, but it looks like he might just hang around the fringes of Fantasy relevance moving forward. This isn't the type of player you need to have a strong attachment to; discard him whenever he stops being useful.(34 percent owned; -17 percent)
Derrick Williams , F, Timberwolves: The best-case scenario for Derrick Williams was a slow start for the Timberwolves forcing a panic trade, with him moving to another team as the centerpiece of a deal. Unfortunately, he remains buried behind Kevin Love , and the Timberwolves have been formidable so far, which means they will probably be content to stand pat. Williams has been nearly nonexistent this season, and there is no reason to expect the Wolves to increase his minutes at the expense of Love's. As long as Love is healthy, Williams can't be expected to contribute consistently. 31 percent owned; -11 percent)
Alec Burks , G, Jazz: If I have supported parting ways with the previous two players a bit too whole-heartedly, I'll go against type here. The hype for Burks might have led to some owners being disappointed with his production as the team's sixth man, but his new role could ramp up the excitement soon. Burks has spent the last two games as Utah's starting point guard, and though the production isn't impressive (10.0 points, 4.0 assists per game), I think there is reason to think he will grow into his role. Burks is not comfortable playmaker for others quite yet, but he is second on the team in assist opportunities per game 7.2, as tracked by NBA.com. The Jazz shoot 41.3 percent from the field as a team, but just 34.7 percent on assist chances created by Burks. That number should creep up as he learned where his teammates prefer the ball, which should help his production increase. I'd also bet on Burks improving his 37.5 percent shooting mark from the field. Until Trey Burke is able to make his return to the floor, the Jazz have ample reason to push Burks along as a playmaker, and I like his potential to breakout in that role.(57 percent owned; -10 percent)
Flavors of Next Week
-- by Joe Polito (@JoePo89)
Nobody likes injuries, but the hard fact is they create opportunities for some fringe Fantasy options. One guy benefitting from his teammate's misfortune is Wizards small forward Martell Webster (36 percent), who's had back-to-back games in double figures. He went for 21, 10 and four steals when Trevor Ariza went down November 13 with a hamstring injury and followed it up with 14 and seven the game after that.
It doesn't seem like this injury is anything too serious, but as the esteemed Chris Towers has pointed out, hamstrings tend to linger. It's a shame for Ariza because he was playing so well that Washington couldn't afford to cede any of his minutes. Wizards coach Randy Wittman used the phrase “a couple games” when discussing Ariza's possible timeline, but descriptions of the forward limping around the facility don't bode well for a timely return.
In the meantime, Webster will inherit the plethora of corner threes that John Wall has been spoon feeding Ariza. He should be able to at least get close to Ariza's rebounding numbers while serving as a volume shooter in Washington's offense. I'd drop Gerald Wallace or Andrew Nicholson to take advantage of Webster's short-term opportunity. Ariza's played well enough to get his starting job back, but without a clear timetable, you'd be smart to invest in Webster's expanded role on a team that ranks second in three point attempts per game at 25.9.
Shaun Livingston (17 percent): While Deron Williams deals with a nagging ankle injuries, the floundering Nets will look to Shaun Livingston to be their primary distributor. He's reached double-digit scoring in his last three games and has 11 combined assists in his last two. The fact that he's received 30-plus minutes in his last two games suggests the Nets will let Livingston drive their not-so-well oiled machine while Williams rests his sprained ankle. This makes sense because their only other option at point guard is the inexperienced Tyshawn Taylor , who Brooklyn recently recalled from the D-league. It makes sense that coach Jason Kidd (still weird to say) would put the ball in the hands of a tall point guard with good court vision. Pick up Livingston while he's getting this much work, and enjoy those moments when he shows flashes of the player who was drafted fourth overall almost ten years ago.
Mo Williams , Blazers, (28 percent): I know, it's not the sexiest pickup, but Mr. Williams has been getting more minutes and making the most of them in Portland. He's averaging 15.6 points and 5.0 assists while logging 30-plus minutes his last three games. The Trailblazers have been stuck in mediocrity for a while and could be looking to be taken serious for the first time in years, starting the season strong at 8-2. Williams will play an integral part in any noise making coming out of Portland, as he complements the young, shoot-first starter Damien Lillard with solid point guard play off the bench. The danger of a young team is that when they aren't playing well, they pout and get down on themselves, which usually only extends their slump. This was on display November 13 when no one on the team could hit a shot … no one other than Mo Williams . He's got the confidence to remain immune to such mental lapses and just keep working for easy jumpers. He went 5 of 10 from the field and the Trailblazers escaped with a one-point victory. He's still turning the ball over, and he's still Mo Williams , but if the Trailblazers want to keep winning, they'll have to put their faith in the experienced 30-year-old to make plays for their second unit. Since the Lakers only play twice this week, I'd consider dropping any of their streaming options, including Jordan Farmar and Steve Blake , to grab Williams.
Jared Dudley / Jamal Crawford / J.J. Redick (26, 81, 84 percent): One of these things is not like the other, as in Jared Dudley is not contributing the same way Crawford and Redick are. However, he's highly available and highly capable of hitting threes while snatching a few rebounds and steals. The reason he's made this list is because the Clippers play five times this week, which could be a helpful edge to gain on your opponent. Dudley is a big risk, but you'll have five rolls of the dice to get something out of him. The other two are looking like mainstays in the Los Angeles rotation. If somehow they're available in your league, go ahead and grab them at least for the short term. Even in shallow leagues, these two can make an impact when you look at the way the Clippers are scoring the basketball, leading the NBA at 110.0 points per game. Going back to Dudley, only grab him if you're streaming someone on the Lakers, Raptors or Pelicans – each of whom plays only twice this week.
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