Waiver Wire: Start making some sense
The Lakers offense has been the source of much frustration and nothing symbolizes that more than the play of Antawn Jamison. Chris Towers takes a look at Week 6 options off the waiver wire.
The convoluted nature of the Lakers' offense this season has been the source of much Fantasy intrigue. From Metta World Peace's improbable re-emergence as a factor to the surprisingly lackluster play of formerly elite big man Pau Gasol , they have been incredibly hard to peg.
Arguably the most difficult player to make sense of has been veteran forward Antawn Jamison , whose Fantasy star seems to be improving thanks to a small bit of improved play over the last few games. Jamison, who was expected to provide his typically unconventional brand of scoring off the bench for the Lakers, was owned in the majority of Fantasy leagues after Draft Day. His ownership cratered to 13 percent a week ago, but has been building back up over the last week.
Jamison is now owned in 42 percent of all leagues, making him the third-most added player heading into Fantasy Week 6 (Dec. 3-9). The question is, what can Fantasy owners expect from him moving forward? The 36-year-old has scored 83 points total through the first 15 games over the season, with 35 of them coming over the course of back-to-back nights against Memphis and Dallas last week. Add in a double-double effort and 25-plus minutes in a crowded frontcourt over those two games, and it is easy to see why Fantasy owners would expect a bounce back from one of the more consistent scorers in the league over the past decade moving forward.
The assumption seems to be that Jamison is a more natural fit for Lakers' coach Mike D'Antoni's offensive system than Gasol, who seems lost at times in the offense. That seems logical on the surface, but there is little evidence that it is true. The Lakers have played four games with D'Antoni as the head coach, and Jamison has scored in double figures twice. He has three points combined in the other two.
Fantasy owners can hardly be blamed for taking the chance on a guy who scored 17.2 points per game as recently as last season, but it is unlikely that this waiver-wire move proves particularly fruitful. It seems like we should still expect Jamison to be a non-factor more often than not.
Most Added Guards
Jeremy Pargo , Cavaliers: It is entirely unsurprising to see Pargo near the top of the list of most-added players, as he is averaging 15.2 points per game since taking over as Cleveland's starting point guard in the wake of Kyrie Irving's finger injury. Pargo is also averaging 4.0 assists while playing 33.7 minutes per game in that span. His track record is largely non-existent, as the 26-year-old spent time after college playing in Europe before coming stateside to a minor role last season with Memphis. Pargo has built his solid run on a reliable jump shot, as he is shooting at least 40 from every shot distance tracked by Basketball-Reference.com. It seems like the Cavs are going to give him solid minutes moving forward, which means he remains worth adding in most leagues where he is still available. (60 percent owned; +40 percent)
Aaron Brooks , Kings: Brooks is another bit player who has been thrust into a bigger role over the last week-plus, and he at least has more of an NBA track record than Pargo. The Kings have started him in their last five games at the point guard position, and he has responded by scoring 10.8 points per game. Don't be fooled by his solid mark, as he is shooting a wholly unsustainable 63.6 percent on 6.6 shots per game. There simply are not many shots available in a Kings offense with plenty of options and little in the way of opportunity, and he is unlikely to continue averaging double figures given this role. Brooks is a 41.3 percent shooter from the field in his career, so once the shots stop falling, his Fantasy value should plummet with it. (41 percent owned; + 20 percent)
Jamaal Tinsley , Jazz: It has been an awfully long time since Tinsley was a viable Fantasy option. He last averaged double figures in scoring back in 2007-08, when he spent 39 games as the Pacers' starting point guard. He has been asked to bear a surprisingly large role for the Jazz in his age-34 season, and he has responded with arguably his most productive stretch in years. Over the last four games, he is averaging 9.0 assists and 8.5 points per game, while reaching double-figures in each category at least twice. His role has increased as a result of a lingering foot injury that has cost Mo Williams three games in a row. Before Wednesday's game against New Orleans, Williams told reporters he is close to getting back, so Tinsley is likely just a few days returning to Fantasy irrelevance. This is probably the peak of Tinsley's Fantasy value. (16 percent owned; + 14 percent)
Most Added Forwards
Markieff Morris , Suns: Both of the second-year Morris twins have surprisingly jumped into Fantasy relevance after mediocre rookie seasons, but it is the elder -- by seven minutes -- Markieff, who is on Fantasy owners' minds as he entered the starting lineup for the Suns. Morris scored in double figures in three games in a row last week, and has now started four games in a row for a Phoenix team that at times seems unsure as to how they would like their front court rotation to look. Morris was a lottery pick a year ago, so the talent to be a productive player is there. After seeing unpredictable playing time last year, he is averaging 15.2 points per-36 minutes this season. I would not recommend relying on Morris as a starter at this point, as Suns' coach Alvin Gentry seems to be changing his rotation on a whim recently. That being said, his place in the team's plans makes this waiver-wire flier a smart decision by most owners. (63 percent owned; + 45 percent)
Patrick Patterson , Rockets: Of anyone on this list, Patterson's recent play has been the most impressive, which makes it difficult to understand why he is just the fourth-most added player and only just broke through to being owned in a majority of leagues. Patterson has scored in double-digits in seven games in a row, including three 20-point efforts in his last four games. He plays for the fastest-paced team in the league, and has played fewer than 20 minutes in just one of his 14 games. After a 27-point game during which he was arguably Houston's most impressive player against the Thunder, it would not surprise me if Patterson's ownership shot up sharply yet again -- deservedly so. Patterson is the only regular for the Rockets that is shooting better than 50 percent from the field, largely because he takes 45% of his shots from within nine feet of the rim and shoots 63.8 percent on those attempts. Patterson has avoided bad shots, and has even added a somewhat reliable three-point shot to his arsenal, making 12 in 15 games. Patterson continues to impress this season, and is worth adding in all Fantasy leagues. 57 percent owned; + 23 percent
Kyle Singler , Pistons: Singler turned a high-profile four-year career with the illustrious Duke Blue Devils into a second-round draft selection and a ticket to Europe last season, as no NBA teams seemed all that interested in his services. Just a month into his rookie season, Singler has managed to make the Pistons look good for investing a guaranteed contract in him this offseason, as he has provided a big spark to an offense that often seemed moribund before his role increased. In eight games since inserting him into the starting lineup, Detroit has gone 5-3, with Singler providing 12.0 points per game. He probably won't continue shooting better than 50.0 percent from the field, but Singler seems to be a truly above average shooter, something that is in short supply in Detroit. Singler has been very smart about his shot selection, taking 81 of his 114 shots from either within three feet of the rim or from three-point range; and has scored 129 of his 159 points this season on these shots. There seems to be little reason to expect Detroit to scale back his minutes, so go ahead and add him. (40 percent owned; + 23 percent)
Most Added Centers
Jonas Valanciunas , Raptors: It took a while for Valanciunas earn the trust of his coach, Dwane Casey, as he played 30-plus minutes just once in his first 11 NBA games. He has topped that mark in four of the last five games, and he just missed it in the fifth, playing 28 minutes Wednesday against the Grizzlies. He has shown more of a comfort level on offense than we expected initially, reaching double figures in scoring in seven of 16 games, averaging 9.3 per game. Given how shallow the position is, Valanciunas ranks 28th among Centers in scoring. The Raptors are probably going to lean on the 20-year-old even more heavily as the season goes on, so Fantasy owners should expect him to be worth starting as a low-end option before long. Keep snatching him up. 70 percent owned; + 15 percent
Jermaine O'Neal, Suns: O'Neal was forced to leave Wednesday's game against the Pistons due to an undisclosed injury. Given O'Neal's recent injury history, the fact that he was able to return to the game should probably confirm the Suns' medical staff's league-wide reputation as miracle workers. The fact that O'Neal has even been an effective player for Phoenix also leads me to believe that the Fountain of Youth may be located somewhere deep within the bowels of US Airways Center. O'Neal looked completely washed up over two injury-shortened seasons in Boston, scoring in double figures just six times total over the course of 49 games. He has reached double-digits in points in five of the last seven games, while playing an unexpectedly large role in Phoenix's offense. The Suns seem to have soured on Marcin Gortat and his inconsistent effort this season, which has opened a door for O'Neal. The Suns have more talented – and younger – options in the frontcourt, so it would be a legitimate surprise if O'Neal keeps seeing extended run through the season. Despite an unexpectedly competent start, I wouldn't risk relying on the 34-year-old at this point. 14 percent owned; + 12 percent
Other thoughts: Most dropped players -- Alexey Shved , Derrick Williams , Isaiah Thomas , Dorell Wright , E'Twaun Moore , Spencer Hawes , A.J. Price ... Most traded players -- Jeremy Lin , Dwyane Wade , Josh Smith , Pau Gasol , Greivis Vasquez , O.J. Mayo ... Ricky Rubio was cleared for practice and should be able to make his debut in two weeks. He is already owned in 94 percent of CBSSports.com leagues and should be a worthy starting guard, especially in category-based Fantasy formats, once he gets up to speed.