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Waiver Wire: Cole heating up for Week 3

by | Fantasy Writer
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There have been several surprises in Fantasy thus far and the waiver wire is fresh with ripe players ready to be picked. Some have been complete surprises while others have benefited from a change of scenery. A new crop of players has seen increased roles and while it is still too early to tell how they'll fare long-term, some early season performances have been far too impressive to ignore.

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This week we've chosen to highlight a pair of players that likely weren't on your radar on Draft Day.

1A: One-time Fantasy stud Tracy McGrady started Fantasy Week 2 (Jan. 2-8) with a solid performance against the Heat, in which he scored 13 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, and also hauled in seven rebounds with four assists. He has scored in double figures four times in Atlanta's first five games and has been seeing more than 20 minutes off the bench.

The Hawks are counting on him for scoring in the second unit and as long as his 32-year-old body can hold up -- along with the lack of perimeter scorers in Atlanta -- he should be able to keep producing for owners. Consider McGrady a viable pickup for Week 3 (Jan. 9-15) with games against the Nets, Pacers, Bobcats and Timberwolves.

1B: Miami guard Norris Cole, the rookie out of Cleveland State, currently backs up Mario Chalmers but his production off the bench has opened a few eyes. The Heat have the pieces to win it all this season and a point guard that can facilitate the offense without turning the ball over is just what they need. While Cole will not be counted on for much scoring with the likes of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh around him, he has shown early on that he knows how to get the ball in the hands of playmakers and already has become a favorite of the Big 3.

The 23-year-old scored seven points with two rebounds and a steal in his NBA debut against the Mavericks while playing 24 minutes, and did even better his second time out with 20 points, four assists, four rebounds and three steals against a tough Boston team. Cole scored in double figures four times through the first six games and his ability to play defense and knock down open shots will go a long way. The Heat will face off against some decent point guards during Fantasy Week 3 in the Warriors, Clippers and Nuggets, so Cole should see some decent run. He looks to have all the tools to be a viable Fantasy option so adding Cole early on could be a prudent move for owners in need of guard help.

Guards

Add 'Em

James Anderson, Spurs
Owned: 15 percent of leagues
Analysis: With Manu Ginobili expected to miss more than a month due to a broken hand, Anderson will step into the starting two-guard spot for the Spurs and has some favorable matchups in Week 3. He has one difficult opponent (Portland) but otherwise will face teams that have been mostly unimpressive thus far in Milwaukee, Houston and Phoenix. Anderson averaged 7.2 points with 2.6 rebounds while seeing slightly more than 20 minutes coming off the bench, and his production should improve with an increase in minutes. Owners should keep in mind that his role will diminish once Ginobili returns, but that won't be until early February, at least.

MarShon Brooks, Nets
Owned: 59 percent of leagues
Analysis: Brooks has shown that he can score through the first two weeks of the season and is beginning to see a larger role in New Jersey because of it. He scored 17 points or more four times through the first six games and coach Avery Johnson has come out and said the rookie will be moved to the starting lineup eventually. Even if he doesn't, as long as Brooks is seeing solid minutes off the bench, he should be able to keep up his production. The Nets play two cupcakes in the Suns and Jazz in Week 3 so owners in need of some scoring and low-end rebounding should give Brooks a look heading into the upcoming scoring period.

Avoid 'Em

Anthony Parker, Cavaliers
Owned: 4 percent of leagues
Analysis: Parker's numbers are down across the board so far this season as the Cavaliers have been looking elsewhere for scoring. He averaged 6.8 points through the first four games, down from the 8.3 he posted a year ago, and his rebounding and assist totals have dropped off dramatically. Since he has the ball in his hands less this season, he is mainly limited to shooting 3-pointers, and he is doing that at a low clip. The 36-year-old should remain on waivers in the majority of formats, especially with the emergence of Kyrie Irving in Cleveland.

Jodie Meeks, 76ers
Owned: 12 percent of leagues
Analysis: After averaging a career-high 10.5 points a season ago, Meeks has struggled in the early goings and shot just 36 percent from the floor through the first four games. That includes going 3 for 13 (23 percent) from beyond the arc. He scored in double figures just once during the first two scoring periods. Meeks does not contribute in other categories so when he struggles to score, he essentially has no value in Fantasy. He will play against the Pacers, Kings, Nicks and Wizards -- twice -- during Week 3, but owners would be wise to leave Meeks on waivers at this point.

Forwards

Add 'Em

Markieff Morris, Suns
Owned: 28 percent of leagues
Analysis: After struggling to score in his first few games in the NBA, Morris has turned things around in Phoenix and is starting to make some noise in Fantasy. He has been one of the hottest additions off the waiver wire in CBSSports.com leagues and is also doing some decent rebounding. He shot 58 percent from the field through the first five games and with a wide-open offense in Phoenix, he will have every opportunity to succeed. Keep in mind rookies go through slumps from time to time but he should still see his minutes even in games in which the Suns get blown out, especially with Marcin Gortat still dealing with a thumb injury. Morris has a ton of upside so try and scoop him up for Week 3, especially with teams like the Cavaliers and Nets on the schedule.

Al Harrington, Nuggets
Owned: 67 percent of leagues
Analysis: Harrington entered the season as a serious question mark in Fantasy, but thanks to some of Denver's players being locked down in China, he has seen an increased role and is making the most of his time on the court. He averaged 15.7 points with 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals through the first six games, all while shooting 52 percent from the field. Also contributing to his resurgence is that he has been able to stay healthy, which was a problem last season, and he appears to be in line for a bounce-back campaign. Harrington has a rare skill set for a player his size and can contribute for most owners with his production thus far. The Nuggets play the Hornets, Nets, Heat and Jazz in Week 3 so consider Harrington a worthwhile addition.

Avoid 'Em

Austin Daye, Pistons
Owned: 23 percent of leagues
Analysis: Daye put on a show during the preseason, but since real games have started he has been unimpressive. He scored a combined 11 points through the first five games and shot an abysmal 22 percent from the field. A lot of that had to do with the fact that he saw only 10 minutes per contest, but it looks as though the Pistons are not going to be calling his number too often in the near future. Detroit currently has a logjam at forward with Jonas Jerebko, Charlie Villanueva and Jason Maxiell and since Daye is not about to supplant Tayshaun Prince from the starting lineup, his chances of producing are slim. Despite showing some solid progress in his first two seasons in the league, leave Daye on waivers in the majority of Fantasy formats until further notice.

Glen Davis, Magic
Owned: 40 percent of leagues
Analysis: Davis has struggled to find his role in his first season with the Magic and has not been putting up many points for Fantasy owners. He posted double-digits just once through the first six games and averaged 3.8 rebounds over that span. His shooting percentage of less than 36 percent has not helped his cause either. Ryan Anderson has been seeing most of the time at the four spot and with the way he has been producing early on, it will be difficult for Davis to surpass him in the near future. Add to the fact that Orlando will play just twice in Week 3 and owners should leave Davis on waivers.

Centers

Add 'Em

Ian Mahinmi, Mavericks
Owned: 7 percent of leagues
Analysis: Mahinmi averaged less than 4 points during his first three seasons in the NBA, but with Tyson Chandler no longer in Dallas he has seen his role increase. It hasn't hurt that Brendan Haywood has struggled and as a result the 25-year-old has seen his minutes go up. His scoring has mirrored his minutes and he is also doing a better job on the boards. The Mavericks seem to be very high on the Frenchman and he could end up starting over Haywood at some point down the line. While he does not rebound the way a typical big man would, his scoring and defensive stats alone make him a viable option in Fantasy right now. Owners that are thin at center should grab Mahinmi with games against the Pistons, Celtics, Bucks and Kings in Week 3.

Tiago Splitter, Spurs
Owned: 20 percent of leagues
Analysis: Splitter has been the first big man off the bench for the Spurs this season and has impressed the coaching staff with his play. He averaged 7.8 points with 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks through the first five games, while seeing nearly 24 minutes per contest. He stayed home to play in Brazil during the lockout and showed up to camp in excellent shape and it has made a huge difference in his production. He should continue to see solid minutes off the bench behind DeJuan Blair and the aging Tim Duncan, and as owners know, center is one of the thinnest positions in Fantasy. Splitter has three easy matchups in Week 3 against Milwaukee, Houston and Phoenix so he appears to be a viable pickup, both in the short-term and down the line.

Avoid 'Em

Brendan Haywood, Mavericks
Owned: 21 percent of leagues
Analysis: Haywood inherited the starting center job when Tyson Chandler left in the offseason but his early struggles have opened the door for Mahinmi, and he could see his role diminish even more if he fails to turn things around. He averaged 5.2 points with 5.7 rebounds and a block through the first six games, but has yet to score in double figures. The Mavs could change up the starting lineup if they decide they need more scoring with the first unit. His defensive stats will keep him relevant in Fantasy but owners should view Haywood as more of an option for deeper category-based formats until he picks up the production.

Darko Milicic, Timberwolves
Owned: 26 percent of leagues
Analysis: Milicic has struggled to score and continues to underwhelm as a rebounder. He averaged 7.2 points through the first five games, and while he shot 56 percent from the field over that span, his stats in other categories have been down. The two blocks per game he posted a year ago have withered to 0.6 this season, and his assists and steals also have fallen. The 26-year-old would likely be more productive if he played more minutes, but since the Timberwolves probably won't run him out for more than 20-25 minutes on a nightly basis, it hinders his chances of putting up respectable numbers in Fantasy. Minnesota has a ton of young players who can play down low, so Milicic is not looking like a hot pickup for Week 3.

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