This was not a week of big movement on the waiver wires, as only two players were added or dropped in more than 20 percent of CBSSports.com Fantasy Basketball leagues since we last checked in. Cavaliers forward C.J. Miles found himself on the wrong side of transactions most often (dropped in 21 percent of leagues), while Magic forward Gustavo Ayon saw his ownership spike to a season-high 39 percent.
That large spike in ownership for Ayon puts him closer to where we expected him to be at the beginning of the season after the Magic acquired him for free-agent-to-be Ryan Anderson. Ayon found himself in the starting lineup for the first time in the team's game against the Jazz last Sunday, where he played 37 minutes -- his previous season high was 28 minutes, a mark he established the previous night.
Ayon was sneaky-good as a rookie last season for the Hornets, averaging 10.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.5 steals per 36-minutes. He averaged just 20.1 minutes per game for the season as a whole, but he eventually managed to work his way into the starting line, just as he has in Orlando. While his ascension in Orlando required an injury to Glen Davis to open up a spot, Ayon could take advantage of this opportunity.
Ayon does not have much in the way of scoring ability, but he makes up for that with an impressive all-around game that makes him a potentially useful option in category-based Fantasy formats especially. In two games since Davis went down, Ayon is averaging 10.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in 65 total minutes of game time. That sample size is obviously small, but it's an indication as to what Ayon can produce when given the opportunity.
A season ago, Ayon took just 21.1 percent of his shots from farther than nine feet from the basket, so he clearly understands his limitations as an offense player. Don't expect much scoring from Ayon, but if he starts seeing 30-plus minutes per night, he has the ability to fill up the box score for you.
Most Added Guards
Jamaal Tinsley, Jazz: With Mo Williams out indefinitely with a severely sprained right thumb, Fantasy owners are obviously looking to his replacement for some help in the coming (possibly) weeks. Tinsley's stat line is pretty uninspiring overall for owners looking for a lifeline, as he averaging just 3.5 points and 4.9 assists per game. However, the 34-year-old showed the ability to still make some plays earlier in the season when Williams was forced to sit, as he averaged 8.0 points and 7.2 assists in 33.0 minutes over five starts. Tinsley has averaged less than 4.0 points per game in each of the last four seasons (while not even playing in 2010-11), so the upside to adding him is obviously limited. That being said, owners who are desperate for a Williams replacement can turn to him, as he should have a consistent role with Williams on the mend. (21 percent owned; + 19 percent)
Shannon Brown, Suns: Brown has taken on a bigger role for the Suns in the month of December, averaging 15.0 points per game in 11 games. Given that, it is surprising to see his ownership track up so slowly as he has also been pretty consistent, scoring in double figures in all but two of those games. The larger role in the offense has caused Brown's efficiency to take a hit, as he has needed 13.7 shots per game to get that scoring total, however that can be spun to a positive; Brown is probably a better shooter than his 30.6-percent mark from long range indicates, so if that regresses to his mean his scoring could even see a boost. Brown is owned in just under half of all CBSSports.com leagues at this point, a number that should probably be higher. (49 percent owned; +14 percent)
Alan Anderson, Raptors: Various Raptors have been featured in this column throughout the season, as they have been a team in flux for much of the year. Anderson is the latest (though not the last) to pique the interest of Fantasy owners, after a string of solid scoring performances. Anderson has been a big part of the team's current (as of Wednesday night) five-game winning streak, as he has played at least 20 minutes in each contest and is averaging 14.0 points per game. Anderson missed 17 games with a foot injury, but has actually been a pretty big part of the team's plans, when healthy. Anderson is averaging 10.4 points per game on the season despite shooting just 33.3 percent on the season. If Anderson can get his shot to fall a little bit more, he would be worth picking up, even outside of deeper formats. (24 percent owned; +11 percent)
Most Added Forwards
Jared Dudley, Suns: Dudley might not be appearing in this column for too much longer, as there simply are not many leagues left for him to be added in. Dudley's production in December has been very impressive, especially when you consider the Suns were starting Michael Beasley over him for much of the season before that. Dudley is averaging 14.6 points and 3.8 assists per game, while shooting 53.8 percent from the field, 43.8 percent from three-point range and turning the ball over just once per game on average. It would probably be impossible for Dudley to keep this level of production up, unless he somehow turned into one of the most efficient offensive basketball players in world once the calendar hit December. I don't think Dudley is going to turn into a pumpkin once the clock strikes midnight on Dec. 31, but Fantasy owners might want to sell high on him. (83 percent owned; +17 percent)
Amir Johnson, Raptors: Johnson seems to be the team's preferred option to pick up the minutes left at center after Jonas Valanciunas suffered a hand injury that will likely keep him out four to six weeks. While Aaron Gray ended up earning the start in Valanciunas' first game out Wednesday, coach Dwane Casey told reporters that he fully expects Johnson to be a big part of the team's plans moving forward. Johnson gives the Raptors some much-needed energy and athleticism, and he has the ability to fill up the box score when given the chance to play extensively -- in 25.1 minutes per game over the last 10, Johnson has 8.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 1.3 steals. Johnson should not be at risk of losing playing time to Gray, so he should continue to build value, especially in category-based Fantasy formats. (37 percent owned; +16 percent)
Matt Barnes, Clippers: I am starting to reach Metta World Peace-like levels of incredulity with Barnes, who improbably continues scoring at a high level for the Clippers. Barnes has scored in double figures in eight consecutive games, while averaging 14.3 points per game over the last 10. The 32-year-old is shooting 56.7 percent in that stretch, raising his field-goal percentage for the season to 50.0, his best mark since a 50-game stint with the 76ers back in 2005-06. Barnes has lived on high-efficiency shots this season, as 82.9 percent of his field-goal attempts have come from three-point range or within three feet of the rim. What makes his success so hard to understand recently is that this isn't anything new for him -- he attempted a whopping 85.0 percent of his attempts from those parts of the floor last year, while shooting just 45.2 percent from the floor. The Clippers are much better as an offensive team than the Lakers team that Barnes came off the bench for a year ago, but it is hard to see him being able to sustain this kind of success. I don't have a problem with riding Barnes while he is hot, but his recent success reeks of flukiness. (48 percent owned; +13 percent)
Most Added Centers
Kosta Koufos, Nuggets: Koufos has quietly played better in recent weeks, averaging 9.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game over the last 10. He has not been doing much different in this time than before, he is simply doing what he does better -- Koufos is shooting 69.8 percent from the field over the last 10 games, with increases in his per-game production across the board. That would seem to indicate that the way he is playing is at least somewhat anomalous, and might not be sustainable. The issue with relying on either of the Nuggets' centers (Javale McGee being the other, more talented option) is that they play their home games at altitude and love to run, which simply makes it hard for them to withstand big minutes physically. Koufos' value is high right now, but don't expect him to keep making 70 percent of his shots. His value will take a hit once regression takes hold. (32 percent owned; +16 percent)
Robin Lopez, Hornets: Lopez has hovered around 70 percent owned for much of the season, but his recent play might make the remaining owners take note; he has scored 20 points in 3 of the last four games, including a 29-point effort Wednesday on just 10 field-goal attempts. Lopez is shooting 70.4 percent over the last five games, while averaging 18.2 points per game. This has been a nice streak for him, but if you step back a bit his numbers look a bit less impressive. Over the last 10 games overall, Lopez is averaging 11.9 points on a considerably-less-impressive 56.2 percent shooting. Lopez has shown an offensive ability that we did not really know existed this season, but he has also struggled with consistency; he has almost as many games with six or fewer points (eight) as he does with 16 or more (nine). The Hornets have not yet strayed from the plan of giving him about 25 minutes per game on average, though that number can fluctuate in big ways on a nightly basis. Lopez can certainly be considered a low-end starting Fantasy option, when healthy. (70 percent owned; +9 percent)