If you've been relying on Rajon Rondo, news of his benching this week has probably sent you looking to the waiver wire for help. You won't find anyone out there capable of replacing what you thought you were getting when you drafted Rondo with a top-60 pick in the preseason, but that doesn't mean you just have to fold.
Point guard is, as always, the deepest position in the league, and this is a good time to be looking for one on the wire. There are a few names out there who just might be able to help you on the wire, so let's find some help.
Add These Guys
As a bigger point guard with the ability to fill up the box score, Michael Carter-Williams drew some Rajon Rondo comparisons en route to a Rookie of the Year win back in 2013-14. Lately, the fact that he has bounced around to three difference teams over the past three seasons has made him more like the later-era Rondo than you might have hoped, but Rondo's benching does put Carter-Williams in position to potentially make an impact for Fantasy players.
I wouldn't bet on it, of course, because the same things that have held Rondo back apply to Carter-Williams. He can't really play off the ball, but the Bulls aren't going to let him have free rein of the offense with Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade around. This is a tough situation for any point guard, but especially one who isn't a threat to score from deep. If you have a roster spot and want to take a flier, Carter-Williams is worth a look, but he wouldn't be the first player I'd turn to if I want to replace Rondo.
The first player I would turn to is Malcolm Brogdon, a recent addition to the Bucks' starting lineup in the wake of Matthew Dellavedova's hamstring injury. Brogdon was already trending up even before Dellavedova's injury, but a huge 15-11-12 line in a win over the Bulls put him squarely on everyone's Fantasy radar if he wasn't there before.
Brogdon looks like he is going to play 30-plus minutes a night as long as Dellavedova is out, but he has Fantasy appeal even when he returns. Over the past 10 games, Brogdon is averaging 9.0 points, 5.4 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game, and finished the month of December as the 112th player in Rotisserie scoring formats. The Bucks have used their point guards more off the ball than most teams do, thanks to Giannis Antetokounmpo's brilliance, but Brogdon has given them an option with a little more bounce. Whether he is coming off the bench or playing with the starters, Brogdon looks like someone worth owning in all formats.
If you didn't pick up Montrezl Harrel last week when we first recommended it, you may have missed the opportunity. And, if you don't snatch him right now everywhere he is available, it will definitely be too late to do it next week, because he has been a revelation in a larger role for the Rockets in the wake of Clint Capela's injury.
Harrell doesn't have Capela's defensive chops, and can't really do much on the boards, but he gives the Rockets a whole different dimension on offense at center. Harrell broke out with a 29-point effort against the Clippers on Friday, and he feasted on easy baskets from James Harden in the pick and roll. However, he also nailed 9 of 11 from the free-throw line, an impressive feat that Capela really can't hope to match. Harrell won't be challenging Capela for a starting job when he gets healthy, but he has proven he deserves to be owned across the board, finishing the month of December in the top-75 in Roto scoring.
It's been a rough season for Nikola Mirotic, who continues to disappoint Fantasy players waiting for a breakout. His jumper just hasn't been where we hoped it would be, and it has kept him from living up to the potential he still shows from time to time. The offensive skill set here is impressive, but there are too many stretches like one recent one, where he hit just 4 of 21 attempts over consecutive games.
And yet, Mirotic has been a top-100 Fantasy player over the past two weeks in spite of his flaws. He nailed 2.3 3-pointers per game, added 1.4 blocks, and has turned the ball over just seven times in eight games in that span. You'd like to see a lot more from Mirotic as a scorer, and his shooting from the field can still really hurt you. However, he can still help in 3-pointers and the defensive categories even in the bad times, and as he has shown in the past, Mirotic can be a must-start guy when he gets rolling. We're getting close to the point where it doesn't make much sense to still bring up "upside" with Mirotic, but even if he never hits that level again, he is still a useful option.
After a few false starts, Donatas Motiejunas finally seems to have found a home. According to reports from ESPN Sunday, Motiejunas is nearing a deal with the Pelicans for the remainder of the season. The Pelicans have plenty of bodies in the frontcourt, but Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca aren't exactly tough road blocks to get past. They're more like speed bumps, and if Motiejunas proves healthy and shows the kind of ability he has in the past with the Rockets, he shouldn't have much trouble getting past them.
The question is whether that will be enough for him to be Fantasy relevant. Asik and Ajinca barely play as it is, and Motiejunas probably needs something like 25-plus MPG to be a contributor. That would require cutting into Terrence Jones' playing time, and proving he can thrive next to Anthony Davis. As both as skilled big men who can operate out of the post or on the perimeter, there is reason to believe they could make it work. It's not a guarantee, however, so only look to add him in in deeper formats if you've got the roster space; he isn't a must-add.
Cut 'Em Loose
Tim Frazier held on to Fantasy relevance longer than I expected as he averaged 11.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game in his first six games after moving to the bench. However, the return of Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans has finally caught up with him. Frazier has not appeared in either of the team's past two games, while logging just 13 minutes combined in the previous two.
There just aren't enough minutes to go around in New Orleans' backcourt, and that is with Evans still being worked back in rather slowly. Neither Evans nor Holiday is guaranteed to stay healthy, and Frazier would almost certainly return to starting-caliber status were one of the two to go down with another injury. But it's hard to justify keeping someone on your bench who needs an injury to be worth starting, so parting ways with Frazier is the right move at this point.