Playing the Waiver Wire for Week 3
If you're in need of an early boost on your Fantasy roster our Chris Towers and Joe Polito break down the best options off the waiver wire.
At this point in the season, it is still very easy to overreact to a few good or bad games. Just a week ago, the Fantasy world was abuzz about a rookie center from Boston who was racking up blocks and rebounds -- now, Vitor Faverani barely looks like a rotation player.
When trawling the waiver wires, you want to be quick to jump on the next big thing, but it's easy to buy into a couple of hot games when the sample size is still small. We'll see a ton of fluctuation in the early weeks of the season as owners dump the dead weight from their drafts and hope to find a breakout player.
Last week's most-added players have mostly worked out so far, but we're not interested in one-week fixes here. Any player can get hot and give you a nice week, but you generally want to get sustained production if you can. This week, we'll take another look at what moves you guys have been making, in an attempt to see if they will be worth your while.
Most Added players
Markieff Morris, F, Suns: I've doubted Morris in the past, but his role on this team and apparent improvement might force me to change my mind. Morris, who entered the season as a 40.4 percent shooter from the field in two seasons, is scorching the nets with a wholly unsustainable 60.0 percent shooting mark. Still, his improvement isn't all an illusion as he has gone from attempting just 38.3 percent of his shots with the juicy eight-feet-and-in area around the rim to 50.9 percent this season. Morris is obviously not going to keep shooting 60 percent from the field, but if he can settle in and make half of his shots or something close once he inevitably cools off, he should be good for scoring in the low teens. (76 percent owned; +26 percent)
Zaza Pachulia, C, Bucks: While Larry Sanders' owners are gnashing their teeth at their poor fortune (and Sanders' allegedly poor decision making), savvy owners have scooped up Pachulia and taken advantage of the impact Pachulia has made as a starter. He is averaging 11.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game at the center position, and is clearly coach Larry Drew's preferred option at this point. Of course, the same caveat applies from last week -- at some point, the Bucks are going to get their $44 million man. Enjoy Pachulia's production while it's here, but don't expect him to be contributing on your team in two months. (58 percent owned; +26 percent)
Andrea Bargnani, F, Knicks: We've been here before with Bargnani, who has been a useful Fantasy option while playing center in the past. With Tyson Chandler going down with a fractured leg, the Knicks don't have much choice but to rely heavily on Bargnani as their starting center. That should mean pretty good things for Fantasy owners, if not necessarily those who also want to see the Knicks succeed in Chandler's absence. Bargnani can be one of the better contributors of points at the center position, and few big man have the ability to shoot like him. As long as he is the Knicks' starter at center, he is probably worth owning in all Fantasy formats.(70 percent owned; +25 percent)
Steven Adams, C, Thunder: For a supposed project, Adams has taken to the NBA exceptionally well. Given what we've seen from Kendrick Perkins in recent years, it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that Adams is outperforming him, even if he is a relatively raw rookie with little experience playing at a high level. Even with Adams' solid start (7.0 points, 6.8 rebounds per game through five contests), I'm not sure I'd be running out to grab him. The Thunder have remained unwilling to really reduce Perkins' role in recent years, so Adams will likely remain a part-time player. He also hasn't yet shown he can respond to the league's adjustments of him, which are surely coming. In yearly formats, his long-term value remains limited. (36 percent owned; +23 percent)
Andrew Nicholson, F, Magic: At this point, nobody should question Nicholson's ability to score. He has been the Magic's second-best scorer this season, averaging 18.4 points per-36 minutes, while shooting 46.1 percent from the field. He has grown as a scorer since a lackluster rookie season, flashing range out to the three-point line as well. Unfortunately, the issue for Nicholson continues to be that the Magic haven't been able to find a full-time role for him -- he still averages just 23.7 minutes per game. His skill set could eventually win out over Jason Maxiell, but the looming return of Tobias Harris is enough to give me pause.(46 percent owned; +21 percent)
Most Dropped players
Reggie Jackson, G, Thunder: After Russell Westbrook's early return from knee surgery, this was a natural outcome. Rather than spending four weeks as the Thunder's starting point guard, Jackson was relegated to a reserve role after just two games. His production (8.0, 3.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists) screams "Fantasy reserve" and that's what he should be considered at this point.(57 percent owned; -18 percent)
Anthony Bennett, F, Cavaliers: I was less than enthused by Bennett's Fantasy prospects at the beginning of the season, and he has done little to change my mind. Coming off shoulder surgery, Bennett entered training camp in poor shape and without a defined role, and that has clearly caused problems. He is 1 for 21 from the field to open his career and seems extremely unlikely to usurp Tristan Thompson for playing time at any point. I see little reason to own Bennett in yearly Fantasy formats. 46 percent owned; -16 percent)
Cody Zeller, C, Bobcats: It is very early in his career, but the pre-draft concerns about Zeller have mostly come to fruition through his first half-dozen games. He has struggled to turn his athleticism into production, scoring just 5.2 points on 4.7 field-goal attempts per game. Zeller has struggled to finish against NBA defenders, as he is shooting just 42.1 percent from the field within eight feet of the rim. As he learns to leverage his skills, Zeller should start to come around -- and the return of Al Jefferson should help. Still, it's not like he was expected to be a Fantasy stud from Day One. If you see something you like on the waiver wires, I wouldn't hesitate to cut Zeller.(61 percent owned; -14 percent)
Flavors of Next Week
-- by Joe Polito (@JoePo89)
Patrick Beverley, Rockets, (67 percent): Are you team Jeremy Lin or team Beverley? The Fantasy community seems to be forming into two camps: The ones who think Lin is clearly better and deserves the minutes, and the ones who think Beverly's intangibles will keep him in the Rockets lineup. I fall in with the latter. The simple fact is his defensive intensity is sorely needed in that backcourt. After dealing with an abdominal injury to start the season, Beverly finally had a good statistical game, going for 19 points, five rebounds and four steals against the Clippers on November 9. Granted, it took him 37 minutes, but if you think about the vast point guard talent around the league, it's easy to see why Beverley's defense could come of use to Houston.
I agree that Lin is the more talented player. I just have a feeling the Rockets are going to take Beverley's relentless effort on defense with the occasional spot-up three over Lin's dribble penetration as the season progresses. Lin needs the ball in his hands to produce, and that's just going to be too difficult to come if either one of James Harden or Dwight Howard is on the court with him. The Rockets plays four times this week, so Beverley could be a nice streaming option this week. Those who planned on starting Goran Dragic this week might consider giving Beverley a test drive as the Suns only play twice.
Corey Brewer, Timberwolves, (27 percent): A good portion of Kevin Love's 5.0-plus assists per game have been long outlet passes to a streaking Brewer. Even standing 6-foot-9, Brewer is still usually the fastest guy on the court, and he doesn't even wait for Minnesota to get possession before he's running out on the break. He finally made an impact in defensive columns on Sunday, taking advantage of the Lakers' sloppy, up-and-down game by securing four steals, blocking two shots and scoring 17 on 6 of 9 shooting. His shooting percentages have never been very good, but if he continues to get easy baskets on laser passes from Love and Ricky Rubio, Brewer's field goal rate will be good enough to make him playable in category formats for points, steals and a few blocks.
C.J. Miles, Cavaliers, (26 percent): He's only getting 20 minutes per game, but Miles has been a solid contributor for the Cavaliers -- aided in part by the slow starts of Kyrie Irving and Waiters. Miles is averaging 2.3 made threes per game and has reached double-figure scoring in five out of Cleveland's eight's games this season. On one hand he doesn't bring you much other than scoring and threes. On the other hand, he does them consistently enough to see a 23 percent increase in his Fantasy ownership from Week 1 to Week 2. Waiters and Irving have since found their form, but both of them are still on the streaky side when it comes to scoring. Look for Miles to make shots during whatever time he's given. Cleveland plays four times this week, including Minnesota, Charlotte and Washington. This role might not last the whole season, but the Cavs don't have many options when it comes to pure shooting, meaning Cleveland might not have a choice but to roll with Miles when Waiters and Irving can't hit shots consistently.
J.J. Hickson/Timofey Mozgov, Nuggets, (74 percent, 8 percent): This one's hard to put a finger on as Brian Shaw's rotation has been nothing short of a mystery. Things might not get any simpler with starting center JaVale McGee sidelined indefinitely by a stress fracture, so one of these two (if not both of them) is in line for an uptick in production. Mozgov seems like the more obvious choice, as the offense Shaw is attempting to implement relies on solid center play. Hickson is hardly a center and is just a gnarly beard away from being Reggie Evans -- all rebounds, some blocks, few points. Still, he filled in effectively enough at the five last year for Portland, so Shaw could decide to go that route. Mozgov might not grab as many boards, but he's a much better choice for points, blocks and all-around talent. Plus he's taller. Hickson is the safer choice for Fantasy (solid rebounds, good field goal percentage, a few blocks), but Mozgov seems like the better upside pickup should the Nuggets decide to lean on his skill over Hickson's hustle. You can probably go ahead and drop Vitor Faverani, who I touted last week but who can't seem to stay in the Celtics' regular rotation.
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