Waiver Wire: Out of the Darko and into the light
With one more Fantasy scoring period left, plucking the right guy off waivers is more crticical than ever. Even Darko Milicic and Shaun Livingston, as crazy as it sounds, have some value heading into the final week, as Sergio Gonzalez highlights in Playing the Waiver Wire.
Each Week, Fantasy Basketball Writer Sergio Gonzalez gives Fantasy owners his top choices by position for players to pick up for the upcoming scoring period based upon matchups and other factors.
Top Guard Free Agent options for Week 24
1. Terrence Williams, Nets (@MIL, CHI, @IND, CHA, @MIA): The Nets might have found a building block in Williams, giving them something to salvage from this dismal season. They seem intent on making sure they test his limits in the remaining games, giving him anywhere from 15-20 shot attempts per game. He is averaging a very useful 16-6-6 stat line over his last four games heading into the weekend, and Williams is a player Fantasy owners could think about adding and plugging in even if they aren't looking for just a way to fill a void. He's been that good. (Availability: 43 percent)
2. Rasual Butler, Clippers (POR, @SAC, GS, DAL, LAL): Butler continues to see around 40 minutes per game and has quietly emerged as one of the better 3-point shooters in the league. He has made 13 treys in his last five games and has attempted no fewer than five in each of those contests. Against teams like the Warriors and Kings, expect the shots from Butler to be flying early and often from all over the court. Look to him as a very nice way to close a gap in that category, but he's also a consistent double-digit scorer for Fantasy owners in non-category leagues. (Availability: 47 percent)
3. Ronald Murray, Bulls (MIL, CLE, @NJ, @TOR, BOS, @CHA):If the first two players listed aren't available to you, Murray most likely will be. And with at least 18 points in three of his last five games, he's got a chance to be a sleeper hero on a lot of Fantasy championship teams. Be careful not to invest too much of your hopes in him, as a lot of his recent success has come with Kirk Hinrich out due to an ankle injury. Even with Hinrich due back, Murray should continue to play a scoring role off the bench. (Availability: 89 percent)
Top Forward Free Agent options for Week 24
1. Reggie Williams, Warriors (@WAS, @MIN, @LAC, OKC, UTA, @POR): Are 19 points, five boards and three assists per game useful to you in your format? More than likely, the answer is yes. Williams is another player who may be added even if you aren't really looking for a replacement option. He has become a go-to option in one of the more potent offenses in the NBA and is getting 15-20 shots per game. He has scored at least 20 points in five of his last 12 games and three of his last five. Games against the Wizards, Timberwolves and Clippers bode well for his numbers this week. (Availability: 53 percent)
2. Taj Gibson, Bulls (MIL, CLE, @NJ, @TOR, BOS, @CHA):The rookie has been up and down, and a case of plantar fasciitis scared off many Fantasy owners recently, but he has been on fire lately. The foot injury doesn't appear to be bothering him anymore as he's managed five double-doubles in his last seven games. He should eat up the Nets' and Raptors' frontcourts and is somebody we recommend starting possibly over your current No. 3 or No. 4 Fantasy forward. Even with Joakim Noah starting to see more minutes and Luol Deng's return on the horizon, Gibson should finish strong after carving out his niche in the frontcourt. (Availability: 44 percent)
3. Ersan Ilyasova, Bucks (@CHI, NJ, @PHI, BOS, ATL, @BOS): Ilyasova has been good in spurts this season, and he's currently on a nice run. With back-to-back solid games this week against the Clippers and Cavs, he's looking like a player to trust, if you are in need of an injury-replacement. Ilyasova saw 14 field-goal attempts against the Clips and 13 against the Cavs, and he offered up diversified stat lines that included help in points, boards and threes with minimal turnovers. We like his matchups against the Bulls and Nets in Week 24. (Availability: 66 percent)
Top Center Free Agent options for Week 24
1. J.J. Hickson, Cavaliers (TOR, @CHI, IND, ORL, @ATL): The absence of Shaquille O'Neal and Anderson Varejao has opened things up for Hickson again in the frontcourt. Averaging 15.4 points and 7.2 rebounds in his last five games, Hickson could be started as a forward or a center this week in any format, depending on your league's eligibility rules. He should take advantage of weak frontcourts against the Raptors and Pacers, and with the Cavaliers looking to rest a lot of their top options down the stretch, he should see added minutes. (Availability: 68 percent)
2. JaVale McGee, Wizards (GS, @ORL, @BOS, ATL, @NY, IND): Games against the Warriors, Knicks and Pacers could see both teams in the triple digits, and the high scores should trickle down to McGee, who has the ability to score in the low-to-mid teens. This week against similarly weak defensive frontcourts, McGee managed 13-and-6 against the Rockets and 11-and-6 against the Hornets in limited playing time. We know the pickings are slim at center, so if you are in a bind, turn to McGee and his matchups and hope for some shootouts. (Availability: 62 percent)
3. Darko Milicic, Timberwolves (GS, LAL, @NO, @SA, DET):We know, we know. We can't believe we are recommending Darko in a championship week either. But his recent spike in minutes has led to some rather useful stat lines and the matchups play in his favor. Odds are that if you are scouring the waiver wire for a startable center at this stage of the season, so it's Hail Mary time anyway. Darko has scored in double figures in three of his last four games and is averaging six boards, two blocks and a steal per game in his last five. If he continues to see 30-plus minutes against teams like the Warriors and Hornets, he could fall into double-doubles like the 15-and-10 he had against the Kings on Wednesday. (Availability: 91 percent)
Top Scrapheap Free Agents for Week 24*
1. Jermaine Taylor, Rockets (@MEM, UTA, CHA, @PHO, @SAC, NO): This depends on the health of Kevin Martin, but with the Rockets out of playoff contention, we may have seen the last of Martin this season. And in Martin's absence, Taylor has flourished. He's scored 14 or 15 points in each of his last three games, including a double-double against the Spurs (14 points, 10 rebounds). If Martin remains out, Taylor will continue to see 25-30 minutes per game and double-digit shot attempts. Against the Grizzlies, Suns, Kings and Hornets, the Rockets should be in for some high-scoring affairs. (Availability: 99 percent)
2. Shaun Livingston, Wizards (GS, @ORL, @BOS, ATL, @NY, IND): We're asking you to look to Darko and Livingston for help in a Fantasy title game. Who would have guessed it just a week ago? But with Randy Foye unlikely to return and the Wizards not having any alternatives at the point, Livingston is seeing big minutes. He had 18 points and eight assists against New Orleans' weak defense, and he'll enjoy similar matchups this week against the Warriors, Knicks and Pacers. (Availability: 92 percent)
3. Bill Walker, Knicks (BOS, @IND, @ORL, MIA, WAS, @TOR): Wilson Chandler was ruled out for the remainder of the season on Thursday, clearing the way for Walker to continue to see consistent minutes in the final games of the season. With reliable minutes, Walker has shown that he can be trusted in Fantasy. He scored 18 points with six rebounds and two assists against a tough Trail Blazers team on Wednesday. He also hit four 3-pointers. He's a solid three-point threat, who can also fill in the box score with steals and does not kill you with turnovers. We like his upcoming matchups against the Pacers, Wizards and Raptors. (Availability: 84 percent)
*owned in less than 30 percent of leagues
Do you have a Fantasy hoops question for our staff? You can e-mail us at DMFantasyHoops@cbs.com. Be sure to put Attn: Waiver Wire in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state. You can also follow Sergio on Twitter (@CBSGonzalez).
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