Due to scheduling conflicts on Sundays, I'm going to be posting Waiver Wired on Saturdays from here on in. Maybe the earlier posting time will help you prepare for the week ahead a little earlier in advance, as well.
Games Played Week 11
4 Games: ATL, BOS, BRK, CHA, CHI, CLE, DET, HOU, IND, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIL, MIN, NYK, PHI, PHX, POR, UTA, WAS
3 Games: DAL, DEN, GSW, NOP, OKC, ORL, SAC, SAS
2 Games: MIA, TOR
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $175,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Saturday's NBA games. It's $25 to join and first prize is $15,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Saturday. Here's the FanDuel link.
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Tony Wroten 76ers 44% owned – Don’t look now, but Wroten has hit 20 points or more in three of his last four games, and went off for 28 points, three assists, three steals and four 3-pointers on Friday night. His shooting percentages and turnovers can be brutal, but he’s going to score, steal and hit triples, even if coming off the bench for Philly.
Cory Joseph Spurs 17% - We don’t know when Tony Parker is going to return from his hamstring injury and we don’t know how much Gregg Popovich is going to play him when it happens. Joseph has been playing very well and is averaging 15.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.2 steals over his last five games. It’s surprising he’s not owned in more leagues by now.
Elfrid Payton Magic 44% - Payton has struggled all season but a move back into the starting lineup recently gave him a boost. He showed signs of life on Dec. 27 when he had 11 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, and then nearly pulled off a fantastic triple-double on Friday night with 16 points, nine rebounds, 10 assists, three steals, a block and a 3-pointer. Like Wroten, his shooting can be brutal on all accounts, but there’s enough upside everywhere else to make him worth it. And after Friday’s game, you should not be scared to pick him up.
Dante Exum Jazz 14% - Shooting guards Alec Burks (shoulder) and Patrick Christopher (dislocated knee cap last night) are likely done for the year, and Exum appears to be the next man up. He had 13 points, two dimes, three steals and three 3-pointers on 5-of-9 shooting in 22 minutes on Friday night, but Joe Ingles and Ian Clark also got about the same number of minutes. It’s possible that they could use Clark more than I think they will, but Exum is the proven talent and the player who stands to benefit most from the loss of Burks and Christopher.
Marcus Smart Celtics 39% - Smart losing his starting job to Evan Turner is disheartening, but he’s still managed to play 28 minutes in each of his last two games. He had eight points, seven assists and two 3-pointers on Friday, and had 11 points, six rebounds, two steals and three 3-pointers on Wednesday. The signs are there that he still has a chance to reclaim his job and finish on a high note, but he’s stash material until he gets it figured out on a consistent basis.
Greivis Vasquez Raptors 9% - Vasquez blew up for 25 points, five rebounds, seven assists and five 3-pointers on Friday, but it could be a case of too little, too late. DeMar DeRozan is expected back late in the week (Thursday?) and you also have to consider that Vasquez has scored two points in two of his last five games. He got hot on Friday, but there’s probably no reason to run out and pick him up.
Ronnie Price 7% & Jeremy Lin 65% Lakers – Price has been playing much better than Lin, making it an easy decision to forget about Lin and grab Price. And then Lin went out on Friday night and hit 9-of-14 shots and two 3-pointers on his way to 20 points, three rebounds, five assists, three steals and a block in 28 minutes. He had four points in 15 minutes on Tuesday, but also had 19 points and a full stat line last Sunday. Maybe the inconsistent Lin is getting ready to start producing consistently, but I’m still not convinced. As for Price, he’s been playing well in the games where Lin has struggled, but it looks like this has shifted back into a full timeshare status. And if that’s the case, neither player is going to be fun to own. The pendulum is currently swinging back in Lin’s direction.
J.R. Smith Knicks 54% - While I have been driving the “Carmelo Anthony Shutdown Bandwagon” for a long while, Knicks coach Derek Fisher climbed aboard last night, admitting that there’s a real chance Melo is going to be shut down for the season due to his lingering knee problem. People bashed me on Twitter for giving Melo a “zero percent” chance of playing a game during the fantasy playoffs, but that prediction, along with him shutting it down around Jan. 15, both appear to be right on track. And when it happens, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert (still out with shoulder injury) are going to become must-own players. I’ve been stashing Shumpert in a couple leagues where I own Melo, and Smith made his return to the starting lineup last night for 22 points, three boards, five assists, three steals and five 3-pointers in another ugly loss. Smith’s foot will certainly become a problem again at some point this season, but with Melo on the verge of chillin’, he needs to be picked up as soon as possible. Go get him, and think about stashing Shumpert while you’re at it.
Dion Waiters Cavs 39% - With LeBron James out for the next couple weeks and the Cavs having no bench to speak of, Waiters should be primed for some nice play over the next 10 games or so. He had 17 points, five rebounds and four steals on Friday, but hit just 8-of-21 shots and missed all four of his 3-point attempts. And I’m fine with that, as long as he keeps shooting at will until LeBron returns.
Jodie Meeks Pistons 39% - Meeks blew up on Tuesday with 34 points and nine 3-pointers, and then had 15 points and three 3-pointers on Friday night. He’s scored at least 13 points in five straight games and looks like a solid pick up right now, despite the fact he’s going to share time with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Avery Bradley Celtics 54% - Bradley has been a picture of inconsistency all season long and the last week has been no different. He combined for 37 points and seven 3-pointers last Friday and Tuesday, and then scored a total of 11 points with zero 3-pointers in his next two games. He was hot again on Friday night and had 22 points, and three 3-pointers. Yes, he can be frustrating to own, but if you have him in your lineup on the right night, he can help you win.
Gerald Henderson Hornets 9% - Lance Stephenson is still out with his pelvic injury and doesn’t sound close to a return, and Henderson is suddenly rolling, scoring 14, 16 and 19 points in each of his last three games. He doesn’t hit many 3-pointers and he’s not a steals guy, but he will get some boards, assists and a few steals here and there to go along with his points. I don’t fully trust him, but if you need someone who can score for your team right now, Henderson should continue to start and get solid minutes until Stephenson returns.
Shabazz Muhammad 51% Timberwolves – The fact that Muhammad is still available in 49 percent of Yahoo! leagues is criminal. I’m pretty sure Muhammad has been in the last five Waiver Wired columns, so I’m not going to get into him too deeply. He had 30 points and five 3-pointers on Tuesday, and is averaging 17.2 points, six rebounds and nearly two 3-pointers over his last five games. He’s showing no signs of slowing down and I’m not even sure that the eventual return of Kevin Martin can do it. Go get him.
C.J. Miles Pacers 17% - Miles has trouble staying healthy, but has also been crushing for the last few games, scoring 22 points with six 3-pointers on Friday, and racking up 25 points and five triples on Wednesday. The Pacers need for him to score and as long as he’s healthy, he is someone I trust throwing into a lineup right now. He averaged 14.9 points and 2.4 3-pointers in December and only missed two games during that month, and his January is off to a tremendous start after Friday’s 22 points and six treys.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Hornets 14% - MKG has been enjoying life without Lance Stephenson lately, scoring in double figures in three straight games, averaging 12.7 points and 7.0 rebounds over them. He’s not very consistent with shot blocking or steals, and has almost no chance of hitting a 3-pointer. But the minutes are there and he’s been playing better lately, while Stephenson doesn’t appear to be close to a return. If you’re in a deep league and need some scoring and boards, give him a look.
Evan Turner Celtics 26% - Turner has been starting at point guard in front of Marcus Smart and while he’s not exactly killing it, he is an intriguing fantasy prospect right now. He’s averaging 10 points, 3.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.3 steals over his last three games, and if he continues to start, the numbers could rise. Just keep in mind that Smart could move back into the starting role at any time, and my guess is that Turner’s run will be a short one.
K.J. McDaniels 76ers 27% - McDaniels hasn’t really been doing anything noteworthy, but did make his second career start on Friday, pushing JaKarr Sampson to the bench. Hollis Thompson was out with an illness, so it’s tough to tell if the move is going to stick or not. If KJM continues to come off the bench, I think you can continue to forget about him. But if he does stay in the starting lineup, you’re going to want to own him, as he should contribute in all categories and has the chance to be an elite shot blocker. He had just four points, two rebounds and three assists on 2-of-8 shooting in last night’s start, but as long as he keeps getting starting opportunities, I’m willing to live with the bad lines while he figures things out.
Tristan Thompson Cavs 58% - Thompson has now recorded four straight double-doubles and has had double figures in rebounds in five straight games. He’s averaging 13.8 points, 12.8 rebounds and a block over his last five, and with LeBron James out for the next couple weeks should continue to roll.
Marreese Speights Warriors 27% - Speights has hit double digits in scoring in four straight games and has been a dynamo in his last two. He had 26 points and eight rebounds on Friday, and racked up 23 points, four rebounds, four assists and four blocks on Tuesday. He’s hit 21-of-32 shots in his last two games, and Andrew Bogut still doesn’t have a firm return date, although he does appear to be getting closer. But even when that happens, Speights has played well enough that the Warriors would be smart to give him a straight-up timeshare with Bogut in hopes of keeping the Aussie healthy.
Ed Davis Lakers 26% - Davis scored in double digits in six straight games before cooling off on Tuesday when he had seven points, four rebounds, a block and five fouls. But he got back on track in a big way on Friday with 20 points, eight boards, a steal and two blocks against the defensive-minded Grizzlies, which was impressive. Yes, he missed a crucial free throw near the end of the game, but that doesn’t matter in fantasy. He’s averaging 12.2 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks over his last five games, and deserves to be owned in most leagues as long as he continues to start in front of Carlos Boozer.
Cody Zeller Hornets 8% - With Al Jefferson out indefinitely with a groin injury, Zeller is going to play heavy minutes for the Hornets. He’s still not scoring much and only got 20 minutes on Friday night, but I expect his averages of 6.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.2 blocks over his last five games to start climbing in the right direction quickly from here on out.
John Henson Bucks 27% - Henson had 14 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks on 6-of-9 shooting on Friday night and has been playing pretty well since returning from a foot injury. Jason Kidd appears to like him and has praised his play, and as long as Larry Sanders continues to sit with his mysterious (and maddening) illness, Henson is at least worth keeping a close eye on going forward. I will be surprised if he doesn’t have an impressive line on Sunday against the hapless Knicks, and will try to get him into a couple daily lineups if I can.
Cole Aldrich Knicks 20% - Aldrich is running kind of hot right now, averaging 11.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks over his last five games. He’s starting at C for the depleted Knicks and looks like one of their better players, which tells you just how bad they are. The numbers don’t lie and I expect Aldrich to be one of the hotter pickups over the next few weeks, as long as he continues to start for the Knicks.
Tyler Zeller Celtics 31% - Zeller would be a lot more attractive if he didn’t have to deal with guys like Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger and Brandan Wright as teammates. He’s starting and averaging 12.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 0.8 blocks over his last five games, but had 22 points and 10 boards on Dec. 23, and 17 points and 10 boards on Friday night. The timeshare with Olynyk will bring some inconsistency, but he’s worth owning and using as long as he’s starting for Brad Stevens’ crew.
Zaza Pachulia Bucks 6% - With Larry Sanders continuing to be MIA, Pachulia has been starting and is averaging 12.2 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 0.6 blocks over his last five games. He’ll take a big hit if Sanders ever decides to play again, but for now, Pachulia makes for a serviceable center option in all formats.
Henry Sims 76ers 29% - Sims keeps bouncing in and out of the starting lineup for the Sixers, but came through with 16 points, five rebounds and two blocks on 6-of-7 shooting in just 18 minutes off the bench on Friday. He’s averaging 12.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and a block in 21 minutes over his last five games, and could be back in the starting lineup on Saturday against he Clippers.
Rudy Gobert Jazz 32% - Gobert’s not in a great situation, battling Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter for minutes on a nightly basis, and he’s had some bad games in his last five, along with some good ones. He failed to score and had five boards and a block on Dec. 30, scored four points with six boards, two steals and three blocks on Dec. 27, and had two points, 16 rebounds and two blocks on Dec. 22. He also had a double-double with 11 points and 13 boards on Dec. 29, and came through with 11 points, seven boards and four blocks on Friday against the Hawks. When you add it all up, he’s averaging 5.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.0 blocks over his last five games. If you can handle the inconsistent scoring, he’s going to continue to rack up boards and blocks off the bench. And as I’ve said repeatedly, if Kanter or Favors go down at some point, Gobert’s going to be a must-add player.
Bismack Biyombo Hornets 3% - Biyombo really has no offensive game to speak of, but did have nine points, seven rebounds and three blocks in a start for Al Jefferson on New Year’s Eve. He backed that up with two points, eight rebounds, a steal and no blocks on Friday night, but could start at center for the Hornets until further notice, as Jefferson is out indefinitely. If you don’t care about scoring and simply need boards and blocks in a deep league, BB is worth a look. However, I don’t trust him enough to use him in daily leagues, unless he gets hot and starts scoring some points.