If there is one thing that is routinely at or near the top of my wish list on Christmas Eve, it is for a miraculous waiver wire addition. Whether you’re firmly entrenched in the top spot in your league, fighting for playoff positioning, or near the bottom of the standings, a gift from the waiver wire will always put a smile on your face. Perhaps Gustavo Ayon will be my waiver wire Christmas gift this year, only time will tell.
This weekly column will hopefully be able to provide you with that gem of an addition, as well as who you should be targeting on the trading block, who you should be trading from your team while you can get the most value out of them, and who you should be starting on a week-to-week basis. We’ll also be looking at the fantasy stat line of the week as well as notable, fantasy injury news.
The Waiver Wire
This section will depend entirely on what size league you play in, but most of these guys should be available in your leagues right now.
Jarrett Jack – 50% Owned
JJ has been the consummate professional for the Golden State Warriors, and while that doesn’t always (almost never) translate to fantasy basketball, Jack has shown that there are exceptions to the rules. Over the past five games, Jack has exploded for 19 ppg, 7.6 apg, 4 rpg and 0.4 spg, all while averaging above his season average of 26.9 mpg. Jack has also been shooting a high % from the field, 3pt range and from the free throw line, while also keeping his turnover numbers down.
Derrick Favors – 64% Owned
It’s that time of the year again NBA and fantasy basketball fans: Which Utah Jazz big will be traded, and when? The popular opinion is that it will be Al Jefferson and/or Paul Milsap whom will be shipped out of town, and if one of these trades happens, the floodgates will be opened for Favors to run rampant in the Jazz front court. At this point, Derrick remains an up and down fantasy player, but is more than a speculative stash option if he is available.
Mike Dunleavy – 34% Owned
Fresh from a right ankle injury that kept him out of the Bucks lineup for 7 games, Mike Dunleavy returned in a big way in his first game back by posting 17 pts, 6rbs, and 2 blks. He has since cooled off, and there is always the threat of Scott Skiles’ rotation mix-up, but history has shown that Dunleavy thrives while coming off of the bench in the 6th man role. If you’re a GM’s who is in need of 3’s, points and rebounds, you should be able to find room on your bench for Mr. Dunleavy.
Buy Low / Sell High
There is little more that is important in fantasy basketball than maximizing your roster. The best way to maximize your roster is to have a critical eye when evaluating the talent you have, as well as the talent that is available on teams throughout your league. Within this section of the column, we’re going to be highlighting three guys who you should be targeting to trade for, and three guys you should be looking to move while their value is at its peak.
Andre Iguodala – 13.8 ppg, 4.3 apg, 5.6 rpg, 1.3 spg, 0.6 bpg
AI is starting to figure things out in Denver, and this buy low opportunity might not be around for much longer. Over the past three games he’s been on a tear, racking up a tidy, all around line of 14 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 6 apg and 1.6 spg. This is the AI that fantasy owners have come to love and expect. Yes, his turnover rate has been disastrous, (averaging 3 per game) but you could point to a myriad of factors to explain that stat, the main factor being AI’s adjustment to an entirely new system.
J.R. Smith – 14.8 ppg, 2.5 apg, 4.9 rpg, 1.0 spg, 0.4 bpg
What a roller coaster ride this season has been for J.R. Smith. The guy comes out guns-a-blazing to lead the Knick bench, packs away his clubbing clothes, and throws pot shots at Kobe Bryant. Then Carmelo Anthony got injured, and defenses began to key in on what appears to be New York’s lone threat on most nights. While the points have still been prevalent, J.R. has been careless with the ball and is contributing little else outside of 3 point shooting. Since Carmelo’s return though, J.R. has been hot and the buy-low window is closing quickly.
Darren Collison – 11.7 ppg, 5.1 apg, 2.5 rpg, 1.4 spg, 0.0 bpg
Speaking of roller coasters, how about getting benched for 38 year old free agent Derek Fisher? Darren’s defense seemed to be the lead factor in coach Carlisle’s decision, but Collison was firing on all cylinders before this acquisition. With Fisher being waived earlier this week, now seems to be the time for Collison to show his team, and coach exactly why he should have been the starting point guard spot for the Dallas Mavericks all along. Collison has been battling flu like symptoms but should be primed for big things once healthy.
Nikola Pekovic – 16.0 ppg, 1.2 apg, 7.9 rpg, 0.7 spg, 0.8 bpg
If you’re adept at convincing your fellow league mates that players will more than likely stay healthy for the course of a season, then you should definitely be shopping Nikola Pekovic. Pek has dealt with ankle and back issues for what seems like the past year and a half, but has remained a statistical monster while doing it. Still, one has to wonder when his next injury will arise, and when the presence of Love and AK47 finally begins to eat into Pek’s production.
Jose Calderon – 10.6 ppg, 7.5 apg, 2.6 rpg, 0.7 spg, 0.2 bpg
What does one make of Jose Calderon’s value? When Kyle Lowry has been out of the Toronto Raptor’s lineup, Jose has been magnificent. When Kyle Lowry has been in Toronto’s lineup, Jose has looked every bit the maligned, moody starting calibre point guard who is playing the back-up role. Currently, Jose is playing career-best basketball, but with Lowry expected to re-join the lineup after the holiday break, and the looming trade rumours that hover above Jose’s head, now might be the time to move him to a GM in your league in desperate need of a PG.
Shawn Marion – 10.7 ppg, 2.6 apg, 8.1 rpg, 0.9 spg, 0.8 bpg
Much like Pekovic, fantasy owners will always wonder when Marion is going to hit the trainer’s table next. Adding to that, the return of Dirk Nowitzki is right around the corner, and Marion’s value will surely take a hit once The Big German makes his return in late December. As it stands right now, The Matrix is providing high end fantasy numbers in numerous categories, and should definitely net you some above average fantasy assets. Move him as soon as you can.
Best and Worst Schedules
Here’s a list of upcoming games for each team during the week of Monday December 24th, to Sunday December 30th.
4 Games: BOS, BKN, DEN, HOU, LAC, MIA,
3 Games: ATL, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DET, GSW, IND, LAL, MIL, NOH, NYK, OKC, ORL, PHI, PHX, POR, SAC, SAS, TOR, UTA, WAS
2 Games: MEM, MIN,
A scary scene for all Chicago Bulls fans during Friday’s game against the Knicks, as Deng went down with what appeared to be a rotator cuff injury. Deng is currently playing through the injury, (which is par for the course for him) but GM’s will want to monitor his status closely, as a DNP could be right around the corner.
Martin missed Thursday’s game against the Timberwolves with a quad contusion, but is optimistic about his return for the Christmas Day game against the Heat. GM’s, plan your lineups accordingly.
Evans has been out since Sunday of last week with a knee injury that does not look to be healing too quickly. Tyreke has been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Trail Blazers and is likely going to miss the Boxing Day rematch as well.
Fantasy Line of the Week
We leave you with the fantasy line of the week. This week our line is provided by The Big Fundamental, Tim Duncan who came through with an incredibly vintage Duncan line.
31 pts, 18 rbs, 6 ast, 5 blk, 2 stl, .440 FG%, .900 FT%
Make sure to check in with us next week, as I’ll have another Fantasy Roundup ready to go. Happy Holidays!