This weekly column will hopefully be able to provide you with that gem of an addition from the waiver wire, 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.
Will there ever be enough said about LeBron James and Kevin Durant? James goes on a three game, across the statistical board tear, and Durant drops a career-high 52 points. A flurry of tough overtime games and a resurgent Laker team were also prevalent this past week. In the upcoming week, we’re looking at some great rivalry games, and some intense, high seeded, conference games.
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.
Ed Davis – 35% Owned
When will the fantasy basketball world realize that the Raptors only have two legitimate big men to play on every given night? For this fact alone, these guys (Amir Johnson) are going to get theirs. In his past ten games, Ed Davis has been averaging 14.2 ppg and 8.2 rpg. While Davis’ supplemental stats haven’t been spectacular (1.9 apg, 0.9 bpg, 0.4 spg), he’s still growing, and learning the game on the fly. Look to Friday night’s game as a precursor of what could be (18-10-6-1-2), but pick Davis up for the sheer amount of playing time is going to receive up front with the Toronto Raptors.
Derrick Williams – 20% Owned
You would figure that Derrick Williams has entered the “now or never” zone with the Timberwolves, right? Running down the list of injuries for Minnesota: Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic, Brandon Roy, Alexey Shved, Chase Budinger and Dante Cunningham. That is a starting five list of injuries, plus a sixth man. With all of those guys down, Williams should become the focal point on offense, and should be able to post big numbers. I’d be willing to take a gamble on him for a short period time, as Pekovic is listed to be out seven to ten days.
John Salmons – 14% Owned
I can’t believe I’m actually advising people to pick up a Sacramento King who plays a wing position. But, I am, and here’s why. John Salmons has been (aside from DeMarcus being consistently crazy) the most consistent King over the past ten games. More so than that, Salmons has been producing across the fantasy board. Over his last ten, Salmons is averaging 11.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1 spg, while shooting 43%. Nothing is more valuable in fantasy basketball than multi-categorical production, and Salmons is offering that in spades. Ride him while he’s hot.
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.
Paul Pierce – 19.3 ppg, 3.8 apg, 5.6 rpg, 1.4 spg, 0.3 bpg
Paul Pierce has been a shadow of his former self over the past five games. Maybe at 35, the pit-bull small forward is losing a step. He’s only eclipsed the twenty point mark four times in his last ten games, and has failed to break the fifteen mark four times as well. Pierce’s rebounding stats, and rejuvenated steal stats have kept him relevant, but his FG% and FT%’s are down. This season would seem to be the Celtics’ last hurrah, so I’m forecasting, based on Pierce’s and the rest of the Celtics team’s collective pride, that he will bounce back. As it stands now, you couldn’t get Pierce for less.
Steve Nash – 10.4 ppg, 8.8 apg, 2.8 rpg, 0.9 spg, 0.1 bpg
I never thought it would be possible, but you could actually buy low on Steve Nash right now. The Lakers have been absolutely terrible this season, and Nash’s stock has never been lower. Nash is turning the ball over at an alarming rate, (3.0 per game over his last ten) is averaging well below his career average in points per game, and is still struggling in the Laker system. Nash is still dishing out assists, shooting the ball well from the floor, and hasn’t missed a FT attempt yet (20/20), so his game is still there. Even with all of the issues that are surrounding his team, I’m a firm believer that the Lakers are going to rattle off an incredible push for the playoffs this season, and you’re going to want to be on the Steve Nash train when that happens.
Glen Davis – 15.3 ppg, 1.8 apg, 7.6 rpg, 1.0 spg, 0.7 bpg
Did Glen Davis come back to soon? In his first three games back he has looked awful, averaging 9.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.6 apg, and 0.6 blocks and steals per game. He hasn’t found his shooting stroke, and is visibly struggling. What you should be banking on are his season numbers, which are listed above. I believe that Davis is going to bounce back once he finds his conditioning, and shooting stroke. Prey on the GM that doesn’t believe that, and thinks that his shoulder injury will hamper him for the rest of the season.
Shannon Brown – 12.3 ppg, 2.2 apg, 2.8 rpg, 1.1 spg, 0.3 bpg
With the dismissal of Alvin Gentry, (whom Shannon Brown had fallen out of favour with) Brown has found new life in the Phoenix Suns rotation. With the Suns struggling so mightily, they will be looking to Brown for offensive production. Offensive production has never really been Brown’s problem. Defensively, Brown is gambler, and poor position player, and it is these tendencies that usually lead him to riding the pine. Sure, Brown has posted some decent numbers over his last four games, but those numbers have all come while shooting a scorching .51%, a number which surely will not last. Moving Brown at a premium is your absolute best bet, as he will come crashing down to Earth in no time.
Roy Hibbert – 9.7 ppg, 1.5 apg, 8.2 rpg, 0.5 spg, 2.7 bpg
Look who has finally managed to string together a few relevant games lately. Roy Hibbert has struggled mightily this season, posting career lows in almost every single statistical category. He’s still blocking shots at an incredible rate, and the Pacers are still winning games, but Roy has looked lost this season. I don’t believe that I really need to say anything more than the following sentence: If you own Roy Hibbert in a fantasy basketball league, sell high, and sell now!
Best and Worst Schedules
Here’s a list of upcoming games for each team during the week of Monday January 21st, to Sunday January 27th.
5 Games: LAC
4 Games: ATL, BOS, BKN, CHI, DET, GSW, HOU, LAL, MEM, MIN, NOH, NYK, OKC, PHX, POR, SAC, SAS, WAS
3 Games: CHA, CLE, IND, MIA, MIL, ORL, PHI, TOR, UTA
2 Games: DAL, DEN
What a heartbreaker for the upstart Atlanta Hawks. Lou Williams has suffered a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the season. As a fantasy league GM who just dealt for him, this hurts, as Williams was having an incredible season in Atlanta.
Nikola Pekovic went down with what the Timberwolves are calling a “quad injury”. Minnesota is saying that Pekovic will miss 7-10 days with the ailment, which essentially takes him out of the upcoming fantasy week matchup. Adjust your lineups accordingly.
Avery Bradley, who has dealt with a myriad of injuries since entering the league, is dealing with “sore ribs”. Bradley had a second X-ray taken, which, like the first, came up negative. Look for Bradley to return near the middle of the week for the Boston Celtics.
Fantasy Line of the Week
While LeBron James and Kevin Durant all had massive weeks, I’m giving this week’s fantasy line nod to the two games Jrue Holiday put together. Observe:
Jrue Holiday @NO – Jan 15th: 29 pts, 5 rbs, 11 ast, 0 blk, 4 stl, .588 FG%, 1.000 FT%
Jrue Holiday @TOR – Jan 18th: 33 pts, 5 rbs, 14 ast, 0 blk, 3 stl, .565 FG%, .750 FT%
Best of luck in the upcoming fantasy week.