2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Waiver Wire Fix — Week 10
Welcome to the week ten Waiver Wire Fix. Be sure to check back here every week for the duration of the fantasy hoops season for more wire targets. I’ve begun breaking the column down according to player types. This should help you find the player that best fits your team’s specific needs. There will be different categories every week, so I hope you enjoy the new format. If you’re not sure if you should drop a certain player from your team for one of these targets, then shoot me a tweet and I’ll give my two cents.
I only discuss players that are owned in less that 51% of ESPN leagues. I also won’t repeat players that I’ve mentioned in a previous column unless it’s absolutely needed because they’ve leaped into an even better opportunity. This all said, if any of these players are available in your league you should grab/consider them: Shabazz Muhammad (owned in 51% of ESPN leagues), Mason Plumlee (50%), Nerlens Noel (48%), George Hill (46%), Manu Ginobili (46%), Tristan Thompson (42%), Trey Burke (42%), Louis Williams (41%), Kelly Olynyk (35% – Just gained PF eligibility on ESPN), Robert Covington (33%), Jarrett Jack (32%), Jose Calderon (30%), DeMarre Carroll (30%), Ed Davis (21%), Marreese Speights (20%), Elfrid Payton (18%), Jared Dudley (15%), Mo Williams (15%), Rudy Gobert (14%) and C.J. Miles (9%).
Let’s get to this week’s wire targets.
Big bodies, big upside:
Jusuf Nurkic (2%) – Yes, 20-year-old Bosnian Jusuf Nurkic has found fantasy value already in his rookie season. Now, there’s reason to be wary that maybe this will be short lived, but with the way he’s played since receiving more opportunity, you have to take high notice. Iffy or not, over the past three games where Nurkic has played over 20 minutes (24 minutes per game) he’s boasted a big time line of 12.3 points, 9.3 boards, 1.3 steals, 3.3 blocks(!!) while shooting 50% from the field and 75% from the charity stripe. That line demands attention in all leagues because the playing time should hold up as long as his production does, and if another Denver big were to get injured or traded his value would take an even bigger jump. Have a spot you’re streaming with or a player who is “meh?” Give Jusuf an add and see how the next week plays out for him because if he can keep it up he’s well worth owning in all leagues.
Cole Aldrich (15%) – Aldrich has gotten plenty of opportunity lately with Amar’e Stoudemire sidelined, and he’s taken advantage of it looking like a truly effective big man when given minutes. Since December 18th (eight games) Cole has averaged 26 minutes a night with Stoudemire only playing in two of those contests, both of which Cole still played over 22 minutes. In that eight game span, Aldrich has delivered a quality line of 10.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, two assists, 1.1 steals, 1.5 blocks and shot 54% from the field. Playing this well on a team who lacks legitimate big men, even when Amar’e is in the lineup, Cole should continue to see 24+ minutes for the foreseeable future which should come with similar production. He’s an option in any league where you need big man stats, and with two double-doubles in his last three games, there’s potential that the 26-year-old could get even better.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14%) – With Al Jefferson sidelined for at least four weeks, Kidd-Gilchrist should see a nice boost in offensive production. In fact, in the three games since Jefferson’s injury, MKG has done just that averaging 15 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and one block while shooting 46% from the field. The Kentucky alum typically struggles from the field but he’s done well taking 59% of his shots at the rim with Al out of the lineup. He should be a nice addition for at least the month of January.
Wesley Johnson (15%) – Being one of only three players to average one block, steal and three last season, Wesley became quite the value in fantasy leagues, especially roto. Johnson seems to be getting himself going again even with Kobe Bryant and Nick Young back in the lineup. Wes has at least one steal in 11 straight games and while his blocks have been more hit or miss, he’s still knocking down the trifectas nightly. Over the last 11 games Wes has put up a line of 12.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.7 blocks and 2.2 treys. At times Johnson can damage your field goal percentage, but over this recent stint he’s shot a decent 45% on 9.4 FGA. He’s once again a solid fantasy option as long as you’re ok with his not so exciting stats that accumulate nicely over the week.
(UPDATE: Johnson was injured on Sunday night (hip) and will have an MRI Monday. Go another route until we know more.)
J.R. Smith (25%) – After missing the past 10 games due to injury, JR Swish is back in the Knicks lineup which has been needing a scoring threat alongside Carmelo Anthony lately with other wing injuries nagging them. Smith played in two games this past week, only one of which Melo was active. With Knicks coach Derek Fisher coming out and admitting that at some point this season they may shut Carmelo down, that’d open a huge amount of playing time for the Knick wings. None of the other Knick wings are as capable of filling out a box score the way Smith can, though. While he can definitely sink your FG% at times, his ability to score, knock down triples, dish dimes and come up with steals makes him a tempting poison. On Friday night with Shumpert, Hardaway Jr. and Carmelo sidelined, JR played 36 minutes knocking down five threes, accumulating 22 points, three boards, five dimes and three steals. There is some bumpy road ahead if you go this avenue, but if things play out in his favor, Smith could be a key addition the second half.
Jodie Meeks (15%) – It appears Jodie is fully healthy and settling into his role with his new team. He’s a nice target for anyone looking for points, threes and decent steals although he really doesn’t do anything else for you. Over the past five games Meeks has played 25 minutes a night posting 17.8 points, 3.2 treys and 1.2 steals while shooting 62% from the field and 59% from three point land. Now, these numbers are a bit inflated by his 34 point, 9 trey night against the Magic, and those percentages will be difficult to maintain. But he did manage a solid 53% from the field and 40% from deep a year ago with the Lakers.
For more fantasy hoops analysis and to have any questions you may have answered, follow Zack on Twitter @BigZack44.