2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Waiver Wire Fix — Week 8
Welcome to the week seven 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 fits your team’s specific needs best. 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 than 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: Patrick Beverley (owned in 54% of ESPN leagues), Gorgui Dieng (48%), Louis Williams (43%), Kelly Olynyk (39%), Manu Ginobili (38%), Jose Calderon (34%), Robert Covington (34%), DeMarre Carroll (31%), Timofey Mozgov (30%), George Hill (25%), Mo Williams (15%), Tyler Zeller (15%) and C.J. Miles (9%).
Now let’s get to this week’s targets:
Shabazz Muhammad (29%) – With the Wolves battling injuries over the past couple of weeks, Shabazz was getting some decent playing time and doing a good job of scoring but very little else. He was really only a target in deeper leagues, but when the team traded away veteran winger Corey Brewer this week, a legit role opened up for the second year pro. While scoring will still be his primary benefit to your fantasy team, he’s very capable of more than one steal, a handful of boards and a solid field-goal percentage. While Bazz is getting big minutes — which seems likely to hold up — he should be owned in most leagues because he’s scoring 19 points a night over his last nine games and is averaging 37.5 minutes in two games post-Brewer trade.
Tim Hardaway Jr. (22%) – This is another guy who is mostly a scoring specialist, but Hardaway adds about two treys a night, although with that comes a much worse field-goal percentage of 38% over the past two weeks. Hardaway does provide a really nice boost to your team’s free throw percentage only missing one (26/27) in his past seven games. Tim has improved his assists a little bit recently with 14 in his last five games, and he’s had a steal in each of the past three games. Hhe’s trying to add a little bit more value to himself beyond scoring and treys. If you’re punting FG%, he makes for a perfect addition in any league, but his scoring and threes should have him owned in at least all 12-team leagues.
Temp for hire:
Mason Plumlee (19%) – His value goes as Brook Lopez (does not) go, and any time Lopez misses a game Plumlee should be rostered that night. BLo has missed the past seven games and in those games Plumlee has averaged 16.5 points, 10 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and shot a ridiculous 66% from the field. Even if it’s short term, you absorb every drip of stats your can get out of Plum when Brook is out. With Brook’s track record with injuries, you never know when the amount of time missed will end, so never shrug an injury of his off.
Marcus Smart (13%) – Whether he’s completely ready for this or not, Smart has been thrust into the starting PG job for the Celtics after they traded away Rajon Rondo. Coach Brad Stevens wasted no time making Smart the starter, and while Smart didn’t blow anyone away in his first start (3 points – 4 rebounds – 4 assists – 1 steal – 1 trey – 28 minutes), he should continue to improve as he gains experience. With the upside Marcus possesses, he should be worth a speculative add in most leagues at least for a week to see how things go. He’s going to get the minutes and opportunity, let’s see what the rookie does with it.
Khris Middleton (13%) – This is another guy worth a flier in most leagues based on a situation change. Middleton was playing much improved ball from his earlier season slump, and when Jabari Parker unfortunately tore his ACL, Middleton became poised for a bigger role. Surprisingly, Jared Dudley has taken on more of those vacant minutes than expected, but I expect Khris to slowly takeover the majority and play right about 30 minutes a night. Over the past five games Middleton has scored 11.6 points, snatched one steal and knocked down just shy of two treys a night. It’s his steals and threes that make him worthy of adding in 12-team leagues even if the scoring is just decent at around 13 PPG.
Alex Len (1.5%) – Len is more of a deeper league target right now unless you’re desperate for blocks. He has started the Suns past four games, and it seems like for now he’ll only play 20-24 minutes. But the Suns are better with him in the lineup defensively, so that could easily increase sooner rather than later. Even as is though, Len has blocked 11 shots in his four recent starts which is awesome. He’s not out there to be a scorer right now so he’s not taking many shots, but the rebounds, blocks and decent steals make him one to keep a sharp eye on. If he were to get a bump to even 28-30 minutes a night, he may be able to produce at a high enough level to be owned everywhere with the upside of nine points, 10 boards, one steal and 2+ blocks.
For more fantasy hoops analysis and to have any questions you may have answered, follow Zack on Twitter @BigZack44.