Never Too Early for Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Help
Frank Stampfl of RotoExperts.com drops by to provide some Fantasy Basketball waiver wire help.
It’s never too soon to hit the waiver wire, especially in Fantasy basketball. Most teams have only played one game but owners can learn a ton early in the season. It’s important to monitor a coach’s rotation early on and how he distributes minutes among both the starters and the bench. Not only that, owners should pay attention to how deep a coach goes into his bench. Obviously, a shorter rotation on an NBA team is more Fantasy friendly because that means more minutes, which opens up more opportunity for production. This early-season edition of the Waiver Wire is unique in that it features an interesting mixture of both short-term and potential long-term options. Because of injuries/suspensions, a few of these players will only be relevant for a few weeks or months. Nonetheless, they should be owned in the early going.
Darren Collison is missing exactly eight games due to suspension so your Ty Lawson clock for Fantasy purposes is ticking! Lawson is one of those short-term pickups mentioned earlier who can really give owners a boost in assists and steals in the early going. Ideally, the Kings probably would have cut Lawson due to his off-court issues but because they have no other point guards on the roster, they need to keep him. His presence was felt in their first game against the Suns, too, when he contributed nine points, seven assists, six rebounds, two steals, and a block in 36 minutes of play. Lawson has been on the decline the past few years but even in last season’s train wreck, Lawson would have averaged six assists and 1.4 steals per 36 minutes. Finding 35-plus minutes per game from a point guard off the waiver wire is nearly impossible but because of this unique situation, the Kings will run Lawson into the ground while Collison is out. Lawson might be worth owning as a handcuff or a backup option in deeper leagues once Collison returns. For now, Lawson is a starter-worthy player.
Looking Deeper: Jerryd Bayless was expected to be the starting point guard for the Philadelphia 76ers this season but that has been delayed due to torn ligament in his left wrist. In the meantime, journeyman Sergio Rodriguez will be the starter and he proved he could run this offense in his matchup against the Thunder. Rodriguez dropped 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting with nine assists, four rebounds, two 3-pointers and the best stat of all: ZERO turnovers! This could end up being one of his best games but the efficiency plus the ability to shoot from downtown makes him very enticing. Also, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Rodriguez can keep the job once Bayless returns as well. If he keeps performing like this, the 76ers will have no choice but to keep him in that role. We see it all the time in sports where somebody gets an opportunity for whatever reason and winds up taking the job for good. Because the 76ers lack depth at the point guard position, Rodriguez will see 30-plus minutes per game and should be owned in 14-team leagues or deeper.
Guards to scout: Malcolm Brogdon, Joe Harris, Nik Stauskas, Wade Baldwin IV
Sticking with the theme of short-term replacements, Joe Johnson put on a clinic on Opening Night against the Blazers, dropping 29 points on 12-of-16 shooting, adding four rebounds, three assists and three 3-pointers in 31 minutes of play. It’s just one game but Johnson shut down a ton of critics with this performance, proving he could still dominate a game when he wants to. Johnson scored 27 of his 29 points in the second half of this contest, pulling up from downtown, hitting mid-range jumpers and posting up smaller defenders in the paint. The reason Johnson is a short-term replacement is because starting small forward Gordon Hayward is expected back by late November, unless he suffers a setback. While he’s out, however, the Jazz will lean on Johnson for more scoring performances similar to this. The only other players on the roster that can score consistently are Rodney Hood and George Hill. If you’re a Hayward owner or need help while Reggie Jackson or Chandler Parsons are out, Johnson is a nice replacement that can contribute points, 3-pointers and a couple other stats here and there.
Looking Deeper: It’s no secret that the Grizzlies are not a deep team and despite Parsons signing a huge contract, he will be eased in slowly. With Parsons missing games early on and playing with a minutes restriction, James Ennis is a name to pay attention to in deeper formats. He started in the Grizzlies’ first game, scoring 15 points with six rebounds, two 3-pointers and one steal. Ennis never had much of an opportunity to play as a member of the Heat but will be forced into action here. The Grizzlies only went nine deep and rookie Andrew Harrison led the team with 38 minutes played. Because of their lack of depth and Ennis’ decent shooting upside, he’s worth a look in 14-team leagues or deeper.
Forwards to scout: Jaylen Brown, Justin Anderson
There is a misconception behind Roy Hibbert where many people believe he fell off statistically since he was on the Pacers and it’s just not true. Hibbert has career averages of 10.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. That’s rather consistent with everything he did with the Pacers, even in his later years. Last season, Hibbert was not a good fit with the Lakers and it showed as he played just 23 minutes per game. He was really phased out toward the end as well. Again, it’s only been one game for the Hornets but Hibbert really seemed to mesh well, putting together one of his best performances in a while. Hibbert scored 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting, grabbing nine rebounds with three assists and a whopping five blocks in 32 minutes of action. More often than not, Hibbert won’t play more than 30 minutes but if he can consistently see 26-28 minutes a night, he will hover around two blocks per game this season. Another underrated part of his game is his free-throw shooting, which has been over 80-percent each of the past two seasons. Now Hibbert doesn’t get to the line all that much so it’s not like he’s helping but he definitely is not hurting that category. Because there are so many free-throw albatrosses like Andre Drummond and DeAndre Jordan, it’s nice to see a big man that can block shots and shoot the ball. Hibbert should be owned in 12-team leagues or deeper moving forward.
Looking Deeper: Raise your hand if you’ve heard of Justin Hamilton. Now that that’s out of the way, it’s worth noting that he had quite the first game against the Celtics. Hamilton had a double-double in 25 minutes off the bench, scoring 19 points with 10 rebounds. The most impressive part, however, is that he went 3-of-6 from 3-point range despite being 7-feet tall. Hamilton is a speculative add early on because if he plays his way into new head coach Kenny Atkinson’s rotation, he could see consistent playing time for the rest of the season. Just make sure you aren’t dropping a player of decent value for Hamilton. The 3-point range from the center position is definitely a plus trait in category formats.
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