How about that Super Bowl? It seems when the New York Giants and New England Patriots meet in the big game, it’s going to be dramatic. Unfortunately for the Pats, they’re 0-2 against Big Blue and, yeah, Eli Manning is on the same elite level as Tom Brady. I’m talking about the wrong sport, but you have to give props to champions. Hopefully, you’ll be getting the same type of props at the end of the regular NBA season too, right?
Read below for some help.
Waiver Wire Considerations
John Salmons, SG/SF, Sacramento Kings (36% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
Salmons has been having a disappointing season thus far, averaging only 7.9 PPG on 37.6 percent shooting for the season. However, he did average 14.0 (73 games in 2010-11) and 19.9 (30 games in 2009-10) in a little under a season-and-a-half with the Milwaukee Bucks previously. So what happened? It could be age (31 years old) showing a decline in skill or it could be a new team of youngsters that are going to shoot the ball. Yeah, we’ll go with the latter and the aforementioned hideous field goal percentage. This season, Salmons is averaging 8.5 shot attempts (12.3 last season) and about 29.5 minutes of play (35.0 last season). However, in his last two games, Salmons is averaging 12.5 shot attempts and almost 40 minutes on the court. He shot 13-for-25 in that brief span with 16.5 points and a trio of triples. Two games do not make an undeniable trend for improvement for Salmons, but given his track record and the playing time he’s getting, Salmons certainly deserves to at least be watched.
Jason Thompson, PF/C, Sacramento Kings (30%)
We stay in Sactown and look at the previously big man of the future before being supplanted by DeMarcus Cousins for that dubious title. In his last three games, Thompson has produced a double-double in each contest averaging 13.7 points and 13.0 rebounds. He was inserted into the starting line-up on January 18 and in nine games is averaging 10.9 points and 9.1 rebounds. Certainly with all of the big men going down this season, Thompson has a place on more than 30 percent of Yahoo! league teams. He’s a definite add in standard leagues if you need help at the five with boards and shooting percentage, as well as a nice showing in points.
Greivis Vasquez, PG/SG, New Orleans Hornets (23%)
What’s going on with Vasquez? In his last five games, including two starts for an injured Jarrett Jack, Vasquez has scored in double-digits (14.2 PPG) and even has a 12-assists performance in the mix (7.6 APG during this period). He’s also shot 52.9 percent from the field, produced a steal, a trey and averaged 30 minutes of burn during this time. Jack will eventually get back to being the starter, but Vasquez has earned more minutes in the rotation moving forward. He’s a short-term add in standard leagues and might even be available in a deep league. If so, grab him off the waiver wire while he’s hot.
Jordan Farmar, New Jersey Nets (18%)
In nine of Farmar’s last ten games, he’s scored in double-digits, averaging 13.7 PPG. He has also hit 17 three-pointers on 51.5 percent shooting from long-range. Farmar has been producing more with rookie sensation MarShon Brooks sitting on the sideline with a foot injury that will keep him sidelined a couple of more weeks. Farmar is an instant add in deep leagues and if you want a boost in threes and free throw percentage (21-for-22 in the last 10 games and 92.3 percent for the season) in standard leagues, pick up Farmar from the wire. At only 18 percent ownership in Yahoo! leagues, he’s a nice value add in the middle of the season.
Trevor Booker, PF, Washington Wizards (13%)
Booker is back to being a starter because of a calf injury to Andray Blatche, but Booker didn’t exacly have a great game back in the the starting lineup, scoring only four points and grabbing four rebounds. However, it was against the vastly improved Los Angeles Clippers. What Booker still did during the game is block, collecting two swats, which has been about his average the last six games (1.8). Also in that span of time, Booker has averaged 9.5 points, all of this in limited minutes. Theoretically, with more minutes there’s more production, so Booker is worth a speculative add if you were a Blatche owner or need some big man help. It should be noted that last season, in 14 games as a starter (30 minutes per game), Booker averaged 10.2 points on 55.9 percent shooting from the field and 7.6 rebounds.
Alonzo Gee, SG/SF, Clevland Cavaliers (10%)
Gee has never played 30 minutes or more during a game this season until the last two. He averaged 16.0 points on 50 percent shooting from the floor, 4.5 rebounds and two threes per game in this small sample size of production. In deep leagues, Gee should be owned as he’s a good young player that could be part of the franchise’s future plans to grow with Kyrie Irving. Gee at the very least has been outperforming Omri Casspi, who many were in Cleveland were excited about acquiring.
To Stash or Not to Stash
I’ve been asked about a few specific injured players in regards to picking them up from the waiver wire to stash them for the playoffs in H2H formats. Let’s take a look at the trio and where they are in their rehab to get back on the hardwood.
- Manu Ginobili (84% owned) is expected to return within a couple of weeks after suffering a broken left hand, his shooting hand. He’s been cleared to shoot and should get back on the court soon. Once he gets back, his minutes will be limited, especially since the youngsters have done a fine job filling in for Manu’s production. A conservative time to pick him up would be at the end of this week. If you want to gamble, pick him up now.
- Zach Randolph (62%) is currently out with a torn MCL in his right knee and is expected back until late February/early March with the latter looking more likely. The Grizzlies have a long term investment in Z-Bo and currently sit at 12-12, 1.5 games out of a playoff spot. Depending on where the Grizz are in a few weeks will dictate the strategy they will take in getting Randolph on the floor. So, with things still up in the air, I wouldn’t be a Z-Bo owner right now since he won’t be back for about a month. Conversely, don’t grab Z-Bo off the wire for at least two weeks. See where he and the team are then to reassess.
- Brook Lopez (58%) has been out the whole season with a stress fracture in his right foot and could return in about two weeks. He’s already doing drills, running, and shooting the ball. The Nets are taking their time and looks like they are going to make certain Lopez is 100 percent ready to play in a game. Of course, he’s also the main piece in any Dwight Howard trade, so the healthier he is, the better he should play, which would erase any doubt about his durability. At only 58 percent owned, many people are sleeping on Lopez’s potential, which probably has to do with the stigma of playing for the Nets. I’d pick him up at the end of the week to stash him. However, if any positive news comes out before then, I’d do at the same time as reading said news.
Fantasy Thoughts To Jump Off From
- As most NBA fans, I’ve been really impressed with Paul George since he entered the league. In the last two weeks, he’s been one of the best players in the NBA, at least fantasy-wise. George averaged 14.9 points on 50.0 FG% and 94.4 FT%, 2.2 3PTM, 6.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. The overall production is a fantasy hoops manager’s dream. If he keeps it up, he definitely moves up the list of two guards next season, maybe even into a top 10 spot.
- After very slow starts, two of the NYC areas top ballers have come back to where they should be in the past week. Amar’e Stoudemire had a lot of people wanting him traded, but in the past week has produced 20.5 points on 53.1 FG% and 82.4 FT%, 7.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in four games. Deron Williams, shooting abysmally at the beginning of the season, has turned things around averaging 23.3 points on 43.6 FG% (hey, it’s an improvement!) and 85 FT%, 10.3 assists, 2.0 3PTM, 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals. The reports of their fantasy demise were greatly exaggerated.
Number of Team Games in Week 7
Four Games: ATL, BOS, CHI, CLE, DEN, HOU, IND, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIA, MIL, MIN, NJN, NYK, OKC, ORL, PHI, PHO, POR, SAC, TOR, UTA, WAS
Three Games: CHA, DAL, DET, GSW, NOR, SAS
Follow me on Twitter (@dv140) and feel free to ask me any question about fantasy hoops. You can also e-mail me at dennis DOT velasco AT gmail DOT com.