NOW that the trade period behind us, NBA fantasy coaches are preparing for their own deadline, ready to make a few moves before it’s too late. As most of you probably know the waiver wire is where championships can be won and lost and as we try to decipher how old faces in new places will turn out, there are other important moves you can make to strengthen your fantasy playoff run.
All numbers/stats provided are based on ESPN fantasy leagues
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Bobby Portis – Washington Wizards, PF, 33.7% ownership
MY eye was on Portis even before he dropped back-to-back 30 point games and now I’m all in. Against Cleveland he became the first player in NBA history with 30-point games for different franchises within a season, playing 27 minutes in his first game as a Wizard. His low rebound numbers might concern you, but I think Portis has room to grow on his season averages of 14.1 points and 7.3 rebounds.
Jonathan Isaac – Orlando Magic, PF/SF, 19.8% ownership
BENEFITTING from Mo Bamba’s injury, Jonathan Isaac is putting up numbers across the board. In his past six games, Isaac has only had a goose egg in the points, rebounds, assists, 3PM, steals, blocks categories three times, showcasing his fantasy versatility. Isaac recorded double-doubles in two of those contests and seems to improve with every game that passes making him a worthwhile option.
Dennis Smith Jr – New York Knicks, PG, 78.3% ownership
THRIVING with the ball in his hands, Dennis Smith Jr is loving life as a New York Knick. The sample size is small (three games), but the former 9th overall pick has put up 21.3 points and 6.7 assists per while averaging 33.7 minutes. Ironically his best fantasy game of the season probably came in his last game as a Maverick when he dropped a triple-double (13/10/15) on, you guessed it, the New York Knicks. Must have property.
Image from mavsmoneyball.com
Kenrich Williams – New Orleans Pelicans, SF, 3.6% ownership
YOU can be forgiven for not knowing who Kenrich Williams is, but amid all the Anthony Davis uncertainty the former TCU product has seized the opportunity in front of him. Playing a shade under 30 minutes a game for the past 10 days, Williams has carved out a role in the Pelicans lineup, hitting multiple 3-pointers in all but one game and producing career highs in rebounding (16) and points (21). His hot streak might be short, but while he’s en fuego there’s merit adding Williams for deeper formats.
Kelly Oubre Jr – Phoenix Suns, SF, 38.7% ownership
Mikal Bridges – Phoenix Suns, SG/SF, 10.5% ownership
Josh Jackson – Phoenix Suns, SF, 45.6% ownership
FRESH off an impressive 25 points/12 rebound performance against the Warriors, there’s a reason I stashed Oubre at the top of this trio. However, all three of Phoenix’s young wings have produced for a few weeks now averaging over 30 minutes a contest. Somehow, it still works and there is fantasy production up for grabs if you need help in that area. I would probably rank them Oubre, Bridges, Jackson at this stage, but Bridges dual-position flexibility and defensive prowess make him a very intriguing prospect. Be sure to add all three to your watchlist if they still call the waiver wire home.
Marcin Gortat – FA, C, 10.5% ownership
Enes Kanter – FA, C, 80.8% ownership
Carmelo Anthony – FA, PF/SF, 27.5% ownership
Robin Lopez – FA, C, 0.6% ownership
MINUTES have been few and far between for every NBA fans favourite Turk. Since arriving at NYC, Enes Kanter has been good for a nightly double-double and plenty off work on the offensive boards. He, fellow international Marcin Gortat and a handful of other candidates have found themselves without an NBA home after a flurry of buyout moves. While some of the transactions haven’t been official and a few of the players are fantasy irrelevant, it’s wise to keep an eye on the buyout movement as the right role/scenario can make a player immediately relevant.
Jonas Valanciunas – Memphis Grizzlies, C, 69.7% ownership
THE newest member of the Memphis Grizzlies hasn’t been cleared to return to the court just yet. However, Jonas Valanciunas isn’t expected to miss too much more time, but with Memphis in full rebuild mode, there’s doubt over how what role the former Raptor will play. If the Grizz hand him a starting role when healthy, he will be a sound pickup based on his previous fantasy numbers.
Mitchell Robinson – New York Knicks, C, 4.2% ownership
SINCE being re-inserted into the Knicks lineup on Jan 18th, Robinson has recorded a block in every one of his past 10 games. Missing chunks of time with ankle/groin issues has made it hard for Robinson to find consistency and he remains buried behind DeAndre Jordan on the depth chart, averaging just 21 minutes in the last week. However, now that Enes Kanter has parted ways with the team, there’s every chance a handful more minutes are coming Robinson’s way. Keep an eye on him.
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Derrick Rose – Minnesota Timberwolves, PG/SG, 78.0% ownership
ROSE thrived in the months of November and December, giving fans a shot of nostalgia to the arm and becoming a notable fantasy addition. Those days seem to be fading with ankle issues hampering the 2011 MVP’s campaign right now. He’s missed six of his last seven games and played over 30 minutes just once in the past month, so for now, it makes sense to chase alternative options.
Tyreke Evans – Indiana Pacers, SG, 31.3% ownership
WITH Victor Oladipo suffering an awful injury in late January the door opened up for another Pacer to pounce on the leftover fantasy numbers. Unfortunately for those who drafted/picked up Tyreke Evans, he has not been that player. In the eight games since Dipo went down, Evans is averaging a measly 6.6 points and with Indiana recently signing Wesley Matthews, it’s hard to see Evans’ production improving.
Image from indycornrows.com
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson – Brooklyn Nets, SF/PF, 47.9% ownership
JUST once in the past 12 games has Hollis-Jefferson seen more than 25 minutes of court time and I’ve got bad news for owners. Caris LeVert today made his return from a long injury layoff and while he won’t see a huge workload in the next few games, you’d expect him to a 30+ minute player after the All-Star break.
Jahlil Okafor – New Orleans Pelicans, C, 53.2% ownership
SIMILAR to Hollis-Jefferson a return from injury doesn’t bode well for Jahlil Okafor’s fantasy numbers. Now that Anthony Davis will remain a Pel for the rest of the season, Okafor’s role in NOLA is bound to be reduced. He had some awesome games while Davis and Julius Randle were sidelined and if one of them misses a chunk of time, he’s worth a look in. However, for now he can be returned to the waiver wire.
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