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Waiver Wire: Cole heating up for Week 3

Fantasy Writer
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There have been several surprises in Fantasy thus far and the waiver wire is fresh with ripe players ready to be picked. Some have been complete surprises while others have benefited from a change of scenery. A new crop of players has seen increased roles and while it is still too early to tell how they'll fare long-term, some early season performances have been far too impressive to ignore.

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This week we've chosen to highlight a pair of players that likely weren't on your radar on Draft Day.

1A: One-time Fantasy stud Tracy McGrady started Fantasy Week 2 (Jan. 2-8) with a solid performance against the Heat, in which he scored 13 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, and also hauled in seven rebounds with four assists. He has scored in double figures four times in Atlanta's first five games and has been seeing more than 20 minutes off the bench.

The Hawks are counting on him for scoring in the second unit and as long as his 32-year-old body can hold up -- along with the lack of perimeter scorers in Atlanta -- he should be able to keep producing for owners. Consider McGrady a viable pickup for Week 3 (Jan. 9-15) with games against the Nets, Pacers, Bobcats and Timberwolves.

1B: Miami guard Norris Cole, the rookie out of Cleveland State, currently backs up Mario Chalmers but his production off the bench has opened a few eyes. The Heat have the pieces to win it all this season and a point guard that can facilitate the offense without turning the ball over is just what they need. While Cole will not be counted on for much scoring with the likes of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh around him, he has shown early on that he knows how to get the ball in the hands of playmakers and already has become a favorite of the Big 3.

The 23-year-old scored seven points with two rebounds and a steal in his NBA debut against the Mavericks while playing 24 minutes, and did even better his second time out with 20 points, four assists, four rebounds and three steals against a tough Boston team. Cole scored in double figures four times through the first six games and his ability to play defense and knock down open shots will go a long way. The Heat will face off against some decent point guards during Fantasy Week 3 in the Warriors, Clippers and Nuggets, so Cole should see some decent run. He looks to have all the tools to be a viable Fantasy option so adding Cole early on could be a prudent move for owners in need of guard help.

Guards

Add 'Em

James Anderson, Spurs
Owned: 15 percent of leagues
Analysis: With Manu Ginobili expected to miss more than a month due to a broken hand, Anderson will step into the starting two-guard spot for the Spurs and has some favorable matchups in Week 3. He has one difficult opponent (Portland) but otherwise will face teams that have been mostly unimpressive thus far in Milwaukee, Houston and Phoenix. Anderson averaged 7.2 points with 2.6 rebounds while seeing slightly more than 20 minutes coming off the bench, and his production should improve with an increase in minutes. Owners should keep in mind that his role will diminish once Ginobili returns, but that won't be until early February, at least.

MarShon Brooks, Nets
Owned: 59 percent of leagues
Analysis: Brooks has shown that he can score through the first two weeks of the season and is beginning to see a larger role in New Jersey because of it. He scored 17 points or more four times through the first six games and coach Avery Johnson has come out and said the rookie will be moved to the starting lineup eventually. Even if he doesn't, as long as Brooks is seeing solid minutes off the bench, he should be able to keep up his production. The Nets play two cupcakes in the Suns and Jazz in Week 3 so owners in need of some scoring and low-end rebounding should give Brooks a look heading into the upcoming scoring period.

Avoid 'Em

Anthony Parker, Cavaliers
Owned: 4 percent of leagues
Analysis: Parker's numbers are down across the board so far this season as the Cavaliers have been looking elsewhere for scoring. He averaged 6.8 points through the first four games, down from the 8.3 he posted a year ago, and his rebounding and assist totals have dropped off dramatically. Since he has the ball in his hands less this season, he is mainly limited to shooting 3-pointers, and he is doing that at a low clip. The 36-year-old should remain on waivers in the majority of formats, especially with the emergence of Kyrie Irving in Cleveland.

Jodie Meeks, 76ers
Owned: 12 percent of leagues
Analysis: After averaging a career-high 10.5 points a season ago, Meeks has struggled in the early goings and shot just 36 percent from the floor through the first four games. That includes going 3 for 13 (23 percent) from beyond the arc. He scored in double figures just once during the first two scoring periods. Meeks does not contribute in other categories so when he struggles to score, he essentially has no value in Fantasy. He will play against the Pacers, Kings, Nicks and Wizards -- twice -- during Week 3, but owners would be wise to leave Meeks on waivers at this point.

Forwards

Add 'Em

Markieff Morris, Suns
Owned: 28 percent of leagues
Analysis: After struggling to score in his first few games in the NBA, Morris has turned things around in Phoenix and is starting to make some noise in Fantasy. He has been one of the hottest additions off the waiver wire in CBSSports.com leagues and is also doing some decent rebounding. He shot 58 percent from the field through the first five games and with a wide-open offense in Phoenix, he will have every opportunity to succeed. Keep in mind rookies go through slumps from time to time but he should still see his minutes even in games in which the Suns get blown out, especially with Marcin Gortat still dealing with a thumb injury. Morris has a ton of upside so try and scoop him up for Week 3, especially with teams like the Cavaliers and Nets on the schedule.

Al Harrington, Nuggets
Owned: 67 percent of leagues
Analysis: Harrington entered the season as a serious question mark in Fantasy, but thanks to some of Denver's players being locked down in China, he has seen an increased role and is making the most of his time on the court. He averaged 15.7 points with 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals through the first six games, all while shooting 52 percent from the field. Also contributing to his resurgence is that he has been able to stay healthy, which was a problem last season, and he appears to be in line for a bounce-back campaign. Harrington has a rare skill set for a player his size and can contribute for most owners with his production thus far. The Nuggets play the Hornets, Nets, Heat and Jazz in Week 3 so consider Harrington a worthwhile addition.

Avoid 'Em

Austin Daye, Pistons
Owned: 23 percent of leagues
Analysis: Daye put on a show during the preseason, but since real games have started he has been unimpressive. He scored a combined 11 points through the first five games and shot an abysmal 22 percent from the field. A lot of that had to do with the fact that he saw only 10 minutes per contest, but it looks as though the Pistons are not going to be calling his number too often in the near future. Detroit currently has a logjam at forward with Jonas Jerebko, Charlie Villanueva and Jason Maxiell and since Daye is not about to supplant Tayshaun Prince from the starting lineup, his chances of producing are slim. Despite showing some solid progress in his first two seasons in the league, leave Daye on waivers in the majority of Fantasy formats until further notice.

Glen Davis, Magic
Owned: 40 percent of leagues
Analysis: Davis has struggled to find his role in his first season with the Magic and has not been putting up many points for Fantasy owners. He posted double-digits just once through the first six games and averaged 3.8 rebounds over that span. His shooting percentage of less than 36 percent has not helped his cause either. Ryan Anderson has been seeing most of the time at the four spot and with the way he has been producing early on, it will be difficult for Davis to surpass him in the near future. Add to the fact that Orlando will play just twice in Week 3 and owners should leave Davis on waivers.

Centers

Add 'Em

Ian Mahinmi, Mavericks
Owned: 7 percent of leagues
Analysis: Mahinmi averaged less than 4 points during his first three seasons in the NBA, but with Tyson Chandler no longer in Dallas he has seen his role increase. It hasn't hurt that Brendan Haywood has struggled and as a result the 25-year-old has seen his minutes go up. His scoring has mirrored his minutes and he is also doing a better job on the boards. The Mavericks seem to be very high on the Frenchman and he could end up starting over Haywood at some point down the line. While he does not rebound the way a typical big man would, his scoring and defensive stats alone make him a viable option in Fantasy right now. Owners that are thin at center should grab Mahinmi with games against the Pistons, Celtics, Bucks and Kings in Week 3.

Tiago Splitter, Spurs
Owned: 20 percent of leagues
Analysis: Splitter has been the first big man off the bench for the Spurs this season and has impressed the coaching staff with his play. He averaged 7.8 points with 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks through the first five games, while seeing nearly 24 minutes per contest. He stayed home to play in Brazil during the lockout and showed up to camp in excellent shape and it has made a huge difference in his production. He should continue to see solid minutes off the bench behind DeJuan Blair and the aging Tim Duncan, and as owners know, center is one of the thinnest positions in Fantasy. Splitter has three easy matchups in Week 3 against Milwaukee, Houston and Phoenix so he appears to be a viable pickup, both in the short-term and down the line.

Avoid 'Em

Brendan Haywood, Mavericks
Owned: 21 percent of leagues
Analysis: Haywood inherited the starting center job when Tyson Chandler left in the offseason but his early struggles have opened the door for Mahinmi, and he could see his role diminish even more if he fails to turn things around. He averaged 5.2 points with 5.7 rebounds and a block through the first six games, but has yet to score in double figures. The Mavs could change up the starting lineup if they decide they need more scoring with the first unit. His defensive stats will keep him relevant in Fantasy but owners should view Haywood as more of an option for deeper category-based formats until he picks up the production.

Darko Milicic, Timberwolves
Owned: 26 percent of leagues
Analysis: Milicic has struggled to score and continues to underwhelm as a rebounder. He averaged 7.2 points through the first five games, and while he shot 56 percent from the field over that span, his stats in other categories have been down. The two blocks per game he posted a year ago have withered to 0.6 this season, and his assists and steals also have fallen. The 26-year-old would likely be more productive if he played more minutes, but since the Timberwolves probably won't run him out for more than 20-25 minutes on a nightly basis, it hinders his chances of putting up respectable numbers in Fantasy. Minnesota has a ton of young players who can play down low, so Milicic is not looking like a hot pickup for Week 3.

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Player News
Thunder's Russell Westbrook to be evaluated after blow to head
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:43 am ET) Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook will be evaluated Friday night after taking a blow to the head in his team's 115-112 loss to the Blazers, The Oklahoman reports.

Westbrook was kneed in the head late in the fourth quarter of Friday's game but remained in, eventually heading to the free-throw line to shoot three free throws with his team down three. He missed the first and made the last two, finishing the game with 40 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists in his third straight triple-double.

The Thunder are scheduled to face the Lakers Sunday.


Bucks SF Jared Dudley has X-rays on knee after Friday's game
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:38 am ET) Bucks small forward Jared Dudley had X-rays taken on his left knee after Friday's 101-93 loss to the Lakers, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Dudley indicated that it was the same knee that troubled him last year with the Clippers. He finished Friday's game with five points on 2 of 7 shooting along with four rebounds, one assist and one steal in 23 minutes off the bench. The Bucks are set to face the Jazz Saturday.


Pistons' Van Gundy on Reggie Jackson: 'Tonight was not great'
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:24 am ET) Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson had an off shooting night Friday, scoring 16 points on 5 of 24 shooting in his team's 121-115 double-overtime loss to the Knicks.

Jackson averaged 19.5 points on 42.4 percent shooting in his first two games with the Pistons but turned in his worst shooting performance of the season (min. 10 shots) despite the high volume.

"He makes the decisions he makes," coach Stan Van Gundy said after the game, per the Associated Press. "The last two games, he was great. Tonight was not great."

Jackson also racked up five rebounds and five assists in 41 minutes. The Pistons will square off with the Wizards Saturday.


Blazers' LaMarcus Aldridge tallies 29-16 line vs. Thunder
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:15 am ET) Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge shared the team scoring lead Friday, racking up 29 points on 10 of 23 shooting while hauling in 16 rebounds in his team's 115-112 win over the Thunder.

Aldridge turned in his best scoring performance of February in his final game of the month, boosting his numbers by hitting nine of his 10 free throws. He also kicked in five assists, one block and one steal in 39 minutes. The Blazers will look for a third straight win Sunday against the Kings.


Thunder's Westbrook scores 40 in third straight triple-double
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:10 am ET) Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook recorded his third straight triple-double Friday, scoring a team-high 40 points on 14 of 32 shooting while racking up 13 rebounds and 11 assists in his team's 115-112 loss to the Blazers.

Westbrook has averaged a remarkable 33.0 points, 12.7 rebounds and 10.7 assists in the last three games, and he's posted double-digit assists in six straight. His 40 points Friday gives him four games with at least 40 points in February. However, despite his recent string of triple-doubles, the Thunder have lost two straight games. They'll look to get back on track Sunday against the Lakers.


Will Barton scores 22 off bench for Nuggets
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(1:04 am ET) Will Barton scored a team-high 22 points for the Nuggets in a 104-82 loss to the Jazz on Friday.

Barton hit eight of 15 shots and was the only Nuggets player to shoot 50 percent or better from the field. The rest of the team shot 29 percent to complete a 1-9 month of February. 

''We are about to lose our sanity,'' said point guard Ty Lawson. ''These are most games I've lost in my whole career.''

The Nuggets next host the Pelicans on Sunday night. 


Lakers PG Jordan Clarkson scores team-high 16 vs. Bucks
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:59 am ET) Lakers point guard Jordan Clarkson scored a team-high 16 points on 7 of 9 shooting, including 2 of 2 shooting from behind the arc, in his team's 101-93 win over the Bucks Friday.

Clarkson scored a season-best 22 points Wednesday and followed it up with another excellent performance Friday to help lead the Lakers to the team's third straight win. He also tallied five assists and four rebounds in 30 minutes. The Lakers will square off with the Thunder Sunday.


Rudy Gobert blocks six shots in Jazz win
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(12:58 am ET) Rudy Gobert blocked six shots in a 104-82 win for the Jazz, over the Nuggets, Friday. 

Gobert hit all four of his shots to score 10 points and added eight rebounds. He missed his career-high in blocks by one and paced the Jazz to 15 blocked shots on the night. 

"Our team has come to understand what we've wanted. It's not easy to play defense,'' Jazz coach Quin Snyder said.

 The Jazz next host the Bucks on Saturday. 


Bucks PF Ersan Ilyasova doubles up vs. Lakers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:56 am ET) Bucks power forward Ersan Ilyasova scored a team-high 17 points on 5 of 10 shooting while grabbing a season-high 12 rebounds in his team's 101-93 loss to the Lakers Friday.

Ilyasova's double-double was just his second of the season, but both have come in his last three games. He also attempted a season-high eight free throws, making six, while chipping in one steal in 29 minutes. The Bucks move ahead to face the Jazz Saturday.


Derrick Favors powers Jazz to win
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(12:53 am ET) Derrick Favors had a double-double to power the Jazz to a 104-82 win over the Nuggets on Friday. 

Favors scored 21 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. He shot seven-of-10 from the field and blocked three shots. 

The Jazz pulled away in the second half, with Favors hitting all three of his shots to score 11 points in the third quarter. 

The Jazz next host the Bucks on Saturday night. 


 
 
 
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