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Waiver Wire: Biyombo climbing the ranks

Fantasy Writer
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With teams more than 20 games into the season, there are still a ton of question marks in Fantasy. Roles are still being defined and adjusted as some teams continue to move starters to the bench and vice versa. Injuries also continue to pile up with the condensed schedule and some players that were looking good earlier in the season have been unable to maintain consistency. This has opened the door for guys whom owners might not be too familiar with, but good thing we're here to sift through the waiver wire for them.

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This week we are looking at Bismack Biyombo.

Biyombo was unable to do much with his playing time early on, but he has stepped up his production of late and is starting to see an increased role. Bobcats coach Paul Silas has said he plans to use the rookie primarily, if not exclusively, at center moving forward. While he is not as big as some of the other centers in the league, he played physical against Orlando's Dwight Howard and posted his first career double-double in that contest.

Biyombo played in Spain while the lockout was going on and appears to be finding his groove. He should be able to continue to put up decent scoring and rebounding numbers on a Charlotte team that is desperate for production in the frontcourt. While he will face off against the Lakers and Portland in Week 6 (Jan. 30-Feb. 5), he also has a contest against the Suns, who are not known for their defensive prowess. Consider Biyombo a viable pickup in deeper Fantasy formats heading into the upcoming scoring period and beyond.

Guards

Add 'Em

Luke Ridnour, Timberwolves
Owned: 65 percent
Analysis: Despite the additions of Ricky Rubio and Jose Juan Barea at the point guard spot, Ridnour has been able to keep his stats up so far this season and is actually averaging more than the 11.8 points he posted a season ago. He put up 14.4 points with 5.6 assists and 46 percent shooting over a five-game stretch that ended on Jan. 23 and continues to see 30-plus minutes per contest. He has also been running with Rubio in the backcourt and has shown no signs of losing his current role. The 30-year-old is not as valuable as some of the other guards out there but with double-digit scoring, a fair amount of assists and a steal per contest, Ridnour has value in deeper Fantasy leagues.

Ronnie Brewer, Bulls
Owned: 4 percent
Analysis: With Luol Deng suffering from ligament damage in his wrist and being considered "week to week," Brewer stands to gain the most on the Bulls. He has already stepped into the starting lineup -- scoring in double digits his first time out -- because of the injury and has a fairly favorable schedule in Week 6. Chicago will take on Washington, Philadelphia, New York and Milwaukee during the upcoming scoring period. Brewer proved in his days with the Jazz that he can consistently score in double figures when given the minutes and he is also helpful in Fantasy for some low-end rebounding and defensive stats. The 26-year-old should see a boost in his value while Deng is out so consider picking Brewer up in deeper Fantasy leagues in the short-term.

Avoid 'Em

Nate Robinson, Warriors
Owned: 36 percent
Analysis: Robinson was able to put together a few decent performances while Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis were injured but his minutes have gone down since both have returned, which has hindered his production. After averaging 14.7 points with 4.8 assists over a six-game stretch, he started Week 5 having scored in single digits in three straight contests. While he has still been able to post some respectable assist totals, he will likely not remain on the court long enough on a nightly basis to be a solid contributor in Fantasy. While he is not a bad stash candidate -- considering how often Curry gets hurt -- owners would be wise to avoid Robinson in larger formats heading into Week 6.

Kawhi Leonard, Spurs
Owned: 60 percent
Analysis: Leonard was a hot pickup in Fantasy after Manu Ginobili went down with his injury and was putting up some decent stats for owners for awhile, but his production has tailed off. He started Week 5 with a goose egg against New Orleans, which ended a poor four-game stretch for the rookie. He averaged just 3.5 points with shot 23 percent from the field over that span. While he has still done a decent job on the boards, his value will rise and fall with his scoring. Leonard will face off against the Grizzlies, Rockets, Hornets and Thunder during Week 6, so leave him on waivers for the time being.

Forwards

Add 'Em

Grant Hill, Suns
Owned: 38 percent
Analysis: Hill had a difficult time finding his shot in the early goings, but his performances of late suggest he is turning things around. He started Week 5 with a season-high 19 points and hauled in eight rebounds, and shot 49 percent from the floor during a five-game stretch that ended on Jan. 24. The 39-year-old has revived his career since coming to Phoenix in 2007-08. With the Suns' wide-open offense, he should be able to pick up his production going forward. Hill will face off against the Mavericks, Hornets, Rockets and Bobcats during Week 6 -- which should help his resurgence -- so start getting the seven-time All-Star active in deeper Fantasy formats.

Jason Smith, Hornets
Owned: 26 percent
Analysis: Smith has done a decent job since being moved into the starting lineup and should continue to see an improved role as long as he is in the good graces of coach Monty Williams. He averaged 10.4 points with five rebounds and 1.8 blocks during a five-game stretch heading into Week 5 and has some favorable matchups for Week 6. He will face off against the Heat to start the scoring period before taking on the Suns, Spurs and Pistons. The 25-year-old does not have the track record of other Fantasy options but consider him a worthwhile addition for Week 6.

Avoid 'Em

Jon Leuer, Bucks
Owned: 9 percent
Analysis: Leuer had a nice little run in which he scored in double figures five times over a six-game span, but he began Week 5 with his third straight scoreless performance and has seen his minutes drop off significantly. The Bucks currently have a logjam at the forward spot and the rookie out of Wisconsin has been unable to distinguish himself as a candidate for more minutes. While he has shown flashes of being a viable option in Fantasy, continue to ignore Leuer in the majority of formats heading into Week 6.

Marvin Williams, Hawks
Owned: 62 percent
Analysis: Williams averaged 11.8 points and 6.7 rebounds while seeing around 27 minutes over the first eight games this season, but his production has dropped off significantly of late. He started Week 5 with a six-point performance, which capped off a five-game stretch in which he put up just 7.8 points and shot just 35 percent from the field. The 25-year-old continues to start in Atlanta but since his scoring has been erratic, he is proving once again why he is not as valuable in Fantasy. Leave Williams for deeper formats heading into Week 6.

Centers

Add 'Em

Timofey Mozgov, Nuggets
Owned: 7 percent
Analysis: Mozgov capped off Week 4 with a 16-point, seven-rebound performance and played a season-high 30 minutes. He has stepped up when Nene has been banged up and his ability to provide some low-end scoring and rebounding makes him an intriguing option in Fantasy. While he remains too inconsistent to start in the majority of formats, deeper leagues and category-based formats seem like a perfect fit for the 25-year-old. Owners should expect a high shooting percentage from him on a nightly basis and with his value at a thin position in Fantasy, Mozgov might be worth a look with the Grizzlies, Clippers, Lakers and Trail Blazers on the schedule for Week 6.

Ian Mahinmi, Mavericks
Owned: 17 percent
Analysis: Mahinmi has been able to take his game to the next level this season and is seeing some decent minutes in Dallas. He started Week 5 with 17 points and nine rebounds against the Suns and has scored in double figures six times thus far. While his production can be sporadic at times, the Mavs seem to favor him over Brendon Haywood and the 25-year-old has a favorable schedule for Week 6 with the Suns, Thunder, Pacers and Cavaliers on the docket during the upcoming scoring period, so consider Mahinmi a worthwhile addition in deeper formats, especially at a thin position in Fantasy.

Avoid 'Em

Ben Wallace, Pistons
Owned: 1 percent
Analysis: Wallace has been able to earn some starts in Detroit but it has not led to more production from the veteran. He began Week 5 with his ninth scoreless performance of the season and is not doing much on the boards for the Pistons. The 37-year-old continues to see limited minutes and is no longer the defensive presence he was in his younger days so continue to ignore Wallace in all Fantasy formats at this point.

Enes Kanter, Jazz
Owned: 16 percent
Analysis: Kanter has shown flashes of being an option in Fantasy so far during his rookie campaign, but his current role in Utah hinders his value. He scored in double figures just once through his first 15 games -- which came on Jan. 17 against the Clippers -- and he has not come close to repeating the 11 rebounds he posted in his NBA debut. While the No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 draft has a ton of upside, he is currently stuck behind Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, and Derrick Favors is also standing in his way for more minutes. Continue to stash Kanter deeper Fantasy formats.

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Player News
Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (shin) in lineup for Game 3 vs. Wizards
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(7:53 pm ET) Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (shin) was in the starting lineup for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Wizards. Lowry missed the final five minutes of a Game 2 loss due to a shin contusion.

Lowry has not done well offensively through the first two playoff games. He is averaging just 6.5 points and shooting 25 percent (5 for 20) from the field. He is averaging 4.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds.


Warriors F James McAdoo out, C David Lee in for Game 4
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6:32 pm ET) Two Warriors have received quite different statuses for their Game 4 battle Saturday in New Orleans.

Small forward James McAdoo (flu) has been downgraded from questionable to out. But center David Lee (back) has been removed from the injury report.

The former received some playing time down the stretch in the regular season. Lee played more significantly, but has yet to get into a playoff game.


Status of F Nikola Mirotic for Game 4 remains uncertain
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6:00 pm ET) The bruised left knee of Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic is improving, but the team remains unsure of his status for Game 4 of their playoff series against Milwaukee, The Associated Press has reported.

Mirotic might not be available until at least a likely second-round battle against Cleveland. The Bulls can complete a sweep of the Bucks on Saturday.

Tom Thibodeau said it was a good sign that Mirotic has been shooting, but admitted that he was doing no running. "We don't want to jump ahead," Thibodeau said. "If he's ready to play, he plays; if he's not ready to play, he'll sit. It's that simple."


Thibodeau: Bulls F Nikola Mirotic didn't run Friday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:38 pm ET) Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic (knee) increased his workload Friday, but was still unable to run, Tom Thibodeau told ESPN. It remains to be seen if he's available when Chicago attempts to complete a first-round playoff sweep of Milwaukee on Saturday.

Mirotic played 35 minutes combined in the first two games before going down.


Blazers C Kaman questionable, G Afflalo probable for Game 3
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:56 pm ET) The Trail Blazers have announced that center Chris Kaman (ankle sprain) has been listed as questionable while guard Arron Afflalo (right shoulder sprain) has been deemed probable for Game 3 of their playoff series Saturday against Memphis. 

Afflalo has yet to appear in the series while Kaman racked up seven points and six rebounds in 14 minutes in Game 1 before his absence in Game 2.


Bulls F Taj Gibson overcoming injuries to contribute
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:01 pm ET) Ankle and shoulder ailments have Bulls forward Taj Gibson hurting, but he's not about to limit himself in the playoffs. He was given a cortisone shot in his shoulder last week, but an injury to teammate and fellow forward Nikola Mirotic has forced him into extra playing time.

"It's tough," he told the Chicago Tribune. "But you still have to go out there and do your best."

Gibson snagged eight rebounds in the fourth quarter in the double-overtime defeat of Milwaukee in Game 3 that placed the Bulls on the verge of a sweep.

"I was just determined," an exhausted Gibson said. "It's the playoffs. You can't worry about injuries right now. I'm just trying to be there for my teammates any way I can."


Tony Parker in, Aron Baynes out for Spurs in Game 3
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:39 pm ET) The Spurs have announced that star guard Tony Parker will be on the court Friday when his team hosts the Clippers. He had been dealing with an Achilles ailment and was considered questionable.

Not all their news is good, however. Center Aron Baynes (sprained ankle) will not suit up for the game.

Parker has been greatly stifled so far in the series. He's averaging just 5.5 points per game and shooting 23 percent from the field.


Cavaliers star James criticizes critics of Kevin Love
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:13 pm ET) Cavaliers superstar LeBron James not only defended teammate Kevin Love after his team bumped off Boston in Game 3 Thursday night, but he criticized those who criticized Love in the process.

Love was an obvious subject after the win. He scored 23 points, nailed 6-of-10 from 3-point range, including two huge shots down the stretch, and added nine rebounds. He has been under the microscope all season as his statistics have suffered as the third option in Cleveland after a brilliant run in Minnesota.

"He's been highly criticized this year, and for what, I don't know why," James said via Masslive.com before a short pause. "I know why," he added. "I know why. I know."

When asked why, James was quick to reply. "For a team that finally gets together and they have a big three, they have to find someone," James said, referring to the media criticism of Love. "When I was in Miami, Chris Bosh was that guy at one point ... Kevin was the guy they tried to find and tear him down. One thing about him, he's always stayed positive. I've always believed in him."


Mavericks PG Devin Harris a go for Game 3
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:58 pm ET) Mavericks guard Devin Harris is ready to roll in Game 3 Friday night after missing Game 2 with a toe injury on his left foot, the Dallas Morning News has reported.

Harris will be part of a point guard rotation that will also include J.J. Barea and Raymond Felton. Down 2-0 in their series against Houston, the Mavericks will need one and all to perform well. Rick Carlisle seems unconcerned about that.

"The guys we have available are all experienced guys," he said. "...These guys have all been in the league a long time, they've all been starters, they've all had a lot of responsbility and they've all played in a lot of playoff games. So we'll get the job done with those guys. And all three of them will play off the ball a little bit, too."


Report: Knicks to strongly pursue Aldridge in free agency
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:49 pm ET) The Knicks will be going hard after Trail Blazers star forward LaMarcus Aldridge in free agency, according to NJ.com, which is speculating that he would give the team a much-needed scoring option along with Carmelo Anthony.

That duo, along with a possible draft pick such as University of Kentucky center Karl-Anthony Towns, would team up to create a potentially fine frontcourt.

The Knicks, however, must convince Aldridge to join what is now one of the worst teams in the NBA. ESPN is reporting that current title contenders San Antonio and Dallas will be chief contenders to land Aldridge.


 
 
 
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