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Waiver Wire: Matchups key for short week

Fantasy Writer
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Fantasy Week 9 (Feb. 20-26) will be a short one with the All Star game weekend on tap and most teams will only play two or three games during the scoring period. This will be either good or bad for some owners as an up or down performance could make or break their week, leaving little room for error. Looking at matchups this week could go a long way for winning the scoring period, and also riding the hot hand should pay dividends.

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This week we are looking at Gordon Hayward.

Hayward has opened some eyes with his recent play and ended Week 7 (Feb. 6-12) with a career-high 23 points against a tough Memphis squad. That ended a 10-game stretch in which he averaged 12.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists. While he has struggled to shoot the ball from beyond the arc, the 21-year-old has increased his shooting percentage from inside the line and continues to do a decent job of filling up the stat sheet on a nightly basis. He will face the Spurs at home and Minnesota on the road during Week 9 and should be able to keep his scoring up for a Utah backcourt that has struggled to get points for much of the year. Hayward is gaining value in larger formats so owners might want to scoop him up off waivers. He should only get better as the season goes on.

Guards

Add 'Em

Jordan Farmar, Nets
Owned: 29 percent
Analysis: Farmar is having a career campaign in his second season with the Nets and is averaging double-digit points for the first time. He ended Week 7 with a 12-6-7 performance against the Spurs and has been shooting the ball very well of late. He entered Week 8 having averaged 15.6 points with 4.2 assists in his previous five games, all while shooting 50 percent from the field and 46 percent from downtown. Farmar is providing the Nets with some much-needed scoring off the bench and it looks as though that should continue as long as he is seeing his minutes. While he does not contribute much in other categories, consider adding the 25-year-old in deeper Fantasy formats for Week 8.

Arron Afflalo, Nuggets
Owned: 55 percent
Analysis: After missing some time due to sprains to both his ankle and toe, Afflalo has come back with a vengeance and is starting to look like a viable Fantasy option once again. He scored a season-high 26 points on Feb. 9 and followed that up with back-to-back 20-point performances. Affalo struggled to find his shot earlier in the season but appears to be more comfortable with his injuries behind him, and has stepped up his shooting from downtown as well. After a breakout campaign a year ago, the 26-year-old looks primed to get back to that level so owners should definitely consider Afflalo a worthwhile add with the Timberwolves, Clippers and Spurs on the schedule for Week 9.

Avoid 'Em

Jordan Crawford, Wizards
Owned: 30 percent
Analysis: Crawford shined after going from the Hawks to the Wizards a year ago but he has not been as impressive this season. While he began Week 8 with a 21-point performance against Portland, it was his first time scoring in the 20s since Dec. 30, and also came in a game in which Washington scored 124 points. Nick Young, his main competition for playing time, dropped 35 in the same contest so don't expect the 23-year-old to steal minutes from him anytime soon. Based on his inconsistencies thus far, leave Crawford for deeper Fantasy formats heading into Week 9.

Evan Turner, 76ers
Owned: 64 percent
Analysis: Turner has made some impressive strides from his rookie campaign but his recent play has had some owners second-guessing his value in Fantasy. He started Week 8 with a four-point performance against the lowly Bobcats, which was his fifth straight game scoring in single digits. He shot 41 percent over that span -- including a mere 20 percent from 3-point land -- and contributed minimally in other categories. The former No. 2 overall pick is counted on for some scoring off the bench for the 76ers but his inconsistencies have hindered his value. Turner is not yet a lost cause but now is not the time to add him.

Forwards

Add 'Em

Ersan Ilyasova, Bucks
Owned: 68 percent
Analysis: Ilyasova became a hot add off waivers after his 17-and-16 performance against the Magic to end Week 7, and has stepped up his rebounding this season. He has posted four double-digit rebounding performances so far in February, with two double-doubles over that span. With Andrew Bogut out for the foreseeable future, the 24-year-old should continue to give the Bucks decent boards, and Ilyasova supplies enough scoring to make him valuable in larger Fantasy formats. With games against Orlando and Chicago on tap for Week 8, consider Ilyasova a worthwhile addition.

Corey Maggette, Bobcats
Owned: 62 percent
Analysis: Maggette has returned strong from his hamstring injury and is gaining steam in Fantasy. After missing 19 games, he increased his scoring in each of his first three contests back and capped it off with a 22-point performance to open Week 8. With the way Charlotte has struggled to score thus far, Maggette will have every opportunity to step up and now that he is healthy once again, it bodes well for his Fantasy value going forward. The 32-year-old plays just once during Week 9 -- against the Pacers on Feb. 22 -- but owners might want to grab him off waivers as post-All-Star break might be too late in some leagues.

Avoid 'Em

Reggie Williams, Bobcats
Owned: 36 percent
Analysis: Williams may have fooled owners with his back-to-back 21-point games in early February as he has not been nearly as impressive since then. A lot of that has to do with his shooting struggles, and the fact that Maggette has returned for the Bobcats. The 25-year-old showed in his days with the Warriors that he can put up some decent scoring on a consistent basis but he is not surrounded with nearly as much talent in Charlotte. Williams is shooting well below his career 46 percent from the field so leave him on waivers until he proves worthy of adding.

Josh Howard, Jazz
Owned: 13 percent
Analysis: Howard has seen his role diminish with the emergence of Hayward and his scoring has fallen off the map. He scored a combined 14 points during a five-game stretch that ended on Feb. 13, and shot a miserable 22 percent over that span. After putting up some decent point totals earlier in the season, the 31-year-old is on pace to have his worst campaign since his rookie year. Even owners in deeper Fantasy formats should ignore Howard at this point.

Centers

Add 'Em

Kendrick Perkins, Thunder
Owned: 29 percent
Analysis: Perkins ended Week 7 with his first double-double of the season and has become more active on offense of late. While he is not counted on for much scoring in Oklahoma City, he is putting back offensive rebounds and is even starting to get open for easy lay ups when Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant get double-teamed. Owners already know that his rebounding and defensive stats are valuable in Fantasy but consider scooping him up -- especially in Head-to-head formats -- with games against the Hornets, Celtics and Lakers on tap for Week 9.

Nikola Vucevic, 76ers
Owned: 11 percent
Analysis: Vucevic has been starting in Philadelphia with Spencer Hawes out and has earned some more playing time with his recent play. He scored 10 points to end Week 7 and opened up the following scoring period with an 8-and-10 performance against the Bobcats, playing 20-plus minutes in both of those contests. The 76ers are hoping Hawes can return sooner rather than later but they could choose to keep him out until after the All-Star break. That would be good news for Vucevic's Fantasy value so keep an eye on the situation going forward. Given how thin the center position is, consider Vucevic a viable add in deeper formats heading into Week 9.

Avoid 'Em

Jared Jeffries, Knicks
Owned: 4 percent
Analysis: Jeffries saw some decent run while Amar'e Stoudemire was out after the death of his brother, but his run in Fantasy appears to be over. After averaging 30.8 minutes per contest in his previous five games, he saw just 19 minutes during the first outing of Week 8, which was the game in which Stoudemire returned. He scored two points in the contest and will likely have a limited role as long as Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler are healthy. Owners that picked him up as a stopgap should feel free to drop Jeffries in all Fantasy formats.

Chuck Hayes, Kings
Owned: 27 percent
Analysis: After a breakout campaign a year ago, Hayes has been very disappointing and is currently mired in a bench role for the Kings. He has yet to score in double figures through 17 games this season, and has not posted double-digit rebounds since New Years' Day. Injuries have slowed him down a bunch but he has showed few signs of getting better as the season has progressed. With the way DeMarcus Cousins has been dominating the glass of late, it doesn't look as though he will be able to steal minutes anytime soon so leave Hayes on waivers for the time being.

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Player News
Heat gradually increasing Josh McRoberts' minutes
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(6:17 pm ET) The Heat are easing power forward Josh McRoberts back into the lineup, reports the South Florida Sun Sentinel. He's returned from toe surgery and a painful blister and has played 38 minutes over his past two outings.

"I think I'm getting more comfortable," he told the paper. "The more minutes that I'm on the floor, I'm more getting back into things."

McRoberts had four points, four rebounds, two assists in 21 minutes against Golden State on Tuesday. He had played 17 minutes the game before. McRoberts visits the Knicks on Sunday.


Raptors F Tyler Hansbrough able to practice fully
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:32 pm ET) Raptors forward Tyler Hansbrough (shoulder) returned to a full practice Thursday and has a chance to play Friday against the Mavericks, reports the National Post.

Melo considered doubtful to play Friday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:32 pm ET) The Knicks announced Thursday forward Carmelo Anthony is doubtful to play Friday against the Thunder due to back spasms. If sidelined, it will be the second straight game Anthony misses.

Kemba Walker joins list of injured Hornets players
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:21 pm ET) Although Hornets guard Kemba Walker was able to play through injury Wednesday against the Trail Blazers, it doesn't appear he will be active Friday against the Warriors. The Hornets announced Thursday that Walker is doubtful to play Friday because of a right thigh contusion.

The Hornets also listed guard P.J. Hairston as questionable due to a sprained right thumb, guard Gary Neal as doubtful due to a left shoulder sprain, forward Marvin Williams as doubtful with a left shoulder strain and forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as out due to a stress reaction in his right foot.


Bulls' Rose, Noah practice Thursday, but Friday status is still TBD
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:09 pm ET) Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said guard Derrick Rose (hamstring) and center Joakim Noah (eye, knee) practiced in full Thursday. However, Thibodeau said he will see how they feel Friday before determing their availability for Friday's game at Boston.

Rose said he "wants" to play Friday, but he will see how his injured hamstring reacts, according to The Boston Globe. He said he will play, if he feels ready.


Williams: Pelicans need to get Davis at least 20 shots per game
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:01 pm ET) Pelicans coach Monty Williams gathered his team Wednesday to express his frustration following a 99-89 loss Tuesday against the Kings, in which center Anthony Davis attempted just 12 shots and totaled a season-low 14 points.

Williams expressed Davis needs to be more involved on offense on a nightly basis to give New Orleans the best chance to win.

"Anthony (Davis) cannot be in a game and not touch the ball," Williams said after his meeting with players, per NOLA.com. "We have to have an effort to get him at least 20 shots every night. And that’s on me too. As much as I draw up plays for him, run the offense through him, the guys on the floor has to know it. When they don’t do it, I’ve got to make sure they get him the ball. Because he’s not a selfish player, he’s going to make the right plays. And our guys know that."

Davis is averaging 25.4 points per game, which trails only Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who is averaging 26.4 points per game. Davis leads the NBA with 3.4 blocks per game.


Spurs' Splitter (calf) out, Joseph (ankle) questionable for Friday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:53 pm ET) The Spurs announced Thursday forward Tiago Splitter (calf) has been ruled out for Friday's game vs. Sacramento. It will be the 12th straight game Splitter will miss.

Gaurd Cory Joseph is listed as questionable for Friday's game due to a sprained left ankle. Joseph has missed the last two games.


Clifford: Stephenson 'not a star,' but has 'talent to become a star'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:49 am ET) Hornets guard Lance Stephenson was benched for the fourth quarter for a second straight game during Wednesday's 105-97 loss against Portland, which extended the team's losing streak to seven games. 

After the loss, coach Steve Clifford said Stephenson's issues adjusting to his first season with the Hornets is partly due to him trying to live up to expectations.

"To be fair, one of the things that's made it more difficult for him is that he came here and people proclaimed him as the next superstar," Clifford said Wednesday, per ESPN. "He's not a star. He's a guy that has talent to become a star. To be a star in this league, you have to do it over years."

Stephenson has struggled to find a consistent rhythm and role in Clifford's offense. Stephenson is fifth on the team in scoring, averaging 9.7 points per game, which is a significant drop after averaing 13.8 points per game in 2013-14 for Indiana.

He is also shooting just 36.8 percent from the field after shooting 49.1 percent last season. Although, it's not all bad for Stephenson, who is averaging career highs in rebounding (8.1 rpg) and assists (5.4 apg).

"I've been around Kobe [Bryant] and [Tracy] McGrady. They were superstars. I was also around Allan Houston and Latrell Sprewell. They were two-, three-year All-Stars," Clifford said. "[Stephenson has] got a lot of work to get to that level. Everybody proclaimed him as this guy, and if you remember the first time we got him, I said he's got to develop into that."


Celtics guard Marcus Smart will not be back Friday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:49 am ET) Although Celtics rookie guard Marcus Smart returned to practice Wednesday, he will not return to action Friday against the Bulls, the team announced Thursday. It will be the eighth straight game Smart is sidelined.

Melo doesn't anticipate he will be out 'too long'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:33 am ET) Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, who missed his first game this season Wednesday against the Mavs due to back spasms, won't put a timetable on his return, he told the New York Post. However, he indicated he doesn't expect to miss too much time.

"I could barely walk or do anything yesterday so I’m doing a little better," Anthony said Wednesday. "I’m walking. They said these things are hard to gauge. I just don’t know how long I’ll be out.

"I don’t think it will be too long. I think the spasms will go away. But I’m not going to play with spasms."

Anthony likely will undergo tests once the team returns to New York. Coach Derek Fisher said the team doesn't have a clear diagnosis on Anthony and won't until his back starts to improve.

"I’ve never felt this way before," Anthony said. "Nothing happened that I can remember [in the Houston game]. I really tried to play through it, but then I just couldn’t move."


 
 
 
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