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Waiver wire: Look to rookies for extra punch

Fantasy Writer
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With the unofficial first half of the season at its end, it is time to think about strengthening your roster for the stretch run. Players that missed some time before the All-Star break due to injury appear to be getting healthier and some teams are playing their best ball at this point. With the way the condensed scheduled has handicapped some teams -- especially those with a ton of veterans -- we'll likely see the pace pick up in the second half, which should do wonders for their value in Fantasy.

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Also, rookies that did not see a ton of playing time earlier in the year are starting to get some run as their respective clubs fall out of contention.

This week we are looking at Tristan Thompson.

Thompson has looked more comfortable since returning from an ankle injury and is seeing some more run with Anderson Varejao out. He ended Week 8 (Feb. 13-19) by scoring in double digits in back-to-back games, including recording his first career double-double against the Kings on Feb. 19. He leads all rookies with 5.5 rebounds per game and is blocking 1.3 shots and scoring 7.1 points per game through 23 contests. Thompson, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2011 draft, has opened coach Byron Scott's eyes and should see his minutes increase in the second half with Cleveland not playing for much. While his free-throw shooting has not been that impressive, Thompson is definitely worth a look in deeper Fantasy formats heading into Week 10 (Feb. 27-Mar. 4), as well as some larger leagues.

Guards

Add 'Em

Isaiah Thomas, Kings
Owned: 64 percent
Analysis: Thomas has been one of the hottest adds off the waiver wire over the last week or so and with good reason. He scored a season-high 24 points against a tough Heat defense to begin Week 9, which capped off a five-game stretch in which he averaged 16.6 points with 5.6 assists and 3.6 rebounds. He also shot nearly 53 percent over that span, including a solid 52 percent from downtown. The rookie will likely continue to start for the Kings as long as he is playing well and he has a pretty favorable schedule on tap for Week 10. With the Jazz, Clippers, Lakers and Suns due up, consider Thomas a worthy addition in most Fantasy leagues.

Tony Allen, Grizzlies
Owned: 47 percent
Analysis: Allen has looked good since returning from injuries to both his hip and knee and is proving to be more than just a defensive presence in Memphis. He averaged 12.8 points with four rebounds and 2.5 steals during a six-game stretch that ended on Feb. 20, and shot 51 percent from the field over that span. The 30-year-old has always been known for his ability to fill up the stat sheet but usually does not post points like this, so owners should take advantage as long he is putting up double-digit scoring. Fantasy owners in deeper formats should definitely consider grabbing Allen off waivers.

Avoid 'Em

C.J. Watson, Bulls
Owned: 18 percent
Analysis: Watson filled in admirably while Derrick Rose was out but now that the reigning MVP has returned, his production is expected to take a big hit. His days of seeing nearly 30 minutes per game are likely over as he returns to the bench in Chicago. Watson averaged 12 points with 3.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals during the five-game stretch Rose was sidelined. And while he has been shooting the ball better this season -- especially from beyond the arc -- owners should not expect the same type of production. The 27-year-old remains a decent handcuff option in deeper formats but owners would be wise to avoid Watson heading into Week 10.

Jimmer Fredette, Kings
Owned: 34 percent
Analysis: After being taken 10th overall in the 2011 draft, Fredette has struggled to adjust to the NBA and has not done much for owners of late. While he was able to do some scoring when Marcus Thornton was banged up, fellow rookie Thomas has been stealing his minutes recently, leaving Fredette with minimal playing time. He did not see the court in Sacramento's first game of Week 9 and is averaging just 6.3 points through seven games in February. The 22-year-old remains a viable handcuff option but owners in deeper formats should not be looking to add Fredette at this point.

Forwards

Add 'Em

Gustavo Ayon, Hornets
Owned: 52 percent
Analysis: Due to a rash of injuries in the frontcourt for the Hornets, Ayon has made the most of his playing time and is starting to gain some momentum in Fantasy. He posted back-to-back double-doubles to end Week 8 and continues to see significant minutes. He also has done a decent job with his defensive numbers. The rookie can be sporadic with his scoring at times but his ability to rebound and redirect shots should continue to play well alongside Chris Kaman. Keep in mind that his role might will likely change once Emeka Okafor, Jason Smith and Carl Landry return from injury but in the meantime, consider Ayon a viable pickup in Fantasy.

Ekpe Udoh, Warriors
Owned: 17 percent
Analysis: Udoh received his first start of the season to open up Week 9 and excelled with a season-high 19 points. He also hauled in eight rebounds and blocked two shots while playing 38 minutes. While he suffered a minor knee injury in the closing minutes of the contest, he impressed with his performance and could see a larger role going forward. Coach Mark Jackson is considering moving the 24-year-old into the starting lineup on a regular basis, which would do wonders for Udoh's Fantasy value. With the way Andris Biedrins has struggled all season it looks as though Udoh is about to see a boost, so owners in deeper formats should consider grabbing him with Indiana, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Toronto on the schedule for Week 10.

Avoid 'Em

C.J. Miles, Jazz
Owned: 18 percent
Analysis: After a nice little run, Miles has not produced much for owners of late, reulting in a loss in Fantasy value. He opened Week 9 with a 13-point performance against the Spurs but it was his first time scoring in double figures since Feb. 7, and just his third time doing so in 12 February games. Many thought he would be able to take his game to the next level this season -- after averaging a career-high 12.8 points a season ago -- but shooting just 27 percent from downtown has hindered his effectiveness. Until he shows the ability to be more consistent, leave Miles on waivers in the majority of Fantasy formats.

Chase Budinger, Rockets
Owned: 16 percent
Analysis: Budinger has seen his role all but dry up in Houston as he sat out for the second time in the previous three contests to begin Week 9. Since scoring a season-high 22 points on Feb. 8, he has averaged just 5.8 points with 3.2 rebounds in the last five games and is not seeing many minutes off the bench. He had played well after being removed from the starting lineup initially but his recent production suggests he has a long way to go before becoming a viable option in Fantasy again. While things could always change in the second half, leave Budinger on waivers in most formats at this point.

Centers

Add 'Em

Semih Erden, Cavaliers
Owned 10 percent
Analysis: Erden opened some eyes with an 18-and-8 performance against the Pacers on Feb. 15 and has moved to the starting lineup since Varejao went down. He has not been nearly as impressive since then, with a wrist injury hindering him a bit, but the potential is there. The 25-year-old has the skill set to put up some decent scoring and rebounding in the short term and with center being a weak position in Fantasy, Erden is definitely worth a look. Consider grabbing the seven-footer off waivers with Boston, New York, Chicago and Washington on the schedule for Week 10.

Matt Bonner, Spurs
Owned: 18 percent
Analysis: We suggested picking up Bonner a couple of weeks ago and his performance since then has made him even more attractive in Fantasy. He began Week 9 with a 20-point performance -- setting a season high -- and marked the fourth straight game he scored in double figures. He shot 72 percent from 3-point land during that stretch and averaged three rebounds. While he does not hit the boards the way a typical center would, he shoots the ball from downtown more often than your average big man and the injury to Tiago Splitter should earn Bonner some decent playing time going forward. Owners in deeper and category-based formats should consider the 31-year-old worth a look heading into Week 10.

Avoid 'Em

Andris Biedrins, Warriors
Owned: 7 percent
Analysis: Biedrins continues to have the worst campaign of his career and it looks as though he could be losing his starting job to Udoh in the near future. Udoh performed very well when he started for him on Monday and could push the 25-year-old to the bench. He's averaging 17 minutes per contest thus far and putting up 2.4 points with 4.6 rebounds, which has not been a huge help to owners anyway. Even if he retains his spot in the starting lineup, leave Biedrins on waivers in the majority of Fantasy leagues.

Greg Oden, Trail Blazers
Owned: 7 percent
Analysis: Oden's injury-plagued career continues as he underwent yet another surgery on his knee and is expected to miss the remainder of the season. He has played just 82 games since being taken No. 1 overall in the 2007 draft and has not played in a single game since the 2009-10 campaign. Owners who had been holding onto him in hopes that he would return at some point this season should cut ties with the 24-year-old as his fifth knee surgery could put an end to Oden's career.

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Player News
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."


Tyson Chandler pulls down 25 rebounds vs. former team
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:28 am ET) Mavericks center Tyson Chandler set season highs with 17 points and 25 rebounds during a 109-102 win Wednesday against the Knicks, who he played for over the previous three seasons.

"At the beginning of the year, you always look at the calendar and mark it," said Chandler, who finished three rebounds shy of the career high he had with the Knicks exactly two years earlier against Brooklyn, per The Associated Press. "But honestly once you get caught up in the season, it's not as big as it's made out to be."

Chandler is averaging 10.8 points and 11.7 rebounds in 14 November games. He's surpassed double digits in rebounds nine times in November. Wednesday was the first time this season he totaled more than 20 rebounds.


Lakers SG Kobe Bryant scores team-high 22 vs. Grizzlies
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:11 am ET) Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant scored a team-high 22 points on 5 of 15 shooting, including 2 of 5 shooting from three-point range, in his team's 99-93 loss to the Grizzlies Wednesday.

Bryant sank all 10 of his free throws to help boost his scoring total on a night where he struggled with a low shooting percentage for the second time in three games. He only managed to pick up four rebounds and two assists in 35 minutes in the loss, the team's third straight. The Lakers will look to get back on track Friday against the Timberwolves.


Grizzlies C Marc Gasol doubles up vs. Lakers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:02 am ET) Grizzlies center Marc Gasol scored 19 points on 5 of 10 shooting from the field and 9 of 10 shooting from the free-throw line while grabbing 11 rebounds in his team's 99-93 win over the Lakers Wednesday.

Gasol has picked up double-doubles in three of his last four games, but he was unable to rack up 30 points for the third straight game Wednesday. He did fill out his line with four assists, three blocks and two steals in his 37 minutes of action. The Grizzlies take a three-game winning streak into Portland Friday.


 
 
 
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