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Waiver Wire: Pushing for World Peace

Fantasy Writer
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With only a few weeks left until playoffs start in Fantasy, time is running out for owners to bulk up their rosters. Finding players who can make a difference at this point in the season is no easy task but luckily we are here to help you sift through the mess.

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There are a batch of players who look familiar on this week's column but it has been indicative of their up-and-down tendencies throughout the season.

This week we are looking at Metta World Peace.

The artist formerly known as Ron Artest got off to a terrible start this season and saw his stock in Fantasy plummet. However, he has begun scoring more points recently and looks to be on the verge of breaking out. He scored in double digits in back-to-back contests to end Week 10 (Feb. 27-Mar. 4) and filled up the stat sheet nicely while drawing the tough defensive assignment of Miami forward LeBron James on Mar. 4. Most of World Peace's struggles this season have been the result of his poor shooting percentage (36 percent through his first 36 games) but the 32-year-old entered Week 11 (Mar. 5-11) shooting 50 percent in his previous five contests, including 47 percent from beyond the arc. He should be able to keep things going against the Grizzlies, Hornets, Timberwolves and Jazz during Week 12 (Mar. 12-18) so consider World Peace a worthwhile addition.

Guards

Add 'Em

Iman Shumpert, Knicks
Owned: 44 percent
Analysis: Shumpert has looked good since returning from his knee injury and could see a larger role with the Knicks going forward. Coach Mike D'Antoni opened the battle for playing time at shooting guard and the 21-year-old will compete with Landry Fields and J.R. Smith. Shumpert scored in double figures with five steals and seven rebounds in his first two games back and should continue to see solid minutes off the bench as long as he is playing well. He showed earlier in the year that he can be a consistent contributor in Fantasy. And with his ability to fill up the stat sheet, owners in need of some guard help should look to Shumpert heading into Week 12.

Arron Afflalo, Nuggets
Owned: 76 percent
Analysis: Afflalo opened Week 11 with a career-high 32-point performance against the Kings and is starting to light it up from downtown for Denver. He is shooting 52 percent from 3-point land in his previous five games and is averaging 18.8 points with 3.2 rebounds and one steal over that span. Along with playing solid defense, the 26-year-old continues to develop into an offensive threat and is starting to thrive in the Nuggets' wide-open offense. He has scored in double figures in eight straight games and is showing no signs of slowing down. Afflalo is doing enough to help out owners in all Fantasy formats at this point.

Avoid 'Em

Richard Hamilton, Bulls
Owned: 51 percent
Analysis: Surprise, surprise Fantasy owners: Hamilton is dealing with another injury. The veteran injured his shoulder during the Week 11 opener and will likely miss more time. He has been limited to 16 games due this season to a myriad of injures and is averaging just 11.3 points with 3.1 assists and 2.4 rebounds. The Bulls thought Hamilton would be able to supply some complementary scoring to Derrick Rose this season but the 34-year-old has had a difficult time staying on the court and is not providing much for owners. Healthy or not, ignore Hamilton in all but deeper formats going forward.

Tony Allen, Grizzlies
Owned: 35 percent
Analysis: After going on a scoring binge for Fantasy owners, Allen has come back down to earth and is not producing as much of late. He entered Week 11 averaging 7.6 points with 3.6 rebounds and one steal in his previous five contests and shot just 39 percent from the field over that span. The 30-year-old is expected to continue to start and see solid minutes for the Grizzlies -- mostly because of his defensive prowess -- so there is always that chance he could turn things around. However, Memphis does not rely on his scoring and Allen's track record does not bode well for him becoming a more valuable Fantasy option. Leave Allen for deeper formats heading into Week 12.

Forwards

Add 'Em

Derrick Williams, Timberwolves
Owned: 62 percent
Analysis: Williams proved to be very inconsistent through the first half of the season but he has been looking better since the All-Star break and is starting to show why he was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 draft. He posted a 15-and-9 performance against the Clippers on Monday and capped off a five-game stretch during which he averaged 14.6 points and 5.6 rebounds. He shot 53 percent from both the field and downtown over that span and is seeing consistent minutes once again. The rookie appears to be finding his groove and could be a nice boost to rosters in deeper Fantasy formats down the stretch. With the Suns, Jazz, Lakers and Kings on the schedule for Week 12, consider scooping Williams up off waivers.

Brandon Bass, Celtics
Owned: 67 percent
Analysis: Bass has looked good since returning from a knee injury and is starting for the Celtics. He averaged 13.5 points with five rebounds and two blocks in his first four games back while shooting 52 percent. The 26-year-old has been a solid complement to an aging roster in Boston and is on pace for a career campaign. His ability to score in double digits on a consistent basis and haul in rebounds should help out owners in most Fantasy formats at this point, so grab Bass off waivers if you can.

Avoid 'Em

Dorell Wright, Warriors
Owned: 75 percent
Analysis: Wright has been very disappointing so far this season after averaging a career-high 16.4 points a season ago. His inconsistent scoring has left him averaging just 10 points per contest through 34 games, and it has fallen off even more of late. With his nine-point performance against the Wizards Monday, he is putting up just 6.2 points with 4.6 rebounds in his last five games and is shooting just 25 percent over that span. The 26-year-old is only valuable in Fantasy when shooting the ball well, so owners who had been hanging onto him in hopes that he would turn things around should feel free to cut ties with Wright.

Corey Brewer, Nuggets
Owned: 35 percent
Analysis: Brewer had been one of the more popular pick-ups off the waiver wire in recent weeks thanks to his solid play but it appears as though his run is coming to an end. Denver is getting Danilo Gallinari back from injury and the 26-year-old will likely see his role change drastically. Brewer did not see a ton of playing time earlier in the season when the roster was at full strength and while he could steal some playing time because of his defensive prowess, he will not be nearly as valuable in Fantasy. Add the fact that Wilson Chandler might also join the Nuggets and owners in most formats should consider cutting Brewer.

Centers

Add 'Em

Zaza Pachulia, Hawks
Owned: 61 percent
Analysis: Pachulia continues to be an up-and-down performer for the Hawks but his recent play has him back on the map in Fantasy. Over his last five games entering Week 11, he averaged 7.4 points with 10.4 rebounds and one steal. While Pachulia shot just 36 percent from the floor over that span, his rebounding could help out many owners at this point. Also, with Al Horford being ruled out for the rest of the season Pachulia will likely remain the starter down the stretch. With center being such a thin position in Fantasy, the 28-year-old has value in most formats and should be in for a productive Week 12. Pachulia will face off against the Nuggets, Clippers, Wizards and Cavaliers during the upcoming scoring period.

Brendan Haywood, Mavericks
Owned: 31 percent
Analysis: Haywood has started to show some life on offense and is beginning to catch the eye of some Fantasy owners. He put together some decent performances toward the end of February and scored in double figures on back-to-back nights on Feb. 28 and 29, his first time doing so all season. The 32-year-old sustained an ankle injury on Monday but it is not expected to sideline him for long, so owners shouldn't worry about it too much. Haywood has shown in the past the ability to be a viable option in Fantasy and should receive some looks in deeper formats heading into Week 12.

Avoid 'Em

Chris Wilcox, Celtics
Owned: 9 percent
Analysis: Wilcox has seen a larger role off the bench for the Celtics recently and is doing some solid work on the boards. He averaged eight rebounds with 8.5 points in the four games leading up to Week 11. With the way Kevin Garnett has thrived at the five-spot it is unlikely Wilcox will break the starting lineup anytime soon but he should continue to see some decent run while Jermaine O'Neal is out. However, the 29-year-old has been too sporadic with his production to make a difference in many Fantasy formats and since O'Neal is expected back within the next week or two, now is not the time to grab Wilcox off the waiver wire.

Nikola Vucevic, 76ers
Owned: 17 percent
Analysis: Vucevic was recently moved back into the starting lineup but did not do well his first time in the new role, as he scored just six points and hauled in three rebounds. The 7-footer has shown flashes of being a viable option in Fantasy throughout the season and has done a decent job while Spencer Hawes has been out. However, Vucevic usually does not see more than 20 minutes a night -- even as a starter -- and will see his role decrease once Hawes returns. Add the fact that Philadelphia will play Indiana, Miami and Chicago in Week 12 and Vucevic is not looking like someone to add.

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Player News
Andray Blatche heading to China
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:13 pm ET) Free-agent center Andray Blatche has signed a one-year deal with the Xinjiang Guanghui Flying Tigers in China. Blatche's deal with pay him almost $2.5 million, and he'll be able to rejoin an NBA team in March, Yahoo! Sports reports.

Report: Kings add Ramon Sessions
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:04 pm ET) The Kings have agreed to a two-year, $4.2-million deal with free-agent guard Ramon Sessions , Yahoo! Sports reports.

The team is reportedly using its bi-annual exception provision to sign Sessions, who averaged 12.3 points, 4.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 83 games between two teams last season.


Omer Asik ready to clean up in return to starting role
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Last season was a rough one for Omer Asik, who had to deal with returning to a reserve role after really shining as a starter the previous year. He should be much happier with his role this season, as the Pelicans acquired him this offseason with the intention of installing him as the starting center.

The Pelicans should have a fearsome frontcourt with Asik starting next to Anthony Davis, and Davis' presence should free Asik up to do the kind of work he excels at. Asik isn't a great offensive player, but he can be a dominant offensive rebounder, and should have many chances to clean up the boards with teams keying in on Davis offensively. Among players who have logged at least 5,000 minutes in the NBA, Asik is 22nd all-time in offensive rebounding percentage.

Asik had trouble staying healthy last season, but that was the first time he had ever missed a regular-season game in his career, so we can probably write that off as a fluke. He averaged a double-double with 1.1 blocks per game in 30.0 minutes per game two years ago, and should be capable of similar production as he returns to a starting role.

Asik should be viewed as a starting Fantasy option this season, though he may not have the upside of some other younger centers at this point. 


Tobias Harris' Fantasy value a mystery at this point
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Perception is a funny thing. Just ask Magic forward Tobias Harris, who enjoyed by far the most productive season of his career in 2013-14 but was somehow viewed as a Fantasy disappointment.

Part of that stemmed from Harris' issues with availability, as he missed 20 games and got off to a slow start to the season as a result. It really took until January for Harris to find his stride, but he averaged 15.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game from Jan. 1 on, without missing a contest.

Harris was probably better than the general perception of him a year ago, but the power of expectations hurt him. And now he enters his fourth season as something of a career crossroads, and it is hard to say just how Fantasy owners should approach him this season.

The Magic added Channing Frye and Aaron Gordon to the roster this season, further confusing what was already one of the most crowded frontcourts in the league. Harris can play both forward spots, but he is probably best used as a small-ball power forward; the presence of Frye, one of the league's elite stretch-fours certainly complicates matters for Harris, then.

At just 22, Harris still has a world of potential ahead of him. However, he probably profiles best as a reserve Fantasy option heading into the season, given concerns about his role.   


Hype may be too high for Giannis Antetokounmpo
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) No matter what he accomplishes in his second NBA season, Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is likely to be a historical outlier, given his age. The question is, how much of a leap can the now-20-year-old take next season.

Only 15 players in NBA history have logged as many minutes in a single season as a teenager as Antetokounmpo's 1,897, so he is occupying fairly rarified air already. His age is a big part of why he is considered a big-time breakout prospect for Fantasy purposes, but he has a long way to go from a statistical standpoint.

Antetokounmpo was good for a 19-year-old rookie, but his season averages of 6.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game left a lot to be desired. It is easy to dream about a Antetokounmpo taking a big step forward, but that next step is never guaranteed -- for every Anthony Davis there is a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist whose development follows a slower, less linear path. 

Antetokounmpo was very good -- for a 19-year-old. However, Fantasy owners don't get extra points, rebounds or assists if the degree of difficulty is higher, so you are betting on Giannis taking a huge step forward at the age of 20. Antetokounmpo has become something of an internet darling, and his play in Summer League and the FIBA World Cup dominated much of the offseason discussion, which only helped build the hype to potentially unsustainable levels. 

He is a lottery ticket, for sure, but he is one that might not be worth the cost at this point. 


Improved jump shot all Jimmy Butler needs
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Bulls guard Jimmy Butler had the breakout season many expected from him a year ago, but there were still plenty of flaws apparent in his game as he finished his third NBA season. With a better team around him, Butler just might have enough help to vault him to stardom.

Butler's jump shot abandoned him last season, especially after a toe injury forced him to miss 11 games in November and December. He was shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from three-point range prior to the injury, but connected on just 39.3 percent of his shots overall and 27.1 percent from three-point range from that point on.

We can blame Butler's season-long shooting slump on the injury or his increased offensive role, but he should have neither excuse available for him this season. Butler should be healthy, and the Bulls added plenty of offensive firepower this offseason, in the form of Pau Gasol and Doug McDermott, not to mention a hopefully healthy Derrick Rose. Butler took 154 shots off the dribble last season, per Stats.NBA.com, and made just 30.7 percent of them. With a better team around him, Butler should get many more opportunities to shoot with his feet set.

Butler has the skill set to be a tremendously efficient offensive player, given how often he bullies his way to the free-throw line. Last season, Butler filled up the box score extremely well, but his poor shooting limited his Fantasy value somewhat. If a new role helps his efficiency, he could be one of the very best guards in the league in category-based formats. 


Lance Stephenson set for bigger role in new setting
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Though there were fits and starts, Lance Stephenson finally began to live up to his considerable promise last season. Now in a new home in Charlotte, will Stephenson take another step forward in 2014-15?

By the end of last season, the Pacers were a mess, and Stephenson caught plenty of the blame for that. Still, he might have been arguably the team's most consistent player throughout the season, averaging between 25.8 and 29.7 Fantasy points per game from before and after the All-Star break as well as the playoffs. For as much of a mess as that team was, Stephenson emerged as something of a rock, at least for Fantasy purposes.

The Hornets are actually built in a somewhat similar way to the Pacers, so there wont' be much of a stylistic shift for Stephenson to get used to. Per MySynergySports.com, 11.8 percent of the then-Bobcats' possessions ended in post-ups, actually down from the 13.2 percent mark the Pacers' posted. Stephenson struggled at times with his post-entry passing, though his off-target feeds might find their mark more often when being lobbed in to the soft hands of Al Jefferson, as opposed to Roy Hibbert.

The Hornets might lean even more heavily on Stephenson than the Pacers did, since Indiana liked to spread the ball around with their starting five. The Hornets, on the other hand, look to be extremely top-heavy, and Stephenson will get plenty of chances to be the second or third option. We have him projected for 29.1 Fantasy points per game, and consider Stephenson a borderline top-50 Fantasy option for this season.  


Move to Houston won't alter Trevor Ariza's trajectory
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Trevor Ariza parlayed a career-year into a lucrative free-agency contract with the Rockets this offseason -- stop me if you've heard this story before.

Ariza was largely a disappointment in his first stint with the Rockets, though it did lead him to the best per-game numbers of his career. Still, Ariza was obviously miscast as a primary offensive option the last time he was in Houston, and that won't be a problem this time around.

Ariza joins a Rockets team with two established stars, and will likely spend much of his time trying to fill the departed Chandler Parsons' role. That should suit him nicely, as Ariza has just enough of an off-the-bounce game to serve as the team's third ballhandler when the shot clock gets deep. Ariza attempted 11.1 field-goal attempts per game last season, and should see a boost given Parsons' role; he attempted 13.3 shots per game.

Ariza's improved three-point shot seems legitimate, as he is shooting 38.6 percent from long range over 738 attempts since 2012. However, he will no longer have John Wall feeding him for juicy corner 3-pointers; Wall to Ariza was the league's most productive corner-three combination last season. His shooting numbers may take a hit with his move.

Even acknowledging the loss of Wall's help, we know the Houston offense is set up to get every player the most efficient shots possible, so Ariza shouldn't see much of a dip in his efficiency. His ability to fill up the box score makes him a perfect No. 2 option at forward in category-based leagues, especially now that he is a high-volume shooter. 


Despite new role, don't write off Isaiah Thomas entirely
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Suns guard Isaiah Thomas might see one of the biggest dropoffs in his Fantasy value from last season to this, as he joins the crowded Suns' backcourt.

The Suns might have three All-Star caliber guards in the backcourt now, with Thomas likely to backup Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe this season. That should put a serious dent in Thomas' value; Thomas finished 13th in Fantasy scoring among guards a year ago, but is projected to finish just 43rd this season.

Still, Thomas is definitely someone you'll want to add to your team when drafting, and almost certainly before the rest of the No. 4-type guards he is grouped with. Thomas is likely to see his numbers fall off from the 20.3 points and 6.3 assists he averaged a year ago, at least at first. However, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him end up starting upwards of 25 games throughout the year, given Bledsoe's injury-proneness. Bledsoe has missed at least 25 games in two of the last three seasons for knee issues.

Thomas probably profiles as more of a bench option for Fantasy purposes next season, but you'll be targeting him much earlier than nearly any other reserve. His upside as a handcuff option for either Bledsoe or Dragic is sky-high, and will make him well worth your attention on Draft Day. 


Eric Gordon cleared for contact
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Pelicans guard Eric Gordon has been cleared to take part in full-contact offseason drills ahead of training camp, The Times-Picayune reports.

Gordon underwent season-ending knee surgery last April, but is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season. 


 
 
 
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