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Waiver Wire: Time for reinforcements

Fantasy Writer
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The playoffs have arrived for most Fantasy owners so let's make those waiver wire moves count. With such little margin of error, grabbing guys early -- instead of waiting for Monday to roll around -- could make the difference between getting bounced out in the first round and hoisting the championship trophy.

Keep in mind also that some roles have changed post-trade deadline and teams that are out of contention will look to see what they have moving forward.

This week we are looking at Mike Dunleavy.

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Dunleavy is having a resurgent campaign in his first season with the Bucks and has really picked up his scoring in recent weeks. He scored 15 points against the Trail Blazers on Tuesday, which was the sixth straight game he scored in double figures. He averaged 19.3 points with 4.7 assists and 3.5 rebounds over that span while seeing some solid minutes off the bench.

Even with the addition of Monta Ellis, the 31-year-old has not seen at dip in his production and should be able to keep things going heading into Week 14 (March 26-April 1).

With New York, Atlanta, Cleveland and Memphis on the schedule for the upcoming scoring period, consider Dunleavy a worthwhile addition in the majority of Fantasy formats.

Guards

Add 'Em

Roddy Beaubois, Mavericks
Owned: 35 percent
Analysis: Beaubois has picked up his production again in Dallas and is looking good heading into the Fantasy playoffs. He averaged 15 points with five rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.6 steals during a five-game span that ended on Monday and shot an impressive 55 percent from the field over that span. While he continues to struggle from beyond the arc, the 24-year-old is back to seeing 30-plus minutes a game and his all-around production should be helping out more owners at this point. The return of Delonte West will cut into his playing time but since that is not expected for another week or so, Beaubois can be utilized in many Fantasy formats heading into Week 14.

Courtney Lee, Rockets
Owned: 12 percent
Analysis: Lee has played well in place of the injured Kevin Martin and is putting up some of his best point totals of the season. His 23-point performance against the Lakers on Tuesday capped off a five-game stretch in which he averaged 16 points with 4.4 rebounds and a steal. The former Hilltopper also shot 43 percent from beyond the arc over that span and should be able to see some solid run down the stretch. Martin is expected to return to the starting lineup once healthy but with the way he has struggled all season long, Lee still should be able to help out owners in deeper Fantasy formats.

Avoid 'Em

Landry Fields, Knicks
Owned: 55 percent
Analysis: Fields showed some signs of life by scoring in double figures in three straight but since then has not done much for the Knicks. He posted just six points against the lowly Raptors on Tuesday, which ended a five-game stretch in which he averaged seven points with 3.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals. New York is loaded with a ton of players who can create on their own and the 23-year-old has seen his minutes go down since J.R. Smith arrived in New York. While he is a decent source for steals and has the potential to put together a couple of decent performances, owners should leave Fields on waivers heading into the Fantasy playoffs.

Randy Foye, Clippers
Owned: 25 percent
Analysis: After starting 21 straight games for the Clippers, Foye did not play at all on Monday against the Pacers as he gave way to the newly-acquired Nick Young. He had scored in double figures in the two games prior but apparently coach Vinny Del Negro felt like shaking up the lineup. This could be a problem for the 28-year-old down the stretch as Young proved in his days with the Wizards that he can score in bunches, so owners should keep a close eye on the situation. Foye is averaging a career-low 9.2 points this season so leave him on waivers in all but deeper formats at this point.

Forwards

Add 'Em

Wilson Chandler, Nuggets
Owned: 64 percent
Analysis: Chandler made his season debut for the Nuggets on Monday and did a solid job of filling up the stat sheet. He scored 13 points with four rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block in 28 minutes off the bench. The 24-year-old has jumped to the starting lineup since then and should be able to post numbers similar to what owners saw over the last three seasons. Chandler averaged 15.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists with the Knicks and Nuggets last season, so consider him a solid addition in most Fantasy formats.

Richard Jefferson, Warriors
Owned: 41 percent
Analysis: Jefferson struggled in his Warriors' debut but showed with his 19-point performance on Monday that he could be a solid fit for his new team. He is expected to see a ton of playing time in Golden State and should be able to improve on the numbers he posted in San Antonio. The 31-year-old has become a better shooter from 3-point land the last few seasons and that is likely how he will get most of his points down the stretch. He will also face off against the Lakers (twice), Hornets and Nets during Week 14, so owners in need of some help at forward should considering grabbing Jefferson.

Avoid 'Em

Gustavo Ayon, Hornets
Owned: 26 percent
Analysis: Ayon has struggled since returning from a foot injury and is not putting up the numbers he had earlier in the month. His 8-and-9 performance on Saturday capped off a five-game stretch in which he averaged just 7.6 points with 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals. While he continues to see about 30 minutes per contest, the 26-year-old needs to pick up his scoring and start rebounding on a more consistent basis to make a difference in Fantasy. The playoffs are not the time to take a chance on a player, so leave Ayon on waivers.

Udonis Haslem, Heat
Owned: 35 percent
Analysis: Haslem scored a season-high 15 points with nine rebounds on Tuesday against the Suns but owners should not get too high on the Miami native just yet. While it was the second time in three games he scored in double figures, most teams post big numbers against Phoenix. The 31-year-old has yet to show any kind of consistency in Fantasy so far this season as the 'Big Three' account for most of the production for the Heat. Haslem also has some tough matchups in Week 14 with Indiana, Dallas, Toronto and Boston on the schedule, so leave him for the deepest of Fantasy formats.

Centers

Add 'Em

Zaza Pachulia, Hawks

Owned: 70 percent
Analysis: Pachulia has made multiple appearances in this column throughout the year as his up-and-down play has driven some owners crazy. But the 28-year-old is playing well again for the Hawks and should be able to keep things going with Milwaukee, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia on the schedule for Week 14. Pachulia has recorded six double-doubles so far in March, including posting a 16-and-13 line against the Celtics on Monday. That ended a five-game stretch in which he averaged 10.6 points with 11.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals, so owners in need of some help at center should definitely grab Pachulia for the playoffs.

Ian Mahinmi, Mavericks
Owned: 10 percent
Analysis: Mahinmi has slid back into the starting lineup with Brendan Haywood injured and is starting to show some life in Fantasy again. His 11-point contest against the Nuggets on Monday capped off a five-game stretch in which he averaged 7.8 points and 6.2 rebounds. While he got into a bit of foul trouble in those contests, the 25-year-old shot 62 percent over that span and appears to be trending up in Fantasy. He proved earlier in the year that he can be a low-end producer, so owners in deeper formats should consider adding Mahinmi, especially at such a thin position.

Avoid 'Em

Marcus Camby, Rockets
Owned: 65 percent
Analysis: Camby was shipped to the Rockets at the trade deadline and will now split time at center with Samuel Dalembert down the stretch. He scored a combined 12 points with 12 rebounds and one block in his first two games in Houston and is not expected to do a ton for owners. It appears as though the 37-year-old has had his long run in Fantasy come to an end,.

Byron Mullens, Bobcats
Owned: 20 percent
Analysis: With the Bobcats trying to salvage any win they can this late in the season, Mullens continues to see an inconsistent role off the bench as the team has turned to Bismack Biyombo. With his 4-point performance on Monday, Mullens is averaging just 5.2 points and 2.2 rebounds in his last five contests while shooting 40 percent over that span. The 23-year-old has shown flashes of being a viable option in Fantasy this season and could be on the rise in the years to come but for the rest of the 2011-12 campaign, leave Mullens on waivers in the majority of Fantasy formats.

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Player News
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. 


Jrue Holiday cleared for contact ahead of camp
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday was able to participate in full-contact offseason drills last week, the first time he has done so since undergoing season-ending surgery last January.

"Getting out playing has been a joy," Holiday told The Times-Picayune. "I've been running and jumping and stuff, but getting my rhythm back on the court is definitely a big thing right now for me."

The Pelicans open training camp Sept. 30, and Holiday is not expected to have any limitations as the team prepares for the start of the season. Holiday averaged 14.3 points, 7.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game last season prior to the injury.


Kent Bazemore focused on conditioning in recovery
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Newly signed Hawks guard Kent Bazemore did not pick up a basketball until August, preferring to focus on conditioning in his recovery from foot surgery in April.

"I think the injury was definitely a blessing," he told the Daily Press, "because I was able to step away from the game of basketball. I took myself out of my element all summer. I did stuff I'm not used to doing."

Bazemore signed a two-year deal with the Hawks this offseason, and is expected to compete for playing time on the wing immediately, as he is fully recovered from the surgery. 


 
 
 
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