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Waiver Wire: Your head against a Wall

Fantasy Writer
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The Wizards have been a mess all season without John Wall, their injured franchise player who has yet to play due to a knee injury. That injury has forced them to consider some less-than-optimal options at the point guard position, first with A.J. Price running the show. He started strong, but tailed off quickly and then suffered a fractured hand. So he's out.

Then they turned to shooting guard Jordan Crawford, a notorious shoot-first gunner, to run the show on offense. Surprisingly, the early returns have actually been pretty good. The 24-year-old was on a roll before being moved into the starting lineup over the last few days, and he has been able to keep it up. Crawford has scored at least 14 points in each of the last eight games and actually has done a pretty decent job of running the offense.

Crawford is averaging 19.5 points and 4.4 assists per game over the last eight games and has barely turned the ball over -- just 1.4 times per game. As usual, Crawford has needed a lot of shots to get his points (16.9 per game over the last eight games), but Fantasy owners don't seem care too much about that. He has been added in 25 percent of CBSSports.com Fantasy basketball leagues over the last week as of Wednesday, with his ownership spiking to 84 percent.

As long as Price and Wall remain out, it seems likely Crawford will continue getting chances to put up big numbers for what is otherwise a struggling offense. Crawford ranked 24th among all guards in Fantasy scoring in Week 6 and he played just three games during the scoring period -- only six players ahead of him played fewer than four games.

Fantasy owners have already scooped Crawford up in most formats, so you probably already missed out if you haven't attempted to grab him yet. That is a decision Crawford might make you regret.

Most Added Guards

Marco Belinelli, Bulls: Belinelli's Fantasy value has increased almost exclusively due to one fact -- Tom Thibodeau hates his bench. When a player falls out of Thibodeau's favor, he might not be able to see the sun because of how buried he is on the depth chart. Coincidentally, that fact also explains why Belinelli was owned in just five percent of leagues as of a week ago, as he struggled to find playing time prior to Richard Hamilton's injury. That is not a concern anymore, as Belinelli has been on the floor for 79.2 percent of the team's minutes over the last five games since Hamilton went down with a plantar fasciitis injury. He has scored in double figures in each of the last four games and is worth adding in most Fantasy formats, as long as Hamilton is out. (46 percent owned; +41 percent)

Chris Duhon, Lakers: Duhon entered the season as the third point guard on the depth chart, but injuries to Steve Blake and Steve Nash have forced Duhon into playing a ton of minutes for the Lakers recently. That explains the increase in his Fantasy value recently, as he is averaging 7.4 points and 6.6 assists per game over the last five. Duhon should be able to put up a decent amount of assists just by having the ball in his hands on a team that has scored more than 100 points pretty routinely this season. Just know that Duhon's value will return to zero as soon as Nash returns, though we do not know exactly when that will happen. (18 percent owned; +16 percent)

Rodney Stuckey, Pistons: Stuckey got off to an unbelievably slow start this season, shooting just 23.6 percent from the field over the first seven games of the season. That start prompted many owners to consider dropping Stuckey, especially once the Pistons moved him to the bench and put Kyle Singler in the starting lineup. Instead of burying Stuckey, that move seems to have sparked him. In 15 games coming off the bench, Stuckey is averaging 12.3 points and 4.1 assists per game, while shooting 42.6 percent from the field. If Stuckey was dropped in your league, his owner probably regrets that move at this point, as he has turned things around. Stuckey is still available in one-fifth of CBSSports.com leagues, and after scoring in double figures in five straight games he's worth a waiver claim. (80 percent owned; +15 percent)

Most Added Forwards

Corey Brewer, Nuggets: Brewer entered the season shooting just 30.0 percent from three-point range in his career and he had generally tried to avoid taking shots from distance as a result. He put in work in the offseason to improve his outside shot and he has surprisingly emerged as a spot-up weapon for a Nuggets team badly in need of spacing at times. He is attempting a career-high 4.1 three-pointers per game and has seen his scoring rise to 11.7 per game as a result of the presence of this newfound weapon. Brewer has been smart about his attempts, which helps his form stay consistent. Of his 90 three-point attempts this season, 73 have been on spot-up opportunities and he is shooting 41.1 percent on those tries. He shoots just 17.6 percent on the remainder of his long-range shots. Brewer has scored in double figures in seven of the last eight games, however, the depth in Denver makes it difficult to make projections with any amount of confidence. Ride him while he is hot and seeing minutes, though. (39 percent owned; +15 percent)

John Salmons, Kings: The Kings are lost at times offensively, which has created an odd sight recently -- John Salmons, "point forward." Salmons, who has essentially been irrelevant in Fantasy over the last two seasons, has suddenly seen his value spike. He's playing about 30 minutes per game and has averaged 9.4 points and 6.0 assists over the last five games. The Kings have gone 3-2 in this span, which obviously means something about this unorthodox lineup construction is working. The Kings have essentially no pure point guards on the floor most of the time, given Isaiah Thomas' regression following a promising season. With the ball in his hands so much, Salmons might be worth an add. However, he is available in 82 percent of leagues, so taking a wait-and-see approach is still the best course of action, as you have time. (18 percent owned; +15 percent)

C.J. Miles, Cavaliers: For the first 12 games of the season, Miles was largely a non-factor for the Cavaliers, averaging just 5.8 points per game, while scoring in double figures in just three games. In short, he looked a lot like the C.J. Miles we have seen through the first seven seasons of his disappointing career. I'm not sure what to make of his recent run, which has seen him reach double digits four games in a row -- including a pair of 28-point games Tuesday and Wednesday, both of which are his best scoring days since March 2011. Miles finds himself back in the starting lineup now with Dion Waiters still out with an ankle injury. With Miles able to play both wing positions, it remains to be seen whether his role will completely fall off when Waiters comes back. Whether this is just a hot streak remains to be seen, but I would put in a waiver-wire bid for Miles if I were in need of some scoring. (12 percent owned; +10 percent)

Most Added Centers

Andray Blatche, Nets: To re-appropriate David Kahn's hilarious description of Darko Milicic from a few years back, Blatche has been "manna from heaven" for Fantasy owners recently. Since Brook Lopez left a game against the Celtics in the first half with a foot strain on Nov. 28, Blatche has been arguably one of the 10 most productive centers in Fantasy. He's averaging 18.0 points and 9.4 rebounds per game in those seven contests since Lopez suffered the injury. Lopez is on the verge of returning and may even have played by the time this column runs, so the question moving forward will be how the Nets juggle both Lopez and the resurgent Blatche in the rotation. Blatche has played almost exclusively at the center position and it is not clear whether the Nets think Lopez and Blatche can play together -- none of Blatche's 20 most common lineups this season have also featured Lopez on the floor. If Brooklyn views Blatche as a center only, then his playing time might be limited to just 18-20 minutes per game once Lopez returns, which might mean his value has already peaked. (82 percent owned; +22 percent)

Nikola Vucevic, Magic: Vucevic saw a small bump in ownership this week and that is largely the result of a three-game stretch in which he posted 43 rebounds and 37 points, while blocking eight shots total. When you remove that seeming outlier, his production remains solid, but inconsistent, as he continues to average close to a double-double per game. Vucevic has likely arrived as a player who is worth owning in the majority of Fantasy leagues, but I'm not sure how much more upside he has. Vucevic is already averaging 29.4 minutes per game, so I would not expect his playing time to increase too much moving forward. (82 percent owned; +8 percent)

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Player News
Nuggets C Jusuf Nurkic held scoreless vs. Grizzlies
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) Nuggets center Jusuf Nurkic was held scoreless Thursday while going 0 for 7 from the field in his team's 99-69 loss to the Grizzlies.

No Nuggets player was able to score more than 10 points in the blowout loss, though the team was able to empty the bench and give at least 12 minutes of action to all 13 active players. IN addition to being the only Denver player to not score in the loss, Nurkic racked up six rebounds, one assist and one steal in 22 minutes Thursday. He'll square off with the Hornets Saturday.


Kings PF Carl Landry (wrist) probable Friday vs. Cavaliers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) Kings power forward Carl Landry is listed as probable for Friday's game against the Cavaliers due to a right wrist sprain.

Landry was also listed as probable Wednesday before racking up 14 points, seven rebounds and two assists in 23 minutes. He had missed the team's previous five games with the wrist issue.

The Kings are 8 1/2-point underdogs in Cleveland Friday.


Magic C Nikola Vucevic doubles up vs. Bucks Thursday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) Magic center Nikola Vucevic scored 17 points on 8 of 19 shooting while hauling in 14 rebounds in his team's 115-100 loss to the Bucks Thursday.

The double-double was Vucevic's 10th in 14 games this month and came despite playing a January-low 26 minutes in the loss, his team's seventh straight. He also kicked in one assist Thursday. The Magic will look to turn things around Saturday against the Mavericks.


Magic SG Victor Oladipo scores team-high 21 vs. Bucks
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) Magic shooting guard Victor Oladipo scored a team-high 21 points on 6 of 17 shooting in his team's 115-100 loss to the Bucks Thursday.

Oladipo was successful on nine of his 11 free-throw attempts, both numbers season highs, helping to boost his final point total. He also tallied five rebounds, one assist and one steal in 34 minutes. The Magic will square off with the Mavericks Saturday.


Bucks PG Jerryd Bayless scores team-high 19 vs. Magic
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) Bucks point guard Jerryd Bayless scored a team-high 19 points on 6 of 9 shooting, including 2 of 2 shooting from three-point range, in his team's 115-100 win over the Magic Thursday.

Bayless played just 20 minutes off the bench en route to his third straight game with at least 15 points scored. He also chipped in three steals, two rebounds and one assist in the win. The Bucks will face the Blazers Saturday.


Bucks C John Henson doubles up vs. Magic Thursday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) Bucks center John Henson scored 12 points on 6 of 10 shooting while hauling in a season-high 11 rebounds in his team's 115-100 win over the Magic in Orlando Thursday.

Henson was one of seven Bucks players to score in double digits Thursday, including all five starters. He also added two blocks, one assist and one steal in 24 minutes of action while posting just his second double-double of the season. The Bucks will square off with the Blazers Saturday.


Magic SF Tobias Harris injures knee Thursday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) Magic small forward Tobias Harris suffered a knee injury in the third quarter of Thursday's game against the Bucks, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Harris was able to gut out the injury for a while but went to the locker room in the fourth quarter to be examined. He played 21 minutes off the bench, scoring seven points on just 2 of 12 shooting while tallying five rebounds and one assist Thursday. The Magic have one day off before facing the Mavericks Saturday.


Kings C DeMarcus Cousins (ankle) questionable Friday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) Kings center DeMarcus Cousins is questionable to play Friday against the Cavaliers due to an ankle sprain.

It's a lingering issue for Cousins, who has been able to play at least 30 minutes in each of his last four games after missing a game last week. He has averaged 23.8 points and 12.3 rebounds in 32 games.

The Kings are 8 1/2-point underdogs in Cleveland Friday.


Celtics' Evan Turner misses practice Thursday, should play Friday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) Celtics shooting guard Evan Turner did not practice Thursday, but he doesn't expect his lingering thumb injury to cost him any game action, ESPNBoston.com reports.

"It's alright," Turner told reporters after Thursday's workout. "It's getting better each day. It'll be fine... When it gets bent back, it kinda hurts a little bit. I'll be fine."

Turner initially sprained the thumb on Jan. 14 and has had it wrapped during recent games. He's averaged 10.8 points, 5.8 assists and 5.4 rebounds in 19 games as a starter.

The Celtics are 6 1/2-point home underdogs against the Rockets Friday.


Grizzlies SG Vince Carter injures foot, set for MRI
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) Grizzlies shooting guard Vince Carter suffered a foot injury in the second quarter of Thursday's matchup with the Nuggets and did not return.

Carter had to hop to the bench after suffering the injury and was unable to put any pressure on his left foot. He was helped back to the locker room in order to be examined. Carter had managed four points on 1 of 4 shooting in seven minutes off the bench before heading to the locker room.

Carter is set to undergo an MRI Friday to determine whether he's suffered a stress fracture or just a sprain, the Commercial Appeal reports.


 
 
 
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