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Waiver Wire: Week 1 speculations

by | Fantasy Writer
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With the preseason over and the regular season yet to begin, we find ourselves in limbo as far as free agency goes — caught somewhere between devaluing preseason stats and overreacting to injury concerns. Still, there are moves to be made if you need to replace one of your injured draft picks or to want speculate on someone stepping into a new role.

The results from Week 1 should answer a lot of your lineup questions, but until then, why not try and get ahead of the trends? We'll have a more in-depth waiver column next week, but in the meantime, here are a few free agents whose value could see a boost as the regular season gets under way.

Will Bynum, PG, Pistons (5 percent): Between Detroit trading for Brandon Jennings, drafting Peyton Siva and signing Chauncey Billups, it seemed like Will Bynum would fade into irrelevance. Heck, he wasn't very relevant to begin with. But inspired play this preseason should have Fantasy owners paying closer attention to the lesser-known veteran. Bynum finished second in preseason in assists per game (trailing Chris Paul by just 0.1), and capped it off with a 17-point, nine-assist performance in Detroit's final exhibition. On one hand, it's difficult to take preseason stats seriously. On the other hand, with Brandon Jennings projected to miss four games and Chauncey Billups expected to receive ample rest, the Pistons could decide to ride the hot hand this first week. Bynum also showed a knack for feeding Andre Drummond down low, which should help his chances of playing time going forward. Jennings owners especially should consider picking up Bynum as a potential handcuff.

Jamaal Tinsley, PG, Jazz (1 percent): You might have just looked up at the top of the page to make sure you weren't reading a column from 2006, but rest assured this is indeed up to date. Utah reached an agreement with 10-year veteran Jamaal Tinsley out of necessity, with rookie point guard Trey Burke sidelined for two to three months. At 35 years old, Tinsley isn't an exciting long-term prospect, but he could be useful in the early going -- especially if you drafted Trey Burke, Russell Westbrook or any other injured point guard. He'll likely start out backing up John Lucas, but even off the bench Tinsley could end up running the Jazz offense -- similar to how Andre Miller orchestrates for the Nuggets. Utah's young lineup provides the perfect situation for Tinsley's pass-first skillset, and he should be able to get close to his career average of 8.3 assists per 36 minutes.

Miles Plumlee, PF, Suns (27 percent): We knew Phoenix would likely deal Marcin Gortat at some point, but the Suns went ahead and got it over with before the season even began, leaving them with a starting job to fill at center. Because first round pick Alex Len isn't quite healthy enough to log big minutes, Phoenix will turn to a player who most regarded as a throw-in from the Luis Scola trade. Miles Plumlee only logged 55 total minutes in his rookie season, but he'll begin the year as the de facto starting center in a hollowed out Suns frontcourt. You'd have to go back to his senior year at Duke to see Plumlee logging anything close to significant minutes, but he did look competent enough in summer league play -- capable of scoring, rebounding and blocking shots with the sound fundamentals typical of a former Blue Devil. Until Len and Channing Frye get up to speed, consider Plumlee a low-end pickup for the foreseeable future. Those who drafted Kevin Seraphin might consider dropping him for Plumlee, as Gortat's arrival will force Seraphin back onto Washington's bench.

Jeremy Lamb, SG, Thunder (36 percent): If you want to speculate on a bench player's upside, you probably can't do much better than Jeremy Lamb. The Thunder had enough confidence in his offensive abilities to let last year's sixth man, Kevin Martin, walk away in free agency, so Lamb will at least get the opportunity to prove he can carry the offense when Durant needs a break. He's only owned in 32 percent of leagues -- probably because he didn't exactly dazzle in the preseason, averaging 11.6 points in 31.9 minutes per game. But if Lamb can find his footing and shoot a higher percentage this week, his ownership should see a sizable increase. Critics of the Thunder's personnel decisions will have no choice but to compare Lamb's production to James Harden's, but Fantasy owners can be more realistic with their expectations of a 21-year-old about to play his first meaningful NBA minutes. Lamb will have the green light to fire away, so consider him a low-risk, high-reward pickup this week.

Lance Stephenson, SG, Pacers (23 percent): Danny Granger owners shouldn't hit the panic button just yet, but those who were looking to start him this week might be in the market for a short-term plugin -- as it looks like Granger will miss about three weeks with a calf injury he sustained in the preseason. Lance Stephenson showed what he can do as a starter in last year's playoffs, making him a useful Granger replacement for the time being. Attempting to win back the role he played in last year's playoffs, Stephenson reached double-figure scoring in three out of six preseason games. One night when he only scored six, he still contributed with eight assists and zero turnovers in a win over Atlanta. He's the kind of player whose hustle alone is enough to keep him on the court, so if that motor translates into stats of any kind, Stephenson could become a regular contributor or even land a starting role ahead of Granger.

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Player News
Lakers' Carlos Boozer, Ed Davis expected to play against Grizzlies
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:09 pm ET) Lakers forwards Carlos Boozer and Ed Davis are expected to play Wednesday against the Grizzlies after participating in shootaround. 

Coach Byron Scott said that Boozer will start and Davis will come off the bench. 

Boozer is averaging 12.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game while Davis is averaging 6.0 points and 6.4 rebounds.


Kings rule out F Gay, G Collison from Wednesday game
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:32 pm ET) Kings forward Rudy Gay is set to miss his second straight game with right Achilles tendinitis. He was absent Tuesday in New Orleans and will be sidelined Wednesday against Houston. He will again be replaced by Omri Casspi, who scored 22 points in the defeat of the Pelicans.

Also unable to go against the Rockets will be guard Darren Collison, who is dealing with a left quad ailment.


Pacers' Hibbert officially out for Wednesday against the Spurs
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1:20 pm ET) Pacers center Roy Hibbert (ankle) is officially out for Wednesday against the Spurs, according to the team's website. 

Hibbert, who is averaging 13.1 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, missed Monday against the Mavs as well. 


Dwyane Wade 'hopeful' to play Sunday in New York
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:59 pm ET) Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade said Wednesday that his goal is to "hopefully" play Sunday against the Knicks after missing seven straight games with a strained left hamstring, according to the Sun Sentinel

Wade, who is averaging 19.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, has missed more than half of the Heat's games so far.


Heat G Chalmers leaves Wednesday practice with illness
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:38 pm ET) Heat guard Mario Chalmers was excused from Wednesday practice early due to an illness, per the South Florida Sun Sentinel. He will have plenty of time to recover - his team does not play another game until Monday at New York.

Chalmers is averaging a career-high 14.6 points a game


Raptors' Hansbrough considered game-time decision Wednesday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:13 pm ET) Raptors coach Dwayne Casey said Wednesday forward Tyler Hansbrough's shoulder is still sore and he will be a game-time decision against the Hawks, according to TSN Sports.

Hansbrough, who is averaging 3.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, has missed three straight games with the same shoulder injury.


Report: Dwight Howard a no-go again Wednesday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:05 pm ET) Rockets center Dwight Howard is set to miss a fourth straight game with a strained right knee. He has been ruled out for the Wednesday game against Sacramento, per the Houston Chronicle.

The ailment is taking longer than expected to heal enough for Howard to play. He was reportedly a possibility to be active Monday against New York, but remained sidelined.

Howard was off to a strong start, averaging 18.8 points and 11.3 rebounds a game before going down.


Hornets' Hairston expected to play Wednesday against the Blazers
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11:57 am ET) Hornets guard P.J. Hairston (ankle sprain) is expected to play Wednesday against the Blazers, according to the Charlotte Observer

Hairston, who is averaging 5.4 points and 1.4 rebounds per game, has missed the past four games for the Hornets.


Celtics' Marcus Smart will practice Wednesday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11:52 am ET) Celtics point guard Marcus Smart will return practice Wednesday, according to the Boston Globe.

Smart, who is averaging 6.8 points and 2.6 rebounds per game, has missed the last seven games with an ankle injury. The Celtics play Friday against the Bulls. 


Pistons send forward Tony Mitchell to D-League
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11:27 am ET) The Pistons have sent forward Tony Mitchell to their D-League affiliate, Grand Rapids Drive.

Mitchell had yet to see any action this season after appearing in 21 games for the Pistons last year, averaging 1.0 points and 1.2 rebounds per game.


 
 
 
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