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Playing the Waiver Wire for Week 3

Fantasy Writer
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At this point in the season, it is still very easy to overreact to a few good or bad games. Just a week ago, the Fantasy world was abuzz about a rookie center from Boston who was racking up blocks and rebounds -- now, Vitor Faverani barely looks like a rotation player.

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When trawling the waiver wires, you want to be quick to jump on the next big thing, but it's easy to buy into a couple of hot games when the sample size is still small. We'll see a ton of fluctuation in the early weeks of the season as owners dump the dead weight from their drafts and hope to find a breakout player.

Last week's most-added players have mostly worked out so far, but we're not interested in one-week fixes here. Any player can get hot and give you a nice week, but you generally want to get sustained production if you can. This week, we'll take another look at what moves you guys have been making, in an attempt to see if they will be worth your while.

Most Added players

Markieff Morris, F, Suns: I've doubted Morris in the past, but his role on this team and apparent improvement might force me to change my mind. Morris, who entered the season as a 40.4 percent shooter from the field in two seasons, is scorching the nets with a wholly unsustainable 60.0 percent shooting mark. Still, his improvement isn't all an illusion as he has gone from attempting just 38.3 percent of his shots with the juicy eight-feet-and-in area around the rim to 50.9 percent this season. Morris is obviously not going to keep shooting 60 percent from the field, but if he can settle in and make half of his shots or something close once he inevitably cools off, he should be good for scoring in the low teens. (76 percent owned; +26 percent)

Zaza Pachulia, C, Bucks: While Larry Sanders' owners are gnashing their teeth at their poor fortune (and Sanders' allegedly poor decision making), savvy owners have scooped up Pachulia and taken advantage of the impact Pachulia has made as a starter. He is averaging 11.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game at the center position, and is clearly coach Larry Drew's preferred option at this point. Of course, the same caveat applies from last week -- at some point, the Bucks are going to get their $44 million man. Enjoy Pachulia's production while it's here, but don't expect him to be contributing on your team in two months. (58 percent owned; +26 percent)

Andrea Bargnani, F, Knicks: We've been here before with Bargnani, who has been a useful Fantasy option while playing center in the past. With Tyson Chandler going down with a fractured leg, the Knicks don't have much choice but to rely heavily on Bargnani as their starting center. That should mean pretty good things for Fantasy owners, if not necessarily those who also want to see the Knicks succeed in Chandler's absence. Bargnani can be one of the better contributors of points at the center position, and few big man have the ability to shoot like him. As long as he is the Knicks' starter at center, he is probably worth owning in all Fantasy formats.(70 percent owned; +25 percent)

Steven Adams, C, Thunder: For a supposed project, Adams has taken to the NBA exceptionally well. Given what we've seen from Kendrick Perkins in recent years, it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that Adams is outperforming him, even if he is a relatively raw rookie with little experience playing at a high level. Even with Adams' solid start (7.0 points, 6.8 rebounds per game through five contests), I'm not sure I'd be running out to grab him. The Thunder have remained unwilling to really reduce Perkins' role in recent years, so Adams will likely remain a part-time player. He also hasn't yet shown he can respond to the league's adjustments of him, which are surely coming. In yearly formats, his long-term value remains limited. (36 percent owned; +23 percent)

Andrew Nicholson, F, Magic: At this point, nobody should question Nicholson's ability to score. He has been the Magic's second-best scorer this season, averaging 18.4 points per-36 minutes, while shooting 46.1 percent from the field. He has grown as a scorer since a lackluster rookie season, flashing range out to the three-point line as well. Unfortunately, the issue for Nicholson continues to be that the Magic haven't been able to find a full-time role for him -- he still averages just 23.7 minutes per game. His skill set could eventually win out over Jason Maxiell, but the looming return of Tobias Harris is enough to give me pause.(46 percent owned; +21 percent)

Most Dropped players

Reggie Jackson, G, Thunder: After Russell Westbrook's early return from knee surgery, this was a natural outcome. Rather than spending four weeks as the Thunder's starting point guard, Jackson was relegated to a reserve role after just two games. His production (8.0, 3.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists) screams "Fantasy reserve" and that's what he should be considered at this point.(57 percent owned; -18 percent)

Anthony Bennett, F, Cavaliers: I was less than enthused by Bennett's Fantasy prospects at the beginning of the season, and he has done little to change my mind. Coming off shoulder surgery, Bennett entered training camp in poor shape and without a defined role, and that has clearly caused problems. He is 1 for 21 from the field to open his career and seems extremely unlikely to usurp Tristan Thompson for playing time at any point. I see little reason to own Bennett in yearly Fantasy formats. 46 percent owned; -16 percent)

Cody Zeller, C, Bobcats: It is very early in his career, but the pre-draft concerns about Zeller have mostly come to fruition through his first half-dozen games. He has struggled to turn his athleticism into production, scoring just 5.2 points on 4.7 field-goal attempts per game. Zeller has struggled to finish against NBA defenders, as he is shooting just 42.1 percent from the field within eight feet of the rim. As he learns to leverage his skills, Zeller should start to come around -- and the return of Al Jefferson should help. Still, it's not like he was expected to be a Fantasy stud from Day One. If you see something you like on the waiver wires, I wouldn't hesitate to cut Zeller.(61 percent owned; -14 percent)

Flavors of Next Week

-- by Joe Polito (@JoePo89)

Patrick Beverley, Rockets, (67 percent): Are you team Jeremy Lin or team Beverley? The Fantasy community seems to be forming into two camps: The ones who think Lin is clearly better and deserves the minutes, and the ones who think Beverly's intangibles will keep him in the Rockets lineup. I fall in with the latter. The simple fact is his defensive intensity is sorely needed in that backcourt. After dealing with an abdominal injury to start the season, Beverly finally had a good statistical game, going for 19 points, five rebounds and four steals against the Clippers on November 9. Granted, it took him 37 minutes, but if you think about the vast point guard talent around the league, it's easy to see why Beverley's defense could come of use to Houston.

I agree that Lin is the more talented player. I just have a feeling the Rockets are going to take Beverley's relentless effort on defense with the occasional spot-up three over Lin's dribble penetration as the season progresses. Lin needs the ball in his hands to produce, and that's just going to be too difficult to come if either one of James Harden or Dwight Howard is on the court with him. The Rockets plays four times this week, so Beverley could be a nice streaming option this week. Those who planned on starting Goran Dragic this week might consider giving Beverley a test drive as the Suns only play twice.

Corey Brewer, Timberwolves, (27 percent): A good portion of Kevin Love's 5.0-plus assists per game have been long outlet passes to a streaking Brewer. Even standing 6-foot-9, Brewer is still usually the fastest guy on the court, and he doesn't even wait for Minnesota to get possession before he's running out on the break. He finally made an impact in defensive columns on Sunday, taking advantage of the Lakers' sloppy, up-and-down game by securing four steals, blocking two shots and scoring 17 on 6 of 9 shooting. His shooting percentages have never been very good, but if he continues to get easy baskets on laser passes from Love and Ricky Rubio, Brewer's field goal rate will be good enough to make him playable in category formats for points, steals and a few blocks.

C.J. Miles, Cavaliers, (26 percent): He's only getting 20 minutes per game, but Miles has been a solid contributor for the Cavaliers -- aided in part by the slow starts of Kyrie Irving and Waiters. Miles is averaging 2.3 made threes per game and has reached double-figure scoring in five out of Cleveland's eight's games this season. On one hand he doesn't bring you much other than scoring and threes. On the other hand, he does them consistently enough to see a 23 percent increase in his Fantasy ownership from Week 1 to Week 2. Waiters and Irving have since found their form, but both of them are still on the streaky side when it comes to scoring. Look for Miles to make shots during whatever time he's given. Cleveland plays four times this week, including Minnesota, Charlotte and Washington. This role might not last the whole season, but the Cavs don't have many options when it comes to pure shooting, meaning Cleveland might not have a choice but to roll with Miles when Waiters and Irving can't hit shots consistently.

J.J. Hickson/Timofey Mozgov, Nuggets, (74 percent, 8 percent): This one's hard to put a finger on as Brian Shaw's rotation has been nothing short of a mystery. Things might not get any simpler with starting center JaVale McGee sidelined indefinitely by a stress fracture, so one of these two (if not both of them) is in line for an uptick in production. Mozgov seems like the more obvious choice, as the offense Shaw is attempting to implement relies on solid center play. Hickson is hardly a center and is just a gnarly beard away from being Reggie Evans -- all rebounds, some blocks, few points. Still, he filled in effectively enough at the five last year for Portland, so Shaw could decide to go that route. Mozgov might not grab as many boards, but he's a much better choice for points, blocks and all-around talent. Plus he's taller. Hickson is the safer choice for Fantasy (solid rebounds, good field goal percentage, a few blocks), but Mozgov seems like the better upside pickup should the Nuggets decide to lean on his skill over Hickson's hustle. You can probably go ahead and drop Vitor Faverani, who I touted last week but who can't seem to stay in the Celtics' regular rotation.

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Player News
Spurs F Tim Duncan tallies 27 in what could be his last game
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5/2/2015) When Tim Duncan walked off the court Saturday night after the Spurs were eliminated in the first round, one had to wonder if he would ever again walk back on an NBA court as a player.

If he indeed retires, he will have nothing to be ashamed of in regard to his last performance. The 18-year veteran nearly willed his team to victory over the Clippers, scoring 27 points on 11-of-16 shooting and adding 11 rebounds.

Duncan rose to the occasion in the playoffs, averaging 16.4 points and 11.1 rebounds per game.


Clippers PG Chris Paul overcomes injury to bury Spurs
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5/2/2015) In one of the gutsiest performances in NBA playoff history, Clippers point guard Chris Paul scored 27 points Saturday night, including the game-winner with one second remaining, to key a Game 7 defeat of now-deposed defending champion San Antonio.

Paul banked home a tough-angle shot from the right side to put the dagger in the Spurs, then limped back in pain from the hamstring injury sustained in the first quarter that forced him briefly out of the game.

"We've been in that situation a lot of times already this year, and most of the time I hadn't made it," Paul said. "We talked about it, and finally it worked when we needed it."

He finished with nine points in the fourth quarter, hit 9-of-13 shots throughout and added six assists.

Paul and his team are set to play Houston in the Western Conference semifinals.


G Joe Johnson: Nets likely to be broken up in offseason
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5/2/2015) Nets veteran guard Joe Johnson doesn't know how the roster will change next season. But he does believe that it will be quite different.

His team finished under .500 and lost in the first round of the playoffs despite boasting such talent as Johnson, Brook Lopez and Deron Williams. The Nets simply didn't mesh.

"I don't see us coming back as the same team," Johnson told the New York Daily News. "This is my third year here. I could see if we were getting better each year, but it's been kind of the opposite. So to not even be a .500 ball club in the East, it's disheartening and I don't know. I think everyone in the locker room is unsure of the future here."

The Nets have no cap space and pick 29th in the draft. Lopez and Thaddeus Young appear destined for free agency. Johnson could be traded. So could Williams, whom coach Lionel Hollins recently claimed is not worthy of a max contract.

Hollins was still complaining Saturday.

"I thought we had a higher basketball IQ as a group than we did," he said. "That was a big thing. I thought we had more toughness and all of that. But as a coach, looking from the outside, that's what I always say until you come in and coach a team you don't know for sure. I thought the skill level was better ... but we worked around it and that's part of coaching."

Williams declined to to speak to the media as he and his teammates gathered their bags and took off.


Grizzlies G Mike Conley doubtful for second-round opener
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5/2/2015) David Joerger has deemed Grizzlies guard Mike Conley doubtful for the series opener Sunday at Golden State, per Fox13Memphis.

It was not revealed if Conley, who sustained a facial injury against Portland, practiced Saturday. He missed the last two games against the Trail Blazers.


Clippers' Chris Paul heads leaves with hamstring injury, returns
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5/2/2015) Clippers point guard Chris Paul was forced to leave Saturday's Game 7 against the Spurs with an apparent leg injury. Paul headed back to the locker room near the end of the first quarter after limping off the court. He was diagnosed witha left hamstring strain and he is expected to return.

He scored five points on 2 of 3 shooting from the field with three assists before exiting the game.


Clippers PF Glen Davis cleared for action Saturday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5/2/2015) The Clippers have announced that power forward Glen Davis will play in Game 7 of the playoff series against San Antonio on Saturday night.

Davis injured his ankle Thursday, but it healed quickly.


Clippers PF Glen Davis a maybe for Game 7
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5/2/2015) An ankle injury that had Clippers reserve power forward Glen Davis wheeled off the court Thursday has healed well enough to make him a possibility to play in Game 7 Saturday night against San Antonio, a source has told the Los Angeles Times.

Davis was diagnosed with a low ankle sprain. It was feared initially that it was broken.


Bulls C Joakim Noah ready to roll despite illness
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5/2/2015) Bulls center Joakim Noah did not pick an ideal time to be ill with a second-round playoff series against Cleveland, but Tom Thibodeau told the Chicago Tribune that he worked most of Saturday practice and declared him ready to go for the Monday opener.

Noah played just over 33 minutes per game in the first round against Milwaukee. He averaged 6.5 points and 11.6 rebounds per game.


Wizards PG John Wall working through shoulder strain
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5/2/2015) The numbers against Toronto scream otherwise, but Wizards point guard John Wall was playing with a right shoulder strain that he now must deal with against the tougher Hawks in the second round of the NBA playoffs.

Wall sustained the injury in the opener against the Raptors, yet still averaged 19.6 points and 14.0 assists over the final three games of the sweep. And he's not fretting it as his team prepares for Atlanta.

"It's all right," he told CSNWashington.com. "...I have a little strain in it and it's something I have to deal with, but you make no excuses when you're in the playoffs."


Nets coach Lionel Hollins: Deron Williams no longer a franchise player
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5/2/2015) Nets coach Lionel Hollins said that his point guard Deron Williams is a solid player, but shouldn't be expected to be a franchise player any longer.

"He's not a franchise player anymore," Hollins said during his exit interview Saturday morning, per ESPN. "He's a good player, he's a solid player, but I don't think he's a franchise player anymore. That's just my opinion. He's a good player. I'm proud of the way he's bounced back and played, and there's so much pressure on him to be a franchise player, and everybody talks about a franchise player, but we need to have a franchise team.

"That means we have everybody going out there and playing hard, playing together, sharing the ball. If a guy is open, he makes a shot. If a guy is not open, he passes to another guy and he makes the shot. To me, that's what basketball is about. It's not about a franchise player. I mean, those guys come along once in a lifetime, and everybody doesn't get a chance to coach one. When you don't have one, you can't say you can't win. There are teams that have won championships without franchise players, what everyone considers a franchise player. I'm not worried about that. That's something you guys talk about and worry about. I worry about us going out there and playing hard, playing together and trying to scratch and claw to win a game. That's what it's all about."

This isn't the first time Williams has been criticized for his inconsistent play and his injury-riddled run with the Nets over the past three seasons. Future Hall of Fame forward Paul Pierce spoke candidly back in April about his disastrous season with Williams and the Nets a year ago, calling it "horrible."

"Before I got there, I looked at Deron as an MVP candidate," Pierce said in an ESPN interview with Jackie MacMullan. "But I felt once we got there, that's not what he wanted to be. He just didn't want that. ... I think a lot of the pressure got to him sometimes. This was his first time in the national spotlight. The media in Utah is not the same as the media in New York."

Williams lost his starting role to Jarrett Jack from late December to early February this season while he recovered from a rib injury. He also dealt with a severe case of tendinitis throughout the season and finished his 2014-15 campaign averaging a career-worst 13.0 points, 6.6 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 68 games (55 starts).

The Nets entered the postseason as an eighth seed and were bounced out of the first round by Atlanta. Williams was held to only 11.8 points and 5.5 assists while shooting 39.1 percent from the field in the series. 


 
 
 
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