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Playing the Waiver Wire for Week 5

Fantasy Writer
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There wasn't much movement on waivers wires this week, at least not until the weekend. Friday's rash of serious injuries to stars around the league caused Fantasy owners to rush to pick up their replacements.

Beyond Derrick Rose, Marc Gasol and Andre Iguodala's replacements, this was a pretty quiet week overall on the wire. Terrence Jones' continued breakout as the Rockets' starting power forward propelled him to the top of the most-added list, but he was one of just three players added in more than 25 percent of CBSSports.com Fantasy leagues this week.

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The big-time injuries are going to dominate Fantasy owners' minds, but that doesn't mean we can't take a look at the rest of the most-added and dropped players. If you missed out on Kosta Koufos or Kirk Hinrich to replace Gasol and Rose, you need to know if Martell Webster or Jared Sullinger will be worth picking up and plugging in instead.

Most Added

Terrence Jones, F, Rockets: It's hard to believe Jones is actually still available in one out of every five CBSSports.com Fantasy leagues. Did your rosters lock at the start of the season or something? Jones is averaging 28.0 Fantasy points per game since joining the starting lineup, putting him into a tie with Nene for 23rd among forwards over the last two weeks. Maybe his recent play is a fluke that he can't sustain, but it's not like Jones isn't a talented player -- he was considered a potential lottery pick coming out of Kentucky. His production (15.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.7 blocks as a starter) is buoyed a bit by an unsustainable 53.8 percent mark on 3-pointers, however all of his shots from long range have come on catch-and-shoot chances, which means he understands his role and is succeeding. The Rockets have the kind of shallow bench that could force them to continue leaning on the starting lineup heavily, so 30 minutes and 10 shots seem likely to be a nightly occurrence for Jones at this point. (78 percent owned; +37 percent)

Martell Webster, G, Wizards: Webster proved pretty definitively last season that he is a great fit in the Wizards' starting lineup, so it was certainly a disappointment to see Trevor Ariza open the season as the starter. Even with Ariza playing pretty well to open the season, Webster might be a better fit with the starters in the long run. Webster is averaging 14.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game as a starter, but there is some uncertainty surrounding what his role will be when Ariza comes back. His current 54-percent ownership seems low for Webster in his current role, but the uncertainty makes it difficult to consider him a sure-fire add moving forward. (54 percent owned; 18 percent)

Glen Davis, F, Magic: I understand the appeal of Davis, who had 20 points and five rebounds in his season debut against Miami on Saturday. I'm just not sure I see the wisdom in adding him. I think he's a skilled enough scorer to be a solid Fantasy option, as he showed while averaging 26.1 Fantasy points per game before his 2012-13 season came to an end. Of course, that came when he was averaging 31.3 minutes per game. I don't think his role can possibly be as big this season, as the Magic are deep and actually reasonably talented in the frontcourt right now, especially with Tobias Harris nearly back from an ankle injury. Adding Davis is a fine risk to take, but I'm certainly not rushing out to grab him at this point. (49 percent owned; +17 percent)

Andray Blatche, C, Nets: If we knew how long Brook Lopez was going to be sidelined by his ankle injury, I don't think there is any question Blatche would be someone to rush out and add. His production as a starter last season showed what he can do when Lopez goes down; he averaged 17.9 points and 9.3 rebounds per game in eight starts. Blatche hasn't been in the starting lineup with Lopez out, but his production has jumped up in a big way regardless, as he is averaging 17.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in the last four games entering Sunday. Even a little bit of clarity about Lopez's timeline would make judging Blatche's Fantasy value in the short term much more simple. To put it as simply as possible, as long as Lopez is out, Blatche is an excellent streaming option. (28 percent owned; +21 percent)

Most added players (as of 11/25)
Player % change
1. Kirk Hinrich, G, Bulls 43
2. Kosta Koufos, C, Grizzlies 37
3. Glen Davis, F, Magic 29
4. Terrence Jones, F, Rockets 28
5. Gerald Green, G, Suns 22
6. Martell Webster, G, Wizards 18
7. Marvin Williams, F, Jazz 18
8. Harrison Barnes, F, Warriors 17
9. Jared Sullinger, F, Celtics 16
10. Rodney Stuckey, G, Pistons 16

Jared Sullinger, F, Celtics: The Celtics have opted to lean on Sullinger very heavily this season, and it might be time for Fantasy owners to do the same. He has scored in double figures in all but two of the 13 games he has played this season, while averaging 21.5 Fantasy points per game overall. Sullinger has been given tons of freedom on offense, as he has attempted 28 3-pointers and 18 shots between 16 and 23 feet. He is also trending upwards right now, having played 30-plus minutes in each of his last three games, a great sign for his value moving forward. In four games with 30-plus minutes played, Sullinger is averaging 18.3 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. On a team that doesn't have many dependable options, Sullinger's role can only grow. If I saw him on waivers right now, I'd go grab him. (73 percent owned; +14 percent)

Most Dropped

Markieff Morris, F, Suns: On Nov. 13, I wrote that Morris might be forcing me to change my mind on him, after downplaying his Fantasy value early in the season. In his next four games, Morris averaged just 4.3 points on 19.0 percent shooting from the field. Clearly, I have no idea what to make of Morris. No player is as good or bad as their best or worst stretches show, but we haven't seen anything in the middle from Morris this season. Given the upside he has shown and his role on the team, I'm still not quite ready to jump ship with Morris, but another poor week could tip the scales for me. (75 percent owned; -15 percent)

Gerald Wallace, F, Celtics: I'm not sure why Wallace is still owned in 42 percent of leagues. I don't see any reason to own this guy at this point. We're more than a year removed from him actually being a useful Fantasy option, and he has only regressed in his move to Boston. At 31, "Crash" is no longer able to use his athleticism like he used to, and his game simply hasn't evolved enough. At 12.7 Fantasy points per game, Wallace is basically useless. 42 percent owned; -11 percent)

Chris Kaman, C, Lakers: Similar to Wallace, Kaman was once useful but has flamed out with his new team. This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, as his scoring has dipped pretty steadily since he peaked at 18.5 points per game in 2009-10. Kaman is the third big man in the Lakers' rotation right now, and simply isn't getting the kind of playing time some Fantasy owners might have hoped for. Kaman simply doesn't fit into a fast-paced offense and has little place on your Fantasy roster right now. (29 percent owned; -11 percent)

Flavors of Next Week

-- by Joe Polito (@JoePo89)

Bust out the comfort food and cue the sad country music, because this is the depressing injury edition of your usual waiver column.

Let's start with perhaps the worst news of this young NBA season: Derrick Rose is out indefinitely with a torn right MCL, which could end up costing him yet another season. This means that Kirk Hinrich (44 percent) will assume full-time starting point guard duties, so D-Rose owners might as well pick him up in the hopes that he can build on his 10.7 points and 5.9 assists per 36 minutes so far this year.

The problem with Hinrich is there's not much upside to his game. As much as it pains me to say, Jordan Crawford's ability to score will probably give him more value than Hinrich's more traditional point guard play. Hinrich is comparable to Steve Blake, but doesn't have the benefit of a Mike D'antoni, PG-boosting offense to enhance his stats. The lone bright spot in Hinrich's game is his ability to set up teammates, which he led the Bulls in even before Rose got hurt. He recorded seven assists in his first start post-Rose against the Clippers.

Point guard is one of the deepest positions in Fantasy, so for now, unless you have Rose, only deep leagues should drop a point guard for Hinrich -- maybe those depending on timeshare guys such as Mo Williams and Jordan Farmar. Use Crawford, the most droppable starting point guard in Fantasy, as a guage for whether or not Hinrich deserves a roster spot.

Kosta Koufos, C, Grizzlies (29 percent): Next stop on our tour of pain and despair: Memphis, where franchise cornerstone Marc Gasol has been ruled out indefinitely with an MCL sprain. Enter Koufos, who the Grizzlies signed in the offseason after a nice year in Denver. He's no Gasol, but Koufos averages a double-double and almost two blocks per 36 minutes for his career, so he's a capable replacement at the center position. He's the only other center on the roster, so expect him to log heavy minutes as opposed to the 22 per game he averaged last year platooning with JaVale McGee. Consistency alone should put him ahead of many of the up-and-down centers being added and dropped in your league. If you need production now, Kevin Garnett and Andrew Bynum are the kinds of unreliable bigs to drop for a steady Koufos. The Grizzlies bank on physical play and points in the paint, so Koufos should get his share of touches close to the basket.

Harrison Barnes, F, Warriors (76 percent): Hope you've still got some chocolate ice cream left in the freezer, because we've got yet another universally owned Fantasy starter out indefinitely. Andre Iguodala was thriving at point forward for the Warriors until he felt a pop in his hamstring Friday night and was diagnosed with a strain. Barnes had already been handed a bigger role with Stephen Curry also missing time with injury, so Iguoadala being sidelined extends Barnes' stay in the starting lineup. He showed he's capable of stepping up in times of need, as he filled in admirably for David Lee in last years' playoffs. This opportunity could be what jump starts Barnes' breakout, so grab him now if you don't want to miss it. Markieff Morris and Maurice Harkless are some middling forwards I'd drop for Barnes' upside and opportunity. Tougher decisions would involve Caron Butler, Martell Webster and Shawn Marion, all of whom don't have the high ceiling of Barnes, but have still been too consistent to drop so far.

Mike Dunleavy, F, Bulls (13 percent): We're not out of the woods yet. Jimmy Butler has turf toe and has been deemed "week-to-week." Filling in during those weeks will be Dunleavy, who scored 14 points on two made three pointers against the Lakers Sunday night. If Dunleavy can start cracking the 30-minute mark, he's a good enough shooter to help category players in threes, points and shooting percentages. Combine that with a relatively weak shooting guard selection, and Dunleavy could end up a useful piece in deeper leagues as he picks up the injury slack in Chicago. Because the other available options include volatile players such as Gerald Green, Rodney Stuckey and Avery Bradley, Dunleavy could become a shooting guard you can count on any minute now.

Josh McRoberts (54 percent): I just can't stop writing about McBob. This is his first mention outside of the Roto Fact Sheet (click here for the latest installment), but his diverse production can no longer be ignored. He currently has more Fantasy points than Kawhi Leonard, Jared Sullinger, and Amir Johnson in the same number of games. He's tied with Kevin Love for second among power forward eligible players in assists at 4.5 per game. He doesn't often crack double digits in any category, but his single-digit production is widespread enough for him to be a factor, so don't hold it against him. So if you like big-man assists and an abundance of hair, then McBob is the free agent for you.

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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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