There wasn't a ton of movement on the free-agency front last week, as Fantasy owners must surely be shell-shocked from the rash of major injuries last week. We're still waiting to see exactly how things play out moving forward. And the hits just kept coming, with Bradley Beal and J.J. Redick going down with serious injuries.
I discussed Martell Webster's Fantasy value moving forward in this space last time, but that was within the context of him playing in Trevor Ariza's place. He finds himself in the top-five most-added players yet again this week, as Beal's injury came about just as Ariza was ready to come back. With Beal out, Webster and Ariza are playing next to each other, and Webster's production has remained consistent.
In four games since Ariza has returned from his hamstring Webster has still played a huge role for the Wizards. He has averaged 16.3 points per game in that span, while topping 37 minutes in each game. The Wizards' bench is simply a disaster at this point, so you can't blame them for relying on Webster heavily, especially with how well he plays with John Wall. He is now up to 40.7 percent from three-point range on the season, and is pouring in four 3-pointers per game over the last five.
Webster is up to 76-percent ownership, and as long as Beal is out, I think that number ought to climb higher. He is a viable starting Fantasy option as long as he remains in the starting lineup for the Wizards.
Channing Frye, F, Suns: That Channing Frye is even playing right now makes him one of the better stories in the league, after he was forced to sit out all of last season with a heart ailment. That he is on fire from long range and thriving as a stretch-four, however, should come as little surprise. That's what Frye does. The Suns have received contributions from a number of options at the power forward spot this season, but Frye's got the longest track record of them, so this increased role just might stick. He is averaging 17.0 points and 6.4 rebounds per game over the last five games, while shooting 45.5 percent from three-point range. Those numbers are probably a bit high for what we've come to expect from Frye, but his role in the offense is enough to make me buy into him.(54 percent owned; +37 percent)
Derrick Williams, F, Kings: Williams is still out of position, but at least he's playing. His first game with the Kings wasn't an unqualified success (12 points on 13 field-goal attempts), but it was good enough to make me think Williams can turn into something useful. I'm not sure he'll ever be a good enough shooter to develop into a game changer at small forward; I think playing power forward full time next to DeMarcus Cousins would be tremendous for Williams' short-term and long-term potential. For now, however, the former No. 2 pick looks locked into a full-time role, and is definitely worth picking up -- I snagged him in two of my leagues. (53 percent owned; +28 percent)
Rodney Stuckey, G, Pistons: Fantasy owners have been strangely hesitant to buy into Stuckey, who ranks 15th among guards in Fantasy scoring over the last two weeks. He doesn't do much beyond score, but Stuckey has been putting up 20-plus points on a nearly nightly basis over the last few weeks. Stuckey doesn't really shoot threes, but he has still managed to score at least 16 points in each of his last nine games at this point, thanks in no small part to his ability to get to the free throw line. For a team that is absolutely desperate for perimeter scoring, Stuckey is playing a huge role. I'm not sure why his ownership is so low, but I'd rather own him than, say, Brandon Knight (77 percent) or Jose Calderon (85 percent). (69 percent owned; +24 percent)
Marvin Williams, F, Jazz: Williams has moved into the starting lineup for the Jazz, and his production has been quite solid recently. Williams is averaging 14.4 points on 50.9 percent shooting over the last five games, though he is bringing little else to the table at this point. We know who Marvin Williams is, and he isn't a 50-percent shooter or a particularly efficient scorer overall, so I'll go on record as not buying Williams' recent surge. He is playing 30-plus minutes, and can be useful, but I wouldn't drop anyone I like for him. He's probably a desperation play at this point.(34 percent owned; +17 percent)
Aaron Brooks, G, Rockets: In his seventh NBA season, it's pretty clear what Aaron Brooks is. He's bounced around to four different teams in his last three seasons, but he's always been able to score, as he carries a 17.4 points-per-36 minutes average for his career. With James Harden slowed by a foot injury and Jeremy Lin out with a knee issue, Brooks has stepped up with double figures in three of the last five games. Lin is going to miss a few weeks with his injury, so Brooks should figure into the rotation as the third guard for the Rockets, but his production is likely to be sporadic. I could envision a scenario where Brooks emerges as a viable Fantasy option down the road, but I wouldn't bet on it happening unless one more Rockets' guard goes down.(14 percent owned; +12 percent)
Zaza Pachulia, C, Bucks: Early in the season, Pachulia's familiarity with coach Larry Drew earned him a larger-than-expected role in the first few weeks of the season. That early leash has all but disappeared, and that probably shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Pachulia is a solid backup center, but he's never really proven worthy of a bigger role than that. He is averaging just 5.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game over the last 10, and his 25.3 percent mark from the field is a clear sign that he is being asked to do too much offensively. John Henson replaced Zaza Pachulia in the starting lineup recently, and at this point, even 37-percent ownership is far too high for Pachulia. (37 percent owned; -12 percent)
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, F, Bobcats: Even before Kidd-Gilchrist was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, his play has been flagging recently. Kidd-Gilchrist got off to a solid start to the season, but is averaging just 7.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game over the last 10 contests. He is likely to miss just one game due to his injury, but plantar fasciitis is a nagging issue that has felled even great players in the past. Kidd-Gilchrist has never been a big Fantasy contributor, and my expectations are even lower than usual as long as he is dealing with this foot injury. Feel free to cut him. 68 percent owned; -10 percent)
Maurice Harkless, F, Magic: Harkless was supposed to break out this season, after a solid rookie year where he flashed a varied skill set. Unfortunately, he has struggled to maintain a consistent place in the rotation, and has been benched in recent games. Harkless has scored in double figures just once over the last six games, and has not played more than 20 minutes in the last four games. I think this Magic roster is going to look quite a bit different than it currently does by the time the trade deadline comes around, so Harkless could get back into the rotation down the road. Go ahead and drop him now. (49 percent owned; -10 percent)
Flavors of next week
-- by Joe Polito (@JoePo89 )
Part of any long-term Fantasy sport is letting your struggling draft picks go with the hope that once they realize their potential they'll fly right back to your roster. Brandon Knight was hard to keep on your team when a hamstring injury left him sidelined for the first few weeks of the season. But with three-straight thirty-minute games and a near triple-double Saturday against Boston, Knight looks ready for 90-plus percent ownership. He's already approaching that, moving up to low eighties this week, but if for some reason Knight is still out there in your league, go ahead and drop an injured J.J. Redick or a struggling J.R. Smith to grab him.
While Knight isn't great at anything, he's pretty good at everything. His athleticism alone gives him an edge on opponents, so you can think of him as capable of Lance Stephenson-type numbers, but with more long-term upside. At the very least, Knight's play-making abilities will keep him in games because he's exciting to watch and there's not much else to cheer in Milwaukee these days when it comes to the hardwood.
The turnovers will be there, but the guy just turned 22 so he's far from fully developed as a point guard. Plus, this is his second team in less than three years, so he'll need some time to get completely acclimated to his new new teammates. The Bucks play four times against sub-par defensive teams this week, so it's time to at least roster Knight before he goes off and your opponents beat you to it.
Dion Waiters, G, Cavaliers, (79 percent): Cleveland didn't try to hide their intentions when reports swirled that they were looking to move second-year guard Dion Waiters in a trade. It seems their first attempt to swap for Iman Shumpert didn't work out, but look for the Cavs to keep rolling Waiters out there to prove his trade value to the rest of the league.
Waiters has three straight games of 20-plus points, and he's getting to the free throw line enough to make it seem sustainable. I'm not a big believer in Waiters' ability, but Fantasy can be more about opportunity, which Waiters has been granted at least for the short term. Depending on where he lands in a trade, Waiters' long-term value could change, probably for the worst. Still, Cleveland isn't going to draw potential suitors by parking Waiters on the bench, so expect him to play and continue to shoot for the time being.
Taj Gibson, F, Bulls, (38 percent): The question of "who steps up for the Bulls?" is gradually being answered. We've seen rookie Tony Snell make a little noise in the starting lineup, but for now I'm more interested in Taj Gibson. The younger, skinnier version of Carlos Boozer has back-to-back games in double-figures, including a 23-point, eight-rebound performance last week against Detroit.
As Chicago becomes acclimated again to life without Derrick Rose, I can see them leaning more on fresher legs like Gibson's rather than continually asking Boozer and Joakim Noah to keep logging heavy minutes. Gibson hasn't eclipsed the thirty minute mark, but I'm expecting that to change soon enough. Take a shot on Gibson while he's taking shots in the middle of Chicago's rotation - one that will need offense more than defense.
Glen Davis, C/F, Magic, (72 percent): Before this week, it was hard to roster anyone on the Magic not named Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo or Nikola Vucevic. But then Tobias Harris had a setback with his ankle and Vucevic tripped over a cameraman, sidelining him for up to two weeks. So now it's time to go ahead and grab Glen Davis, who will at the very least find ways to score while Vucevic is out. He put up 33 points in a double-overtime affair Tuesday night against the 76ers, so consider that a hyperbole of what Davis can do on an average night when given ample space and minutes.
The fact that he's eligible at both forward and center also gives you some flexibility when deciding to start him. His value will likely fall again once Vucevic returns, but there's a slim chance Davis can do enough in the next week or so to warrant more playing time down the road, or even more likely, prove he's healthy enough for another team to trade for him.
Robin Lopez, C, Trailblazers, (73 percent): Center has been the biggest question mark for Portland over the last few years, and with a 14-3 record to start the year they seem to have found an answer in Robin Lopez. This is another pick up best kept for Roto and deep leagues, as most of his production will come from hustle on rebounds and defense. If blocks and rebounds are what you seek, then Lopez can provide a consistent boost at the expense of points.