2017-18 Fantasy Basketball Waiver Advice: February 16
Justin Fensterman dives into the fantasy basketball waiver wire in hopes of delivering productive additions to your season-long leagues.
Remember, just because it’s All-Star Weekend, it’s still a critical time in the fantasy basketball season. Playoffs are coming up and there will be teams that will essentially go through a “Youth Movement” and rest their veterans and play the younger players to give them more run. It’s a tanking strategy that teams not in the playoff mix use in order to get put in a better position to get a top draft pick. Watch the standings and for news items regarding players who will be regularly benched moving forward.
J.R. Smith SG/SF CLE-20% Ownership: Smith survived the changes in Cleveland and now that he’s in a major timeshare with Rodney Hood and Jordan Clarkson a lot of people will be turned off by him. It’s J.R. Smith. He’ll shoot some of the wildest shots you’ll ever see. Even with the Cavs new pieces, Smith is still getting a lot of playing time. Smith is a good ball-handler and he’s been shooting better lately. Smith has grabbed six boards in his last two games. He’s been trying to get to the top of the paint a bit more even after taking shots from the perimeter. Smith has scored in double figures in five of his last six games. Smith has also grabbed steals in four of his last five games He’s not the best defender, but he’ll certainly body up players and work through screens. Smith hits shots from both mid and long-range. Familiarity is key in this situation and Smith has played alongside LeBron James for longer than most of the team and we all know who runs the show in Cleveland. He should get playing time steadily in the 20’s and 30’s.
J.J. Barea G DAL-18% Ownership: With Devin Harris in Denver, Barea should get more love in the rotation for the rest of the season. Barea scores, rebounds, plays consistently at both guard spots and he’s scrappy. Barea is one of the most aggressive players on the team and he reaches out for steals. Barea has scored in double figures in three of his last five games. He also compiled two double-digit assist games in his last five. He’s dishing over six assists per game. Barea will play most of his games into the mid-20s in minutes. He’s grabbing three boards per game. He’s stolen the ball in each of his last four games. This isn’t the first time Barea is on this list. He gets a true rotation commitment and without Harris to worry about, Barea will have a longer leash on the court. His willingness to attack the paint stands out. Barea has been nicked up at times this season, but has still been productive.
Ersan Ilyasova F ATL-29% Ownership: While Ilyasova’s minutes fluctuate, his shooting ability and overall game play from the elbow will keep him in the Hawks rotation. The Hawks are currently at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and Ilyasova will rotate between SF and PF. He grabs long rebounds and plays solid on the ball defense. Ilyasova can post up and hit heavily contested shots. Ilyasova is also good at rotating between the post and the arc and sees a lot of open jumpers. He’s averaging just about 11 points per game. Ilyasova is coming off of two multi-steal games and his defense at the elbow and on the perimeter should keep him on the floor. Ilyasova also grabs the third most rebounds per game on the team. He grabs more boards per game than Taurean Prince. The Hawks will look to play John Collins more at PF down the stretch, but Ilyasova will also split playing time with Taurean Prince.
Joe Harris SG/SF BKN-7% Ownership: The Nets are hurting and Harris is a good short-term solution until Caris LeVert is 100 percent. Harris’ averages are impressive for a back end of the rotation player. He’s scoring in double figures on average and grabbing 3.4 boards per game. He recorded a double-double a few games ago. The defensive commitment is there and he’s grabbed steals in two of his last three games. Harris is a good pick and pop jump shooter, but he also finds success driving to the top of the paint. He doesn’t even need to use a teardrop to loft over defenders. He plants his feet and his a set shot and his quick shooting motion allows him to do it with the shots not as contested. Harris is good at running the floor and can keep the Nets pace quick. Players like LeVert and even D’Angelo Russell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson getting healthy will pose a threat to his playing time, but for the short-term, he’ll at least score.
Pascal Siakam PF TOR-2% Ownership: The Raptors are leading the Eastern Conference because of their depth and their big men have each been coming through at a different time. Siakam has games in which he battles in the paint and others in which he stands at the elbow. One of his main responsibilities is setting screens right inside the arc. Despite scoring under seven points per game, we’ve seen a few double-digit scoring outings lately. Siakam has hit double figures in two of his last four games. Siakam uses his reach to grab boards and he’s grabbed five or more in three of his last four games. He’s also recorded steals in five of his last six games. Owners will get minor blocks and assist help. Siakam has also surpassed 20 minutes of playing time in five of his last six games. He’s been a committed member of the Raptors rotation and can be trusted as an end of the bench player.
Tyler Johnson G MIA-34% Ownership: The playing time is not as much of a concern as his shot selection. Johnson is a much better attacker than jump shooter. He’s a reliable shooter and can rotate to both guard spots. Johnson will mainly help with scoring, but he’ll grab boards as well as he’s averaging over three per game this season. With Dwayne Wade back in the fold, it could limit him a little, but his defense will keep him in the game. Johnson will help with steals. He’s recorded two multi-steal games in his last three and he will grab steals in the majority of his games. Johnson does have good passing ability and can hit the cutter inside. He’s dished at least three dimes in four of his last five games. Johnson will see a lot of 30-plus minute games and we can expect him to grab more playing time down the stretch. The Heat will preserve Wade and Goran Dragic as much as they can when they clinch a playoff spot and Johnson’s usage shouldn’t take too big of a hit overall. It also helps that a lot of the Heat’s offense needs to come from the guards with Hassan Whiteside still limited.
Jakob Poeltl C TOR-4% Ownership: While Siakam helps with steals; Poeltl is more of a banger and will swat shots away. He recorded four blocks in his previous game and he’s blocked at least one shot in every game over the last two weeks. He’s grabbed at least five boards in six of his last eight games. Siakam is more of a scorer, but Poeltl does the dirty work. He has scored in double figures in two of his last four games. He’s been hovering around the 20-minute mark for playing time and he’s been playing better lately and could receive more minutes. Poeltl is good at executing the give and go and he’ll often set screens at the arc and run right down the middle to gain positioning. He’s good at driving the lane and draws a lot of contact inside. The Raptors have a ton of big men who can shoot jumpers and Poeltl compliments them well because he’s an inside specific player. The Raptors won’t abandon their current plan as they sit on top of the Eastern Conference. Expect Poeltl to log close to 20 minutes per game for the short-term.
Kyle Anderson SG/SF SAS-29% Ownership: Anderson’s game has improved a ton since last season and he’s been an effective fill-in option for the Spurs with Kawhi Leonard still out. Anderson has stepped inside the arc a lot more this season and has grabbed a good amount of long rebounds. He’s grabbed 5.7 boards per game this season. Lately, Anderson has helped out with blocks as he’s blocked shots in his last three games and two of those games were multi-block games. Even when Rudy Gay returns, Anderson will still see playing time in the 20’s and 30’s for the most part. Anderson has also dished three or more assists in his last three games. He’s scored in double figures in two of his last three games. Add him for the defensive stats. He will have games in which he see’s a lot of open shots and than others that will be on the quieter side when it comes to scoring. Expect Anderson to be an integral part of the Spurs rotation down the stretch because Leonard’s status for the rest of the season is highly questionable.
Royce O'Neale SF UT-3% Ownership: Ever since Rodney Hood and Joe Johnson got dealt, O’Neale has been taking advantage of the open playing time. He’s played in the 30’s in his last 3 games. He’s grabbed at least four boards in seven of his last eight games and he compiled two multi-steal games in his last three. Jae Crowder will be his biggest competition for minutes along with Joe Ingles. O’Neale’s commitment to defense has kept him in the rotation lately. He’s blocked shots in three of his last four games. This could be a short-term pick up because we need to ultimately see how the Jazz utilize Ingles and Crowder for the rest of the season, but O’Neale’s run entering the All-Star break should give him some breathing room when play resumes next week. Like Ingles and Crowder, O’Neale can also shoot from long-range and he’s coming off of a 19-point game.
WILD CARD PICK UP: Justin Jackson SF SAC-2% Ownership: With George Hill off the team, Jackson should see a few more shots and he’s picked up his scoring production over the last few weeks. Jackson scored in double figures in four of his last five games. He’s also grabbed at least four boards in five of his last six games. The Kings had high hopes for Jackson as he started for them when the season began. Jackson will provide some assist help and has dished three over his last three games. He’ll also provide steals help on the defensive end. The Kings are one of those teams that will favor the younger players down the stretch and Jackson see’s steady playing time in the 20’s and 30’s and he’s improved his mid-range game since the start of the season. Expect his scoring to continue to rise and he’ll be playing more games in the 30’s down the stretch