Fantasy: Waiver Wire Watch 1/12/13
As the calendar flips to 2013, there are a few solid contributors still floating around waiver wires throughout the land. Today we’ll highlight a handful of surprising standouts that may be worth snagging off your league’s waiver wire:
* Matt Barnes – Los Angeles Clippers:
When the Clippers signed Matt Barnes back in September, he was viewed strictly as insurance, considering the depth L.A. boasted at its forward spots. Blake Griffin and Caron Butler were locked in as starters, while Lamar Odom and Grant Hill were viewed as the primary backups. However, Barnes has surprisingly established himself as extremely valuable contributor to the Clippers success. Over L.A.’s last 16 games, he is averaging 13.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.1 three-pointers, 1.4 blocks, and 1.1 steals. That’s remarkable all-around production from a waiver-ire pickup. Barnes is actually ranked 18th overall in 9-category fantasy leagues over the last month. There are only three players in the NBA currently averaging at least one three-pointer, one block, and one steal per game: Kevin Durant, Nicolas Batum, and yes, Barnes. No reason Barnes for to be un-owned at this stage of the game.
* Tristan Thompson – Cleveland Cavs:
After a sluggish start to his second professional season, Thompson was given increased playing time when Cavs starting center Anderson Varejao went down. Over Cleveland’s last 12 games, Thompson is averaging a remarkably impressive 13.3 points and 12.1 rebounds. He is actually second in the NBA in rebounding over the last month. Thompson is a “must-own” in all leagues at this point.
* Earl Clark – Los Angeles Lakers:
Clark-Sanity has generated some buzz out in L.A., as the desperate Lakers are hoping the Duke of Earl can give them some quality minutes and decent production. Clark exploded 22 points and 13 rebounds on Wednesday. Despite having scoring a total of just 8 points prior to that game, the Lakers front-court is extremely depleted, and Coach D’Antoni inserted Clark into the starting lineup on Friday night. Earl responded with another double-double (10 points and 10 rebounds). While Dwight Howard could be back in a week or so, and Gasol even sooner, L.A. did announce that Jordan Hill would miss the rest of the season due to his hip injury. As a result, Clark may still see decent minutes even after D12 and Gasol return.
* Isaiah Thomas – Sacramento Kings:
After a surprisingly effective and efficient rookie campaign, Sacramento rookie PG Isiah Thomas stumbled out of the gates in his sophomore season, and eventually lost his starting spot to Aaron Brooks. However, a minor ankle injury to Brooks afforded Thomas some extra playing time, and Isiah has made the most of it. Thomas has scored in double-figures in 12 of the Kings last 14 games. And over that stretch, he is averaging nearly 14 points and 4 assists per contest. In addition, he has started each of the Kings last seven games. Isiah proved last season that he can put up impressive numbers when starting and playing 26+ minutes a night…
* Tyler Zeller – Cleveland Cavs:
While certainly not as much current production or upside as the aforementioned Thompson, Zeller has been the Cavs starting center in all 12 games since Anderson Varejao went down; and with Varejao out at least 8 more weeks, Zeller will continue to play heavy minutes. Before a dud on Friday, Zeller was averaging 10.8 points, seven rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in his first 11 starts. Most encouragingly, he is playing over 34 minutes a night since the injury to Varejao. The Cavs are a young team with limited depth up front, which means Zeller will likely continue to see all the PT he can handle. If you play in a deep league (12+ teams), he’s worth a roster spot over the next two months.
* Patrick Paterson- Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets forward Patrick Patterson was dropped by impatient owners in many leagues after a foot injury sidelined him for two weeks in mid-December. But the burly big man is back in action, and contributing solid stats off the Houston bench. Through Houston’s first three games in January, Patterson was averaging 16 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.7 three-pointers, despite playing just 23 minutes a night. This shouldn’t come as a major surprise, considering how well he was playing before he got hurt. He’s struggled a bit in the Rockets last couple games, but the upside remains intriguing.
* Al-Farouq Aminu – New Orleans Hornets:
Aminu started the season in Hornets starting lineup and posted some big stats across-the-board back in November. However, Aminu eventually lost not only his starting gig, but also his spot in the rotation completely. However, he’s slowly but surely worked his way back, and has been starting for New Orleans in 2013. His scoring numbers have been a bit disappointing, but he’s grabbed at least 10 rebounds and two steals in each of his first four starts this month. If you are looking to take a flier on an athlete with some solid upside, Aminu may be your man.
* Tyler Zeller – Cleveland Cavs:
Zeller has started all 12 games since Anderson Varejao went down, and with Varejao out at least eight more weeks, Zeller will continue to play heavy minutes for the Cavs. Before a dud on Friday, Zeller was averaging 10.8 points, 7 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in his first 11 starts. Most encouragingly, he is playing over 34 minutes a night since the injury to Varejao. The Cavs are a young team with limited depth up front, which means Zeller will likely continue to see all the PT he can handle. If you play in a deep league (12+ teams), he’s worth a roster spot over the next two months.
* Ed Davis, Amir Johnson, and Alan Anderson – Toronto Raptors:
Once Andrea Bargnani injured his elbow, a few things started happening in Toronto. First, the Raps started winning (which is why many Raptor fans are of the opinion that Bargs should be traded). Secondly, Davis, Johnson, and Alan Anderson began seeing increased minutes. These youngsters have been somewhat inconsistent from night-to-night, but they have also both shown flashes of brilliance. Davis has scored in double-figures in five of his six games, and his averaging 13 points and 8 rebounds over that stretch… Johnson has posted at least 12 points and six boards in six of Toronto’s last eight contests, including a monster 19 point, 12 rebound, and 5 assist gem on Wednesday night against the Sixers… Anderson has come out of nowhere (undrafted free agent via Michigan State), to emerge as a offensive threat for the Raps. Anderson poured in a total of 47 points over back-to-back contests earlier this week, and then scored a team-high 16 in Toronto’s blowout win over Charlotte on Friday… Both Davis and Johnson may see their PT decrease once Bargnani finally returns (particularly if Toronto looks to showcase Bargs for a trade at the deadline), but both Ed and Amir will maintain value for at least the rest of this month. And there is even talk Bargnani will come off the bench when he is ready to return.