It seems that injuries & rotation changes are a consistent theme across the NBA in this year. Due to the league’s abbreviated preseason & the condensed regular season, many teams are still searching for the right mix of healthy players. Fantasy owners should always be monitoring the Minutes Played column of the box scores, particularly among teams at the bottom of the NBA standings, as those teams are the most likely to make significant changes.
Below are 5 players who are making a fantasy impact & deserve strong consideration when searching the Waiver Wire…
1. Drew Gooden, PF Bucks – Gooden’s new found value is directly related to the unfortunate ankle injury suffered by Andrew Bogut. In the past 2 games Gooden has played 36 minutes, scoring 23 points in each & averaging 11.5 rebounds. Gooden currently qualifies as PF in most leagues but should gain Center eligibility in the near future. Bogut will be sidelined for at least 2 months, making Gooden a must add in all formats. Currently the former Kansas Jayhawk is available in approximately 20% of leagues, but I expect that number will push 100% within days. Add Gooden right away if he is still available in your league.
2. Leandro Barbosa, SG Raptors – In 10+ team leagues finding free agents who can impact the Points category are typically hard to come by. Which is why Leandro Barbosa makes a great addition. Barbosa is averaging 16.5 points & 1.2 three pointers over his last 12 games, and with Raptor’s leading scoring Andrea Bargnani out with a calf injury, I expect Barbosa’s numbers to remain strong for the foreseeable future. Barbosa is available in 5 out of 10 leagues, and if you need scoring help, he is your guy.
3. Rodrigue Beaubois, PG Mavericks – The 2nd year pro from France has gained playing time due to Jason Kidd’s calf injury & Beaubois has taken advantage. Beaubois has started & played 36 minutes in each of the last 2 games, averaging 18 points, 7 assists, 4.5 boards, 1.5 three’s & an eye-pooping 3.5 blocks. Clearly 2 games is a very small sample size, but that’s not to say Beaubois isn’t talented. The Mavericks have been praising his abilities for some time now, and considering Kidd’s injury & age, Beaubois’ may stay fantasy-relevant longer than you think. Beaubois qualifies at PG & SG in most leagues and is a great short-term addition with potential long-term value. He is currently available in approximately 50% of leagues.
4. Jimmer Fredette, SG Kings – From a fantasy standpoint, the Sacramento Kings may be the most frustrating & unpredictable team in NBA. New coach Keith Smart has been changing his lineup regularly due to injuries & lack-luster play with Jimmer being one of the main beneficiaries over the past 4 games. During that stretch Fredette has averaged 16.5 points with 3.5 three pointers made. Jimmer is a legitimate threat from long range & should be an excellent sources of 3′s & points as long as he continues to see 30 minutes a night. Fredette is currently available in 7 out of 10 leagues.
5. Rudy Fernandez, SG Nuggets – Fernandez recently returned after missing 6 games with an achilles and coach George Karl was not shy about getting him back into the rotation right away. In 2 games since his return, the Spanish sharp-shooter has played 33 & 31 minutes while going 7 for 12 from the three point land. Fernandez can certainly average 2+ three pointers a game & will contribute a reasonable number of steals as well. Fernandez is available in over 90% of leagues and his play merits serious consideration in deeper leagues, especially if 3 pointers are a need for you.
My 2 Cents:
1. This week’s nominee for “People I’d Like To Shake Hands With” is…. Dan Fegan, agent for point guard Gilbert Arenas. Gilbert is actually the 5th highest paid player in the NBA this season at over 19 million dollars… he is also an unrestricted free agent who has drawn almost no interest from NBA teams… until just recently, as the Lakers are reportedly now interested in adding Gil. Imagine Arenas & Metta World Peace on the same team… the Lakers will need a team psychologist.
2. The New York Knicks are a full blown disaster and it shouldn’t surprise anyone. Coach Mike D’Antoni employs a defense-optional system that encourages quick shots & extra possessions. The problem is their 2 best players are too worried about scoring to even think about playing defense & they have no one who is a real threat from 3 point range. And oddly enough, Knicks fans seem to think Baron Davis’ return to the court will actually make a difference… seriously Knicks fans, with Baron Davis’ horrible shooting percentage, turnover ratio & injury history, you really think things will get better this year? It’s a matter of time before D’Antoni is fired.
Follow Brice Clark on Twitter @ExpertFantasyGM