With the NBA season nearly 2/3 of the way thru, it’s an ideal time to make a few roster changes. For those playing in a Roto format, study the standings to determine which categories you can improve the most in. For example, if you have a 4 in the blocks category but you are only 30 blocks from having a 7, then adding a couple big men to your team could make a significant impact. The trick is to make sure you really can make up ground in a given category. For example, if you have a 3 in assists but you are 140 assists behind having a 5, then adding extra point guards would prove to be irrelevant. Take a hard look at the standings to determine which of your players are most expendable… For those playing in a Head to Head format, consider purposely giving up on a category in order to solidify another. For example, drop players who rebound & block shots & add more guards to pad the 3′s, assists & steals categories. Sometimes by intentional ignoring a couple of categories, you end up dominate the others and winning each week 6-2.
Regardless of the format you are playing, finding players to improve your team is a must… so without further delay, I give you several readily available players who can make your team better.
1. Corey Maggette, Bobcats SF – Maggette has averaged over 19 points a game over the Bobcats’ past 10 games and gets to the foul line more than most wing players. Maggette has always been able to score but his inability to stay healthy has affected his production. Enjoy his big point totals and solid percentages until his next injury stikes. He is available in of 40% of leagues but that number should shrink rapidly over the next few days.
2. Zaza Pachulia, Hawks C – Zaza has stepped up his rebounding numbers in recent days, averaging 11.3 boards over the past 6 games. With the Hawks recently confirming the Al Horford will be out the rest of the season, Pachulia should continue to average 34 minutes a night and I expect he’ll contribute about 10 points & 10 rebounds per game the rest of the way. Zaza is currently owned in approximately 25% of leagues.
3. James Johnson, Raptors SF – Johnson has been teasing fantasy owners all season with his all around talent & inconsistent play. However he is in the midst of an 8 game stretch where he is averaging 13 points, 6.5 boards, 2.3 assists, 1.5 steals & 1.1 blocks. Johnson is certainly worth a roster spot in all formats & can be had as a free agent in nearly 60% of leagues.
4. Trevor Booker, Wizards PF – Booker’s recommendation is tied to his increased minutes of the past 5 games during which he has average 32.8 minutes, 13.6 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 1 block & 54% from the field. Booker has enough talent to maintain his recent production, however the Wizards’ rotation is one of the less stable in all of the NBA and whether or not Booker’s minutes remain steady is uncertain. Booker is available in 85% of leagues.
5. Andray Blatche, Wizards PF – Blatche returned from injury 3 games ago and so far has played sparingly off the bench. However Blatche has shown the ability to average 15+ points & 7+ rebounds a night when he is focused & healthy. Blatche presents as much upside as anyone on the waiver wire & could end up stealing some of Trevor Booker’s minutes. Blatche is currently owned in approximately 50% of leagues.
6. Steve Novak, Knicks PF – Novak appeared in this column last week and his ownership is still remarkably low given his ability to drastically impact the 3 pointers made category. Novak is averaging 3.6 three pointers over his last 8 games and while he does nothing else noteworthy, his 3 point shooting warrants a roster spot. Novak is owned in just 30% of leagues.
7. Mike Dunleavy, Bucks SG/SF – Dunleavy has never been a flashy player but he doesn’t do anything that will hurt your team either, making him a nice addition in deeper leagues. The Bucks have given Dunleavy over 30 minutes a night in their last 7 games & he has responded with 9.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.5 threes. Like I said, nothing flashy here, but his recent increase in minutes suggests he should be owned in more than the 3% of leagues. Owners in 12+ team leagues should give the former Duke standout a look.
Follow Brice Clark on Twitter @ExpertFantasyGM