NBA Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Pickups

It’s still early in the season, but several players have really increased their fantasy value for 2011.  Sometimes you have to gamble early in the season with a few risky pickups and these players could provide big returns down the road.  I’m basing waiver wire status on players who are owned in less than 30% of Yahoo Leagues.

Norris Cole (MIA) (13%) - I don’t think Miami has ever really liked Mario Chalmers and Cole might be the perfect excuse for the Heat to make the switch.  Cole had a big game Tuesday going for 20 points.  More surprising was that he led the Heat with 16 shot attempts, which was more than both Wade and LeBron.

Terrence Williams (HOU) (3%) – It feels like the Rockets are trying to decide whether to go with Chase Budinger or give Williams his shot.   The roles for these two could be decided in the next two weeks.  Williams is a big risk, big reward play.

Josh Howard (UTA) (6%) – The Jazz are evaluating Gordon Hayward and Josh Howard right now and this starting spot could be given to Howard based on his past experience. 

Josh McRoberts (LAL) (9%) – McRoberts has looked pretty good, but remember that Andrew Bynum will be back soon which will send Josh back to the bench.  He should be the first big man off the bench and you never know when another Bynum injury will occur.  The real upside here is if the Lakers somehow trade both Gasol and Bynum, then the starting PF spot could open up for McRoberts.

Gilbert Arenas (FA) (14%) – You know someone is eventually going to get desperate and give Arenas a call.  Could be a great stash if you have an available bench spot.

Mehmet Okur (NJN) (19%) – Yes, he’s looked horrible in his first two games, but at least he’s healthy.  Playing with the Nets second team would probably make anyone look bad.  There’s a good chance that Okur will soon be in the starting lineup and his stats will reflect the move.

Richard Jefferson (SAS) (29%) – Jefferson is going to continue to start and is a great source of three pointers.  He’s a decent SF option in deeper leagues.

Kendrick Perkins (OKC) (29%) – Perkins looks fit and healthy and has taken over the starting center spot for the Thunder.  The stats over the first two games haven’t been that impressive, but you have to appreciate the value of finding a starting center still on the wire, especially in leagues that require two centers.

Spencer Hawes (PHI) (32%) – He’s a little over my 30% threshhold, but I couldn’t leave him out, just in case this is the year that he finally puts it all together.  Hawes is still just 23 years old.

Jonas Jerebko (DET) (14%) – Jerebko got the start with Charlie Villanueva suspended for the first game of the season and put up a decent stat line of 17 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block.  He could be the first big off the bench and get 28-30 minutes.

Tristan Thompson (CLE) (21%) – Cleveland is trying to get Thompson involved in the rotation right from the beginning, which is great for his fantasy prospects.  Antawn Jamison is always a threat to go down with an injury and he’s a good bet to be traded this season, and surely won’t be back next year.  Thompson is a nice grab, especially in keeper leagues.

Mike Dunleavy (MIL) (11%) – Dunleavy is getting some extra run to start the season with Carlos Delfino sidelined and he’s showed pretty good health.  He will probably move to the bench when Delfino returns, but should still get good minutes backing up both Stephen Jackson and Delfino.

MarShon Brooks (NJN) (5%) – This is a pickup for the keeper league owners, but could possibly pay off as soon as this season.  Anthony Morrow has looked horrible so far and Brooks had a great game last night putting up 17 points.  Brooks has the ability to score and the Nets really need someone to step up at the shooting guard position.


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