Waiver Wire Add – Tyler Zeller, Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cleveland Cavaliers drafted 7’0, 250 pounder, Tyler Zeller, with the 17th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.  Zeller was a four year player at North Carolina where he averaged 12.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks over a 117 game career.

Zeller got off to a rough start to the 2012-2013 NBA season by getting injured in the Cavs fourth game of the year.  He suffered a concussion and non-displaced fracture of the orbital bone.  That type of injury would knock many guys out for weeks, it kept Zeller out just four games.   The kid is definitely tough, but the injury put him behind in his development this season.  He’s just now looking healthy and ready to improve.

Since returning from the injury, Zeller has logged nearly 24 minutes a game while posting 6.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and .7 blocks.  His only drawback is the 3.2 fouls that he’s averaged in his 24 minutes.  It isn’t bad, but it definitely needs to improve a little and it should once he gets a little more familiar with playing defense at the NBA level.

While the above numbers don’t scream ‘must add’, the fact that the coaching staff trusts him with 24 minutes a game says quite a lot.  Also, the Cavs aren’t exactly loaded with big men that have anywhere near the ceiling for improvement that Zeller has.  Given that trust and lack of real competition, Zeller should continue to see 25-28 minutes a game.

Zeller’s current outlook makes him an attractive add in redraft leagues and a definite add in keeper leagues, but the real upside here is the possibility that the Cavs decide to trade Anderson Varejao now that his trade value is probably at it’s absolute peak.  If the Cavs trade Varejao, it opens a ton of playing time for Zeller, either at power forward or more likely at center.

Zeller has a bright future in the NBA and should be rostered in most standard to deep sized leagues, and definitely in keeper leagues.

Waiver Wire Watchlist – Jimmy Butler

The Bulls are currently sitting at 7-7 and tied with the Charlotte Bobcats for the number eight seed in the East.  If they don’t pick it up soon or if it becomes clear that the Pacers are going to pass them, it might be wise for the Bulls to start looking toward next season.  If they do, Jimmy Butler could be in line for playing time later this season and could make a great bench stash, especially in keeper leagues.

The Bulls currently have soon to be 35 year old Rip Hamilton manning the SG spot and he hasn’t been exactly lighting it up lately.   There’s also a good possibility that they decide to amnesty Carlos Boozer.  And of course, everyone knows that Derrick Rose might not return this season.  There’s also the possibility that Luol Deng could opt for the wrist surgery that he’s been putting off for over a year if the Bulls fall far enough out of the race.  If the Bulls decide to tank it this season, Taj Gibson, Marquis Teague and Jimmy Butler could all get some developmental minutes.

So far, Butler has been more of a defensive minded player, but his offense is progressing to the point where his shot selection is better and Thibodeau seems to be slowly working him into some backup minutes.   Butler is currently averaging 5.6 points and 2.5 rebounds in 15.6 MPG.    If you take a look at his per/36 stats, that works out to 12.8 points and 5.8 rebounds.  Not bad for a 23 year old, but the most encouraging thing for Butler is that he’s raised his FG% from 40.5% last season to 52% this year.  He’s also a career 81.5% free throw shooter.  We’re still dealing with a small sample this season, but there is clearly some improvement there.

I wouldn’t pick Butler up just yet, unless you are in a very deep keeper league.  Put him on your watchlist for now and keep an eye on how the Bulls progress as a team during January.  If it looks like the wheels are coming off and they begin looking toward next season, you may want grab Butler for a late season run.


Waiver Wire Add – Terrence Ross – Toronto Raptors

Terrence Ross had a big game Tuesday night going for 19 points and 5 rebounds in 36 minutes off the bench.  The biggest positive for Ross was the 17 shot attempts, which would be fantasy gold if he can continue to get 33-35 MPG.  The Raptors have a hole at SF and could move DeMar DeRozan to that spot and insert Ross into the starting SG spot.  These two guys had a preseason position battle going on at SG, but could find themselves on the court together soon if the Raptors decide they want more offense on the floor.   Redraft league owners may want to put Ross on their watchlist to see if the minutes trend continues, but he is definitely a waiver pickup right now for keeper league owners.

Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Action

Hope you guys all had a great Thanksgiving, sorry for the lack of posting but I’ve been on the road for most of the holiday.   This morning I’m taking a quick look at some guys floating around on the wire that make nice fantasy additions both for this week and long term.

Jeremy Pargo (CLE, $3400) – I’ve played Pargo the last two days over on Fanduel and he’s really produced with Kyrie Irving sidelined.  Irving is expected to miss at least three more weeks and Pargo has a pretty tight hold on the starting PG spot.  He’s primarily a scorer and won’t help you much with assists, but he’s managed 28 and 15 points in his last two, which is pretty good waiver wire production.

Jeffery Taylor (CHA, $3700) – I’m not sure what the Bobcats intend to do with Taylor long term, but he’s logged 33, 30 and 36 minutes in his last three games and seems to be ahead of both Ramon Sessions and Ben Gordon for playing time.  Gerald Henderson will return soon, which may kill Taylor’s fantasy value.  Keep an eye on his role once Henderson returns and maybe give him a chance later in the season.

Tyler Zeller (CLE, $4500) – Zeller was having a solid rookie season when he suffered a mild concussion and facial fracture, but he’s healed up well and is back on the court trying to build up his minutes.  He’s getting a steady 25+ minutes since his return while posting a solid 13 point, 9 rebound performance last night.  He’s a great addition in keeper leagues.

Moe Harkless (ORL, $3500) – If you have a spare bench spot, Harkless is a good guy to gamble on for later this season.  He got the start last night and played well in his 16 minutes, posting 6 points, 4 rebounds and a steal.   It won’t be long before the Magic find themselves way out of the race and looking to get the rookie some serious court time.  He’s a must add in keeper leagues.

Andre Drummond (DET, $4500) – Drummond is in the same situation as Harkless with the Pistons eventually falling out of the race and trying to rebuild and get their rookies some experience.  Drummond has been much better this season than I thought he would be.  The only huge drawback that I can find with Drummond is his free throw shooting which sits at 42.9%, and that’s a big improvement over his college career free throw mark of 29.5%.  He’s a must add in Dynasty leagues.

Kyle Singler (DET, $4200) – I’m not sure what the Pistons are going to do with Singler, but the guy has some talent and should continue to get steady minutes.  At some point, the Pistons could ship Tayshaun Prince out and give Singler some run at SF, but right now he’s going to continue to start at SG.  I don’t expect the Pistons to keep Rodney Stuckey on the bench forever, so Singler is a risky pickup but definitely someone you want to keep on your watchlist.

Gary Neal (SAS, $5300) – Neal is a great short term pickup while starting at SG for the Spurs.  Stephen Jackson and Kawhi Leonard are both out with injuries and San Antonio is running short on players right now, so Neal is going to continue to see good minutes until those guys return.

Patrick Patterson (HOU, $6300) – I still see Patterson floating around out there on the wire in a few leagues and he really shouldn’t be.  He’s averaging nearly 30 minutes a game while posting 13 and 5, and had two great games recently going for 19 and 20 points.

Draymond Green (GSW, $4300) – Green is blocked by Harrison Barnes for a starting spot, but he’s been getting about 20 minutes a game over his last five.  Brandon Rush is gone and Richard Jefferson is old and brittle, which could leave Green getting solid minutes.  He’s definitely someone you want to keep on your watchlist.

Aaron Brooks (SAC, $3800) – I’m holding Isaiah Thomas in a few leagues and just can’t bring myself to cut him loose yet.  Brooks may be the better player short term, but Thomas is the future.  If you are in a keeper league and have a spare bench spot, Thomas is a great guy to gamble on for the future.  As for Brooks, grab him if you need short term help at PG as he clearly looks like the favorite for minutes.

Jamaal Tinsley (UTA, $3500) – Mo Williams is having some ankle problems right now and Tinsley could see a few starts this week.  He’s worth a short term add if you need assists.

Roger Mason, Jr. (NOR, $3800) – Mason has replaced Austin Rivers in the starting lineup and it could be a move that lasts for awhile.  Mason picked up 37 minutes last night and that’s reason enough to scoop him up for a play this week if you need shooting guard help.


NBA Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Pickups – Week Two

The first week of the NBA season is in the books and now is the perfect time to work the waiver wire to get the jump on the other owners in your league.   While I wouldn’t advise making any irrational moves concerning slow starting high ADP players, there are some real gems out there that would be great claims to replace some of the lower ADP guys on your bench.  Here’s a handful of guys that look like really good gambles:

Larry Sanders (MIL) – Sanders is a great pickup in leagues that allow daily roster moves, as well as keeper leagues.  His playing time is going to be situational, but when he’s in there he can really help you across the board.   He put up 27 points, 14 rebounds and 6 blocks in his first two games and qualifies at PF and C.

J.J. Redick (ORL) – Redick got left on a lot of waiver wires because he is coming off the bench behind Arron Afflalo, but with the injury to Hedo Turkoglu Redick is going to see a steady 30+ MPG.  He’s played 35 and 34 minutes in his first two games, putting up 45 points and 12 assists.

Jamal Crawford (LAC) – Crawford said this was the first offseason that he’s worked on his shot and it’s clearly showing.  He’s averaging 31 MPG over his first three while putting up 26 points a game.  He should continue to see good minutes and be asked to contribute scoring while Chauncey Billups is out.

Danny Green (SAS) – Manu Ginobili is having back problems and Green is seeing extra minutes because of it.  While I’m sure Ginobili will eventually heal, Green will likely continue to have value all season.  Over the first three games without Ginobili, Green has averaged 33 MPG, 14 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2.3 threes made.

Kevin Seraphin (WAS) – The Wizards are young and should probably just add Seraphin to their starting five to get him some experience and see what they’ve got.  There’s no timetable for Nene to return, so Seraphin should be in line for about 30 minutes a night until we see Nene again.  Seraphin missed the first game of the season with an injury of his own, but in his first game back, he put up 19 points and 7 rebounds, which could be his value when he’s completely healthy.

Nikola Vucevic (ORL) – The Magic are clearly rebuilding and the starting center spot is now firmly in the hands of Vucevic.  He showed a glimpse last night of what he could be capable of delivering going for 18 points and 13 rebounds.  Gustavo Ayon will try to compete with Vucevic for minutes, but I think Vucevic may lock this job up for 30+ MPG.

Jarrett Jack (GSW) – Brandon Rush tore an ACL and it looks like the Warriors are going with a three guard type of rotation with Klay Thompson possibly seeing some minutes at SF.  Jack had a great season in 2011-12 and has seen the court for about 30 MPG over his first three games this season.  He’s a great pickup if he continues to get those kind of minutes, especially for his assist ability.

Byron Mullens (CHA) – Mullens showed flashes of his three point shooting ability in the preseason, but I don’t think anyone really believed it would carry over into the regular season.  They were wrong.  Mullens launched 14 three point attempts over his first two games while averaging 11 points and 9 rebounds.  He also added a steal and a block per game.  He really doesn’t have much competition for minutes and could continue to see around 30 minutes a night.

Caron Butler (LAC) – Butler has dropped some weight and it really seems like it’s helped his knees.  He’s been able to log 30+ minutes over his first three games while posting about 15 points a night.

Steve Blake (LAL) – I’ve seen a few reports that suggest that Steve Nash might miss about a month with his leg fracture.  Blake will enter the starting five, but he’s not going to put up huge stats and is really just a short term pickup for anyone in 14-16 team leagues.

Carl Landry (GSW) – Andrew Bogut has been limited to about 20 minutes a night and that has forced the Warriors to put a smaller lineup on the floor by using Landry in the frontcourt.  He’s responded well getting about 26 MPG and averaging 20 points and 7 rebounds over his first three games.  His value will continue to depend on Bogut’s health.

Jason Kidd (NYK) – Raymond Felton is clearly the starter in New York, but the Knicks have been playing Felton and Kidd together and it’s really been working well.  Kidd is a good defender and rebounder and really fits well with what the Knicks are trying to do while Amare Stoudemire is out.  Kidd has managed 24 MPG while posting 12 points, 4.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game over his first three games of the season.

Greivis Vasquez (NOR) – Vasquez probably isn’t on very many wires, but I’ve seen him on a few in shallower leagues where he probably shouldn’t be available.  Eric Gordon is out indefinitely and Austin Rivers is playing the SG spot which leaves no other option at PG to compete with Vasquez.  Over his first three games Vasquez has put up 13 points, 10 assists and 4 rebounds a game.  That’s elite production, even in shallow leagues.

Patrick Patterson (HOU) – Patterson isn’t flashy and he doesn’t have a huge ceiling, but he’s got the starting PF spot locked down in Houston and has developed into a very dependable option that can get you 10 and 7 with a steal and a block per game, which is great waiver wire value.

A.J. Price (WAS) – The Wizards are content to roll with Price as their starting PG while John Wall is out.  He isn’t going to put up big numbers, but he can get you 8-10 points, 5-6 assists and 2-3 rebounds a game if you are desperate for a PG option.

Richard Hamilton (CHI) – Most drafters gave up on Hamilton this season because of the constant injuries, but he looks really healthy and has regained his scoring touch going for 14 points a game over his first three.  He also has the ability to throw in a handful of assists and will continue to be asked to carry part of the scoring load while Derrick Rose is out.

Omer Asik (HOU) – I know Asik doesn’t score, but there’s no way he should be sitting on waiver wires after averaging 14.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks a game over his first three.  The offensive skills sometimes take awhile to develop, but it will come and if he can get his scoring to just 10 points a game, he’s a must own.

Bradley Beal (WAS) – Beal is being dropped all over the place right now, but I really think owners are being very shortsighted here, especially in keeper leagues.  The Wizards are a mess right now and basically have no point guard.  I know A.J. Price is playing the PG part, but he’s no John Wall.  Beal is a great spot up shooter and needs a great distributor to get him the ball in his spots and right now he just doesn’t have that.  Beal will develop better offensive skills that allow him to attack the basket, but in the beginning of his career he is limited and really needs Wall to return to bolster his fantasy value.