Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 16
With only eight days left until the trade deadline (Nov 18), we’re being flooded with rumor upon rumor, and it’s making for an interesting waiver wire. Since there still hasn’t been any word of an official deal, talk of adding any one player because of his potential on another team is pure speculation. Of course, that’s never stopped us from making predictions, but it does suggest it’s still too early to make any big roster changes based solely on trade potential. So, while some of the following players are here because of reasons other than trade potential, the ones that could be affected by player movement still hold value even if it all ends up being hot air. Also, remember that as the NBA’s trade deadline approaches, so do those of many fantasy leagues (some having already passed), so now is not the time to miss an opportunity at a valuable pickup. It may be one of the last chances you have of making that necessary improvement to your roster.
Ownership totals are in ESPN leagues as of February 9.
Norris Cole – PG – New Orleans Pelicans – 27.2%
While inconsistent at times, Cole has been worth picking up in standard leagues while Tyreke Evans has missed time dealing with tendinitis in his right knee. Evans now looks likely to miss the remainder of the season, further boosting Cole’s long-term value. So far this month, Cole is averaging 15 points (44.3% FG, 50% 3PT, 100% FT), 5.6 assists, 2.4 rebounds, one steal, one 3-pointer and two turnovers in 30.2 minutes. Those numbers provide mid to low-end value in standard leagues. The Pelicans still have two games left before the break, so either way, Cole makes a nice temporary add until then.
Archie Goodwin – SG/PG – Phoenix Suns – 33.3%
Goodwin has surely benefited from a banged up Phoenix Suns team and showed immediate promise when making his way into the starting lineup. He did have a minor three-game slump to end January, but has since recovered. Over his last four contests, he is averaging 18.5 points, 7.3 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 0.5 blocks, 1.3 three-pointers and four turnovers in 40.5 minutes. The playing time is crazy high and the turnovers aren’t ideal, but Goodwin is shooting 48 percent from the floor and 87.5 percent from the line over that stretch. He also managed to only give the ball away twice in his last game, against Oklahoma City, so his ball handling isn’t without hope of improvement. All in all, he’s an exciting young talent, and while it remains to be seen what effect the eventual return of Brandon Knight will have on Goodwin, his current production, combined with his potential to grow, makes Goodwin a great pickup in all standard leagues.
Matt Barnes – SF – Memphis Grizzlies – 14.5%
Marc Gasol is out indefinitely due to a broken right foot. It was first believed to be just a sprain, but an MRI Tuesday morning showed it was more serious than first believed. Before this unfortunate news, Barnes was already, at worst, worth spot-play consideration in standard leagues. While he seemed to have a hard time scoring double-digit points in consecutive games, Barnes has been able to produce enough in other categories like rebounds, assists, steals and blocks to minimize most of his off shooting nights. Now that Gasol is guaranteed to miss extended time, Barnes’ previous production is likely to increase and become more consistent, making him a pretty strong candidate for a must-add player in all leagues.
Aaron Gordon– PF/SF – Orlando Magic – 41%
Well, it’s now Week 16, and Gordon is still available in most leagues. What was it I said last week? Not sure if the 60 percent of you were paying attention, so I’ll just link it here. It’s just amazing that Gordon is still available in nearly 60 percent of leagues, so much so that I’ve just slipped and used first person singular! OK…composure regained. Gordon has had a couple (like literally just two) forgettable performances since claiming a spot in the starting rotation, but other than that, he’s been extremely consistent for a rookie getting his first major usage late in the season. He did, also, have a pretty bad night shooting the ball on Sunday, but it was hard for owners to complain considering he managed to add four blocks, two steals and 13 rebounds. Being that this is now the fourth week, out of the last five, that Gordon’s made this list, there isn’t much else left to be said about him. So, if you notice he’s still there on your waiver wire, try the following steps: (1) move your cursor to the “Add Aaron Gordon” button, (2) left-mouse-click, (3) choose your worst player to drop, (4) drop him and Gordon, (5) enjoy!
Willie Cauley-Stein – C/PF – Sacramento Kings – 22.1%
After missing all of December and some of January from a dislocated finger, it took Cauley-Stein some time to get his game going. After all, he had only just begun his rookie campaign before the Dec. 3 injury. Since having some time to finally get adjusted to professional ball, however, Cauley-Stein has shown real promise. In his last three games, all while starting next to DeMarcus Cousins, Cauley-Stein has averaged 14.7 points and 4.7 rebounds in 27.3 minutes. The rebounding is a little underwhelming for a man of his stature, but considering he averaged 6.2 rebounds in just 21.1 minutes in January, things should improve pretty soon – as long as he continues to see minutes.It had been reported that Kings’ coach George Karl was
It had been reported that Kings’ coach George Karl was expected to be fired during the All-Star break, however, as of Tuesday those plans have now changed and Karl will now keep his job at least for the rest of the season. It’s hard to say whether this is good or bad for Cauley-Stein’s value as the Kings have lost eight of their last nine games, a stretch that covers the rookies recent surge in usage. In an attempt to make a late-season run at the playoffs and try to salvage a season that almost cost him his job, Karl could end up making some changes to the lineup. At the same time, a lineup shuffle may not be the way to go, and minor tweaks may be the first line of attack, so anything could happen as of now.
Cauley-Stein is by no means a sure thing, but he does have great potential and can produce valuable blocks and rebounds while shooting a high percentage from the floor. If he does manage to keep his current place in the starting lineup, the seven-foot rookie would, at the very least, be a low-end value in standards leagues with the potential to do much more. If you have a roster spot open or can easily think of a player to drop, keep an eye on Cauley-Stein and see what happens leading up to and just after the All-Star break. If you don’t feel confident enough to pick him up right this second, that’s understandable, but be aware that his time could come pretty soon.