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Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire: Week 15

by George Haw | @georgeWarfieldH | Featured Writer
Feb 3, 2016

Dennis Schroder's value could increase significantly by the trade deadline

Dennis Schroder’s value could increase significantly by the trade deadline

Another week down and still no trades, other than the Ish Smith deal that is. It’s been surprisingly quiet this year on the trading block, but if anything is in the works, we will undoubtedly hear about it pretty soon, as the Feb. 18 trade deadline is fast approaching. Of course, trades aren’t necessary to the development of free agent talent, as injuries, poor play, and philosophical shifts are more than enough to keep the waiver wire saturated with possibilities. The point is that whether or not a significant trade does manifest, there will always be available prospects waiting for you to scoop them up. So, with that being said, let’s get started.

Ownership totals are in ESPN leagues as of February 2.

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Dennis Schroder – PG – Atlanta Hawks – 32.9%
Seeing just 20.6 minutes per game in January, Schroder’s production, in and of itself, hasn’t been good enough to warrant an add in standard formats. He is currently a low-end play in deeper leagues, but when it comes to 10-team or smaller leagues, Schroder’s output is going to have to improve for him to be a relevant option. Of course, being that he’s one of our top point guard picks of the week, it just so happens that Schroder has some nice potential that, if tapped, could significantly improve his value.

Nothing is certain at the moment, and things could very well remain as they are for the rest of the season, but one of the most common trade rumors going around involves Atlanta dealing current starting point guard Jeff Teague. Schroder is six years younger than Teague, who’s been dealing with left ankle injuries for a while now, and has proven capable of running the Hawks’ offense, so when multiple teams show interest in acquiring the “elder” point guard before the trade deadline, fantasy owners should pay attention. If you’re in a standard sized league and don’t have anyone on your roster worth dropping, Schroder may be better off left alone, but if you do have a spot to spare, it makes sense to sit on him for as long as you can until the deadline approaches.

For those of you in need of immediate help at the No. 1 position, Norris Cole (15.8% ownership rate) is worth a look across all formats. Over his last five games, Cole has averaged 14.6 points, 5.6 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.8 threes in 33.6 minutes. That kind of value won’t last once Tyreke Evans returns (knee tendinitis), but as long as he’s out, Cole is a mid to low-end play depending on how much you need out of him.

Marcus Smart – SG – Boston Celtics – 48.4%
Now in his second year as a professional, the 21-year-old Marcus Smart has shown general growth from his rookie season, but due to consistency issues, that improvement has come about a bit slower than many would have expected. Games like the one Smart had against Orlando on Jan. 31, when he scored 26 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field to go along with five rebounds, two steals and five three-pointers, are proof that the talent is there, it’s just a matter of being able to harness it on a nightly basis.

With Isaiah Thomas, now an All-Star caliber point guard, running the starting offense, Smart should remain on the second-team indefinitely, but he’ll continue to play close to 30 minutes per game. With that kind of court-time, Smart should be considered a must-own in deeper leagues and, at least, a spot play in standard sized leagues.

Jeff Green – SF – Memphis Grizzlies – 47.1%
Green has had his fair share of ups and downs this season, and, as a result, has been a popular add/drop player. He’s been boom or bust all year with almost no discernable patterns to help predict which it will be next. There is one encouraging trend, however, and that is that the busts are becoming less frequent as the season progresses. This pattern could be more a result of the Grizzlies playing better as a team than Green simply elevating his own game, but either way, his value has skyrocketed as of late. Over the last four games, Green has averaged 26 points, 5.5 rebounds, one assist, 1.5 steals and 2.8 threes in 31 minutes, and over the last week, his player rating has topped out at No. 14.

These stellar statistics will not last forever, so it’s best to act now and capitalize on a player currently playing through his ceiling before he comes back down. Even so, when taking into account the trend above, Green’s floor value may still be on the rise. Pick him up now for immediate production, but consider hanging on to him a little longer than you may have originally planned, just in case he manages to produce some late-season consistency.

Aaron Gordon – PF – Orlando Magic – 35.6%
Gordon needs to be owned in all formats both shallow and deep. This is now the third time (all in the past four weeks) we’ve mentioned him here, yet he’s still available in nearly 65 percent of leagues. Admittedly, when we first suggested you pick the rookie up, it was more of a wait and see proposal than anything else, but that quickly changed when coach Scott Skiles hinted at a possible lineup change, which, at the time, figured to involve moving Channing Frye to the bench and replacing him with Gordon. As poorly as Frye had been playing, it seemed like a no-brainer, one that even Skiles could be counted on to make.

Well, he did eventually make that move, six games ago, and since then, Gordon is averaging 12 points (50.1% FG, 30.1% 3PT, 58.3% FT), 10.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.7 three-pointers, 0.7 blocks and 1.3 turnovers in 30.2 minutes. Considering how athletic he is, and the fact that he’s all but guaranteed to keep the starting position going forward, those numbers are bound to improve with time.There’s not much more you can say about the kid, other than to reiterate how crazy it is that he’s not owned in more leagues. Hopefully, this will be the last week we’ll need to bring up his name, but if he’s still available in most leagues, you can bet he’ll be back again for Week 16.

There’s not much more you can say about the kid, other than to reiterate how crazy it is that he’s not owned in more leagues. Hopefully, this will be the last week we’ll need to bring up his name, but if he’s still available in most leagues, you can bet he’ll be back again for Week 16.

Nikola Jokic – C – Denver Nuggets – 53%
The idea of this waiver wire article is to provide you, the reader, with the best player at each position that’s available in the majority of fantasy leagues. This isn’t exactly a novel idea, as it makes little sense to waste time talking about players to pick up if those players aren’t available in the first place. For this week, however, we’ll have to bend that rule a bit and present to you Mr. Jokic. First mentioned here back in Week 3 by name only, and then again in Week 5 as a “package deal” with Jusuf Nurkic, Jokic has finally come into his own, supplanting Joffrey Lauvergne as the Nuggets’ starting center on Jan. 2. Holding the starting position throughout January, Jokic averaged 9.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, two assists, 0.6 blocks, 1.5 steals and 1.2 turnovers in 21 minutes. It was a slow start for the young Serbian, but as January neared its end, he began to show signs of improvement.

Over his last five games has averaged 15.2 points (55.2% FG, 62.5% FT), 10.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.8 steals, 0.8 blocks and 1.6 turnovers in only 25.4 minutes. While the lack of playing time may seem worrisome at first, it should be noted that Jokic’s minutes have steadily improved month to month. In fact, over his last two games, Jokic has averaged 32.5 minutes, leading to two double-doubles and career highs in points, rebounds and steals (27, 14 and five respectively).

Out of the few centers to have started for Denver, Jokic certainly shows the most promise, and his coach, Michael Malone, has no plans of letting him go anytime soon. Jokic should be owned in all leagues, and at his current pace, that shouldn’t take much longer. If he’s somehow still available in your league, pick him up now before it’s too late.

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George Haw is a correspondent at FantasyPros. To read more from George, check out his archive and follow him@georgeWarfieldH.

Correspondent, Featured, NBA, Waiver Wire