Welcome back to another week of Fantasy basketball. An unexpected amount of injuries across the league are giving lesser known players the opportunity to grab some impressive numbers. Watching your league injury reserves and picking up the replacements is a sure way to collect some big numbers and impress your leagues with your knowledge.
This week in the NBA, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks took over the top spot in the East; the Lakers upset the Warriors on Christmas without much help from an injured LeBron James; and the Houston Rockets continued to climb back from 14th place in the Western Conference as they put together a four-game win streak to move into fifth.
And now, onto our Fantasy basketball waiver wire picks…
Josh Hart, SG, Los Angles Lakers (ESPN: 5.4 per cent; CBS: 42 per cent): With James out with a strained left groin, Hart has had more touches coming his way. Hart had 22 points and seven boards on Sunday and he’s come up with eight steals over his last three games. His style of play fits the Lakers and new NBA. Hart is a young, athletic shooter who has shown nice strength (see video below) and is likely to have long, successful career.
Nemanja Bjelica, SF/PF, Sacramento Kings (ESPN: 3 per cent; CBS: 50 per cent): Bjelica had a hot start to the season, cooled off a little bit, and now seems to be back on track. On Friday, he dropped 18 points and six boards in 28 minutes of action. Bjelica has also improved his shot blocking and rebounding of late, averaging 1.7 blocks and nearly seven rebounds over the last week. He’s been inconsistent and has had some truly terrible games, but it’s looking like he may have finally found his rhythm, so don’t miss your chance.
Monte Morris, PG, Denver Nuggets (ESPN: 3.6 per cent; CBS: 49 per cent): Morris is averaging 13.5 points, 2.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.0 turnovers in 10 games while playing 26.9 minutes per game. He’s also managed to shoot 50 per cent from the field as well as 50 per cent from 3-point distance. Morris may not be a long term fit on your roster as the Nuggets have been struggling with injuries and there are some big names set to return soon (Will Barton and Gary Harris). For the short-term, however, Morris will continue to get nice minutes and provide solid production.
Dewayne Dedmon, C, Atlanta Hawks (ESPN: 1.7 per cent; CBS: 26 per cent): Playing alongside Alex Len has limited Dedmon’s totals this season. However, with Len missing two games with a sore back recently, Dedmon came through with huge numbers: 19 points, 13 rebounds and four three pointers, and 18 points and 15 rebounds. Dedmon’s been winning the battle of the centres all season and after this display we can expect coach Lloyd Pierce to favour Dedmon even more. Look out Len, this man’s after your job. Just note, however, that Dedmon’s knee is currently hurt so he missed Monday’s game.
Fred VanVleet, PG, Toronto Raptors (ESPN: 1.6 per cent; CBS: 35 per cent): VanVleet’s averaging 12 points, 3.7 assists and 2.7 three-pointers over the last week, and his minutes have increased from 26.1 to 31.3 since Kyle Lowry has been sitting out with a back injury. While VanVleet’s production hasn’t skyrocketed as many expected, the 24-year-old has been consistent across the board.
RotoRob Tune of the Week
Canadian alt rock singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette really hit it big in the mid-’90s. In 2002, she released her fifth album, Under Rug Swept, and the first single was “Hands Clean.”
Let us know your favourite Fantasy basketball pickup of the week in the comments below.