As the NBA trade deadline looms over us, you always have to expect last minute trade activity from teams. With big names such as Dwight Howard on the trade market, teams will have to throw multiple players out there to acquire a big superstar like Dwight Howard. How this affects us as fantasy basketball players is that players on YOUR teams might switch NBA teams, thus having to adapt in what could be a completely opposite system from their pervious teams.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to search the waiver wire because teams that trade a number of players will need to look to their bench to keep the consistency of the their game play. This will create more or new opportunities for the latter part of team's benches.
Some leagues only have two weeks of matchups left before fantasy basketball playoff time, so here are a few late season player's that can give your team the boost it needs to succeed.
J.J. Barea should be on your radar
Shelden Williams, Forward-Center, New Jersey Nets -With Brook Lopez suffering through injury after injury, "The Landlord" as he was known as while at Duke, has been averaging over eight rebounds per game over the last month. Owned in just six percent of leagues polled, only 31 players in the entire league have averaged more rebounds than Williams over the last 30 days.
He also has grabbed one steal per game in the last month and has been shooting just under 50 percent from the floor while averaging six points per game. Might I add that he has averaged over 26 minutes of playing time as well? With the season as condensed as it is, you can possibly get four games out of Williams in one week which can give you 32 rebounds in a week out of one player who you just picked up. Sounds good to me!
Marreese Speights, Forward-Center, Memphis Grizzles - Speights is another good waiver big man. Like Shelden Williams, Speights also has been averaging 26 minutes of playing time per game. Speights has averaged seven and a half rebounds and shooting 50 percent in the last month.
Speights also averaged over 11 points per game over the last month, showing that he is solid in multiple categories. He is only owned in 19 percent of leagues polled.
The downside of grabbing Speights is that his minutes will most likely be cut once Zach Randolph comes back and at full strength. Speights can be a good one- or two-week pickup that can give your team the push it needs to make the playoffs. Once you make the playoffs though, you will want to attack that waiver wire and grab another big guy. You never know though, Memphis could limit Randolph's minutes until he fully recovers from his knee injury and that could take the rest of the season potentially.
J.J. Barea, Point Guard, Minnesota Timberwolves - Owned in just 14 percent of leagues polled, fate has given Barea the chance to return to being a spark plug off the bench as he was for the 2012 World Champion Dallas Mavericks. Last week Timberwolves starting Point Guard Ricky Rubio suffered a season-ending injury as he tore his ACL, opening the door for Barea.
Barea will be expected to be that change-of-pace player off the bench. In the last month he has averaged four and a half assists per game. He has played 20 minutes per game this season and I expect that to go up because of the lack of guard depth on the T-Wolves. Barea will find his way to the basket, but I urge fantasy players to target him mainly for help in the assists category.
Alonzo Gee, Guard-Forward, Cleveland Cavaliers - Since March 1st, Gee has had only one game in which he did not score in double digits. There is not too much to cheer about in Cleveland but Gee is one of the few exceptions, as he has averaged almost two steals per game as well over the last month. Gee is a great bench option for anyone's fantasy team as the small forward position is scarcer than most other positions.
Gee can help you easily in the points and steals category, as he is owned in just 23 percent of leagues polled. Over the last month he has played just under 31 minutes per game and he also qualifies as a shooting guard, which makes him more beneficial to your bench.
Those are some of the valuable fantasy basketball players that can possibly be found on your fantasy basketball league's waiver wire. As I stated above, you never know what to expect regarding the NBA trade deadline, so be ready to make some changes to your teams as you are in battle mode right now as the 2012 fantasy basketball playoff push has begun.
About Justin "Fensty" Fensterman
Fensterman covers fantasy basketball for KFFL and joined the team in 2012. He is a Sports Radio Producer on SiriusXM's Fantasy Sports Radio channel, the first channel dedicated solely to fantasy sports. An avid fantasy basketball player, Fensty's biggest accomplishment in the fantasy sports world was in 2004 when he had an undefeated season in a Yahoo! Sports Fantasy NBA league and was ranked in the top 30 among all players in the world.
A native from Oyster Bay, NY, Fensty left New York to study Broadcast Journalism at American University in Washington D.C. in 2005. Fensty has previously worked for MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM, NBC Sports, Fox Sports, MTV and News 12: Long Island.
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