Waiver Wire Pickups for Rebounds, Steals and Threes
When looking to improve your fantasy basketball team with a waiver wire pickup, don’t ask “is this guy better than this guy?” Ask “does this guy improve the categories where I need the most help?” Here are a couple of players available in most standard 12-team fantasy leagues who could provide a boost in key categories.
The All-Star Break is a good time to think about where you stand in your league, and make some moves to target the categories that will make the biggest difference for you. So instead of talking in depth about 2 very widely available players, I’ll take a wider view and highlight a few of my favorite players who are still available in at least 50% of Yahoo leagues (shallow/weak league pick ups), with a couple who available in at least 80% of Yahoo leagues (deep/strong league pick ups).
Chris Kaman (49% owned, and rising fast) – The big bald man is on fire over the last couple games, putting up back-to-back 20+/10+ games in points and rebounds, as well as blocking multiple shots and even putting up a 3 or 4 assists. This is obviously not going to last – Chris Kaman has not suddenly turned into LaMarcus Aldridge while we weren’t looking, and anyone who starts doing reasonably well for the Lakers this year is seemingly doomed for injury – but good rebounders who don’t kill you in FT% aren’t free all that often. If he’s still in your league, grab him and go.
PJ Tucker (14% owned) – Tucker is averaging a solid 7.5 rebounds over the last month. Pair that with percentages and turnover rates that are very reasonable and a solid trickle of about a trey and a steal per game, and you’ve got a guy who can help without hurting much. If you’re in a good spot with threes and need boards, Tucker is useful to play instead of a shooting specialist in your SG/SF spot for awhile. He’s good for 5 more rebounds a game than JJ Redick, and I'd argue there are situations where it would be better to play Tucker than Redick going forward, depending on where you sit in the standings in different categories.
DeMarre Carroll (45% owned) – I don’t really think I need to say much about Carroll. He’s been a top 20 fantasy player over the last month. I’ll just file this in the “I can’t believe he’s still less than half-owned category.” Whether it’s the great shooting (.567 since 1/13), the three pointers (2.0/game), the solid rebounding (5.5/g), the tremendous steals (1.7/g) or the low turnover rate (1.0/g), there’s a lot to love about Carroll. I guarantee he’s better than the worst player you have on your team.
Jodie Meeks (38% owned) – He may have been dropped due to the sprained ankle that’s kept him out the last couple weeks, but he’s due back after the All-Star Break, and will likely reclaim a spot in the starting lineup from the uninspiring Wes Johnson. In case you forgot how good Meeks was, here are his standard nine category numbers from January: .461 FG%, .882 FT% (on a sizeable 5.1 att/game), 2.6 3 PM/g, 2.8 R/G, 2.7 A/G, 1.9 STL/G, 0 BLK/G, 2.2 TO/G, 18.9 PPG.
That’s a top 50 overall line. It’s even more valuable if you specifically need a big boost in steals, threes and FT%. Maybe once Kobe Bryant, Nick Young and Xavier Henry are healthy, minutes at the wings for the Lakers start to get tight and hurt Meeks, but for now, coming out the break, Meeks still looks like he’s in a good spot to produce big numbers.
Patrick Beverley (19% owned) – If you’re just looking for steals and threes, Beverly can bring it, along with a few assists, though not much else. What he brings is similar to PJ Tucker, as far as being a useful fantasy player who is underrated because of his scoring. Tucker has got a better FG% and is a better rebounder, while Beverly brings more in threes and assists, so each fits a different set of needs. It’s worth noting that Beverley plays the Lakers right out of the All-Star break, so at worst he’s a nice plug and play against one of the worst defenses in the NBA while you wait for the trade deadline to play out.