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Heading into calendar year 2015, the waiver wire has taken its typical place in the weekly/daily routine of fantasy basketball managers. The following centers, whether of the “sleeper” variety or just cashing in temporarily on an unforeseen opportunity, almost certainly deserve attention across the various formats during Week 10 of the campaign.

Position Eligibility & Ownership Rate Based on Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball Player List

 

Waiver Wire Center for Right Now

Rudy Gobert (UTA, C) - 32% Owned

I wrote about Gobert last week, but if you missed it, pick him up before you even start looking at any other options. He has blocked two or more shots in nine straight games despite inconsistent minutes.

 

Alex Len (PHO, C) - 23% Owned

Like Rudy Gobert, Alex Len is a very young player who is starting to make some noise in the Mountain Time Zone. Len has been particularly good in the second half of December. He has started scoring at least a little bit, with 9.8 points a game between the 17th and the 26th. Over the same time frame he also averaged 7.6 rebounds and an outstanding 2.8 blocks a game.

He has been way better than fellow Suns center Miles Plumlee, and the minutes are starting to reflect his performance. While Len does not have the same value as Gobert in similar minutes due to a lower rebounding rate and slightly worse free throw shooting, Len may actually have a better route to get minutes. It is a lot harder to for the Jazz to bench Derrick Favors or Enes Kanter for Rudy Gobert than it will be for the Suns to bench Miles Plumlee for Alex Len.

In the end, I like Gobert better as a bench stash because I love the rates and he has a bigger upside if he does get starter’s minutes. But if you need a center who has upside for more minutes in the short term, Len is actually a better bet.

 

Waiver Wire Center in Deep Leagues

Jusuf Nurkic (DEN, C) - 1% Owned

Staying with our theme of young centers in the Mountain Time Zone, Jusuf Nurkic is a 20-year-old 7-footer out of Bosnia who was technically drafted by the Bulls 16th overall, though they had already agreed to trade the rights to that pick to Denver in the deal that allowed Chicago to get Doug McDermott with Denver’s original 11th overall pick.

Nurkic has drawn the praise of Nuggets coach Brian Shaw in recent days for his confidence and fearlessness. Since he has earned a regular spot in the rotation (about 16 minutes a game) on December 13, Nurkic is averaging 7.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocks per game with a .489 FG% and .650 FT%. That is not quite useful in any but the deepest of leagues yet, but you can see the upside in those rates coming in only 16 minutes a game.

Shaw’s praise indicates he may see even more minutes as the season progresses. With even 20 minutes a game, his current stats extrapolate to a guy who can score close to 10 points a game with 7 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 block, which is solid production for a bottom of the lineup fantasy center. And with an injury ahead of him, or a trade of starter Timofey Mozgov, he could really break through.