Welcome to the week four Waiver Wire Fix. Be sure to check back here every weekend for the duration of the fantasy hoops season for more wire targets. I’ve begun breaking the column down according to player types. This should help you find the player that fits your teams specific needs best. There will be different categories every week, so I hope you enjoy the new format. If you’re not sure if you should drop a certain player from your team for one of these targets then shoot me a tweet and I’ll give my two cents.
I only discuss players that are owned in less that 51% of ESPN leagues. I also won’t repeat players that I’ve mentioned in a previous column unless it’s absolutely needed because they’ve leaped into an even better opportunity. This all said, if any of these players are available in your league you should grab/consider them: David West (owned in 68% of ESPN leagues), Giannis Antetokounmpo (60%), Courtney Lee (53%), Kelly Olynyk (52%), Iman Shumpert (50%), DeMarre Carroll (30%), George Hill (30%), Solomon Hill (18%) and Mo Williams (10%).
Now, let’s get to this week’s targets.
Jose Calderon (37%) - After missing the first 13 games of the season, it appears that Mr. Calderon is healthy enough to make his Knicks regular season debut this weekend. I preached him from the rooftops this offseason and there’s nothing more I can add that I didn’t already say when I wrote about Calderon in the preseason. This is really just a break for all of you who missed on him or steered away in your drafts to now steal the veteran point guard for nothing. We’re talking about a top-75 player here that is going to help your fantasy team as well as the Knicks in a big way. Ignore your mind telling you he’s old and unsexy, just add him.
Get to the Point:
Trey Burke (47%) - I was admittedly low on Burke coming into the season as I didn’t believe he’d be much more than a streaky scorer with a steal and some threes. Early on I felt that was pretty accurate but recently the University of Michigan star has changed it up, making better passes than normal. While his shooting has been off all season, he’s made up for it of late by racking up dimes and he’s averaging more than eight assists over the past five games. That is more than double the amount of assists he averaged over the first seven games of the season and two more than last season. If you can handle Trey’s brutal shooting from the field (33% on nearly 12 attempts) and are in dire need of assists, think about giving Burke a look. The three and steal a game is a slight bonus here.
Jarrett Jack (17%) - Quietly the journeyman point guard has upped his play recently and is looking like the reliable off the bench guard he was while playing behind Stephen Curry in Golden State. After a rough first seven games of the year, Jack has really been stellar over the past five games. In those five games JJ has erupted for 17 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists while shooting 58% from the field (on 11 FGA) and 82% from the charity stripe (on 4.6 FTA). On the season Jack has also pitched in more than a steal per game, so if he’s able to keep his impressive play up to the happy medium of 15ppg – 3rpg – 3apg – 1 spg with good percentages, that’s a player who needs to be rostered in all 12-team leagues.
Just in Case:
Nikola Mirotic (1.7%) - At the start of the week Pau Gasol was listed at “probable” by the Bulls but ultimately was ruled out. Then, he sat out Thursday and Friday as well and now we’re wondering if the injury may be worse than originally anticipated. Friday night, Taj Gibson left the game with an ankle injury that at least appeared pretty bad. In that game Mirotic went off on the Blazers playing 33 minutes and stuffing the stat sheet with 24 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and four trifectas on 7/13 shooting from the field. If Pau, Taj or both miss extended time, Mirotic will see a nice bump in minutes and with his size and jumper he can do some legit damage for your fantasy squad. Look for points, boards, threes and some block potential if he were to play over 25 minutes. If you have a player that’s an easy cut or a stream spot you may want to snag Mirotic just in case this all plays out to his benefit.
Corey Brewer (7%) - It’s been an odd week for the veteran wing, no question. Earlier this week it sounded as if Brewer being traded (to Cleveland or Houston) in the coming days was imminent but a few days later and here he still sits. Coach Flip Saunders even came out and told the media that Brewer is tough to sell because he does so much. A day later, Kevin Martin was diagnosed with a fractured wrist and ruled out indefinitely which catapults Brewer right into the starting lineup and a higher usage rate.
Brewer is mostly a steals specialist with 20 swipes over the last seven games, but he’s more than capable of scoring a fair amount when needed. In the past seven contests, CBrew has averaged 13.1 points per game while shooting an impressive 51.7% from the floor. It would feel a lot better rostering Brewer if he pitched in a three ball but that’s just not in his arsenal, shooting just ten on the season only knocking down two of those. Brewer also isn’t a great free throw shooter at 68% on 3.5 FTA but that’s not bad enough to do too much damage. Basically, if you’re in a roto league and need to make a jump in steals, Brewer is a fantastic target and should pitch in more points while Martin is sidelined.
One Injury Away:
Dennis Schröder (1.2%) - The 21-year-old German point guard entered his sophomore season in the NBA with an improved role from his rookie year. The Hawks got rid of Lou Williams leaving the backup PG duties to the young gun Schroder and he’s making the most of it. Jeff Teague is off to a great start to this season and will not give up any minutes beyond just standard breaks. Even in just 16 minutes a night, Schroder is making his presence felt and getting rave reviews from the Hawks coaching staff. He may only be 21 but Schroder is a very speedy and strong kid with great ability taking the ball to the hoop and finishing and/or drawing the foul.
Right now there’s no need for anyone to roster him except in the deepest of leagues, but all it takes in one unfortunate injury to Teague and this kid could become a fantasy gem. Using his numbers from this season, Schroders’ PER-36 line would be 17.2 points, 4.1 boards, six assists, 2.4 steals and great percentages. Now, would he do exactly that, likely not, but he could at least sniff that kind of a line as a starter and would be a huge benefit to whoever adds him. So, while you don’t ever wish an injury upon a player, just remember that if you see any Teague injury news, swoop Schroder immediately.
For more fantasy hoops analysis and to have any questions you may have answered, follow Zack on Twitter @BigZack44