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Fantasy Basketball: Eight Waiver Wire Pickups

Courtney Lee has been on a tear since getting the starting gig in Memphis. Who else is a top-notch waiver wire pickup?

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Congratulations to those of you who were able to pick up Arron Afflalo or Terrence Jones or Lance Stephenson off of the waiver wire earlier in the season. Chances are you’re probably doing pretty well in whatever league you were able to make so savvy an acquisition, but at this point in the year it’s a lot harder to find waiver wire gems because teams have long been set in their rotations with little chance that much will change in terms of a player’s time on the floor or role with the team.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t worthwhile waiver pickups out there, and savvy managers haven’t given up on mining the wire for diamonds. Here’s a look at a few players worthy of consideration in these, the dog days of the fantasy basketball season:

Mike Scott, PF, Atlanta Hawks (4% owned in Yahoo! Leagues) – Ever since Al Horford went down for the count, Scott and Pero Antic (the next guy on this list) have seen their statistical outputs rise considerably. Scott is averaging 13.3 PPG, 1.1 3PM, and 0.9 SPG over the last eight games, all while shooting a very high clip from the field (he’s failed to shoot over 55% from the field only three times during that stretch). The rebound numbers are low (fewer than 4 per contest), but there’s definitely some unconventional value here, especially from the power forward position.

Pero Antic, C, Atlanta Hawks (5% owned) – Antic, meanwhile, is making up for the other half of Horford’s lost production, averaging 12.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG and .557 field goal percentage over the last 14 days. He doesn’t do much for steals and blocks, and he’s only a 67% free-throw shooter, but there are definitely categories in which he can help you.

Josh McRoberts, PF/C, Charlotte Bobcats (22% owned) – With Kemba Walker out for at least another week, the rest of the Bobcats are likely to see boosts in production, but McRoberts had been playing well even before the team’s leading scorer went down with a sprained ankle. He has now scored in double digits for four straight games while also averaging over three 3-pointers, three rebounds and four assists per game over the same stretch. Sprinkle in a few blocks and a few steals, and McRoberts is looking pretty well-rounded. Those are the kinds of numbers that help fantasy managers nickel-and-dime their way to weekly wins.

D.J. Augustin, PG Chicago Bulls (41% owned) – Not that the trading away of Marquis Teague or the new 10-day contract of Mike James makes much different for Augustin’s role in the Bulls’ lineup, but at this point he really is the only point guard on the roster with any sort of spring in his step. He’s been absolutely blazing offensively of late, averaging 18 PPG, 7 APG, 1.3 SPG, and 2.7 3PM over his last six games. Those are elite numbers in those categories, so to think that he’s still available in over half of Yahoo! leagues is pretty incredible. Go get him if he’s there; no one is contending with him for playing time, and somebody on this team has to score the ball.

Taj Gibson, PF/C, Chicago Bulls (38% owned) – Gibson is an ideal lottery ticket in that he can give you solid production now (he averages 11.7 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 1.5 BPG for the season, while shooting .480 from the floor and .712 from the charity stripe), but should Joakim Noah ever miss extended time because of an injury (and he almost always does, even though he leads the Bulls in games played this year), Gibson would be even more valuable. He’s not a breakout candidate you have to stash; he can actually get you decent stats now, with the potential for bigger and better things toward the end of the season if Noah’s plantar fasciitis flares up again.

Courtney Lee, SG, Memphis Grizzlies (12% owned) – While the trade for Courtney Lee was initially deemed a coup for the Boston Celtics, Memphis appears to have gotten themselves a pretty motivated starter out of the deal, as Lee is averaging 16.3 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 1.3 3PT and .542 from the field since entering the Grizzlies’ starting lineup. No way a guy with that sort of production should be 12% owned. He’s probably available in your league, and if he is, go get him.

James Johnson, SF/PF, Memphis Grizzlies (20% owned) – While Johnson has been off-and-on since getting his opportunity with the Grizzlies this year, he has shown enough of a well-rounded game to get himself onto the fantasy radar. As bad as Tayshaun Prince has been this year, there’s even an outside chance that Johnson could end up the starter at small forward for this team at some point in the coming weeks. He’ll need to be more consistent, but he throws a few drops in the bucket across several categories most nights and is worth a speculative grab.

Luke Ridnour, PG, Milwaukee Bucks (6% owned) – While the worst team in basketball this year has turned its attentions towards letting young players get more playing time, the Bucks really don’t have much that they like at shooting guard (sorry, those of you who drafted O.J. Mayo with high hopes) and have turned to Ridnour to start eating up some of the minutes at the two alongside Brandon Knight. As a result, he’s averaging 10.3 PPG and 6.3 APG over the last two weeks, so for people in need of assists, Ridnour really could be of some assistance.

It’s not easy finding major contributors on the waiver wire at this point in the season, but with ten-day contracts and exasperated coaches turning to some younger prospects, it’s possible that some no-names guys are going to pop up and be useful for the playoff run. Keep your eyes peeled for these guys, and you’ll have a much better shot at winning your championship.

Got more waiver wire sleepers you think are worth mentioning? Leave them in the comments section or keep the conversation going over on Twitter @joelbrigham.

Joel Brigham is a senior writer for Basketball Insiders, covering the Central Division and fantasy basketball.

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