With the opening tip of the regular season just days away (finally!), the time to make preseason roster tweaks is rapidly closing. In that spirit, here is a roundup of useful players on the waiver wire that have the potential to be solid fantasy assets.
The “Sleeper” class of players are guys that are owned in less than 40% of Yahoo! leagues. Most competitive fantasy leagues already have these guys rostered, but sometimes players slip through the cracks so it is worth taking an extra look to make sure.
Ryan Gomes (SF/PF – 39%) — Gomes should be in line to see solid minutes for the Timberwolves with Kevin Love recently going under the knife to fix his broken hand. Gomes has had stints of fantasy value before and should be a solid fill-in for Love to start the season. His career per-36 minute averages are 14.3 points on .455/.804 percent shooting, 0.8 threes, 6.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.2 blocks and 1.6 turnovers. Last season, Gomes expanded his range and hit 1.5 threes per-36 minutes and should be guaranteed to average over 30 minutes a game this season, especially early on.
Channing Frye (PF/C – 37%) — Similar to Gomes, Frye’s value was solidified by an injury to a teammate. In this case, it was Robin Lopez and his broken foot that boosted Frye’s value from wait-and-see to must-add. Frye is a special player that will be a big boost for the right team, as he will provide a ton of three pointers from a PF/C-eligible player. His career per-36 minute averages are very solid, coming in at 14.8 points on .457/.799 percent shooting, 0.1 threes, 8.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.9 blocks and 1.8 turnovers. This season, expect lower rebound numbers and higher threes as Frye plays further from the paint. As evidence of his increased range, Frye was 13/30 from behind the arc in preseason, which translates to .433 percent from downtown. For reference, Frye is 20/70 (.286 percent) for his entire career from deep. He should easily average a career high in threes made, attempted and three point percentage next season playing for the Run-N-Gun Suns.
Anthony Morrow (SG/SF – 37%) — To say that Morrow had a solid offseason is vast understatement and does not do A-Mo justice to how hard he has worked and expanded his game. During preseason, Morrow was second in scoring (22.0 points per game), first in three pointers made (27), sixth in free throw percentage (.962), and third in minutes per game (33.25). Granted, Morrow does play for the schizophrenic Coach Don Nelson, but he should be able to stay on the floor. If Stephen Jackson should be moved at any point in the season, Morrow stands to experience a huge boost in value. His per-36 minute averages from his rookie season were 16.1 points on .478/.870 percent shooting, 1.3 threes (on a league best .467 percent), 4.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.3 blocks and 1.2 turnovers. Morrow has all the makings of an efficient scorer, which are always in demand in both fantasy and real life.
The “Deeper Sleeper” class of players are guys that are owned in less than 25% of Yahoo! leagues. These players are rostered in some deep fantasy leagues, but are also players that should be on everyone’s watch list, regardless of league size.
Anthony Parker (SG/SF – 24%) — Talk about getting no respect. Parker ranked 106th in per game value last season and 82nd in cumulative value according to Basketball Monster’s Player Rankings. Granted he did switch to a loaded Cleveland squad, but his primary competition for playing time at the two is Delonte West. In case you’ve been living in a cave recently, West has been getting himself into trouble with offseason antics and training camp no-shows. Parker has quietly stepped in and filled West’s role and there is no reason to believe that Parker won’t maintain a spot in Coach Mike Brown’s rotation. Parker’s career per-36 minute averages are 13.0 points on .458/.819 percent shooting, 1.6 threes, 4.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.2 blocks and 1.3 turnovers. The main reason to be bullish on Parker is his three point shooting. The Cavaliers, more than anything, need three point shooters to space the floor for Lebron and Shaq to be effective. Parker, a career .415 percent shooter from behind the arc, should fill this role nicely and is a good bet to hang on to the starting shooting guard spot even with a (mentally) healthy West back in the rotation.
Drew Gooden (PF/C – 23%) — The re-tooled Mavericks are looking to compete with the Western Conference’s powerhouse teams, the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs. After missing out on Marcin Gortat and losing Brandon Bass to free agency, Gooden became the Mavs’ main big-man acquisition. Although currently slated to come off the bench behind Erick Dampier, Gooden should see solid burn nonetheless and post decent fantasy value. The Mavericks have lacked a player who could score from the center position and Gooden should earn his minutes doing exactly that. His career per-36 minutes averages are 15.4 points on .471/.732 percent shooting, 0.1 threes, 10.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.8 blocks and 2.1 turnovers. In line to see over 30 minutes a game next season, Gooden should put up near a double-double every night.
Danilo Gallinari (SF – 21%) — After a disappointing 2008-09 campaign hobbled by a nagging back injury, the Rooster should almost be considered a rookie entering this season. Although slated to come off the bench to start the season, Gallinari is too good of a scorer to be held down for long. And if there is one thing that is certain for the Knicks, it is that Coach Mike D’Antoni loves guys who can score the basketball. Even more so, he loves guys who shoot the three ball well and has even gone so far as to claim that Danilo is one of the best shooters he’s ever seen. From his injury-riddled rookie campaign, Gallinari’s per-36 minute stats show great promise; averaging 14.9 points on .448/.963 percent shooting, 2.8 threes, 4.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.3 blocks and 1.3 turnovers. As the Knicks try to lure a big time free agent or two to New York next Summer, they have to prove that they have some quality complimentary pieces to make the Knicks competitive in 2010-11. The Rooster figures to be one of the key pieces, as he is one of the few players under contract beyond the current season.
Andray Blatche (PF/C – 19%) — Blatche is at a crossroads in his NBA career heading into his fifth season with a new head coach. Blatche is one of those players that has always been hyped for his potential rather than his production. As evidence, he has never averaged more than 25 minutes per game, with his career high 24 minute a game coming during the Wizards’ 19 win season last year. But with Antawn Jamison out for about a month with a shoulder injury, Blatche is the guy expected to fill Jamison’s shoes. It is a tough job to do, as Jamison is one of the Association’s most professional players. If Blatche takes advantage of this opportunity, he could play his way into having a career-year. For reference, Blatche’s career per-36 minute averages are 13.6 points on .464/.692 percent shooting, 0.1 threes, 8.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.9 blocks and 2.5 turnovers. For the right team (one that can handle the poor FT% or that is punting FT%), Blatche should provide nice big man production. For teams that already have Jamison, Blatche is a nice handcuff pickup in case Jamison experiences setbacks and misses more time than expected.
The “Keeper Sleeper” class of players are guys that are owned in 10% or less of Yahoo! leagues. This group of players should be more adequately be described as dynasty sleepers or extremely deep sleepers as opposed to keeper sleepers, but these names lack the aesthetic quality of Keeper Sleeper.
Chris Douglas-Roberts (PG/SG – 10%) — Besides Anthony Morrow, arguably no other player raised their profile higher than CDR during preseason. As evidence, CDR was (second in minutes played during the preseason) after teammate Courtney Lee. With the Nets in full rebuilding mode, the youth of New Jersey should see tons of burn on the court. Furthermore, the Nets’ starting small forward position is up in the air, which means CDR has the potential to be a starter. However, he would even be effective as a sixth man, coming off the bench as instant offense a la J.R. Smith. CDR is definitely someone to add to your watch list.
Corey Brewer (SG/SF – 9%) — At this point in his career, Brewer can be nicely categorized as a disappointment or more harshly labeled as a bust. As a former lottery pick taken seventh overall in 2007, Brewer was selected before impact players such as Thaddeus Young and former Florida teammate Joakim Noah. With the starting shooting guard slot wide open in Minnesota, Brewer has the potential to be a good scorer while also providing solid steals and decent block totals from the guard position.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (SF/PF – 8%) — At this point in their respective careers, the Milwaukee Bucks’ 2008 second round pick, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, has greatly outplayed their 2008 first round pick, Joe Alexander. M&M is a prototypical “Scott Skiles” guy, who earns his playing time on the defensive end. With the ability to play both forward positions, Luc should see enough minutes to provide fantasy value in deep leagues. Monitor his early production and minutes closely.
Phil Londen is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Phil in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name plonden.
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