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Category Strategy: Hot Waiver Targets

James Anderson

James Anderson

James Anderson is a University of Minnesota graduate, with allegiances to the Packers, Brewers, Bucks (sigh) and Gophers (double sigh). He is an editor and scribe at Rotowire.com, primarily focused on basketball and baseball. In 2013 he was a FSWA finalist for Fantasy Basketball writer of the year.

CATEGORY STRATEGY

Each week, this article highlights players who are widely available in standard leagues that can help in specific roto categories. Remember, while each player highlighted can help in a specific category, there's no guarantee for production in other areas.

POINTS

Markieff Morris, PF, Suns
Over his last three contests, Morris is averaging 22.7 points on 13.7 field-goal attempts while shooting 68.3 percent from the field in 31.3 minutes per game. Obviously the shooting percentage will dip, in fact, he was only a 40.7 percent shooter last season, which is horrible for a power forward. However, the field-goal attempts will be there, and there's certainly no reason we can't expect him to improve from his second to his third season in the league. He has also averaged 9.0 rebounds per game over that three-game stretch, and even though he has yet to start a game, the minutes will be there, as Phoenix is pretty barren in terms of frontcourt talent. He is owned in 56.5 percent of ESPN leagues and 45 percent of Yahoo! leagues, so he may have already been added by one of your competitors. Alec Burks, Gerald Henderson and Dion Waiters all make for solid options as well.

REBOUNDS

Steven Adams, C, Thunder
It kind of depends which route you prefer to go here. There are some high-upside guys with playing time concerns out there like Adams and Andrew Nicholson in Orlando, or there are boring guys who have minutes, but limited upside, like Bismack Biyombo and Zaza Pachulia. I know what Biyombo and Pachulia are. I know that they'll be good for about eight rebounds per game, with limited help elsewhere. In fact, Biyombo sees fewer touches per minute on the offensive end than any player in the league, and it's not that close. The number one thing working in Adams' favor is that Kendrick Perkins is ahead of him on the depth chart. I haven't put a lot of thought into it, but Perkins would be on my short list for worst players in the league, including guys that never play, and HE'S A STARTER! In the Thunder's win over Detroit on Friday, Perkins saw just 17 minutes, and Adams got 31 minutes off the bench, posting 17 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. The sample size is small, but coach Scott Brooks might finally be coming to the realization that the Thunder are better when Perkins is on the bench. Adams is currently only owned in 4.4 percent of ESPN leagues and 16 percent of Yahoo! leagues. If he sees big minutes in the Thunder's next game, it could be too late to scoop up the talented rookie.

ASSISTS

Jordan Farmar and Steve Blake, PGs, Lakers
These were my two picks for assists last week, and nothing has changed. Both players are owned in less than 15 percent of ESPN and Yahoo! leagues, and Steve Nash is incorrectly owned in at least 65 percent of leagues. Nash is averaging 5.2 assists per game and Farmar and Blake are averaging 4.9 and 4.6 assists respectively. However, Farmar and Blake are doing better than Nash in every other statistical category, other than free-throw percentage, but at just 1.8 attempts per game from the line for Nash, it's hardly a reason to own him. The Bucks' Nate Wolters continues to be a solid source of assists as well, but that should cease to be the case sooner than later as Brandon Knight and Luke Ridnour get healthier.

STEALS

Metta World Peace, SF, Knicks
World Peace has seen between 29 and 32 minutes in each of the Knicks' last three games and has at least one steal in all six games this season. With Tyson Chandler out and noted defensive stiffs Andrea Bargnani, Carmelo Anthony, Raymond Felton and Amar'e Stoudemire all in the fold, the Knicks need guys like World Peace and Iman Shumpert to play big minutes to mount some semblance of an opposition at the defensive end of the court. Guys like Tony Allen are available in many leagues, but while he brings a lot to the table defensively, he can hurt your team in other areas. World Peace is owned in 30 percent of Yahoo! and 12.4 percent of ESPN leagues, and should be taken a bit more seriously, given his current role in the rotation.

BLOCKS

Larry Sanders, C, Bucks
He's had a pretty miserable start to the season. It's been a disaster. Even before hurting his hand in a bar fight (The team says it happened in the game before the bar fight.), he had been seeing just 17.3 minutes per game through three contests for the Bucks. This isn't a case to go out and trade for Sanders, necessarily, but more of a case to stick with him if he's on your team, or scoop him up if someone else drops him. He's owned in 88 percent of ESPN leagues and 96 percent of Yahoo! leagues, meaning some owners have already started to cut bait. He was averaging two blocks per game while seeing 17.3 minutes per contest to start the season. Being a shot-blocker isn't a skill you lose when you're 24 years old, and Sanders clearly hasn't lost it. I'd still bet on him to finish the season in the top-5 in blocks per game, and regain the starting center role for the Bucks sooner than later. Potential free-agent options in this category include Robin Lopez, John Henson and Jason Smith.

THREE-POINTERS

Jordan Hamilton, SF, Nuggets
I could go on a Brian Shaw rant here, but I won'tů Ahh, screw it. I will.

He wants more effort, and has publicly threatened to bench guys who don't start bringing it every night. First of all, actions speak a lot louder than words, especially words from a first-year head coach, when a guy like JaVale McGee knows that the previous coach (who won 2012-13 coach of the year, mind you) was fired, in part, because he didn't give McGee enough minutes. If you want to send a message to your players, bench them. Don't tell the media that you may bench them. All that does is let everyone know publically that you're panicking, but you might not have the backbone to fully commit to said panic.

I try not to watch many Denver games, since they are such a mess, but effort aside, all I have to do is look at a boxscore to know guys should be benched. He played 12 guys in an 11-point loss to the Suns on Friday. I'm sympathetic to the fact that his general manager assembled a lot of repetitive pieces, and there's a distinct possibility someone will get benched, who should probably be seeing minutes on some NBA team, but the job of a coach isn't to make sure every decent player on his team plays in every game. His job is to win games. Pick three guys, presumably the guys who are giving the least effort, and bench them.

If this rotation were cut down to nine players, people would start getting enough minutes to keep improving, and they might get so used to their roles that they actually start meshing and winning games. This isn't a playoff team. That was pretty clear before the season. They could end up with a nice draft pick, which will help, since there isn't a franchise player on the roster, or even a good second banana. But Shaw needs to find out which guys on the current team are going to be useful in some capacity down the road.

So what does this have to do with Hamilton? He saw 32 minutes in Friday's game, and attempted seven three-pointers, hitting three of them. Obviously this is a situation where minutes could fluctuate, but he's available in 98 percent of Yahoo! leagues, and 99.8 percent of ESPN leagues, so deep leaguers haven't even started to take him seriously. It's not a perfect situation, but neither are the situations in Cleveland (C.J. Miles), Milwaukee (Gary Neal), L.A. (Jodie Meeks), and those three-point marksmen are all more widely owned than Hamilton, while possessing nowhere near as much upside.