RotoWire Partners

Category Strategy: Go Get Gordon

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

Dion Waiters, SG, Cavs
There's an element of fool's gold here, but when a player scores 20-plus points in three-straight games, he's usually worth an add in most formats. Waiters only played 27 minutes in the Cavs' last game and made 8-of-10 shots from the floor, so that's not a sustainable model. Neither is the notion that he will play 33-35 minutes per game, like he did in the two prior games, scoring 24 points (7-14 FG) and 21 points (7-18 FG), respectively. Waiters is a part of the Cavs' top three most used five-man units, but those are also three of the team's worst units according to win percentage on 82Games.com. The team's numbers when Kyrie Irving and Jarrett Jack are the only two guards in the lineup are much better, which makes reliable starter's minutes a risky assumption for prospective Waiters owners. Still, I've always liked his offensive game, and I don't think the ability to fill it up is a mirage when the minutes are there, so if he's available, he should be worth a speculative add in most formats. He's currently owned in 61 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 32 percent of ESPN leagues.

Presumably you've already missed out on Rodney Stuckey, who is averaging 20.4 points per game over the past two weeks. There's no way he keeps up this pace, as he's shooting almost 50 percent from the field on the season and is a career 42.4 percent shooter, but he's probably the best option if he's still available on waivers. Nick Young has also been a hot add in some leagues, after a couple 20-plus point games over the past 10 days, but there's a possibility Kobe Bryant could make his season debut on Friday, which would severely hurt Young's fantasy value for as long as Bryant remains in the the lineup. Glen Davis is another solid option here, and if you're in a deeper league, I really like Jeremy Lamb, who seems to finally be coming into his own thanks to a steady amount of playing time (20-plus minutes in each of his last six games).

REBOUNDS

Tyler Hansbrough, PF, Raptors
Big stipulation here: I don't think Hansbrough is a player who should be seeing enough minutes to be a viable fantasy option. However, there were murmurs coming out of Toronto that coach Dwane Casey wanted to make a change with his starting lineup, and sure enough, he started Hansbrough over Amir Johnson in Sunday's game. Now, the Raptors got waxed by Denver and Hansbrough only had five boards in 34 minutes, but if he remains in the starting lineup, the rebounds will be there. He was averaging 11.4 rebounds per-36 minutes this season heading into Sunday's game, so there's some upside here, and he's available in 95 percent of leagues. For owners looking for a less mind-numbingly dull option, Jordan Hill should bounce back to being a regular double-double threat, and he was dropped in a lot of leagues after a minor ankle injury led to a subpar game Friday. For those in shallow leagues, Terrence Jones remains available in almost 40 percent of Yahoo! leagues, which is a mistake. He's the real deal. Also, Jared Sullinger is a great option here, but I'm going to get to him later.

ASSISTS

Gordon Hayward, SG, Jazz
If you can trade for Hayward, that's the route to go to bolster your assist production. He has three double-digit assist games in the past three weeks, which is ridiculous for someone that qualifies at shooting guard and small forward. He doesn't have a lot of mainstream name value, so if his owner isn't treating Hayward like a top-five player at his position, you should be able to swoop in and get him at a bargain. If you look to the waiver wire, guys like Kirk Hinrich, Jordan Farmar, Jarrett Jack, Mo Williams and Jordan Crawford are the type of options you'll have to choose from. This is why we always preach that you have to draft assists, because nobody wants to pick up and start a guy like Hinrich. Of this group, Crawford has the most potential right now, but if/when Rajon Rondo comes back, his value will be sapped. Still, he should be owned up until that point, as he has averaged 7.4 assists over his past five games, while posting a couple double-doubles in there. Just know that his field-goal percentage has the potential to be a killer.

STEALS

Tony Allen, SG, Grizzlies
Allen has been an option here ever since I first started writing this article. Nobody wants to own a one-stat guy, but if steals are what your team needs most, you can't do much better on the waiver wire than adding Allen. He's averaging three steals per game over his last five contests, and had six steals in a game against Houston on Monday. He's owned in less than 10 percent of ESPN leagues and 46 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Other guys who can help with thefts that might be available are Corey Brewer and Iman Shumpert, both of whom I highlighted here last week.

BLOCKS

John Henson, PF, Bucks
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'm going to once again pump up Henson as the best option for blocks. I shouldn't have to, but he's owned in a criminally low amount of leagues considering he has blocked a shot in 10-straight games and has posted two-plus blocks in eight of those contests. He was put on this earth to protect the rim. I went back and looked at his pre-draft profile on Draft Express and they said that his best-case scenario was Marcus Camby and his worst-case scenario was Larry Sanders. That's pretty nuts, yet I completely agree. He has a 7-foot-5 wingspan and a 9-foot-4 standing reach. He's owned in just 33 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 44.5 percent of ESPN leagues, and don't look now, but he actually played 34 minutes in Saturday's game with Ersan Ilyasova (hamstring) out. He was doing all his damage while seeing between 15 and 29 minutes per game. If he starts to see the type of run he deserves, we could be talking about a top-30 player in category leagues.

THREE-POINTERS

Jared Sullinger, PF, Celtics
I told you we'd get to Sullinger, but I'm guessing you weren't expecting to see him as a source of three-point shooting. We always talk about the advantage of getting production in categories from non-traditional positions. Sullinger fits the bill, as a rebounding/field-goal percentage stud, who also contributes three-pointers from the power forward spot. He has attempted three or more three-pointers in each of his last five games, and is hitting at a 42 percent clip over that span. Sullinger says that he had the green light from former coach Doc Rivers to start shooting three-pointers last season, but then injuries derailed that plan. Now, as he has emerged as coach Brad Stevens' favorite option in the Celtics' frontcourt (30.8 minutes per game in his last five contests), he should be owned in the vast majority of leagues, although he is still available in 59 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 49 percent of ESPN leagues.