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Category Strategy: Picking Through the Scraps

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

Alec Burks, SG, Jazz
I donít love Burks, but waiver wires are pretty thin right now in terms of potentially impactful scorers. Burks has put up 18-plus points in three of his last four games, and he scored 34 points in one of those contests. Heís been doing it by getting to the free-throw line with regularity (7.5 attempts per game over that stretch), which is nice, because it means that even in games like Saturdayís where he was just 4-of-10 from the field in 24 minutes against the T-Wolves, he still managed to get to 18 points by going 9-of-12 from the charity stripe. The reason Iím not super high on him is because he had this huge week with Gordon Hayward (hip) sidelined, and Hayward should be returning to the court soon, so Burksí production should take a dip. With that said, unless someone like Jodie Meeks, Randy Foye or Glen Davis is available, Burks might be the best option out there. I also like Marco Belinelli and C.J. Miles a little bit here.

REBOUNDS

P.J. Tucker, SF, Suns
Tucker is widely available, primarily because heís such a bland player, and he isnít a scorer. He plays 30.3 minutes per game for the Suns and still doesnít average double-digit points per game. But the reason he sees so many minutes is because he does all the little things well, and lately, that has translated into a lot of rebounds. Over his last five games, Tucker is averaging 8.6 rebounds per game, which is exceptional from the small forward position. Heís owned in just 13 percent of Yahoo! leagues and three percent of ESPN leagues. Iíd also consider offering up a trade for Glen Davis or Tobias Harris if youíre just concerned with getting rebounds. I wouldnít be surprised if Nikola Vucevic is out for a significant period of time after suffering his second concussion in less than a year. The Magic arenít going anywhere this season, and Vucevic is a big part of their future plans, so keeping him healthy for the long term will be a priority for them. Jared Sullinger is another option in shallower leagues.

ASSISTS

D.J. Augustin, PG, Bulls
Well, if I had the stones to recommend Brian Roberts last week, I guess Iíll bite the bullet and recommend Augustin this week. He has averaged almost seven assists per game over the last two weeks and has seen legitimate playing time in the Bulls backcourt. Augustin only played 20 minutes in Fridayís game, but thatís because he tweaked his ankle late. He bounced back with a 19-point, eight-assist game in 28 minutes against the Sixers on Saturday, and given that heís owned in less than 30 percent of leagues, heís the top option on the waiver wire for assists. Luke Ridnour is an option in deeper leagues.

STEALS

James Anderson, SG, Sixers
Look, heís not a great option, and heís certainly not a great player, but heís been getting major run lately (29.2 minutes per game over his last five) and has been good for a steal per game over that stretch, which aligns pretty accurately with his per-36 numbers. Heís available in more than 90 percent of leagues, which should probably be the case, but if all the other steady options for steals - Mario Chalmers, Jodie Meeks, Iman Shumpert, DeMarre Carroll - are owned, Iíd prefer Anderson over players with less secure playing time, such as Shaun Livingston (although if Deron Williams gets injured again, heíll be a great option), Jae Crowder and the like.

BLOCKS

James Johnson, SF, Grizzlies
I picked Johnson up last week after highlighting him here, and his 10 blocks doubled the five swats apiece I got from Tim Duncan and Robin Lopez during this weekís head-to-head matchup. Thatís pretty crazy coming from the small forward spot. Itís still pretty baffling that Johnson struggles to see close to 30 minutes per game, playing behind Tayshaun Prince, but he is seeing enough run (24.8 minutes per game over his last five) to justify ownership just for the blocked shots. Heís still owned in just 20 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 13 percent of ESPN leagues. Terrence Jones is an option in shallower leagues and Elton Brand offers blocks, but not much else, in deeper formats.

THREE-POINTERS

C.J. Miles, SG, Cavaliers
I pumped up Miles in this spot last week, but he remains the best widely-available option for three-pointers. He has hit a trey in all nine of the Cavsí games this month, and he has hit two or more three-pointers in six of those contests, averaging 2.9 per game for the month. Playing time was an issue for him in Tuesday and Wednesdayís games, as he saw fewer than 20 minutes in each game, but then he got 38 minutes Friday against the Nuggets, in a game the Cavs won 117-109. I think that team is probably at its best when heís at the two and Dion Waiters is on the bench, just because Kyrie Irving and Waiters seem to clash on the court, whereas Miles knows his role on offense. He should continue to get decent run, and itís nice to know that even when he doesnít, thereís still a good chance he hits a three-pointer in limited minutes. Another thing working in his favor is that heís shooting 51.5 percent from the field this month. That wonít continue (heís just a 42 percent shooter for his career), but until he cools off, heís a three-point marksman who wonít hurt your field-goal percentage, which is kind of rare. Heís owned in 16 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 10 percent of ESPN leagues. Randy Foye is an excellent option in shallower leagues and Mirza Teletovic is a solid play in deeper leagues.