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NBA Waiver Wire: Working the Wire

Charlie Zegers

Charlie has covered the NBA, NFL and MLB for RotoWire for the better part of 15 years. His work has also appeared on,, the New York Times, ESPN, Fox Sports and Yahoo. He embraces his East Coast bias and is Smush Parker's last remaining fan.

Ordinarily, a five-player NBA trade would shake up rosters enough to create some new fantasy value. But this week’s New Orleans/Toronto deal may be the exception – the rare deal that actually decreases the value of everyone involved.

If there’s a winner, from a fantasy value perspective, it’s Jose Calderon (63% owned), who theoretically becomes the primary point guard in Toronto now. In the past, though, that’s been a mixed blessing. When the Raptors traded T.J. Ford and made Calderon the full-time point guard, his production suffered; he hasn’t been able to avoid nagging injuries, either. It’s possible that newly-acquired Jerryd Bayless (3% owned) could take on some of the combo guard role Jack had been playing, but Toronto has a few other candidates for that gig – most notably Leandro Barbosa (35% owned).

Peja Stojakovic (6%) has been showing signs of life recently in very limited minutes, but it’s unclear what his role will be in Toronto. Just hours after the trade was announced there was already talk that he was unhappy with the Raptors (making me wonder why he waived part of his trade kicker to facilitate the deal) and angling for a buyout or another trade. If he does stay in Toronto, he’ll be competing with Sonny Weems and Linas Kleiza for minutes.

Jarrett Jack’s value takes a significant hit with the trade, as he’s going from sometime starter to superstar’s backup. He’s currently owned in 47% of all Yahoo! leagues, but that number is too high given his new role. David Andersen (1% owned) could emerge as a nice complement to Emeka Okafor in the Hornets’ center rotation; his progress is worth watching. Marcus Banks (0% owned) is not.

The Shallow End and the Deep End

Last week, a reader posted a question about what constitutes a “shallow” vs. a “deep” league. Here’s how I look at it: a standard Yahoo! Fantasy NBA League has 10 teams and 15 players on each roster – so the player pool is 150 players deep. That’s my “standard.” If I recommend a player for standard leagues, that means “he’s a top-150 player, but he might be available to you.”

Deep leagues is anything with a deeper player pool… that might mean 12 teams/15 player rosters, or it might mean eight teams and 20-player rosters. So a “deep league” recommendation translates as “he’s not a top-150 player necessarily, but he’s got some potential.”
My deeper league picks are usually a bit more speculative, whereas my standard league picks are generally based on a little more evidence.

Hope that helps.

Picks for the Week

All "percent owned" stats are taken from Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball - your mileage may vary.

Standard Leagues

Darko Milicic (59%) – If this keeps up, we might all have to admit that David Kahn knows what he’s doing. I’m not ready to live in that world. Not yet.

Terrence Williams (33%) – Williams has been struggling with an abdominal strain, which has limited him to 14 minutes of playing time since November 6. He says he’s 100 percent healthy now; look for him to play a major role in the Nets’ offense.

Erick Dampier (3%) – Don’t be surprised if he’s Miami’s starting center before long, giving the team a physical presence that Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Joel Anthony and Chris Bosh simply can’t match.

J.J. Redick (6%) – Speculative pick here – Vince Carter left Monday’s game with what he called “sharp pain” in his left knee. Redick could get significant playing time if Carter is sidelined.

Deep Leagues

Tiago Splitter (26%) – Splitter showed us a glimpse of things to come with an 18-point, five-board, two assist performance during the Spurs shellacking of the Cavs on November 22. In the Spurs’ next game, he played one minutes and didn’t score. Right now he’s stuck behind Antonio McDyess and Matt Bonner on the depth chart, but keep an eye on his minutes; he might be worth stashing.

Kelenna Azubuike (26%) – Azubuike has started participating in five-on-five scrimmages in practice. No official return date has been set, but sounds like it’s getting close.

C.J. Miles (18%) – Need threes? Miles has emerged as one of Utah’s go-to shooter from long range – though his 7-of-10 from deep against Portland on November 20 throws off the average just a touch.

Luther Head (3%) – Putting up nice numbers since replacing Beno Udrih in Sacramento’s starting backcourt. Rebounds particularly well for a point; he has five boards in three straight games.

Jordan Hill (1%) – Getting significant action with Yao Ming out – posted a season-high 14 points and career-best 10 boards in 22 minutes on Monday.

Follow Charlie on Twitter - @charliezegers

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