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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.

The Last Draft

As the Cavs and Celtics were tipping off last night, I was going through my last draft of this Fantasy NBA season. The format: a standard out-of-the-box ESPN/ league - eight-category roto scoring, ten teams. Roster configuration: point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, center, guard, forward and three utility players, and with a three-man bench.
That's the basic setup I'll be using this season, when looking at players that might be available in a typical league.

Some fairly interesting players slipped through the cracks in last night's draft, and as of this morning are available on the wire. Here's a top five:

Shaquille O'Neal (97% owned) - Funny to see Shaq-Fu on the wire; owners were likely looking for upside picks instead of known quantities with baggage. After one game, Shaq's free-throw percentage stands at zero.

Aaron Brooks (86.3% owned) - I actually really like Brooks this season and think he'll emerge as one of the key scorers for an injury-depleted Rockets teamů in fact, let me go pick him up now, he's a much better bet at this point than Jonny Flynn.

Kirk Hinrich (74.6% owned) - He probably won't be a big value unless/until he's traded, but he should see regular playing time backing up both guard spots for the Bulls.

Ronnie Brewer (73.1% owned) - My league's might have been scared off by reports of a back injury, but Brewer is healthy enough to start the season in the lineup.

Tayshaun Prince (68.9% owned) - Another player who may have dropped on draft night due to a minor injury - Prince's toe is reportedly healthy enough for him to start Detroit's opener.

Picks for the Week:

The first set of picks is for players in standard leagues - guys who will typically be available in your average 10 team/15 player roster league. The second group is for owners in very deep leagues, and will be based more on speculation than actual numbers. The third batch of players will be guys I've mentioned in previous columns that still seem to be available in a lot of leagues and worth a look.

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

Standard Leagues:

Chris Duhon (38.0% owned) - Any player getting regular minutes in a Mike D'Antoni offense is worth a look. (Exception to this rule is Jared Jeffries.)
Randy Foye (23.2% owned) - Played 30 minutes in Washington's season-opening win over Dallas.

Kenyon Martin (20.7% owned) - Injuries will always be a factor when considering K-Mart, but he's reportedly in the best shape of his career.

Peja Stojakovic (19.8%) - Worth a look - but at this stage of his career, don't think of him as anything more than a three-point specialist.

Marvin Williams (16.1% owned) - He'll never shake the "draft bust" label - he was selected ahead of Chris Paul, it comes with the territory. But he has improved steadily, and could be primed for a breakout year.

Deep Leagues:

Ryan Gomes (6.8% owned) - A key player for Minnesota while Kevin Love is on the mend.

Andray Blatche (3.8% owned) - Outstanding call by my colleague Carson Cistulli, who made Blatche his opening night pick for the Pick One Challenge game. As Carson pointed out, Blatche should generate good numbers while filling in for the injured Antawn Jamison. In the opener, he played 35 minutes, scored 20 points and grabbed seven boards with an assist, a steal and two blocks.

Ryan Anderson (1.6% owned) - Don't think of Anderson as a throw-in in the Vince Carter dealů he'll be Orlando's starting four while Rashard Lewis serves his ten-game suspension.

Travis Outlaw (3.4% owned) - Nicolas Batum's injury means more opportunity for Outlaw and Martell Webster.

Craig Smith (0.4% owned) - Should get regular run until Blake Griffin is healthy.

A Second Look:

Article first appeared on 10/27/09