Wired: NBA's Top Pickups

Steve Alexander
Dose: Jordan Hill Injured
Dr. A is still trying to get over the Super Bowl and play of Mario Chalmers on Sunday, Hassan Whiteside went off again, and Jordan Hill is injured

Games Played For Week 8



I didn’t mention Tony Wroten, but for as long as Michael Carter-Williams is out, Wroten is a must-start player. I also didn’t have room for Al-Farouq Aminu and Jason Smith, but as long as Anthony Davis remains out, both guys look like solid fantasy plays. Rajon Rondo also isn’t listed here, but has been cleared for full contact and should be an automatic pickup if he was dropped in your league.

Also, I know those of you who own O.J. Mayo, Ersan Ilyasova, Kenneth Faried, Danny Green, J.R. Smith and Enes Kanter are probably pulling your hair out, including yours truly. Most of them are just too good to drop, but if you feel like you have to do so, here is how I’d rank them in terms of value going forward: Mayo, Ilyasova, Faried, Kanter, Green, Smith.

I can’t endorse dropping Mayo or Ilyasova, but I will admit that it’s very tempting. The bottom line is that if they’re killing your team and you have confidence in the player you’re looking at adding in their place, you have to suck it up and do what’s best for your team. Even if it’s not a popular decision.

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $40,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Monday night's games. It's $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Monday. Here's the FanDuel link.

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Point Guards

Jordan Crawford Celtics 69% owned

Crawford has been pretty stellar without Rajon Rondo again and while his run may be nearing an end, he should be good for at least one more week. He’s averaging 16.4 points, 3.2 boards, 6.8 assists and 2.2 3-pointers on 46 percent shooting over his last five games.

Reggie Jackson Thunder 35% owned

I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong in thinking that Jackson should be dropped once Russell Westbrook made his surprise return this season. Jackson has been getting it done in real time, as well as garbage time for the surging Thunder, and is showing no signs of slowing down. He’s averaging 15.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.2 3-pointers on 48 percent shooting over his last five games and helped me tremendously in League Freak with four games last week.

Greivis Vasquez Raptors 64% owned

Vasquez has played just 17 minutes in each of his two games with the Raptors and shouldn’t be in starting lineups right now, playing behind Kyle Lowry. But with all the Lowry trade rumors swirling around out there, Vasquez is a must-own player in case a trade goes down.

Jarrett Jack Cavaliers 29% owned

Jack is finally starting to come on, averaging 11.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.2 3-pointers on 49 percent shooting over his last five games. And the better he plays, the harder it will be for Dion Waiters to stay productive.

Shelvin Mack Hawks 1% owned

Mack is far from a must-own player, but Jeff Teague has cooled off and the back up job is squarely in the hands of Mack right now.  He’s at 9.8 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.0 3-pointers on 50 percent shooting over his last five. He’s averaging 23 minutes per game over that stretch, so deep-leaguers should be giving him a look as long as Dennis Schroder remains an invisible man in the ATL. And for those of you who say I don’t go deep enough in this column, there you go.

Shooting Guards

Jimmy Butler Bulls 72% owned

In his two games since returning from turf toe, Butler is averaging 13.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.5 blocks and 1.5 3-pointers on 44 percent shooting. His toe is still sore and he’s a minor injury risk right now, but with four games, I’m playing him this week.

Wilson Chandler Nuggets 68% owned

It took a while, but Chandler is finally getting it done in Denver, and should continue to do so with no target date for Danilo Gallinari. He’s scored in double figures in four of his last five, has scored 17 in two straight, and is averaging 12.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.6 steals, 1.2 blocks and 1.8 3-pointers on 46 percent shooting over his last five games.

Ramon Sessions Bobcats 7% owned

Sessions hit just 1-of-7 shots for two points on Saturday, but had scored between nine and 13 points in his previous four games. He’s averaging 10.5 points and 2.8 assists on the season, and 10 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists over his last five games. He won’t get you many steals or 3-pointers, but if you need a scoring guard in a deep league, he can fill a void.

Dion Waiters Cavaliers 60% owned

Waiters has been hit-or-miss lately, but is hot again, scoring 16 and 21 points in each of his last two games. Prior to that he scored a total of nine points in his previous two, but had 30 in the one before that. And that’s pretty much what you’re going to get with Waiters. Some nice explosions littered with the occasional disappearing act.

Jodie Meeks Lakers 26% owned

I don’t really trust Meeks or Mike D’Antoni, but he is starting at shooting guard for the Lakers, as they have no healthy point guards. That means Kobe Bryant is starting at PG, leaving Meeks and Nick Young to start at the wings. It also means Xavier Henry and Wes Johnson will come off the bench, and while Meeks looks like the safest bet (outside of Young), it’s hard to say who will be the best producer of this bunch, especially given D’Antoni’s dicey rotations. Meeks is averaging 32 minutes over his last five games, along with 11.4 points and 2.0 3-pointers, but has cooled off over his last two games, when he’s scored a total of 11 points. If you need a 3-point specialist, Meeks could help you out.

Small Forwards

Terrence Ross Raptors 19% owned

Ross looks like the big winner in the trade that sent Rudy Gay to Sacramento, as Ross is now the starting small forward in Toronto, at least for now. He’s averaging 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.0 steals, .75 blocks and 2.5 3-pointers over his last four games and he’s one of my favorite pickups this week. John Salmons isn’t going to steal his job, meaning it should be safe for the foreseeable future.

Marvin Williams Jazz 13% owned

Williams was hot before aggravating his Achilles injury but is back in the starting lineup and playing well again. He’s averaging 9.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.3 steals, a block and 2.3 3-pointers over his three games since returning. The points aren’t all that exciting, but if you take another look at the rest of those numbers, they’re pretty darn impressive. And while I’m still kind of surprised that he has absolutely ruined the value of Enes Kanter, the Jazz obviously like what Marvin is bringing to the table right now.

Jeff Taylor Bobcats 3% owned

Taylor has yet to do much in his new starting role, filling in for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, but the potential is there. MKG isn’t going to be back anytime soon (broken hand) and Taylor is getting 33 minutes per game over his last four. He scored 20 in one of those, but had just 7, 9 and 8 in the other three. He is struggling with his shot right now, hitting 10 of his last 33, but my guess is he’ll get back on track this week. If he doesn’t, look for Anthony Tolliver to get a chance to steal his job.

Richard Jefferson Jazz 3% owned

I am not a big Richard Jefferson fan, but he’s still starting for the Jazz and has hit double figures in four of his last five games, averaging 13.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.0 3-pointers on 59 percent shooting over that stretch. I don’t really trust him, but you could probably do worse than picking up a starting small forward averaging 27 minutes a game.

Giannis Antetokounmpo Bucks 3% owned

The only thing I dislike more in Milwaukee than Larry Drew is trying to spell this cat’s name. But he’s young, long and quick and if you watch him play, you’ll probably fall in love with his game. Of course, sitting through an entire Bucks game is easier said than done, but Giannis at least makes it possible. He’s coming off the bench, but is averaging over 11 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.75 assists, and has racked up two steals and two blocks over his last three games. He’s nothing but upside and there’s no reason for the Bucks not to turn him loose. But then again, that means nothing when Drew is involved.

Power Forwards

Amir Johnson Raptors 81% owned

Johnson has exploded since he returned from a stint on the bench and is averaging 20.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks over his last five games. He’s a must-own player right now, but I also think now would be a good time to try to sell high on him. How he’s not owned in more leagues after his recent explosion is beyond me.

Andrea Bargnani Knicks 69% owned

Bargnani went through a pretty brutal recent slump, but the bottom line is that he is one of the more prominent players the Knicks have not named Carmelo. He’s averaging 22.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.5 blocks and has hit 20-of-48 shots in his last two games. He hasn’t been making many 3-pointers lately (one in his last five), but I suspect he’s going to start hitting them again. And regardless of how you feel about Bargs personally, it’s hard to come up with an argument for not owning him right now.

Josh McRoberts Bobcats 17% owned

It feels like McBob is on this list every week and that might even be a fact. But if you disregard his scoring, the rest of his numbers have been pretty fun all season. He’s averaging 8.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.8 blocks over his last five games. He’s also hit three 3-pointers over that stretch and is shooting 55 percent. I have owned him all season in a few leagues and he’s one of those guys you don’t really want to focus on until the week is over, and you can see his total numbers for the scoring period.

Jon Leuer Grizzlies 15% owned

A good friend of mine, Mike McCollow, has spent a lot of time working with Leuer on his game over the last few years and I have gotten a few earfuls of how good he is. I don’t know that I believe that Leuer can really stay this hot going forward, but over his last five he’s averaging 14.8 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.0 3-pointers on 52 percent shooting. He’s been helped by the absence of Marc Gasol and Ed Davis, but may have carved out enough minutes going forward to be held all season. Gasol appears to be nearing a return, but Leuer should be worth owning until it happens.

Derrick Williams Kings 21% owned

Despite coming off the bench behind Rudy Gay and Jason Thompson, Williams has been rolling, averaging 19 points, five rebounds and two steals over his last three games, when he’s also hit five 3-pointers and has been shooting lights-out. He’s playing well again on Sunday and should be owned in most leagues as long as he is getting 25-30 minutes per game.

Trevor Booker Wizards 6% owned

Booker has been filling in nicely for Nene (day-to-day), who remains out with a variety of nagging injuries. Over his last three games he’s averaging 16 points, 11 rebounds and a block per game. The walls could come crashing down once Nene is healthy again, but for now, Booker simply looks like a sneaky play in all formats.


Marc Gasol Grizzlies 91% owned & Tyson Chandler Knicks 70% owned

Both of these centers are nearing a return and it’s time to grab them if you want them. As you can see, they’re owned in most leagues, but are still floating around out there in a few of them.

Jordan Hill Lakers 27% owned

Along with Ross, Hill is the other guy I’ve been targeting heavily in my leagues. Hill is starting again (for now) for the Lakers and is averaging 10.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 0.6 blocks in just 19 minutes over his last five games, but most of those came off the bench. He started on Saturday and had 15 points and nine rebounds, and he’s shooting 70 percent from the floor over his last five games. As long as Mike D’Antoni keeps Hill in the starting lineup, he should be owned in fantasy leagues.

Jonas Valanciunas Raptors 76% owned

Valanciunas has been up and down all season, but is finally starting to live up to the hype. He’s double-doubled in three of his last five games and two straight, and is averaging 11.4 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocks on 47 percent shooting over his last five games. Maybe losing Rudy Gay was just what JV needed to get it going.

Brandan Wright Mavericks 11% owned

Wright finally made his debut on Saturday after missing the start of the season with a shoulder injury and hit 9-of-10 shots for 19 points and six rebounds in just 19 minutes of action. He’s the most talented center the Mavericks have and comes in with a lot of hype. Whether he can live up to it remains to be seen and he won’t hit 9-of-10 shots every time out, but if you need a big man, he should be one of the guys near the top of your list.

Andray Blatche Nets 22% owned

Blatche has arguably been the most consistent Net all season and benefits from playing with Brook Lopez’s bad feet and Kevin Garnett’s bad knees. He’s rolling again, going for 20.5 points, and 10.5 rebounds over his last two games, both off the bench, and is averaging 16 points and 9.5 rebounds over his last four. He’s usually a safe play and should be owned in more leagues than he currently is.