NBA Top Free Agent Pickups

Steve Alexander
With only a few weeks left in the NBA regular season hot players are a hot commodity. Here's a list of some you should be targeting

Wired: Top NBA Pickups Week 22

With only a few weeks left in the NBA regular season hot players are a hot commodity. Here's a list of some you should be targeting

Welcome to the first installment of Waiver Wired for the year. Before we get to that, I’d like to comment on leagues that use a trade veto policy.  I get that some of you want to ensure that every trade is perfectly fair, but in my experience, once a league starts vetoing trades, it can quickly spiral out of control. Pretty soon, every trade becomes controversial and with every veto that happens, owners become more and more agitated and the threats to quit the league start rolling in.

I hate trade vetoes.  If I sell a rookie on a deal I like, I should be rewarded for my work and sales skills. If the other guy thinks it’s a good deal for his team, it should stand. The only time a trade should be vetoed is if something shady is going on and there is collusion. Otherwise, in my opinion, every trade should be allowed to go through, as long as both owners are engaged and think they’re helping their team. Just my two cents.

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The Bulls, Pistons and Bucks all play just two games in Week 2, so be aware of that when setting lineups. 

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $15,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Monday, Nov. 4th games. It's just $10 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts at 7pm ET. Here's the link.

Point Guards

Michael Carter-Williams Sixers 88% owned

Yes, I know he’s too obvious for this list, but I’m guessing he was owned in about 20% of leagues five days ago. Let’s just take a second to marvel at what the rookie has done in three games. He’s averaging 20 points, 4.5 rebounds, 9.0 assists, 4.3 steals and 2.7 3-pointers. He’s shooting 46.8 percent from the field and 47.1 percent from downtown, with the only blemish on his resume’ being his 66.7 free throw percentage thus far. Can he keep up this pace? No way. Is he the ultimate sell-high candidate? Maybe. But, as I have been saying all summer and fall, there is no one else to play point guard in Philly. The kid is long and can obviously play in the NBA, and I’m more interested in riding him out and seeing where he takes us than I am watching him play for someone else’s team. Sell high if you want, but make sure you get plenty in return, because I don’t think he’s going away. And if you’re in one of those 12% of leagues where he’s not owned, stop what you’re doing and take care of it now.

Jarrett Jack Cavaliers 44% owned

Jack is getting close to being over his knee injury and has looked good in three games for the Cavs this season, averaging 11.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals and is shooting 52 percent from the floor. The coaching staff loves him and he’s only going to get better as the season progresses. Now’s the time to get Jack and at least stash him away, if not start him right now.

Jordan Farmar Lakers 13% owned

Steve Nash really looks like he’s on his last legs to me and Farmar can probably run three times faster than Nash can right now. Farmar is averaging 11.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.5 3-pointers and is shooting 48 percent on the season. Yes, it’s possible that Nash eventually gets healthy and ruins Farmar’s value, but I just don’t see that happening in the next few weeks.

Ramon Sessions Bobcats 8% owned

Sessions has always been able to score off the Bobcats’ bench and this year is no different. He’s averaging 15 points and 3.7 assists, but that’s about all you’ll get out of him on most nights.

Avery Bradley Celtics 57% owned

Bradley hasn’t exactly been killing it for the Celtics in his two games this season, averaging just 8.0 points, 3.0 assists and 4.0 turnovers, and has fouled out of both games. The good news is we still don’t know when Rajon Rondo is coming back, and simply put, Bradley can’t play worse than he has. Check out his line from Sunday night and if he’s showing signs of life and you need a PG, give him a look.

Shooting Guards

Lance Stephenson Pacers 70% owned

As long as Danny Granger is hurting, Stephenson should be in starting lineups. He already looks like the league’s most improved player (no offense to the Brow) and is averaging 19 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 3.0 3-pointers and just 1.7 turnovers while shooting nearly 60 percent from the floor. The bad news is that he has yet to record a steal this season, but that is more of a fluke than anything else. The fact he’s not owned in 30 percent of Yahoo! leagues sounds ridiculous to me.

Alec Burks Jazz 29% owned

How Burks is only owned in 29 percent of Yahoo! leagues is also a bit mind boggling. We hyped him as a super sleeper prior to the season and he’s now averaging 18 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals and is hitting 49 percent of his shots after three games. He’s not hitting many threes or stealing the ball yet, but those should be coming soon. He’s primed for a breakout season and I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t happen.

Vince Carter Mavericks 34% owned

I might be old school but that doesn’t mean I like having old dudes on my fantasy teams. In fact, I hate it. But I simply couldn’t ignore what Carter’s been doing this year. He had one big line against the Hawks when he scored 21 points, and was solid in the other two. Cater is averaging 12.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and a 3-pointer in 26 minutes per game. I’m not rushing out to pick him up, but if I were desperate for a healthy, established player, I would certainly give him a long look. 

James Anderson Sixers 9% owned

Anderson has steadily declined in each game, starting out the season with 35 minutes, eight points, six boards, two steals and two 3-pointers against the Heat. He was especially bad against the Bulls on Saturday, but still managed to play 30 minutes. He had a big preseason and I still think he will break out of his funk soon, as he’s probably just been standing around watching MCW go berserk. Don’t go pick Anderson up right now, but put him on your watch list and be ready to jump when he gets hot. The reality is the Sixers don’t have anyone on the bench any better than Anderson, so hopefully he’ll keep the job.

Marco Belinelli Spurs 4% owned

Belinelli got off to a slow start, scoring a total of seven points in his first two games, but came through with 19 points, three boards, four assists, two steals and three 3-pointers on 8-of-12 shooting in 27 minutes on Saturday. With Manu Ginobili seeing a decline in minutes, as he’s another year older, Belinelli could be playing a very big role for the Spurs this season.

Small Forwards

Trevor Ariza Wizards 65% owned

I’ve got trust issues with Ariza, but he’s been a beast in leagues with his low salary, which means he’s also been working out well for owners in standard leagues. After two regular-season games he’s averaging 20 points, 12 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 3.5 3-pointers on 45 percent shooting. There’s now way he’ll keep up that pace and he’s off to a slow start in Sunday night’s game as I write this. But if he’s available in your league, he looks like a must-own player to me. As a side note, he’s in early foul trouble and really struggling on Sunday.

DeMarre Carroll Hawks 11% owned

Even though he’s the starting small forward for the Hawks, Carroll still doesn’t even qualify at SF in some leagues. He’s averaging a whopping 34 minutes in two games, along with 11 points, five boards, two assists, three steals and 1.5 3-pointers per game. I don’t see the Hawks looking to move in another direction anytime soon, meaning Carroll should be a nice, low-end source of steals and threes until further notice.

Corey Brewer Timberwolves 14% owned

Brewer checks in at 30.5 minutes per contest and is averaging 12.5 points, 1.5 steals and a 3-pointer in his two games. He’s probably never going to be a strong offensive player, but his defense is better than it has been thus far. The minutes are there and as long as he holds the job for the Wolves, he can help teams lacking depth at the position.

Francisco Garcia 8% & Omri Casspi Rockets 1% owned

If you’re looking for cheap 3-pointers, these are your guys. Garcia has drained 10 of them in three games and is averaging a block and 13 points per game for the Rockets. Things haven’t gone as smoothly for his teammate, Casspi, but I think his time might be coming. Casspi was a dud in Game 1, had 12 points, a steal and three 3-pointers in Game 2, and missed Game 3 with an ankle injury. It sounds like he’ll be ready to go for the upcoming week though, so if you’re scouring your wire for 3-pointers, he’s someone who can probably help you.

Richard Jefferson Jazz 1% owned

Again, I’m not a big fan of the old guys, but RJ is starting for the Jazz and playing well. He’s averaging 11.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.7 3-pointers per game in 23 minutes. He may not keep the starting job all season, but as long as he has it, he’s worth a look, especially in deeper leagues where the wire is really thin.

Power Forwards

Tristan Thompson Cavaliers 74% owned

Thompson is still available in more than 25 percent of the Yahoo! leagues out there and that number could be going up after he had just two points and four boards on 1-of-5 shooting in his last game. But he played 35 minutes in that one, and has played exactly 35 in all three of his games this season. He was great in the first two, going for 18 and 21 points, along with a total of 20 rebounds. Saturday’s disaster was a fluke and he’s been Cleveland’s best big man all summer and in the early part of the season. He should be owned in all leagues, in my opinion.

Josh McRoberts Bobcats 18% owned

McBob is starting over rookie Cody Zeller and playing well, averaging 8.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.3 3-pointers per game. He’s shooting 50 percent from the floor and his numbers would look much better if it weren’t for a zero-point game against the Cavaliers. He played 29 minutes in that one, so it was just an off night. He played just 15 minutes on Saturday, but still managed to put up a decent stat line. His minutes were likely limited in that one because he was getting destroyed by Anthony Davis. I own McBob in a lot of leagues and am sticking with him for now, and he’ll hopefully be a little more consistent going forward.

Omer Asik Rockets 64% owned

Asik is actually starting at center for the Rockets and while he’s offensively challenged on a potent Houston team, his rebounding is strong. He’s averaging 4.7 points, 11.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 23 minutes per game.

J.J. Hickson Nuggets 51% owned

Hickson started over Kenneth Faried in the first two games of the season and is averaging 8.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 27.5 minutes. As long as he’s starting over Faried he’s worth a look, but it’s hard to say how long that will be the case.

DeJuan Blair Mavericks 2% owned

Unlike in San Antonio last year, Blair is actually relevant in Dallas this season, averaging 9.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 0.7 blocks on 55 percent shooting. He’s getting 20 minutes per game and has been consistent off the bench for Dallas. If you’re in a deep league and need an active, big body, Blair could be your guy.


Miles Plumlee Suns 61% owned

Plumlee was named the starting center for the Suns and blew up in a big way in the opener. He had 18 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks in that one, and then backed it up with 13 points, 13 rebounds and three more blocks in his second game. He’ll try to keep it going on Sunday night and simply put, should be owned in all leagues as long as he’s starting.

Vitor Faverani Celtics 48% owned

I find it hard to believe that Faverani is available in more than half the Yahoo! leagues out there. He came into Sunday averaging 12.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4.5 blocks in two games, and has six points, two boards and two blocks early in Sunday’s game. He’s starting for the Celtics, has big-game capabilities (12 points, 18 rebounds, 6 blocks in his second game), and like Plumlee, should be owned in all leagues until further notice. 

DeAndre Jordan Clippers 48% owned

Jordan still can’t shoot free throws, but is playing very well for new coach Doc Rivers, averaging 11.3 points, 12.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 2.0 blocks on 59 percent shooting. He’s hitting just 40 percent of his free throws, but we all knew that was coming. Jordan looks like a different player than he did a year ago and I have no idea why he’s available in more than half the leagues out there. Although if your team is full of good free throw shooters, you’ll want to think twice before adding Jordan, as he will quickly cause your percentage to take a dive.

Samuel Dalembert Mavericks 48% owned

Sammy D is starting for the Mavs and is off to a nice start, averaging 8.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 0.7 blocks after three games. More blocks are coming and he’s clocking in at 25 minutes per game. The eventual return of Brandan Wright could hurt Dalembert some, but until it happens, Dalembert looks like a safe deep-league play, and can be owned in most leagues.

Jason Smith Pelicans 2% owned

Smith is not a must-own player, but in deep, two-center leagues he has some value. He’s averaging 7.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in three games, playing 25 minutes per game. He had five blocks in his last game and if he can steal a few boards away from teammate Anthony Davis, he could end up helping fantasy owners desperate for a center. 

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