Original to RotoExperts.com.
My friend and colleague Adam Ronis has long made his feelings known; he is not a fan of Jim O’Brien. And when the Pacers fired O’Brien on Sunday, I’m sure he let out a sigh of relief. It’s not just Ronis, however, who are happy to see O’Brien go. Guys like Roy Hibbert and Tyler Hansbrough are relieved since they’re now likely going to see more playing time under the new regime. Rejoice! We’ve been waiting for Hibbert to develop into a star center, but for some reason O’Brien just didn’t want it to happen. Things got so bad under O’Brien that Hibbert had to go see a sports psychologist. Amazing.
This week, I just finished rapping about Fantasy Basketball with my very own sports psychologist, and thought the best way to ease my mental state is to provide some help on the waiver wires. Let me, help me! Also, our friend Jonathan Huang was unable to post his waiver wire piece, so I naturally had to fill in.
Tyler Hansbrough (PF/C, IND)
As I mentioned earlier, Hansbrough is going to benefit nicely from O’Brien being fired. Forever Pacer fans and Fantasy owners alike have been wondering why Hansbrough is not seeing more playing time. Still in his second season, Hansbrough is averaging 16.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per 36 minutes. He’s not going to see 36 minutes of time, but he should be playing 28-30 minutes. He has similar makeup to the many hustle rebounders out there, like David Lee. I’m not saying that he’s as good as Lee, but he could lead the team in rebounding if he were slotted into the starting lineup and he is a sufficient offensive player. I recently had the chance to speak with Clark Kellogg, who is the VP of player relations for the Pacers, who is excited about Hansbrough’s development. He pointed out that since Hansbrough played just 29 games last season, he’s still in his “rookie season” and he’s prime to prove his worth with more minutes. Given that, Hansbrough has played well and should only get better in this second half of the season. Considering the coaching change, Hansbrough’s an add in deeper leagues right now, but should be followed in 12-team leagues as well.
Carlos Delfino (GF, MIL)
He’s back! Delfino, who can be described as Manu Ginobili-lite, is back in the starting lineup for the Bucks, playing in just his fourth time since Nov. 9 on Saturday. In said game against the Nets, Delfino scored 21 points with four 3-pointers, five rebounds, two assists and two steals. This should cement his role in the starting lineup for the Bucks. He needs to be owned in all formats. It’s as simple as that. In Yahoo! leagues he’s only 33-percent owned, which means that many of you are missing out on this highly productive Fantasy player.
Randy Foye (G, LAC)
Foye became a hot name when Eric Gordon went down with his wrist injury last week. Over the next three weeks, Foye is expected to remain in the starting lineup for the Clippers, alongside Baron Davis. In his first start, Foye was so-so, scoring 15 points with two 3-pointers, four assist and zero steals. His next two games he topped the 20-point mark in each, stole five balls, blocked two shots and hit six 3-pointers. We know that Foye has the pedigree to be a highly productive Fantasy player. Almost in the mold of O.J. Mayo. I see no reason why you pass on Foye, at least over the next three weeks. He’s an excellent option.
Ryan Anderson (F/C, ORL)
I’ve been giving props to Anderson for some time now. Given that the Magic are thin up front, Anderson is in line for seeing significant minutes at power forward, even some time at center. In January he is averaging 15.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.0 blocks and, incredibly, 3.1 threes per game. That’s in a 15-game span. He needs to be universally owned. This is not a fleeting stat line. Not with the Magic being so thin up front, as I said.
Marcin Gortat (C, PHO)
Robin Lopez who? That’s exactly what they’re saying in Phoenix with the way Gortat has played over the past few weeks. Gortat has been coming off the bench for the Suns, but he still has six double-doubles in his last eight games, including 44 points and 28 rebounds over the last two games. There is no reason to believe that Lopez will be the primary center for the Suns any time soon. Add in the blocked shots and the plus-FG%, Gortat makes for a perfect addition.
Tony Allen (GF, MEM)
With O.J. Mayo out for the next nine games, Allen is looking more and more like a must-grab. He’s not in the starting lineup for the Grizzlies, but he is playing bigger minutes. He played 34 minutes off the bench against the Wizards on Saturday, which is great news for Fantasy owners. While Allen is limited in his offensive game, he is among the best stealers in the game. He has 12 steals over his last five games, and in only one of those games has he played more than 20 minutes. Now that Mayo is out, Allen needs to be added. Sam Young is not going to be playing the significant minutes, not with Allen playing so well.
Wes Johnson (GF, MIN)
Johnson was among my favorite adds for the second half of the season. He started off the year slow, but he’s now really starting to take off. Since returning to the bench, Johnson has four straight double-digit scoring games, five steals in his last four games, and nine 3-pointers over that span. having him come off the bench might be the best thing to happen to the rookie. I’m not he’s going to take off, but he’s certainly valuable for Fantasy purposes in steals, threes and points.
Tracy McGrady (GF, DET)
I don’t necessarily like McGrady, but he does deserve a mention. In 17 starts with the Pistons, McGrady is averaging 11.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.7 blocks. The problem is that McGrady is playing 30-plus minutes per game over the last month. There’s really no way his body can hold up. I would look to add him for the short term, but move him over the next few weeks. We saw this last season with the Knicks, when he got off to a hot start and slowed down due to his body. Good luck with McGrady. Just don’t expect him to keep playing at such a high level.
*All stats as of Monday, Jan. 31 (prior to the start of Monday night’s action).