By this point in time you should be aware of what your team’s shortcomings are and be working on ways to shore things up if you want to win a fantasy basketball championship.
If you are new to fantasy sports and you have not yet found the expanded standings, allow me to open up a whole new world. It’s one thing to check your standings every day and see what your place you’re in, how much ground you’ve gained/lost, but it’s another to know why.
If you look at your expanded standings, you’ll be able to see what stats you are dominating in and which ones are keeping you from the top spot in your league.
To shore up a category, the ideal solution is to find a trading partner and deal from one of your strengths in order to improve where you're weak. Unfortunately, you may run into some stubborn trading partners or just not find the right fit.
If that’s the case, it’s time to hit the waiver wire and try and find yourself some help.
Over the course of the season, I will look for options to help you in a number of categories, but for this week I want to focus on the defensive stats. Oftentimes players overlook the defensive numbers when scanning the waiver wire and focus on points per game.
Don’t forget, points are just one of many categories and you get no extra points for having the most points.
If you’re looking for blocks and steals, here are some guys to help you out:
George Hill – SG, Indiana Pacers
I understand it’s hard to let yourself get sucked in by a guy coming off his team’s bench who doesn’t stand a great chance of breaking the starting lineup. Of all the sixth men out there, though, one of the best is George Hill because you can count on him for 25 minutes per game, even off the bench.
The Pacers have a lot of scorers, so Hill’s point totals will fluctuate game to game, but what he does so consistently is nab some steals. Hill is averaging 1.7 per game so far this season and has 10 of them in his last three games.
If points aren’t vital, Hill is a nice guy to have who will get you a couple steals and knock in at least one or two treys per game as well.
Tony Allen – SG, Memphis Grizzlies
The numbers put up by Allen so far this season have been very inconsistent and landed him on more waiver wires than people’s teams. Allen might be a disappointment in a lot of aspects so far, but he’s still one of the best steals guys in the NBA and if you need steals, he should have a spot on your team.
I do worry about how well O.J. Mayo is playing and the amount of playing time Allen will see going forward, but right now you won’t get steals like this from anyone else on the wire.
Corey Brewer – SF, Denver Nuggets
Here’s one for you deep leaguers out there.
Brewer hasn’t had as much success recently pickpocketing people, but he has proven throughout his career that he can swipe the ball with the best of them. Brewer has fallen into some extra minutes because of a Rudy Fernandez injury and he has made the most of the opportunity, which could mean he continues seeing more minutes.
If Brewer keeps playing 20 minutes per game he should get one to two steals a night for you. And as an added bonus, he looks to be getting better offensively, which has been his kryptonite.
Bismack Biyombo – PF/C, Charlotte Bobcats
This pickup is completely dependent on how much court time the Bobcats give Biyombo. But right now, what do the Bobcats have to lose by playing Biyombo extended minutes?
Are they going to lose more? That’s pretty hard to do.
Biyombo is as raw as every analyst known to man has told us, but he is an athlete and one thing he’ll do right from the start is swat a lot of shots. Biyombo has a five-block game and a four-block game in his last four outings.
If he keeps playing and you need blocks, then don’t hesitate.
Jermaine O’Neal – C, Boston Celtics
No, I don’t like Jermaine O’Neal that much and like you, I am not crazy about the idea of him taking up a spot on my fantasy team.
But two things are true: He is the only legitimate Celtics center, which means he’ll play a lot. Secondly, when he is playing, he knocks down shots at a surprisingly strong rate given his age and broken down body.
O’Neal is not scoring, but he has 12 blocks in his last five games and he’s pulling down a lot of boards. As tough as it might be, if you need blocks and can sacrifice points, O’Neal is a legitimate waiver wire pickup.
Ed Davis – PF/C, Toronto Raptors
Here is a guy like O’Neal who is rejecting shots, but not scoring the ball much. Davis, however, has much more potential to start scoring. In fact, it’s a mystery to me that he isn’t. On the downside, his playing time isn’t as secure as O’Neal’s.
Right now, Andrea Bargnani is banged up and Davis is taking full advantage of that. Davis has six blocks in his last three games and nine in his last five. As a perk, he actually gets a pretty solid number of steals for a big man as well, which is just an added bonus.
I love Davis' upside and wouldn’t hesitate to grab him, but I'm weary of his playing time fading.
These are just some of the options, but I think they are some of the better ones who are available in a lot of leagues. Obviously every league is different, though. One commenter on here got Andrew Bogut off the wire the other day.
If Bogut is available in your league, take him over Biyombo, obviously. But for most leagues, these are the guys you’re going to be looking at.
Who do you like and who are you staying away from off of this list of six guys?