Fantasy Basketball Deep League Waiver Wire Pickups for the New Year
This waiver wire advice is designed for fantasy players in deep leagues (12 teams or more than the standard roster spots).
Teammate injuries and team schedules have exposed some hidden fantasy-relevant gems.
Each of the following players are owned in less than a quarter of Yahoo leagues and are expected to excel in the New Year.
The article can also be found at WinMyFantasyLeague.com
Brandon Rush (21 Percent Owned)
So far Brandon Rush only starts over Mike Dunleavy whenever Pacers coach Jim O'Brien feels that Rush presents a more favorable matchup.
For example, Rush started against the Lakers' Kobe Bryant and the Celtics' Ray Allen, but came off the bench when the Pacers were matched up against less talented shooting guards like the Hornets' Marco Belinelli and the Grizzlies' Xavier Henry.
Regardless of whether he starts or comes off the bench, Rush has been averaging 13.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.2 three-pointers per game during the month of December. Still, he scores four more points per game as a starter, so it is better to pick him up when he is projected to start multiple games.
With January games that include the Spurs (Manu Ginobili), Warriors (Monta Ellis), Clippers (Eric Gordon), and Blazers (Brandon Roy), Rush should get a number of starts early in New Year.
DeJuan Blair (25 Percent Owned)
The 6'8" and 270 pound Spurs center is coming off his season-best game of 17 points, 15 rebounds, two steals, and one block.
Players usually provide better stats when playing against a weaker team, but DeJuan Blair outplayed Gasol, Odom and Bynum in an impressive win over the Lakers last Tuesday.
Considering that the Spurs have upcoming games against the Mavericks (two), Thunder and Celtics, it is comforting to know that Blair's production does not fizzle when playing against good teams.
Blair is averaging almost nine points per game in December to go along with 6.6 rebounds and 1.6 steals. The steals make up for the lack of blocks one might expect from a center. Blair continues to start for the Spurs and is a contributor to owners in deeper leagues.
Ed Davis (4 Percent Owned)
The Raptors first round draft pick was injured for the first month of the season.
After multiple weeks of sporadic playing time, Ed Davis has played over 20 minutes in each of the last three games. This included his career best game in Dallas finishing with 17 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 3 steals.
With Reggie Evans out until February and Andrea Bargnani still banged up, the Raptors have an extremely thin front-court.
Davis should continue to get ample opportunities to produce and should improve as he gets more games under his belt. He remains unowned in almost all leagues, but is worth a look if you are in need of rebounds and blocks.
Chris Andersen (16 Percent Owned)
Similar to the Ed Davis situation, Chris Andersen should benefit from the lack of depth in the Nuggets front-court.
Both Nene and Kenyon Martin sat out Wednesday's game and could miss more, leaving Shelden Williams and the undersized Al Harrington as the only front-court players for Denver.
Andersen has had his share of injury issues so far this season, but he is coming off his most balanced game of the season with 8 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
Even once Nene and K-Mart returns, Andersen should be the primary big man off the bench, and as the Nuggets will continue to be cautious with K-Mart, Andersen should play over 20 minutes per game.
Rudy Fernandez (15 Percent Owned)
Blazers star Brandon Roy has missed the last six games (knee), moving Nicolas Batum back into the starting lineup after moving to a reserve role in favor of Wesley Matthews earlier in the season.
This has also moved Rudy Fernandez up the depth chart to become the first guard off the bench. In the past two weeks, Rudy has averaged 13.1 points, 4 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 1.9 three-pointers and 1.3 steals.
Roy will be experiencing knee issues for the rest of the year, giving Fernandez the chance to display his versatility and become fantasy-relevant in 2011.
Honorable mention: Eric Bledsoe, who will thrive in the event that Baron Davis is traded.