The NBA season has kicked off and knowing lots of fantasy owners, you’ll all be eager to action your trigger fingers and make a grab at free agents on your waiver wire from the get-go. In these “All Wired Up” posts, which I’ll endeavour to have up daily, I’ll look at the best performances from players who are on the waiver wire in most standard leagues.
J.R. Smith – Knicks (ESPN 51 percent, Yahoo 66 percent)
Although J.R. Smith hasn’t gotten off to the strongest of starts this season, I was surprised to see him owned in so few leagues. His game against the Nuggets on Sunday was in best of the season, by a long way, and came when Iman Shumpert was sitting with his hip injury, but even with those things under consideration, Smith should be owned in more than half of the fantasy leagues out there.
Against the Nuggets, Smith had a season-high 28 points (10-16 FG, 2-6 3Pt, 6-8 FT) with four rebounds, four assists, two steals, and one block in 37 minutes. The 37 minutes were also a season-high, but there are a couple of things to note about Smith’s performances this season.
Smith’s field goal percentage is currently sitting at 46 percent, up from 42 percent last season. This also comes with his three-point percentage languishing at 29 percent, below his 39 percent mark of last season. So, could it be that Smith is taking smarter, more efficient shots. Hmm. Something to ponder. Another underplayed secret of Smith is the fact that he gets you almost four assists per game (3.7 to be exact) from the shooting guard/small forward position. On the waiver-wire, there aren’t many player who can do that for you, let alone guys that qualify on the wings. So, aside from the scoring and the three-pointers, Smith is a nice source of assists and isn’t hurting your percentages. I own him in a 12 team league and I think you should look hard at what Smith can bring to your team.
Marreese Speights – Warriors (ESPN 0.7 percent, Yahoo 2 percent)
It feels like every season, there is an out of nowhere explosion from Marreese Speights. Perhaps this was it. In the blowout against the Lakers, Speights had his best night of the season, scoring 24 points (8-11 FG, 8-8 FT) with nine rebounds in just 20 minutes. On February 10th earlier this year, Speights had an unexplainable game of 32 points, eight rebounds and three blocks, so the precedent is there for an out-of-the-box performance. This was actually Speights’ second solid game in a row, posting 13 points and six rebounds Saturday against the Hornets. In fact, for the season, Speights’ field goal percentage, 63 percent, makes him a solid addition in 14 team leagues, but his ownership percentage is indicating that not many leagues have taken advantage of that fact yet.
With David Lee out, Speights is the primary backup big man, as Ognjen Kuzmic hasn’t been much of an option to date. There is no reason to consider Speights in any league shallower than 14 teams, but in deeper leagues, he needs a lot more consideration than he is currently getting.
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