(A note to readers: SheridanHoops is expanding into fantasy basketball coverage, because so many of our readers are hard-core fans of the game, and because so many hard-core fans play fantasy hoops. It’s a natural fit. Several readers applied to fill the role, and I have selected Marc Kravitz of Philadelphia because of his writing talents and his track record in cashing. This season, he was smart enough to select Brandon Jennings. I am struggling in my league, in part because I could have had Jennings at the same price I paid for Darren Collison – CS)
You had your draft, and now the first week of NBA games has passed. Though the guys on your squad have played but a handful of games, you no doubt have formed opinions of your quality picks and hideous reaches—and of course your chances of finishing “in the money.”
If you’re ready to ditch a late-round flyer or two, there are useful undrafted free agents available on your waiver wire, some of whom to immediately plug in and others to stash on your bench in hopes of fulfilling their upside potential.
Here are 10 Players owned in less than 33% of CBSSports.com and Yahoo! Fantasy Leagues. If they are available in your league, pick one or two of them up for Week 2:
Ryan Anderson, Orlando Magic
Analysis: The Magic’s big men include Dwight Howard and … and… well, not much else. Stan Van Gundy starts Anderson beside D12 with Glen Davis backing up both spots. With Howard clogging the middle, Anderson is the stretch-four with a green light to bomb threes. In 13 games last season as a starter, in just 22.7 MPG, Anderson averaged 2.2 3s per game. In the first three games this season Anderson is averaging 18.3 ppg, 6.0 reb, 3.7 3s and shooting 47.5 percent. At a minimum, Anderson gives your squad a boatload of 3s. Perhaps he proves more diverse and proves to be a four category asset.
Projected Stats: 15 PPG, 2.5 3s, 7.0 reb, 45.5 FG percent.
Spencer Hawes, Philadelphia 76ers
Analysis: The much-maligned big man is off to a ridiculously productive start to the season, through three games averaging 12.7 reb 4.7 ast 1.7 stl and 2 blk. With Elton Brand struggling to find his legs and his game, and with Marreese Speights in Doug Collins’ doghouse, Hawes has made the most of his 34 MPG, so much that Collins at times is running the 76ers’ half-court offense through Hawes (in 9-category leagues his 2.4 assist-to-turnover ratio is huge). Hawes’ career of inconsistency will give you pause, but his early numbers are too good to pass up for a center.
Projected Stats: 9 reb 3.5 ast 1 stl, 1.2 blk, 1.5 ast/to.
Mike Dunleavy, Milwaukee Bucks
Analysis: After failing to live up to being drafted No. 3 overall by Golden State, Dunleavy displayed glimpses of fantasy success in Indiana where his rollercoaster career plateaued in 2007-08 (19.1 ppg, 2.0 3s, 4.1 ftm, 5.2 reb, 3.5 ast), and then injuries destroyed his fantasy potential the past three seasons. Dunleavy is thrilled to be playing for the Bucks, where Scott Skiles will utilize his fundamental multi-purpose skill set. The Bucks’ swingmen include journeyman Carlos Delfino and frequently injured Stephen Jackson, so Dunleavy has the chance to play 30-plus minutes per game and return to Top 50 status.
Projected Stats: 13 ppg, 46.0 FG percent, 1.7 3s, 4 reb, 3.5 ast, 0.8 stl, 0.5 blk
Chuck Hayes, Sacramento Kings:
Analysis: Hayes has an asterisk in terms of availability in your league as he may have been in limbo at the time of your draft due to his “heart abnormality.” Signed to be the starting “4″ for Sacto, Hayes failed his physical, underwent further testing and then received a medical green light and again signed with the Kings. Hayes is the “glue guy” in the Kings’ starting lineup. Over the second half of last season, Hayes averaged 10.6 reb 4.0 ast, 0.6 stl, 1.2 blk per game. He doesn’t score much, but with shooting machines like DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton, expect Hayes to again excel in rebounds, add assists from the forward spot as well as chip in steals and blocks.
Projected Stats: 10.5 reb, 3.5 ast, 1.2 stl, 0.6 blk
Mehmet Okur, New Jersey Nets:
Analysis: Brook Lopez’s injury (following foot surgery he is expected to miss at least six weeks) transformed Memo from fourth or fifth big man for the Jazz to starting center for the Nets. (BTW, this absolutely sucks for those that used a third or fourth round pick on Lopez.) Don’t expect Memo to put up numbers circa 2008-09 (17 ppg, 1.3 3s, 3.8 ftm, 7.7 reb, 48.5 FG pct), but with the Nets’ dearth of frontcourt talent and a reunion with former Jazz teammate Deron Williams, Okur went front fantasy irrelevancy to a rotation guy who can fill a center spot on your fantasy roster and chipping in points and 3s. Nets’ management is optimistic Lopez will return in mid-to-late February. But with the history of the type injury suffered by a player of Lopez’s size, don’t count on it.
Projected Stats: 13.5 ppg, 1.25 3s, 46.5 FG percent, 1.0 blk
Luke Ridnour, Minnesota Timberwolves
Analysis: Ricky Rubio is the unquestionable point guard of the future in Minnesota and has proven to be a spectacle as advertised in his first few NBA games. Underrated veteran Luke Ridnour–likely to receive 25+ MPG while Rubio transitions from Euro to NBA player –will buffer his transition and be a solid fourth or fifth guard in your rotation. He has a high FG percentage for a guard who contributes 3′s, assists, steals and assist-to-turnover ratio.
Projected Stats: 12 ppg, 4.5 ast, 47.0 FG pct, 1.2 3s, 1.2 steals, 2.2 ast/to ratio
Gerald Henderson, Charlotte Bobcats
Analysis: The Bobcats are not good. But in fantasy basketball there’s a player or two each season that benefit from a team bereft of talent—and the Bobcats arguably have the least talent in the NBA. (Think Dana Barros’ statistical explosion of 1994-95 with the 76ers, or Bob Sura with the 2003-04 Atlanta Hawks.) Henderson isn’t a facilitator like Barros or Sura was, but he is lighting it up after the first few games this season and playing a whopping 38 minutes per game. His potential is worth a flyer. In three games, Henderson hasn’t done much in terms of 3s or FTM but is averaging 15.7 ppg, 6.0 reb, 1.3 stl and 1.0 blk.
Projected Stats: 18 ppg, 47.5 FG%, 1.0 3s, 6.0 reb, 1.5 stl
Delonte West, Dallas Mavericks
Analysis: By game three West was inserted into the Mavs’ starting unit. Known for his defensive intensity (not to mention mental instability) West has proven fantasy useful at times: in 64 games started during 2008-09 he averaged 11.7 ppg, 1.4 3s, 45.7 FG%, 3.5 ast, 1.5 stl, 2.5 A/T ratio. Should he remain a starter for the season, count on West to be a useful fourth guard, especially in 9-category leagues.
Projected Stats: 10.5 ppg, 46.0 FG%, 1.2 3s, 3.8 ast, 1.5 stl, 2.2 ast/to ratio.
Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz
Analysis: The biggest asset acquired in last season’s Deron Williams trade, Favors will see floor time this season, most likely more so over the second half of this season. Sharing big man time with Paul Milsap and Al Jefferson (who is frequently rumored to be on the trading block) Favors is the classic “upside” guy to stash if you had a strong draft and can afford the spot on your roster (in his Friday night start against the 76ers in place of the injured Jefferson, Favors put up 20 pts, 11 reb, 1 blk and shot 62.5 percent.
Projected Stats: 12 ppg, 9.0 reb, 1.0 blk, 55.5 FG%
Evan Turner, Philadelphia 76ers
Analysis: Last year’s No. 2 overall draft pick struggled mightily the first 80 percent of his rookie season. Turner showed promise in April and worked with Philly shooting guru Herb Magee during the off-season. Coach Collins will rely on ET to facilitate the 76ers second unit, if not eventually supplant Jodie Meeks as the starting two. Add in that Turner is most likely to benefit in the case of an Andre Iguodala or Jrue Holiday injury (if you own either player) and he is worth stashing on your bench.
Projected Stats: 12.5 ppg, 48 FG%, 6.0 reb, 3.0 ast, 1.0 stl
Marc Kravitz, based in Philadelphia, provides Quality Assurance Mystery Shopper services to restaurants throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. He is a Mixed Martial Arts fanatic and Fantasy Basketball junkie. In Fantasy Hoops, “Krewtime” has finished “in the money” in 85 percent of the leagues he has participated in. Follow Marc’s fantasy advice on Twitter @Marc_Kravitz.