Injuries are the game. Most waiver wire pickups will be driven by injuries – whether picking up an injury replacement or being quick to the trigger to pick up a starter returning from an injury. This week is no different as injuries to Kobe Bryant and Brook Lopez have thrust readily available players into larger roles while guys like Tony Allen, Brandan Wright, and Caron Butler have returned from their own injuries in a big way.
Let’s take a look at all of this week’s top fantasy basketball waiver wire targets to get your squad ready for the holiday season.
D.J. Augustin (Owned in 17 percent of Yahoo leagues): Augustin has been a key pickup for the Bulls and finds himself starting at point guard with the team reeling from injuries. I was hesitant to include him on the list last week because banged up Kirk Hinrich is due back soon but the way the former Raptor is playing, he may be plenty fantasy relevant when that does happen. Over Augustin’s last four games, the former ninth-overall pick is averaging 13.8 points, 8.0 assists, 1.5 steals, and 2.8 threes per game. He’s also shooting 46 percent from downtown. Grab him while he’s hot but keep an eye on Kirk Hinrich to see how his return will impact Augustin.
Caron Butler (18 percent): Butler returned from a knee injury on Saturday and didn’t look the least bit rusty as he put up 22 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, and a block. More importantly, he took 21 shots. He’s not a great shooter by any stretch but it’s hard to not put up points in bulk when you’re seeing that many opportunities so definitely grab him if you need some scoring help (and can live with a 39 percent field goal rate) and a steady dose of rebounds.
Brandan Wright (29 percent): Wright has quickly seen him minutes increase to close to 30 per game and is running with the opportunity. Over his last two games, he’s averaging 16 points, six rebounds, three blocks, and shooting 72 percent from the floor. He will continue to see his minutes and opportunities grow and will bring a ton of blocks and a good deal of rebounds your way as well. There aren’t many big men to target right now, you can do a lot worse than a guy with a quickly growing role.
Tony Allen (48 percent): Allen has played great since returning from a finger injury and is averaging 17 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 2.3 steals over his last three games. He’s also shooting a solid 49 percent and has been a solid shooter all season so don’t hesitate to grab him in any standard league if he continues to see 30+ minutes per game.
Andray Blatche (44 percent): With Brook Lopez out for the season, Blatche figures to step into a considerably larger role than the 20-25 minutes per game that he’s been playing. On the season, Blatche is averaging 18.6 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per 36 minutes. He’s a very strong rebounder and defensive player and, while not always a high scorer, he’s shooting 47.4 percent from the floor and should see more field goal attempts with the Nets’ leading scorer out. Definitely grab him if you need a big man.
Xavier Henry (15 percent): With Kobe Bryant out with a fractured knee, Henry will have to step up to fill some of the void left by the Lakers’ best player. On the season, Henry is averaging 17 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.2 threes, two assists, and two steals per 36 minutes. In two starts since Kobe went down, he’s averaging 17 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals, and three assists per game. He can be an inconsistent shooter but he’ll see plenty of scoring opportunities and helps in just about every fantasy stat category.
Jodie Meeks (24 percent): A void left by a guy like Kobe can’t always be filled with one player. Meeks has seen an increase in minutes and opportunities since Bryant got hurt and is averaging 14.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.0 steals, and 1.7 threes per game over his last three games. Like Henry, he’ll contribute a bit to most categories and bring in a bunch of steals and three pointers but Meeks is definitely the more reliable shooter.