Rookies can be a fantasy owner’s best friend or worst enemy. They are raw, inexperienced, and seldom consistent. At the same time, they are usually readily available on the waiver wire which means they are yours for the taking if they heat up. Let’s take a look at some 2012 lottery picks that are coming into their own, and plenty of other pickups, in this week’s waiver wire:
Jarrett Jack (Owned in 36% of Yahoo Leagues): Strong pick-up. Despite being the third guard, Jack is getting plenty of playing time in Mark Jackson‘s small lineup. He has put up double-digit scoring in all but two of his nine games this month with solid assist, rebound, and steal numbers to boot. He’s become very serviceable in most fantasy formats.
Jason Thompson (52%): Strong pick-up. He has put up double-digits in all but one game this month and he’s good for the occasional steal. More importantly, his rebound numbers have been stupid lately – 11 RPG over his last four games (including a 15 rebound effort against the Bucks) and 8 RPG on the season. As a starter, he should be owned in most fantasy formats.
Spencer Hawes (44%): Solid pick-up in deeper leagues. He isn’t a starter and he rarely plays over 24 minutes per game but that hasn’t stopped him from averaging 15 PPG with decent rebounds in his last four games. At his best, Hawes will give you 14-18 points with 8-10 rebounds making him a solid backup center in most formats.
Austin Rivers (22%): Solid but cautious pick-up in deeper leagues. The 2012 lottery pick out of Duke has found his way back into the Hornets’ starting lineup and is producing solid numbers. His shooting isn’t particularly consistent but he is averaging 14.5 PPG with very solid three-point shooting in four games since returning to the lineup last week. More importantly, he is averaging 35 minutes per game over that time which should provide plenty more opportunities.
Alexey Shved (19%): Solid pick-up. After some time in the mediocre column, Shved is back on the minds of fantasy owners given his new starting job. He has played a ton of minutes in his first two starts Friday and Saturday putting up a combined 31 points, 14 assists, and four steals. We’ll see what happens when Ricky Rubio returns to the starting lineup but for now Shved should benefit from a sizable increase in minutes.
Nick Young (18%): Short-term pick-up. He is starting for the injured Jrue Holiday and put up 30 points over 41 minutes Sunday against the Lakers. Holiday shouldn’t be out long but Young is getting serious minutes and despite mediocre shooting he’s had 47 field goal attempts in the last three games, 16 of them from beyond the arc.
Matt Barnes (15%): Solid pick-up. Although he is only playing about 25 minutes per game, Barnes is averaging 18 PPG with some blocks, steals, and rebounds too boot over his last three games. He’s become a key part of the Clippers offense and stands to see more opportunities moving forward. He put up 23 field goal attempts in his last two games and is shooting over 50% from the field all year.
Andre Drummond (15%): Cautious pick-up in deeper leagues. The points aren’t there (despite his 59% shooting) but the 2012 lottery pick out of UConn is putting up some serious rebound and blocking numbers. He is averaging 9 PPG, 10 RPG, and has seven blocks over his last three games. His minutes have been wildly inconsistent, however, so watch out.
Tiago Splitter (13%): Solid pick-up. Splitter’s solid play has pushed him into the Spurs starting lineup, at least for now. His minutes are up from around 20 to around 28 and he has put up double-digit scoring in every game since December 1. He has solid rebound numbers with the occasional block and steal. Expect his good defense and 60.5% shooting to keep providing him more fantasy production opportunities.
Jodie Meeks (13%): Solid, possibly short-term pick-up. The Lakers are a mess and I feel like I recommend a new LA bench player weekly. Nonetheless, Meeks has consistently been getting more minutes this month and played a season-high 36 minutes Sunday. He is averaging 16 PPG over his last three and has seven blocks over those contests as well. More importantly, he has gotten 35 shot attempts off in the last three games and should continue to get opportunities until the team figures itself out.