With drafts long since completed, working the free agent list or waiver wire is one of the most important things a fantasy team can do to stay competitive at this point in the season. With that in mind, here are some of the players worth picking up or at least keeping an eye on in many fantasy leagues. The players on this list are generally available in more than 50 percent of online leagues, meaning that you won't find players like Toney Douglas, Arron Afflalo and Glen Davis discussed here. Those guys have already been picked up in the average league and it is time for fantasy owners to look ahead.
Stop me if you've heard this one before: Baron Davis began the season out of shape and now he is out of the Clippers' lineup with a sore left knee. In his place rookie Bledsoe has been terrific, averaging 13 points, 7 assists and 1.8 steals a game in four starts. News has recently come out that the Clippers are trying to trade Davis to any team willing to absorb the three years and $42 million left on his contract. This means Bledsoe could remain the team's starting point guard the rest of the season and is an immediate add in all league formats.
Rockets' starter Aaron Brooks is expected to miss anywhere from two-to-six weeks after spraining his ankle against the Spurs on Saturday. Lowry, the team's backup, has been limited to only two games this year with back spasms. However, Brooks' absence is motivation for Lowry to return to the court quickly, which could be as soon as the Rockets' next game on Wednesday. Last season in games where Lowry played more than 28 minutes, he averaged 13.3 points, 5.5 assists and 1.6 steals per game.
Those of you in deep leagues may want to take a look at Smith. If Lowry's back is not healthy enough for him to play next week, the third-string rookie out of Wake Forest will continue to be the Rockets' starting point guard in the short term. Smith filled in for Brooks after he left the game on Saturday and responded with a solid 11 points and 7 assists in 35 minutes. On Sunday night against Minnesota, Smith followed up with 6 assists and 3 steals in 41 minutes.
Mo Williams' return from injury was supposed to be the stake through the heart of Gibson's short-lived fantasy value. Instead, newly acquired Ramon Sessions has taken the hit while Gibson continues to see a consistent 25-27 minutes a game for Cleveland. Over the Cavaliers' last two games, Gibson has averaged 19.5 points, 2.0 threes and 4.5 rebounds and he should continue to provide a much needed scoring punch off the bench for the team.
Need threes? Through seven games, Jones has averaged 3.1 a game on 6.1 attempts. He is getting so many open looks in the Miami Heat offense that he is currently shooting 51 percent from behind the arc. Jones doesn't contribute much else to fantasy teams (he has yet to attempt a free throw this season, for example), but he will be one of the best sources of threes in the league until Mike Miller returns from injury sometime in January.
Through the first two weeks of the season, Minnesota coach Kurt Rambis' rotations could generously be described as erratic. Wayne Ellington, Wesley Johnson and Brewer have all seen time at the shooting guard position. All have been inconsistent, but Brewer has been the best of the swingmen recently and has been praised by Rambis for the intensity he brings off the bench. Brewer has averaged over 2 steals in just 22 minutes a game so far this season, and he can also hit threes and score, provided you can deal with his career 41 percent field goal percentage. He is worth keeping an eye on in deeper leagues.
Some expected Johnson to enter the season as the starting power forward for the Raptors. Instead, veteran big man and rebounding machine Reggie Evans was tasked with the starting role, while Johnson began the season receiving very limited minutes off the bench. Evans is still starting for the team, but Johnson has gotten more minutes than Evans in each of the Raptors' last two games. Johnson also has pulled down 22 rebounds over that span after totaling just 9 boards over the team's first four games. Expect Johnson to take over the starting spot from Evans before long, provided he can remain motivated on the court.
Yao Ming's minutes are limited, and Brad Miller is hurting and ineffective, so the Rockets are in desperate need of a big man other than Luis Scola to step up. That someone may be Hill, who started in place of Ming on Saturday and saw 24 minutes off the bench on Sunday. Hill has grabbed 19 rebounds and blocked 7 shots over Houston's last three games and is worth keeping on eye on in deep leagues to see if he develops a consistent role in the rotation. As an added bonus, if Hill continues to start in place of Ming on the second night of back-to-backs, he'll gain center eligibility in most leagues.
It is a familiar story for Turiaf, who is playing the role of defensive stopper on one of the most fantasy friendly teams in the league. Turiaf has little-to-no offensive game to speak of -- he's averaging 7 points a game this season and 5.5 over his career -- but he is a very aggressive defender who will provide fantasy teams with rebounds, steals and blocks. He is currently coming off the bench behind Timofey Mozgov, but based on Mozgov's performance so far this season, Turiaf will likely find himself in the Knicks' starting lineup any day now.