We’re about halfway through Week 12 of the NBA season and we’ll start to ramp up our fantasy basketball waiver wire coverage. At the mid-week point, I’m going to look at a few players you can target ahead of time if your league allows rolling waiver claims. If not, these are players you can most likely consider heading into the weekend.
Shabazz Napier, PG, Minnesota Timberwolves (14.3 percent owned on ESPN)
Napier has been starting for the Timberwolves ahead of Jeff Teague and his recent stretch gives us hope things should stay that way. Teague is still getting big minutes off the bench, but it’s basically even. Prior to Tuesday’s game vs. the Grizzlies, Napier had played at least 30 minutes in four straight games, posting 20+ points in each contest. I’m not scared off by the down outing, I think Napier should continue to start and have a big role. I imagine his scoring could go down once Karl-Anthony Towns (knee) returns, but Napier will still provide a nice amount of assists and isn’t afraid to take outside shots (granted he doesn’t hit them at a high rate).
Sekou Doumbouya, PF, Detroit Pistons (15.9 percent)
Doumbouya is up to 15.9 percent owned on ESPN after basically being unowned last week. He’s stormed onto the NBA scene with the Pistons dealing with multiple frontcourt injuries, most notably Blake Griffin. The All-Star underwent knee surgery yesterday and is going to be sidelined indefinitely. Markieff Morris is also out and Andre Drummond may be traded before Feb. 6. So Detroit’s frontcourt could be Dr. Doum’s by next month. Since being inserted into the starting lineup four games ago, Doumbouya is averaging 13.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals while shooting 47.6 percent from the field. He also had this INSANE posterization of Tristan Thompson on Tuesday night.
Ish Smith, PG, Washington Wizards (34.3 percent)
It’s only a matter of time before Smith gets into the starting lineup over Isaiah Thomas. IT has fallen out of favor with Scott Brooks clearly, and Smith has taken advantage. Ish has played at least 28 minutes in five straight games. He’s scored a combined 59 points over the past two games, both huge wins over title contenders in the Nuggets and Celtics. Over that five-game stretch, Smith is averaging 20.8 points, 5.4 assists and 1.4 steals while shooting a solid 54.8 percent from the field. I think Ish is playing too well for him not to get minutes, even if Bradley Beal gets back into the lineup Wednesday vs. the Magic.
Other names to consider: Kevin Huerter, SG, ATL (47.5%); Dillon Brooks, SG/SF, MEM (25.2%); Taurean Prince, SF/PF, BKN (29.7%)