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Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Waiver options for the new year

By Tom Carpenter
ESPN.com

For most of us, the holiday season brought with it a great chance to catch up with friends and family, as well as plenty of sports to watch, beer to drink and food to eat -- in other words, tons of things to distract us from our fantasy hoops teams. Now that we're into the first full week of the new year, it's  time for all of us to resume obsessing about our fantasy squads. That should begin with a thorough look through your waiver wire, where there likely are a number of players available who should not be.

Let's take a look at several of them, breaking these players into two categories: speculative additions (players who likely will become quality assets in the coming weeks) and hot additions (players who are contributing right now).

Speculative Additions

J.J. Redick (32.8 percent), Los Angeles Clippers: Redick has been out since the start of December with torn ligaments in his right hand. It sounds like he could be back in action during the next week or two, which means you'll want to add him now and get ahead of the waiver-wire rush. Once Redick returns, he may need some time to shake off the rust because the injury was to his shooting hand. However, he's worth the investment right now, because he should have no problem resuming the pace of 15.8 PPG, 1.9 3-pointers a game, 46.0 field goal percentage and 93.7 free throw percentage we saw from him before he got hurt.

Kenneth Faried
It may be time to jump back on the Kenneth Faried bandwagon.

Kenneth Faried (69.4 percent), Denver Nuggets: Plenty of teams dumped Faried last month because he was playing only 19.9 minutes per game and doing little statistically. However, we've seen some signs of life from him recently, as he has averaged 25.7 minutes, 15.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 steals in three January games. It's a small sample size, but the Manimal is fully capable of maintaining similar production if he finally gets into a good groove.

O.J. Mayo (74.6 percent), Milwaukee Bucks: I'm not going to stump for Mayo; I'm not really a believer in his long-term value as a primary scoring option. On the other hand, if you are short on points and 3s and can handle a weak field goal percentage, then Mayo is worth a speculative addition to your roster. It will be a bumpy ride, for sure, but the 20 points and 4 3s he racked up Saturday show his upside.

John Henson (47.6 percent) and Ersan Ilyasova (43.2 percent), Milwaukee Bucks: Both of these guys have been injured this season but carry plenty of fantasy potential. I would stump for both of these Bucks if I was certain they'd see enough minutes and touches to make a big statistical impact. Still, they are getting healthy (Ilyasova is playing, and Henson should return soon) and have every opportunity to stake a claim to said minutes and touches. Ideally, we'll see them and Larry Sanders balling at a high level going forward.

Terrence Jones (43.7 percent), Houston Rockets: If you keep in mind that the kid will turn only 22 on Friday, then you can accept the ups and downs from this promising player. So, yes, his production is all over the place, but it hasn't affected his role. He's played at least 30 minutes in all but one of his past seven games. During that stretch, Jones has scored at least 20 points twice, double-doubled twice, and blocked 13 shots. If you can stomach the roller-coaster ride, he should pay off over the long haul.

Greivis Vasquez (38.6 percent), Toronto Raptors: If you are really hard up for assists and have a long-term bench spot to use, Vasquez is worth the investment. He likely won't have any value until or unless Kyle Lowry is dealt away. Trade rumors regarding the point guard persist, though, and because he will be an unrestricted free agent at season's end, there is little doubt that Lowry will be traded before the deadline. I've mentioned before that Vasquez led the NBA in assists last season, which makes him worthy of a long-term investment.

Tony Wroten (21.1 percent), Philadelphia 76ers: Michael Carter-Williams is all that stands between Wroten and being a fantasy stud. In the end, though, I think he will push his way into enough minutes at the 2 and as MCW's backup to become a consistent fantasy threat to round out rosters in standard leagues. Give him time.

Jerryd Bayless (0.7 percent): In my Christmas Eve column, one of the things on my wish list for Santa Claus was that Bayless be traded from the Memphis Grizzlies to a team where he could get starter's minutes. It sounds like the jolly ol' fella has come through, with the swap to the Boston Celtics. Jordan Crawford and Avery Bradley have been playing pretty well, so starter's minutes won't be a lock for Bayless, but he does have sneaky-good upside and could push his way into a respectable role with the hapless Celtics.

Hot Additions

Gerald Green
Now is the time to ride Gerald Green's hot hand.

Gerald Green (70.2 percent), Phoenix Suns: As usual, Green is a streaky fantasy option, but he's been hot recently. Ride him while Eric Bledsoe is out and drop him once Bledsoe returns.

Dion Waiters (61.2 percent), Cleveland Cavaliers: Waiters has scored at least 20 points eight times and hit at least two 3-pointers six times in his past 17 games. There's the upside. As for the downside, well, he has scored in single digits four times and hit zero 3-pointers six times in that same stretch. The arrival of Luol Deng could limit Waiters' potential, but so long as Kyrie Irving (knee) and Jarrett Jack (back) are sidelined, he should be working with a green light and producing well.

Darren Collison (73.3 percent), Los Angeles Clippers: With Chris Paul potentially out until the All-Star break, Collison should be owned in all leagues. He won't replace CP3's stats, but Collison will play big minutes (35.5 MPG the past two contests) and can help you in assists, steals and scoring.

Kendall Marshall (71.9 percent), Los Angeles Lakers: In seven D-League games this season, Marshall averaged 19.4 points, 9.6 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 2.7 3-pointers and 1.9 steals. Then he waltzed into a starting job on the Lakers and had 32 assists in two games. Don't ask questions; just go pick him up and ride him until reality sets in for the 22-year-old.

Terrence Ross (24.5 percent), Toronto Raptors: I almost put him in the speculative-adds section, but because he has been added in 19 percent of ESPN leagues recently, he certainly fits the hot-add label. Ross was the eighth overall pick in 2012 and is just starting to settle into the NBA game. Ross can drop 3s and steal balls in bunches and is all upside as a starter. Look for Ross' production to grow as the season progresses.