We’re now about two-and-a-half months in the NBA season, and it’s getting increasingly more difficult for fantasy basketball owners to uncover gems on the waiver wire. If you were quick enough to snag an Arron Afflalo, John Henson, Terrence Jones or Trevor Ariza off your league’s waiver wire – well, then congratulations are in order. Waiver wires are mostly bare at this point and if you’re going to unearth another Lance Stephenson or Miles Plumlee it’ll either take ESP or another proven method – the injury stash. The Rockets’ Patrick Beverley and the Kings’ Carl Landry are two of the more appealing injured players who could be plucked off the wire and are worth stashing if your fantasy team can afford the roster spot.
» Beverley was given an opportunity to take over the Rockets’ starting point guard job when Jeremy Lin went down with a sprained knee on November 27 — and again when his back acted up on December 13 – but failed to capitalize in both instances. It’s not necessarily a knock on Beverley himself, the fantasy hype train caught up to him a little bit, is all. He’s a defense-first player, and with Lin out, I think owners expected him to absorb his stats, as well. His season averages of 9.6 points, 2.2 assists and 3.9 rebounds aren’t going to send shockwaves through the fantasy world (although the rebounds are nice for a point guard), but his 1.3 steals and 1.4 threes make him a decent stash option in standard or roto leagues.
As the fantasy gods would have it, the day Lin came back Beverley broke his right hand, so we never really got to see them in tandem, but there have been rumors of Lin possibly getting shipped out of town. If that were to happen — and Houston didn’t get a point guard in return — Beverley would be the starting point guard on the 3rd-highest scoring team in the NBA, a certain boost to your fantasy squad. He was given a four-to-six week timetable to return and today will be about the three-and-a-half week mark. He is available in 96.8 percent of ESPN.com fantasy basketball leagues.
» The Kings have been on a roll, winning six of their last 10 games and averaging 108.2 points during that span. They’ve failed to cross the 100-point barrier only once during that streak, meaning their offense is finally starting to click since the addition of Rudy Gay. Now enters Carl Landry. The former Purdue product has yet to play this season due to offseason hip surgery, but his return is imminent. He has been practicing with the Kings and conditioning seems to be the only thing holding him back from taking the court at this point.
Landry had a fine season last year while coming off the bench for the Warriors. He averaged 10.8 points, six rebounds and shot an above-average 54 percent from the field. He’s always been a very good free-throw shooter for a power forward, knocking 78.4 percent of his freebies throughout his six-year career. His lack of steals (0.5) and blocks (0.5) during his career are a couple deficiencies that make him less of a standard league hold though, and more of a deep-league guy to take advantage of. He will almost assuredly come off the Kings bench to begin his truncated campaign, but could be moved in the starting lineup at some point later in the season. Jason Thompson, the Kings’ current starting power forward, has shown some spark of late (maybe fearful of losing his job), but Landry (available in 100 percent of ESPN.com leagues) is the better player any way you cut it.