Each morning, I’ll scour the previous night’s NBA games like a crazy person with a metal detector at the beach. I’ll be looking for players like the Suns’ Markieff Morris and the Lakers’ Ryan Kelly, who could just be sitting there on your fantasy basketball league’s waiver wire waiting to be turned into fantasy gold.
As a brief explanation, I’ll suggest two guys who can help out — one of whom is owned in up to 75 percent of ESPN leagues — and a second, deeper cut, who is owned in less than 20 percent of ESPN leagues. Without further ado, here’s January 20th’s “All Wired Up”!
Markieff Morris, PF/C, Phoenix Suns (27.7 percent owned)
16 points (6-12 FG, 4-5 FT), 0 three-pointers, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 0 blocks, 0 turnovers
Morris started out the season on one of the hottest streaks imaginable, at one stage hitting 30 out of 38 field goals in a three-game stretch. He cooled off considerably, causing many of the people who picked him up on the back of those poor performances to drop him straight back to whence he came. He’s quietly rounding back into solid form of late, getting close to 30 minutes a game in his past three outings and averaging 21 points and 8.3 rebounds in the Suns’ last three games.
Morris is also able to give decent steal and block numbers, averaging 0.8 swipes and 0.8 swats in the past months, but it’s really the points, rebounds and field goal percentage that will give a boost to your team. The fact that he has now obtained center eligibility is a huge bonus and should make him a must add guy across all formats.
Deep League Diamond
Ryan Kelly, SF, Los Angeles Lakers (0.6 percent owned):
17 points (5-7 FG, 6-6 FT), 1 three-pointer, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 0 blocks, 1 turnover
The victory against Toronto on Sunday was Kelly’s first ever NBA start and he showed that he has the talent to stick at this level. The former Duke forward — whom the Lakers took in the second round of this year’s draft — has now exceeded 30 minutes in the past three games. He scored 20 points against the Celtics on Friday to go with the 17 points on Sunday afternoon.
Mike D’Antoni is notoriously quick on the trigger to make changes to his starting lineup, but I get the feeling that he likes this Blue Devil and may keep him in the lineup for a while. If he sticks, he’ll become more than a deep-league pick up and I’d be calling for everyone to make the move to acquire him. In the meantime, I’d add him in 14-team leagues and deeper, but if you’re struggling in a standard league, you could do much worse than riding a hot player who just may explode.