Fantasy Basketball: Top Category Specialists on the Waiver Wire

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matt barnes

Matt Barnes has been red-hot over the past two weeks, offering upside in many categories (Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Most waiver wires are going to be pretty bare at this point in the fantasy basketball season, so rather than simply settling for the “best available player”, owners will need to make their team’s individual needs more of a priority.

The Los Angeles Clippers’ Matt Barnes and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Caron Butler are just a couple “category specialists” who can provide a boost in specific categories (i.e. steals, 3-pointers, blocks) and are readily available among most leagues’ waiver wires:

Do It All:

Matt Barnes, SF, Los Angeles Clippers (2.8 percent owned on 

Barnes began the season in a rut.  He missed 19 of the Clippers’ first 27 games with calf and eye injuries and then took a little while to find a role in coach Doc Rivers‘ rotation.

Even though he is the superior player, Barnes was coming off the bench in favor of Jared Dudley (don’t ask me why).  Barnes must love the month of February, though, because he has really turned it on since hitting rock bottom during a three-game stretch from Jan. 27-30 where he averaged 2.3 points on 3-0f-19 shooting (15.7 percent) from the floor.

In 11 February games, Barnes averaged 11.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.9 steals, and 1.8 3-pointers.  He scored 14 points with six boards and four triples in Saturday’s game vs. the New Orleans Pelicans.

The 10-year vet has started 19 games for the Clips this season, but has really picked up the pace over his last five, averaging 15.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.0 steal, and and absurd 3.2 treys.  Dudley has become non-existent in the offense (17.6 mpg over last five), completely relinquishing the majority of the small forward minutes to Barnes.  Fantasy owners shouldn’t be too worried about the addition of Danny Granger, as he will have a difficult time adjusting to the pace of the Clippers’ offense.

Matt Barnes has always been a player who could contribute in multiple categories and is 35th on Basketball’s player ranker over the past two weeks.  Because of that (and his growing favor with Rivers), the former UCLA Bruin is a worth an add in leagues of 12 teams or more.

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