Part of the strategy of fantasy basketball is knowing when and how to play the hot streaks that players go through every season. Throughout the year there will be a handful of guys hanging out on the waiver wire who are on a hot streak. It’s not always easy to judge whether that hot streak is sustainable or whether they are about to crash back to earth. Sometimes you just have to gamble and roll with a guy until he does drop off.
The first step though is keeping a constant eye on that wire and staying ahead of your league mates when it comes to identifying streaking players. Whenever I go and look through my league’s waiver wire, I rarely look at the guys season stats. Rather I will always click and sort the players by how they are doing the last week or two weeks of games.
Seeing how a guy has performed over the course of a season can be misleading when figuring out who will help you now. By sorting only recent stats it helps me see who has been getting extra minutes and who is on the coveted hot streak.
Today I am going to give you the names of a few guys floating around many waiver wire’s who are on a hot streak right now and let you know what my thoughts on the players and their streak is.
Corey Maggette – SG/SF, Charlotte Bobcats: I was excited about Maggette getting a fresh start in Charlotte this year where he could become one of the top scoring options on a team like he was in Golden State. The early returns on this move were not favorable as Maggette struggled with inconsistency before losing a month of time to an injury and subsequently being dropped in almost all leagues.
Maggette has started to turn things around now though and is flashing that scoring potential. Maggette has 17.1 points per game over his last ten since returning from injury. In his last five games he’s averaging 20.8 points per game. He doesn’t bring a whole lot else to the table aside from a handful of rebounds and a three ball or steal from time to time. But he can still fill it up at a pretty strong rate and he is the Bobcats top scoring option. If he’s available in your league I would grab him.
Marco Belinelli – SG, New Orleans Hornets: Like Maggette Belinelli ‘s success is partly the product of the bad team that he plays for. Unlike Maggette though he doesn’t have the same track record of scoring success to help us buy into him. Last year Belinelli averaged just 10.4 points per game, and that was a career high. Still he is now starting to show an ability to score and a confidence to take shots. In his last 14 games Belinelli is averaging 15.1 points per game. That’s a pretty strong sample size. Over the last four games he’s averaging 16.8 points and taking 14 shots per game.
Also like Maggette, Belinelli doesn’t bring much else to the fantasy table for you, but he can shoot. In these last 14 games he has made 1.8 three’s per game, so he still has that going for him. If you need scoring I would rather have Maggette, but Belinelli is proving to be a viable option, especially if you also need the boost in three’s.
Kendrick Perkins – C, Oklahoma City Thunder: One of the points I have tried driving home here at RotoProfessor all season is that there is more to fantasy basketball than just points. This rings true when it comes to hot streaks as well. Perkins is only averaging 4.6 points over the last 15 days and he’s not likely to see a boost there on this team. But over that same period of time he has been one of the league’s ten best rebounders averaging 10.4 rebounds over the last seven games. He’s also averaging 1.9 blocks over those same seven games.
Early in the season I was worried that sharing the middle with Serge Ibaka was taking a toll on Perkins numbers, and it was, but he has found his place in the middle and both guys are getting theirs when it comes to the boards and blocks now. If you can afford to have a guy who isn’t scoring in your lineup, Perkins is on a hot streak right now in other areas and he makes a nice pickup for anyone in need of blocks and boards.
James Johnson – SF/PF, Toronto Raptors: Here’s another guy where, while he is putting up a fair amount of points, you have to look beyond the points to appreciate just how well he is playing as of late. Johnson is a box score stuffer who over the last seven games is averaging; 12.9 points, 7 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.1 blocks. And he even threw in a seven assist game last time out just to show that he can do that too. Johnson won’t wow you with one category, but he’ll help you in at least four of them, sometimes more. There is a lot of value in a guy like this who can do so many different things.
Rodrigue Beaubois – PG/SG, Dallas Mavericks: Here is your deep league streaker. We’ve heard a lot about Beaubois potential, but we’ve only seen it show up in bursts. I don’t know if we’re just going through another one of those bursts right now, or if he is really figuring things out and Rick Carlisle will really commit to giving him solid minutes for an extended period of time.
He was averaging 12.8 points over his last five games though, and seeing some pretty good minutes with Vince Carter struggling. Beaubois is also good for at least one three per game and over the last five games is averaging over 2 steals per contest. I want to believe this is going to last, because Beaubois has the ability to make it last. But for now you have to at least play the hot streak in deep leagues. Kidd and Carter have seemingly lost their legs this season and Beaubois might have the fresh legs to help carry the Mavs into the playoffs, a lot like J.J. Barea did last season.
What do you think of these five guys who are floating around so many waiver wire’s? What’s your stance on playing the hot hand in fantasy basketball? Do you wait until you can really trust it, or do you roll the dice and ride out the streak? Give us your thoughts and opinions, and as always leave any questions you have.