John Henson's 17-point, 25-rebound, seven-block bonanza on Wednesday and Will Barton’s 22-13-6 breakout over the weekend are prime recent examples of why it’s wise to end fantasy leagues earlier in April, before late-season box score chaos truly runs wild.
Nevertheless, I realize that there are owners who play this out until the bitter and ridiculous end. And for those individuals, we will take a moment to discuss:
Some Recent Waiver Developments
(Note: All players mentioned here are owned in less than 10 percent of Yahoo leagues, and all players listed had four games left heading into Friday, unless otherwise specified.)
Markieff Morris (6 percent owned, three games left): He has been mentioned multiple times in this column in recent weeks, always with the disclaimer that he's wildly inconsistent. That disclaimer still applies, but Morris has actually been pretty reliable lately, scoring double figures in three consecutive games – a rarity for him – and posting 13.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 0.7 spg, 1.3 bpg and 2.3 3s during that stretch. I wouldn’t advise watching him on TV because the Suns are a horrendous disgrace of a basketball team, and I'd prepare for the possibility of a dud at any moment, but Morris warrants serious consideration if you’re trying to win a league right now.
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John Henson (4 percent owned): The aforementioned 17-25-7 monstrosity earns him a mention here, but it’s tough to have big expectations given that Ersan Ilyasova – who missed Wednesday's game with an illness – is expected to return on Friday, along with Ekpe Udoh. I certainly won’t argue if you added Henson to see what he does for an encore – especially with Larry Sanders dealing with a back issue heading into the weekend. With that said, I wouldn't hesitate to drop Henson if he’s quiet in Atlanta on Friday night.
Will Barton (2 percent owned): If you’re still paying close attention to box scores, you’re well aware of what Barton has done recently: a 9-6-4 line on Friday followed by a 22-13-6 explosion on Sunday followed by a disappointing nine points on Wednesday. It’s not surprising to see inconsistency from a rookie who has topped 25 minutes just four times all year (and twice in the last two games), but given that Wesley Matthews (ankle) is out on Friday – and possibly the rest of the year – there is some upside here going forward.
John Jenkins (1 percent owned, three games left): In his last two games, the Hawks’ first-round pick has posted 22.0 ppg, 5.0 apg and 3.0 treys in an average of 31 minutes per game. Hawks coach Larry Drew has a tendency to make sudden and perplexing changes in his rotation, but Jenkins is well worth a look right now.
Chris Copeland (4 percent owned): With the Knicks’ frontcourt depleted, Copeland has played right around 30 minutes the last two games, posting 15.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.0 bpg and 3.5 3s. I wouldn’t spend my hard-earned currency to watch him play, but the circumstances are good right now, and Friday night’s matchup with Cleveland has some potential.
Rashard Lewis (9 percent owned): Just as Mike Miller has cooled off (7.3 ppg in his last three games), Lewis has had his most productive stretch of the season for a Heat squad that's in pre-playoff recuperation mode. The 33-year-old has scored 14 or more in three of his last four games, averaging 12.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.3 spg and 1.8 treys during that stretch.
A.J. Price (2 percent owned, three games left): He’s strictly playing the role of sharpshooter off the bench, but in that department he’s doing pretty well right now, averaging 16.3 ppg and 3.7 3s (with just 1.7 apg) in his last three games. Give him a look if points and 3s are pivotal.
Terrence Jones (1 percent owned): He’s not posting monster numbers, but Jones has done something notable in three of his last four games, including a 14-point, 12-board, two-steal effort back on April 3, and a 13-point, six-board, two-block, two-trey outing on Saturday. Obviously there’s some risk here, but he’s worth considering as a spot-starter if the waiver wire is thin.
Evan Fournier (1 percent owned): In addition to having a cool-sounding last name, Fournier has emerged as an interesting option for owners playing deep-league spot-start roulette. He has yet to play more than 25 minutes in a game all season, but has hit for 17-plus points and two-plus steals in three of his last five games.
The Stew will be back next week with an end-of-season wrap-up, including some keeper talk, an early look at my top-10 for next season and a few 2012-13 awards. In the meantime, if you’re still trying to weather this late-season storm of box score mayhem, as the immortal Chubbs Peterson once said – Best of luck, kid. Best of luck.