Jerryd Bayless is a top waiver-wire add after averaging 15.4 points over his last seven games (Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports)
It’s that time of the fantasy basketball season where owners need to scoop up free agents while they’re hot. There’s no time to dilly dally, because each game could be the difference between making the playoffs or watching the postseason from your couch.
» Jerryd Bayless, SG/PG, Boston Celtics (2.1 percent owned on ESPN.com):
Despite averaging a solid 13.4 points over his final 22 games last season, Jerryd Bayless fell out of favor with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2013-14.
On January 6, Bayless was traded to the Boston Celtics in exchange for shooting guard Courtney Lee.
Not everything was fine and dandy in the early stages of his Celtic career.
Through his first 18 games in Boston, Bayless averaged just 7.6 points and 3.7 assists while shooting a terrible 38.7 percent from the field. Even the addition of Rajon Rondo to the lineup didn’t seem to be helping him.
With usual starter Avery Bradley out with an ankle injury, Bayless has finally started to turn it on.
During a seven-game span over the past two weeks, the former Arizona Wildcat is averaging 15.4 points on 47.2 percent shooting to go along with 3.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.3 triples. Those numbers have him ranked 111th on Basketball Monster.com over the past 14 days.
Even though Bradley is due back at some point in the next week or so (with CBS Boston reporting it could be as early as this coming Friday), Bayless is simply too hot to ignore. Bradley has already attempted one comeback, but played just three games before aggravating the injury, so there will be plenty of minutes to be had for both as Bradley is eased in.
Add Jerryd Bayless in 12-team leagues if you’re in need of scoring and 3-point help.
Rookie Kelly Olynyk is knocking down 1.7 3-pointers over his last four games (Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports)
» Kelly Olynyk, C, Boston Celtics (2.9 percent owned on ESPN.com):
The Celtics frontcourt wasn’t looking very imposing this off-season, so when the team traded for Gonzaga center Kelly Olynyk, fantasy owners dubbed him as a true sleeper in 2013-14.
Those hopes grew even further when Olynyk dominated the Orlando Summer League to the tune of 18.0 points and 7.8 rebounds. He was sure to be a steal in fantasy drafts.
Unfortunately, things didn’t pan out that way in the early parts of the season.
The 7-footer started off mildly well, scoring 9.0 points in his first eight games, but his minutes and production tailed off after that.
It wasn’t until the past nine games or so that we’ve seen him play to his capabilities.
On Feb. 10-12, Olynyk scored 14 points and grabbed 10 boards vs. the Bucks and then lit up the Spurs for 15 points and 10 rebounds. The back-to-back double-doubles were the first two of his young career, and it was a sign that things were looking up for the 22-year-old.
Over his last four games, Olynyk is enjoying what is easily the best stretch of his career. During that span, he has averaged 16.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.7 treys in just 20.8 minutes. He scored 18 points in only 18 minutes on Sunday vs. the Pistons. Three-point shooting was always an added bonus with Olynyk, but he’s really finding confidence from behind the arc now — something that could make him highly valuable during the fantasy playoffs.
The Celtics are in pure tank mode, and although coach Brad Stevens has been fickle with how he disperses his frontcourt minutes, the future is with Olynyk and Jared Sullinger — not Brandon Bass and Kris Humphries. Expect Olynyk’s playing time to rise, and with the extra minutes, his fantasy value should do the same, too.