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Fantasy Weekly: Crowder enters elite company

A look at Jae Crowder's incredible first half of the season; plus three players to eye on your waiver wire this weekend

POSTED: Jan 14, 2016 2:16 PM ET

By Jon Hartzell, NBA.com

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To the surprise of many, Jae Crowder is a top-20 Yahoo! fantasy player over the past 30 days.

Jae Crowder has come a long way in his first four seasons in the league.

After being selected with the 34th pick of the 2012 Draft out of Marquette University, Crowder was a high-energy bench player for the Mavericks who never averaged more than 18 minutes per game. A midseason trade to Boston in 2014-15 gave Crowder more playing time, but his numbers still weren't anything to write home about. Over his first three seasons in the league, Crowder averaged 5.8 points on 41.4 percent shooting, 31.6 percent on 3-pointers, 2.8 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 0.8 steals in 17.9 minutes.

More of the same was expected from Crowder this season as Yahoo! fantasy players drafted the Celtics' small forward on average with the 124th pick, behind the likes of Andre Iguodala, Luol Deng and Joe Johnson. That draft slot is looking foolish now.

In 39 games this season, Crowder is averaging 14.4 points on 45.6 percent shooting, 1.7 3-pointers (at 35.8 percent), 5.2 rebounds, 1.8 steals, 1.7 assists and just 1.5 turnovers in 32.4 minutes. He ranks 31st in Yahoo! fantasy on the season and joins Stephen Curry and Kawhi Leonard as the only players averaging 1.5-plus 3-pointers and 1.5-plus steals while shooting greater than 45 percent from the field. Company doesn't get much more elite than that.

"Everything is coming naturally," Crowder said after Wednesday's win over the Pacers. "I'm not trying to force anything. I'm staying within the offense, and everything is coming naturally. Coach [Brad Stevens] is putting me in a great position to score the ball at times, and I'm just trying to take full advantage of it."

There's no reason to expect this high-level of play to slow down any time soon, and it's possible it will get even better as Crowder has increased his field goal and 3-point percentages every month this season. Now is not the time to sell high on the versatile forward.

If you drafted Crowder, congrats. You likely have the biggest fantasy steal of 2015-16 on your team.

Stat Line Of The Week

LeBron James

Nightly Notable: LeBron James

LeBron James records 37 points, seven rebounds and nine assists to lead the Cavaliers over the Sixers.

January 10 vs. Philadelphia - 37 points (15-22 FG, 3-5 3-point, 4-6 FT), 9 assists, 7 rebounds, 2 steals in 37 minutes

Weekend Pickups

Garrett Temple, Wizards (8 percent owned)

Bradley Beal is back for the Wizards, which will decrease Temple's value. But Beal will be held on a minutes restriction for awhile, so Temple should still see enough playing time to hit low-end value. With Beal back in the lineup on Wednesday, Temple tallied 11 points on 50.0 percent shooting, three 3-pointers, five asssists, five steals, four rebounds and a block in 32 minutes. He's worth a look if you need points and 3-pointers this weekend as the Wizards matchup with the Pacers on Friday and the Celtics on Saturday.

Mario Chalmers, Grizzlies (28 percent owned)

Chalmers has seen a major increase in minutes over the last four games as Mike Conley (Achilles) remains sidelined. During this four-game span, Chalmers is averaging 15.8 points on 35.4 percent shooting, 2.0 3-pointers, 6.5 assists, 5.5 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 3.3 turnovers in 38.0 minutes. He's not a great option if you're still battling for field goal percentage. But if that category is already lost, Chalmers is a great option if you want to pad your points, assists and steals. Conley's timetable for return is unclear. The Grizzlies matchup with the Knicks on Saturday.

Derrick Williams, Knicks (6 percent owned)

Williams is producing with more playing time in New York. Over his last three games, the fifth-year forward is averaging 18.0 points on 54.1 percent shooting and 7.7 rebounds in 28.1 minutes. He doesn't do much else outside of points and rebounds, so he's not a versatile addition. But he's certainly worth a look if points and rebounds are categories you're targeting this weekend. The Knicks matchup with the Grizzlies on Saturday.

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Be sure to follow @NBAFantasy and @HartzellNBA on Twitter for analysis, tips and advice throughout the 2015-16 NBA season!