Hello and welcome back to Waiver Wired! We are less than two weeks away from the Feb. 6 trade deadline and we’re expecting a lot of movement this season, so fantasy owners need to be very vigilant in the coming days. Stay tuned to Rotoworld for a Eastern and Western Conference preview in about a week, and hit me up here on Twitter if you have any questions!
Week 15 Schedule: Games Played
4 games: CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, HOU, SAC, TOR
3 games: ATL, BOS, BKN, CHA, GSW, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIA, MIL, NOP, NYK, OKC, PHI, PHX, POR, SAS, WAS
2 games: IND, MIN, ORL
Top Pickups of the Week:
* Less than 40% rostered
1.) De’Anthony Melton (10%)- It’s been a hell of a season from Melton and it just gets better by the day. I can’t remember a player being as criminally underrated by the fantasy community as this guy, as he continues to fly under the radar despite being ranked 55th in standard leagues after becoming a consistent part of the rotation on Dec. 1. The best part? Melton did that in 20.5 minutes per game.
His minutes are on the rise these days too, as Melton has played 26, 20, 23, 22 and 24 minutes over his last five. The sudden uptick in minutes is because the Grizzlies are using Melton alongside Dillon Brooks for longer stretches at the expense of Jae “I take step-back 3-pointers with 20 seconds left on the shot clock at a 26% clip” Crowder. The Melton and Brooks pairing has the highest net rating on the Grizzlies (+23.3), and now the Grizzlies don’t have an excuse to not roll with it since Crowder (knee, doubtful) and Grayson Allen (hip) injured.
You don’t want to be the fantasy owner that passed on Melton when he’s getting starter’s minutes in the near future, as this is early-round upside we’re talking about - he has per-36 stats of 16.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 2.6 steals, 0.7 blocks and 1.1 triples.
2.) Christian Wood (35%)- Wood gave us a nice preview of what life would look like in Detroit without Andre Drummond, averaging 21.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.5 triples in 26.5 minutes in the two games that Drummond missed with a mouth injury. He’s also been blocking shots at a nice clip with 1.5 per game over his last eight. Drummond did return on Saturday, though it was encouraging to see Wood still get 21 minutes with 10 points, four rebounds, one block and one triple.
We still need a Drummond trade for Wood to emerge with consistent fantasy value, and I still think the chances of that happening are pretty strong. While the market has cooled a bit, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said that all it would take for the Pistons to move him is an offer of a first-round pick. Atlanta seems to be the best bet since they can offer a protected first-rounder via Brooklyn, while Dallas could be off the table after they snagged Willie Cauley-Stein. Either way, stashing Wood through the deadline as we wait to see what happens is the right call. If Wood gets 25+ minutes down the stretch, we’re looking at a possible top-50 run.
3.) Daniel Theis (32%)- Here’s a guy who is quickly picking up steam in Boston after beginning the season with a very limited role. He scored 16 points with six rebounds, four assists, one block and two turnovers in a career-high-tying 32 minutes back on Friday, and he’s posting top-30 numbers in 9-cat leagues over the last two weeks with 10.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.7 blocks and 0.7 triples in 23.3 minutes. Enes Kanter and Robert Williams are both sidelined with hip injuries, giving Theis a clear runway to 25+ minutes going forward. He’s a strong add in standard leagues and you have to wonder if the Celtics are still in the market for a big man with his emergence.
4.) Eric Paschall (40%)- He’s been scooped up in a ton of leagues so this is more of a “last-call add.” The Warriors dumped Willie Cauley-Stein to Dallas, giving bumps to all three of Paschall, Marquese Chriss and Omari Spellman. That’s also the order that I’d prioritize them on the waiver wire.
Paschall was the first big man sub on Friday, and even logged 13 of his 27 minutes alongside Draymond Green in a small-ball lineup. That’s a huge positive if it sticks, as Paschall’s production as a four is significantly better than when he’s at the three. Paschall is one of the few building blocks the Warriors will develop down the stretch, and it’s just a matter of time before Draymond has another phantom injury or “tank flu” which would catapult Paschall into a 30-minute roll.
Over the last two weeks, Paschall has been a top-55 asset in 9-cat with 14.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.7 triples in 29.2 minutes.
5.) Malik Monk (4%)- This is an interesting one because it’s hard to figure this guy out. On one hand, he has a shot chart that fantasy owners dream of — out of 343 total shot attempts, only 11 of those are long mid-rangers which means Monk is firing away from deep and getting to the rim. “They say when I [go] downhill and put my mind to score [at the rim] everything else opens up,” Monk said.
On the other hand, he’s extremely inconsistent on offense and has lapses on the other end, part of the reason why he’s been in and out of the rotation. I’m not sure if the Hornets are showcasing him (he’s been linked to a trade with the Knicks) or if he’s simply out of the doghouse in Charlotte, but Monk is averaging an impressive 25.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.0 blocks and 1.5 triples in 28.0 minutes over his last two. The game before he was a DNP-CD. Wild.
I’m adding him in a few spots to see what happens, and it helps that his next two games are against swiss-cheese defenses in New York and Washington. The sixth man job in Charlotte is up for grabs, so let’s see if Monk can run away with it.
6.) Kris Dunn (35%)- He was starting to lose some steam in early January when his jumper was something that would only make Ben Simmons jealous, but Dunn is back with a vengeance. Over his last five games, he’s hitting a blistering 61.8% from the field with 11.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.4 steals, 0.4 blocks and 1.0 triples. His rank in that stretch is 37th in 9-category leagues.
He also averaged 31+ minutes, a number that will be sustainable since the Bulls are down yet another player with Lauri Markkanen (stress reaction) sidelined for 4-6 weeks. The shooting will regress which is why Dunn isn’t higher on this list, but he’s absolutely a no-brainer pickup and is also safer than a guy like Monk since we already know what to expect. He has a league-leading steal rate too and is 5th in the NBA in deflections per game, so you can be more aggressive if steals are the target.
7.) Donte DiVincenzo (15%)- The Bucks are fresh off a two-game week which means Donte is widely available. Go change that as soon as possible, as this is a player with seventh-round value in 9-cat over the last month in a 24.2 minute role. He put up averages of 9.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.4 blocks and 1.2 triples, making him a swiss army knife in fantasy leagues for his contributions across the board. The Bucks have an 8.5 game lead at the top of the East which means you’re going to see guys like Giannis, Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe getting plenty of rest, so we could be looking at a 28-minute role for Donte down the stretch.
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8.) Cam Reddish (14%)- The Hawks have never wavered in their confidence with Reddish and it’s paying off big time as the rookie has really found his stride. He’s sitting on top-80 numbers over the last two weeks, averaging 13.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.9 steals and 2.4 triples. The assists are actually lower than they were previously were because the Hawks added another playmaker in Jeff Teague, but the difference has been Reddish’s efficiency — he’s hitting 42.9% of his shots during this stretch compared to his season average of 34.4%.
He’s already becoming one of the league's best on-ball defenders and you have to love that steals upside, but if his offense carries on like this than there is some serious upside here. He wasn’t healthy at Duke or at the beginning of the season, so I’m sure that likely factors in to this sudden turnaround.
9.) Matisse Thybulle (16%)- You already know what I’m going to say here. Thybulle could be a total zero on offense but could have value for just his steals and blocks alone. In the last two weeks alone, Thybulle is a 6th-round value on the back of his 2.6 steals and 1.6 blocks per game. He also has 1.3 triples, but I wouldn’t count on that going forward. The rookie disruptor has a nice window for value with Josh Richardson (hamstring) out, but if those categories aren’t what you’re after, consider Furkan Korkmaz (6%) as an alternative. In that same 2-week window, Korkmaz is averaging 13.6 points and 3.3 triples with little else.
10.) Marquese Chriss (6%)- Hello again, old friend. I thought Omari Spellman would emerge as the pickup with Willie Cauley-Stein traded to Dallas, but it looks like Chriss will get the first crack as the starting center. He was terrific in his first trial run on Friday, scoring 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting with three rebounds, one assist, two steals, two blocks and one triple in 21 minutes.
He also got a vote of confidence from coach Steve Kerr. “I know he’s going to work hard. We like his work ethic. His character. He’s a great young guy.” Chriss is having his best season on a per-minute basis, posting per-36 stats of 15.4 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.6 dimes, 1.3 steals, 1.8 blocks and 0.3 triples. He has a big opportunity with the stat set to go with it, so he’s a strong flier this week.