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Waiver Wired

NBA Wired: Top Pickups Week 16

by Steve Alexander
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

As we prepare to enter the All-Star break the schedule gets a little funky, as every team only has one or two games this week. ESPN leagues count Week 16 and 17 as one long one, and the weekly games played in those leagues are also attached below. 

Games Played Week 16 (All-Star Break)


2 Games: Every team except for…

1 Game: LAC, NYK, ORL, PHX


ESPN Leagues (Week 16/17 combined)




4 Games: LAC, OKC, PHI


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Point Guards


Steve Blake LAL 44% owned in Yahoo! leagues


Blake’s been back for three games after missing time with an elbow injury and despite a recent thigh problem, was averaging 12.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 11.5 assists, 2.5 steals and 3.0 3-pointers over his last two heading into Sunday’s game. Of course, he won’t get to face the Sixers and Cavs every night, while Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar will eventually be healthy for the Lakers. But as of right now, Blake looks like a must-own fantasy player.


D.J. Augustin CHI 51%


Augustin has been benched for Kirk Hinrich but is still playing well, averaging 14.8 points, 4.4 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.4 3-pointers over his last five games. He was more fun to own when he was starting, but is still a better player to own than Hinrich. Captain Kirk also deserves a look, but is averaging just 8.0 points, 1.6 assists, 1.4 steals and 0.4 3-pointers in his last five.


Nick Calathes MEM 7%


Calathes has been starting for Mike Conley, who could miss much more time with his ankle injury, and has been playing well. Calathes is averaging 12.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.6 steals and 1.4 3-pointers over his last five. But once Conley is back, Calathes should go right back into obscurity.


Avery Bradley BOS 59%


Bradley missed his last game with a sore ankle and is iffy for Sunday’s game. In the two games he played after returning from the injury, Bradley put up an average of 15.5 points, but also averaged just 2.0 assists and didn’t hit a 3-pointer or get a steal. He should average about one per game once he’s fully healthy again.


Jarrett Jack 19%/C.J. Miles 9% CLE


Jack has been starting at shooting guard, but hasn’t played well in his starts. He just can’t seem to get it going this season, but could be poised for a second half breakout if he sticks in the starting five. He replaced C.J. Miles in the first unit, but failed to score in just 12 minutes on Friday. Miles started in that one for Luol Deng (illness) and played well, but doesn’t hold much value when coming off the bench. If he overtakes Jack for his old shooting guard job he could be better this time around. Neither player is a must-own, but both are worth keeping a close eye on going forward.


Shooting Guards


Danny Green SAS 60%


Green let his owners down on Saturday when he hit just 1-of-6 shots for three points. Prior to that he played well in two straight, averaging 19.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.0 steals, 2.0 blocks and 4.0 3-pointers. He’s back from his hand injury and while he’s still a bit of an inconsistent mess, given all the injuries to his teammates, it’s hard to see him failing for much longer. He’s a must-own player again, despite Saturday’s disaster.


Randy Foye DEN 63%


Foye’s quick rise to prominence doesn’t look like a fluke and he’s helped by Nate Robinson’s season-ending knee injury. Foye is averaging 16.4 points, 4.8 boards, 6.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.4 blocks and 3.2 3-pointers over his last five games, although the blocks are a bit of a fluke, as he had four of them last Wednesday.


Courtney Lee MEM 23%


Tony Allen is out through the All-Star break with his wrist injury, while Lee has played well enough as a fill-in to possibly steal his job. Lee is averaging 14.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.2 3-pointers over his last five games, along with 0.6 blocks. Lee is worth owning and holding in all leagues until we find out what Allen’s role will be upon his return. Personally, I’d vote for starting Allen at small forward and benching Tayshaun Prince, but I’m not in charge.


Nate Wolters MIL 1%


Wolters has been starting for the Bucks and while I don’t have the stones to own him, he caught fire for 19 points, seven rebounds, three assists, a steal and a 3-pointer on 9-of-15 shooting on Saturday. Prior to that he was averaging just 6.75 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.25 assists and 0.0 3-pointers over his previous four games. I don’t trust him, but as long as he’s starting for the Bucks, he could get loose for a nice line at any time.


Kyle Singler DET 5%


Singler has been starting for the Pistons, who fired Mo Cheeks on Sunday, so it remains to be seen what his status will be going forward. But he has been playing well, averaging 11.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.8 steals, 0.8 blocks and 2.0 3-pointers over his last five games. If he continues to start for the Pistons he’ll be worth a deep-league look.


Small Forwards


Wes Johnson LAL 26%


With Jodie Meeks out with a sprained ankle and Nick Young out indefinitely with a knee injury, Johnson is suddenly the man in L.A. Over his last three (entering Sunday), Johnson is averaging 17.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 2.3 blocks and 2.3 3-pointers. Meeks is due back soon from his injury, but as long as Young and Kobe Bryant are in street clothes, Johnson should be a safe fantasy start. And while we’re on the subject of Kobe, my guess is we won’t see him again this season.


Khris Middleton MIL 33%


Middleton is rolling and has been helped by the ineffectiveness of Giannis Antetokounmpo, while injuries to Caron Butler, Ersan Ilyasova and others have also helped his cause. Middleton is averaging 17.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.2 steals and 3.0 3-pointers over his last five games. The air could be let out of his balloon at any time, but for now Middleton might be the most reliable Buck, along with Brandon Knight. And while I didn’t cover center Larry Sanders in this column, he’s getting healthy again (well, except for a recent eye injury) and should be owned in all leagues.


Corey Brewer MIN 26%


Kevin Martin is out indefinitely with a broken thumb and while guys like Chase Budinger, Shabazz Muhammad and J.J. Barea are going to see a boost, my guess is Brewer will be the guy to own. Over his last two games, Brewer checks in with 21.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 0.5 3-pointers. I still have some trust issues with Brewer, but as long as Martin’s out, he should be a decent fantasy play.


James Anderson PHI 9%


Anderson is averaging 11.75 points, 5.25 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.25 steals and 1.5 3-pointers over his last four games. Again, he’s not a must-own player, but one who is playing well enough to be given a close look in any league. Teammate Tony Wroten (guard) has also played well despite the health of Michael Carter-Williams, averaging 15.2 points, 3.2 boards, 3.0 assists and 0.8 steals over his last five games. He’s shooting just 42 percent over that stretch, but has been a little better in his last two, and hit a 3-pointer in each of them.


Matt Barnes LAC 5%


Barnes is getting a ton of minutes right now, in part to the absence of J.J. Redick (ankle), and has quietly scored in double figures in three straight games. He’s averaging 11.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.0 3-pointers over that stretch, while getting 36 minutes a night. As long as the minutes and starting gig stick, Barnes could be a sneaky addition right now. Just be aware of his one-game week.


Power Forwards


John Henson MIL 52%


Henson’s been out with a wrist injury and struggled in his first game back, but then got a start for Ersan Ilyasova, who is now dealing with a back injury. Larry Sanders also left that game with blurred vision, and Henson took advantage with 14 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and four blocks. As long as Sanders and Ilyasova are hurting, Henson looks like a must-own player, although I’d be hesitant to lock him into starting lineups in weekly leagues until his role is either defined as a starter or reserve.


DeMarre Carroll ATL 44%


Carroll continues to get it done and continues to be owned in too few leagues. He’s averaging 15.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2.0 steals and 2.0 3-pointers over his last five, and is showing no signs of slowing down. Pick him up.


Ryan Kelly LAL 11%


Kelly is the starting power forward for the no-name Lakers these days and has played well in two straight, entering Sunday’s game. He had 26 points, six rebounds, a steal and three 3-pointers on Wednesday, and backed it up with 15 points, eight rebounds, two steals and a 3-pointer on Friday. He’s had some shooting woes this season, but is heating up. If he plays well on Sunday he’ll come close to must-own territory.


Brandon Bass BOS 41%


The Kris Humphries experiment has taken a hiatus and Bass has been rolling, except for when he hit 1-of-8 shots for two points on Friday. Prior to that he played very well in three straight games, averaging 16.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks while hitting 20-of-33 shots. Humps could steal the job back at any time, but if you currently own him, dropping him to get Bass makes sense.


Jason Thompson SAC 9%


Thompson continues to start for the Kings, but runs hot and cold, and lacks big-game potential. He’s averaging 6.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 0.8 blocks over his last five games, but is also getting 27 minutes a night.


Marvin Williams UTA 19%


I didn’t expect to be writing about Marvin Williams this season, but he’s been on a three-game tear that demands some attention. He’s scored 23, 21 and 23 points in each of his last three games, and is averaging 6.5 rebounds over his last five, and 5.0 3-pointers over his last two. You read that right. He’s also hit 26-of-46 shots over his last three, and while I have no idea how long it will last, Marvin’s at least worth a quick pick up right now in case he stays hot.




Jared Sullinger BOS 60%


Sullinger has been an interesting study this season, starting out slowly, catching fire, disappearing and then catching fire again. He’s been on a four-game binge with four straight monster double-doubles and is averaging 23.75 points, 13.75 rebounds, 0.75 steals, 1.5 blocks and 1.0 3-pointers on 39-of-75 shooting. He could disappear again at any time, but he’s as must-own as they come right now. And speaking of Celtics centers, Kelly Olynyk got loose for 11 points, nine rebounds, five assists, a steal and a 3-pointer on Friday. He got some extra playing time when an ineffective Brandon Bass was benched, and wasn’t doing much before that one. Just keep an eye on him.


Ronny Turiaf MIN 4%


Turiaf has been starting for the Wolves while Nikola Pekovic has been nursing an Achilles injury and we still don’t know when Pekovic will be back. And as long as Pek is out, Turiaf is at least worth a look by owners in need of boards and blocks, although he doesn’t do much scoring. Over his last five, Turiaf is averaging 5.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.4 blocks.


Zaza Pachulia MIL 4%


Pachulia is a tough one to figure out right now, as he’s benefitted from injuries to guys like John Henson, Larry Sanders and Ersan Ilyasova, but has been putting up good numbers since returning from an injury of his own. Over his last three games, Pachulia is averaging 13.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.3 steals, although he somehow hasn’t blocked a shot. I don’t trust him and don’t think he’s anywhere near a must-own player, but if Sanders’ blurred vision becomes a prolonged problem, or Ilyasova’s back keeps him sidelined, Pachulia will be worth a look.


Chris Kaman LAL 29%


Robert Sacre is the starter, but it’s Kaman who is suddenly hot for the Lakers. He had 13 points and three rebounds before fouling out on Wednesday and backed it up with 17 points, eight boards, a steal and three blocks on Friday. And heading into halftime of Sunday’s game, Kaman had 14 points and four rebounds on 7-of-10 shooting. If you need a center, Kaman looks like a decent add for the banged up Lakers. At least for as long as Pau Gasol is out with his groin injury.


Elton Brand ATL 8%


Mike Scott was playing very well before disappearing on Saturday night when he missed all five of his shots and played just 16 minutes. I still like Scott and think he’s a nice player to have on your fantasy bench, or in the lineup in deeper leagues, but Brand is also coming on. Over his last five he’s averaging 10.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks, which could mean trouble for Scott going forward. 

Steve Alexander

Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for Rotoworld.com and a contributor to NBCSports.com. The 2020-20 NBA season marks (at least) his 20th year of covering fantasy hoops for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.