1 game: Nuggets, Warriors, Knicks, Blazers
2 games: Every other team
The lottery teams have been very weird and Sam Hinkie is probably shaking his head right now. In particular, the Magic have played really well lately, going 5-2 in their last seven games. More impressively, they’ve beat teams with a lot to play for — the Heat, Grizzlies, Pacers and Bulls. While that’s nice to see, it’s caused them to slide in the lottery.
On the flip side of this, we have the Bucks. They’ve been losing a ton of games to make Hinkie proud, which is funny because the Bucks out-tanked the 76ers two years ago to get Jabari Parker at No. 2 with their best odds. The 2015-16 Bucks were in the 11 hole in the lottery recently, but all their losing to go with other teams getting some wins could give them about a 10 percent increase in getting a top-three pick in a little over a week. If they really tank it up, they could increase their odds over 18 percent on top of moving up in the draft regardless. Yes, this could be why Khris Middleton (thigh) is out for so long.
Some teams like the Kings have a different approach. They have rested their players to tank and raise their odds in the lottery. That’s because they have the most to lose. If their pick is in the 11-14 range, it will go to the Bulls. The 76ers can also swap picks if the Kings leapfrog them — the Kings would still get a top-four pick in this scenario because Philly can’t fall outside of four. That’s why we’ve likely seen the last of DeMarcus Cousins this season with several other resting players. Their win on Saturday night caused them to drop a tad in the lottery, too.
Additionally, the Knicks and Nets have lost their picks unprotected via trade, so tanking has nothing to do with them. The Celtics get Brooklyn’s pick while the Knicks pick goes to Denver or Toronto — Denver gets the better choice of their pick or NY’s pick with Toronto getting the leftovers. The Wizards also have lost their pick, which is top-10 protected. It would take them moving into the top three to keep it, which has less than a three percent chance of happening.
With all that in mind, let’s just go over which teams have something to play for in the lotto:
Locked in (games are 100 percent meaningless for lottery): 76ers at one, Lakers at two
Close to locked in: Wolves at five, Magic at 11
Battles (losing out can be big): Suns and Nets (Celtics pick) for 3-4; Pelicans, Kings, Knicks (Nuggets/Raptors pick), Bucks, and Nuggets (could be Raptors pick) for 6-10; Wizards (Suns pick), Rockets, Bulls and Jazz for 12-15 (Bulls and Wizards won't finish 15th, of course).
Basically, the Bucks, Kings, Nuggets and Pelicans have something to lose. The Pelicans don't really have the luxury to rest guys, but we've seen Kenneth Faried rest for the Nuggets. Yes, you have to love the Jusuf Nurkic-Nikola Jokic combo.
All this potential tanking to go with the playoff teams resting their players has created a lot of rest risk. Since we’re at the point of the season where the only people making pickups are in daily season-long leagues, I thought it might be helpful to break down the shutdowns along with a rest and add guide for each of the three remaining days.
On top of the four teams with only one game (Nuggets, Warriors, Knicks and Blazers), the only other factor is teams getting back-to-backs. If you have a move restriction, you might want to make all your moves for a Tuesday-Wednesday duo. The Pacers, Clippers, Spurs, Grizzlies, Heat, Raptors and 76ers have their last two games on the last two days of the season. If you can drop a guy who played on Monday for a Tuesday-Wednesday guy, you just got an extra game.
On the other side of the standings, most of you guys know the deal. In the Western Conference, it's is locked in at 1-4, but of course the Warriors are chasing 73 and the Spurs want to win their last two home games for 41-0 at AT&T Center. The Blazers losing on Saturday made it really tight a 5-7 against the Grizzlies and Mavs, and the Jazz are battling it out for the eight spot with Houston — this is assuming the Mavs don’t have a meltdown.
It’s a little trickier in the Eastern Conference. The Cavs clinch the No. 1 spot with a magic number of one, which would lock in the Raptors at two. The Hawks are red hot in the three hole with a full game lead over the fourth-seeded Celtics with the Heat and Hornets a half-game behind Boston. Detroit and Indiana will fight it out for 7-8, assuming Indiana doesn’t choke and the Bulls don’t win out.
OK, so that means basically the top four teams in the Western Conference along with the Raptors and Cavs in the Eastern Conference can rest players on any given day. Plus, there’s also a chance for rest on the other teams. In fact, Tony Allen (hamstring) had said he’s more concerned about getting healthy over worrying about playoff seeding — this was said before he did not play Saturday.
Alright, that’s a lot of talk about the standings and probably a record for a fantasy column. So let’s go over the shutdown players and some fantasy moves to make because of it. Again for those with add restrictions, remember the Nuggets, Warriors, Knicks and Blazers only have one game left.
Here we go:
Shutdown Risks (this doesn’t include the injury report for playoff teams, so guys like J.J. Barea aren’t on here):
High: DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall, Taj Gibson, E’Twaun Moore, Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur, Khris Middleton, Jerryd Bayless, Kristaps Porzingis, Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon, Omri Casspi, Marco Belinelli, Jose Calderon
Note: Bradley Beal was a low-risk shutdown, but he hurt his pelvis two minutes after this published, so he's high risk now.
Best pickups for each player in order of value (must-add players first): Seth Curry, Ramon Sessions, Kosta Koufos, Mario Hezonja, Cristiano Felicio, Jusuf Nurkic (only one game hurts), Jerian Grant, Tyler Ennis, Rashad Vaughn, James Anderson, Ersan Ilyasova, Aaron Brooks, JaKarr Sampson
Medium: Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose, Carl Landry, Rudy Gay, Rajon Rondo, Tony Allen, Nene
Adds: Besides must-add Seth Curry and Lance Stephenson, there isn’t a great speculative add to make
Low: Marcin Gortat
Monday Rest Risk
High: Besides the shutdown risks above, nobody else is a high-risk player.
Low: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greg Monroe, Jabari Parker, Bojan Bogdanovic, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, J.R. Smith, Otto Porter
Adds: Pretty much check out the list in the shutdown risks on here. Besides that, you would obviously have to like John Henson the most if Monroe rests -- Monroe is probably the most likely to, as well. Chris McCullough has been very good, so no Bogdanovic would be big. Also, Sean Kilpatrick and Wayne Ellington are solid for points and treys. Tristan Thompson, Channing Frye and Matthew Dellavedova would step up with Cavs resting.
Tuesday Rest Risk
High: DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas, Zach Randolph, Matt Barnes, Chris Andersen, Vince Carter
Low: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin and the Clippers (Doc said his guys are playing), the Spurs (could be going for 41-0 at home; this moves to high with a loss to Golden State on Sunday)
Adds: You gotta love some Norman Powell, who should be owned already. He went to the free throw line 19 times on Friday! Cory Joseph would also be a nice add, especially with Delon Wright (hip) hurt. Bismack Biyombo would be a strong play in any league sans JV. Of course, Cole Aldrich and Enes Kanter shouldn’t be on wires right now.
Wednesday Rest Risk (we’ll just go entire teams)
High: Cavs, Raptors, Spurs, Grizzlies, Clippers
Low: Hawks, Celtics, Pistons, Pacers, Hornets, Heat, Mavs, Jazz
Adds: UNLEASH THE BOBAN! Besides that and what’s previously been said, it’s tough to look into the future for what the standings will be for the low-risk rest. Just check out the blurbs and we’ll let you know! You can definitely follow me on Twitter @MikeSGallagher for questions.
Good luck to those still fighting! Oh and maybe have your league end 7-10 days earlier.
It’s been a wild ride with the waiver wire. We didn’t quite have the out-of-nowhere stud pickup in even the deepest of leagues like Hassan Whiteside last year, but there certainly was no shortage of adds to make throughout the year. If you were in a 10- or 12-team league, there were a ton of guys with preseason Yahoo! ranks after 140 with some awesome value. This was also basically done by the numbers on end-of-season value on each listed position for the first three teams below. This is for standard nine-category leagues:
All-Pickup Team for Shallow Leagues
PG: Zach LaVine
SG: Rodney Hood
SF: Evan Fournier
PF: Marvin Williams
C: Nikola Jokic
Sixth Man: Kent Bazemore (just had to get Baze in here even though Fournier barely out-produced him all year)
All-Pickup Team for Deep Leagues (after 200)
PG: Ish Smith
SG Gary Harris
SF Will Barton
PF Mirza Teletovic
C: Nikola Jokic (so good he gets it twice)
H2H Playoff Saviors (output during the fantasy playoffs in the last month; not counting previously mentioned players)
PG: Toney Douglas
SG: Josh Richardson
SF: Moe Harkless
PF: Carl Landry
C: Cole Aldrich
Thanks for checking out Waiver Wired all season! Hopefully you have a trophy on the way for your championship team!