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Waiver Wired

Wired: Hot NBA Pickups

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

Games Played Week 5




2 Games: BOS, BRK, MIA, OKC


I wrote this column on Saturday afternoon because I’ll be at the Falcons game on Sunday, but have updated the end of each player with Saturday’s game information (if they played), as it may have changed some things. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!


Point Guards


Mario Chalmers Heat 65% owned – Norris Cole has been out with a finger injury and Dwyane Wade thinks the abbreviation for Miami means ‘missing in action.’ Chalmers has become a must-use player in daily salary-cap games and should be picked up in all leagues. He’s averaging 16.6 points, 5.0 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.8 3-pointers over his last five games, which includes a seven-point dud on Nov. 12. If Chalmers is gone, Shabazz Napier is also worth keeping an eye on as long as Cole and Wade are in street clothes. Chalmers went off again on Saturday with 24 points, five boards, eight assists and two 3-pointers, and is a must-own, must-start player with Cole and Wade gimpy.


Trey Burke Jazz 67% - Burke had a meltdown on Friday with two points and five assists on 1-of-8 shooting, but had been playing better. He scored in double figures in four straight games and while his shooting has been a mess all year, the numbers were coming around. He’s averaging 9.8 points, 5.6 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.2 3-pointers on the season, and should bounce back after Friday’s disaster. Burke was great on Saturday, hitting 8-of-12 shots for 20 points, four assists and two 3-pointers in his best game of the season. Just another reason to go get him if he’s not owned in your league.


Mo Williams Wolves 29% - Williams hit just 5-of-16 shots and a 3-pointer on Saturday, but still finished with 11 points and 12 assists.  He’s now double-doubled in two of his last three games and the Zach LaVine experiment is over. Ricky Rubio is probably out through Christmas, which means MoWill should be picked up in most leagues as a short-term replacement.


Aaron Brooks Bulls 15% - Kirk Hinrich is now dealing with a chest injury and Derrick Rose has missed three straight games with a hamstring injury, and is iffy for the upcoming week (as usual). Brooks isn’t really killing it, but he’s the last point guard standing in Chicago, and is averaging 12 points, 3.5 assists, a steal and 1.5 3-pointers in 24.5 minutes over his last two games. I like Hinrich more than Brooks when both are healthy and Rose is out, but as long as Hinrich is out, Brooks almost has to produce for the Bulls.


Dante Exum Jazz 18% - I was asked by a few people to go deeper in this column, so here you go. Exum still isn’t worthy of being owned in most leagues, but did see 22 minutes on Friday, when he hit just 1-of-5 shots for two points and five assists. If Trey Burke continues to struggle and the Jazz fall out of the playoff race, Exum could be primed for a big second half. Minutes have been a problem, but when he’s on the floor, he really looks like he belongs. He played just 19 minutes and hit 1-of-5 shots for two points on Saturday, and his value is plummeting with Burke coming on.


Shooting Guards


Evan Fournier Magic 51% - Fournier remains hot despite the return of Victor Oladipo. He missed Wednesday’s game with a heel injury, but returned on Friday and had 21 points and a 3-pointer in the win over Charlotte. He’s averaging 16.3 points, 3.3 assists and 2.3 3-pointers over his last four games and is starting over Elfrid Payton. As long as he’s starting for the Magic, he’s worth owning. Fournier hit just 5-of-15 shots for 11 points and a 3-pointer on Saturday, but also had six rebounds and six assists.


Corey Brewer Wolves 30% - Kevin Martin is out indefinitely with a broken thumb and Brewer started, played a season-high 32 minutes and had eight points, three rebounds, four assists and three more steals on 3-of-10 shooting. He’d scored 18, 18, 13 and 14 points in each of his previous four games and now that Martin is out, he should get at least 30 minutes a night. Over his last five, he’s averaging 14.2 points, 2.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.8 steals while shooting 53 percent. He had 14 points, two rebounds and four assists in 30 minutes on Saturday, so it’s time to go get him, but make sure Andrew Wiggins, who had a career-high 29 points on Saturday, isn't available in your league first.


Jarrett Jack Nets 21% - Jack has been quietly productive off the Nets’ bench, averaging 17.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists over his last five games, which includes a pair of 23-point outings. He’s not hitting many threes or stealing the ball, but is getting 28 minutes a night and should be owned in more leagues while he’s hot. He hit just 2-of-7 shots on Saturday but had six points, six rebounds, five assists, a steal and a block.


Nick Young Lakers 61% - Swaggy P should be owned in more leagues, but may not be a hot commodity after Friday’s terrible 2-of-7 shooting, five-point performance in just 19 minutes. Mike Gallagher found a tweet from Bill Oram on Saturday stating that Swaggy is playing with a soft cast on the thumb of his shooting hand, which is a pretty big deal to fantasy owners. Yes, that’s a concern and would have steered me away from him in dailies on Friday, but he’s on the road to recovery and should be owned in all leagues. I’ll trust him more once he loses the cast and it helps explain why he’s hit just 8-of-22 shots over his last two games. He scored 17 and 16 points in his first two games of the season prior to Friday’s dud, but the reality is that his fantasy value will be limited due to the fact that he can score and hit treys, but that’s about all you can expect from him. 


Lou Williams Raptors 8% - Williams has scored in double figures in four of his last five games, averaging 13.0 points, 1.6 steals and 2.2 3-pointers. He scored a season-high 22 points on Friday and could be heating up for the Raps. Playing time is an issue, as he’s at 18.6 minutes over his last five, but he’s producing in short spurts. Deep leaguers should take notice. Williams blew up on Saturday for 36 points and three 3-pointers on 9-of-19 shooting, and it’s time to give him a hard look.


Small Forwards


DeMarre Carroll Hawks 56% - Carroll returned from a groin injury Friday and had 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists and a 3-pointer in 31 minutes. He’s averaging 11.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.7 3-pointers on the season and if he was dropped in your league, you should think about picking him up.


Solomon Hill Pacers 30% - Solo is averaging 12.2 points and 7.0 rebounds over his last five games, but is shooting just 32 percent over that stretch. His minutes could also take a hit once C.J. Miles finally returns to action, but Hill has played much better than CJM this season, despite the low shooting. And with the Pacers so thin, he should continue to get plenty of minutes, even when Miles is back. He had 13 points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals and a 3-pointer on 6-of-13 shooting Saturday, and played 35 minutes.


K.J. McDaniels Sixers 19% - McDaniels was bummed about his low minutes on Wednesday, when he hit all three of his shots and scored eight points despite playing just 11 minutes. He got a season-high 28 minutes on Friday and responded with a season-high 17 points, three rebounds, two steals and a 3-pointer, but didn’t block a shot in that one. He’s averaging 9.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 0.6 blocks and 1.0 3-pointers over his last five, and with his sudden boost in playing time, it looks like it’s time to pick him up.  He played 20 minutes on Saturday and had eight points and two 3-pointers, so it’s still a ‘baby steps’ situation with KJM.


Harrison Barnes Warriors 43% - Barnes has been pretty consistent, scoring in double digits in six straight games and averaging 15.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 0.8 blocks and 1.4 3-pointers on 54 percent shooting over his last five. He’s starting over Andre Iguodala and getting nearly 32 minutes a game, meaning he should be owned in more leagues than he currently is.


Shabazz Muhammad Wolves 3% - Muhammad played 32 minutes and had 17 points, eight rebounds and a block on Wednesday night. Then on Friday, when we were expecting more of the same with Kevin Martin’s thumb injury, Muhammad played just 17 minutes and had two points on 1-of-7 shooting. Brewer looks like the pickup with Martin’s injury, but Muhammad should get more opportunities going forward. Friday’s dud looks fluky to me, so don’t read too much into it. He had nine points, seven rebounds and a steal in 18 minutes on Saturday, but it was Andrew Wiggins who stole the show with a career-high 29 points.


Power Forwards


Ed Davis Lakers 29% - Davis has really cooled off this week and played just 19 & 12 minutes in each of his last two games. He’s averaging just 6.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and a block over his last five, but should get more minutes going forward. Carlos Boozer has been playing better, but the Lakers have no reason not to give Davis 25 minutes a night. Stash him and hope the playing time jumps up in the next few games.


Boris Diaw Spurs 22%  - Diaw’s unreliable because he plays for the Spurs, but is averaging 10.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, a steal and 0.8 3-pointers over his last five games. He’s not a guy I want to start in a weekly league very often, but when the Spurs play four times, he’s worth a look. He had 10 points, three rebounds and three assists in 33 minutes on Saturday.


Mirza Teletovic 45% & Bojan Bogdanovic Nets 11%  - Teletovic started for Kevin Garnett on Saturday and went off for 22 points, eight boards and four 3-pointers on 8-of-14 shooting. He’s scored in double figures over his last four games and is worth a look in most leagues now that his slump is over.


Bogdanovic appeared to be heating up heading into Friday’s game, but missed all five of his shots and finished with three points and two turnovers. He then went 0-for-7 on Saturday to finish with two points. Prior to those two duds he scored 19 and 22 points with eight 3-pointers in his previous two games, but failed to score last Saturday, when he again missed all five of his shots. He’s getting around 30 minutes a game right now and while he’ll have plenty of bad games, he’ll also blow up occasionally. If you need a 3-point shooter he’s worth a look given the ridiculous minutes he’s getting as a starter for the Nets. Despite his problems, he was averaging 10.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.8 3-pointers over his last five games prior to Saturday’s disaster.


Donatas Motiejunas Rockets 1% - With Terrence Jones out indefinitely with a leg injury, someone has to play power forward for Houston. Motiejunas was getting 30-plus minutes for a few games, and was producing, but has played just 18 minutes in each of his last two games. He’s was averaging just 6.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 1.2 blocks over his last five prior to Saturday night, but has hit just one 3-pointer. If you’re in a deep league and are desperate for a big man, he might be worth a look, but he’ll need more than 18 minutes a night to make him worthwhile. He went nuts on Saturday, posting his best line of the season with 14 points, 12 rebounds and a 3-pointer, which should help his confidence and playing time going forward.


Tarik Black 0% Rockets – Black has seen a boost in playing time with Dwight Howard and Jones hurting, and has played 35 and 20 minutes in each of his last two games. He’s averaging 6.5 points and 8.0 boards in those two games and also had 10 points and six boards on Nov. 12. He’ll take a hit when Howard is back from his sore knee, but might be the PF of choice over Motiejunas for as long as Jones is out with his leg injury. But you’d have to be in a pretty deep league to reach for Black. He started on Saturday and played 14 minutes, but finished with just three points and seven rebounds, as Motiejunas took over in that one.




Gorgui Dieng Wolves 61% - Dieng is starting for Nikola Pekovic, who is out with a sore ankle, wrist and some personal issues. He’s supposed to start practicing again this week, but it’s possible the Wolves will bring him off the bench in hopes of keeping him healthy. Either way, Dieng has been starting and is averaging 8.8 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks over his last five games. He’s averaging 26.2 minutes over that stretch and it’s time for him to be owned in all leagues. He’s also a relatively cheap play in daily money leagues, as well. He was nice again on Saturday with 12 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and two blocks in 39 minutes.


Brandan Wright Mavs 32% - Despite coming off the bench and getting just 19.4 minutes per game, Wright has scored in double figures in six straight games and is averaging 12.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.0 blocks over his last five. He’s also shooting it lights out this season, and has hit 25-of-32 shots over his last five games. He’s a great, cheap option in daily leagues and is also worth owning in standard leagues, especially considering his crazy field goal percentage. It’s just a shame he can’t get more minutes. Wright was at it again on Saturday, coming off the bench for 14 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks on 6-of-7 shooting.


Timofey Mozgov Nuggets 53% - Mozgov has finally been turned loose by Brian Shaw and is averaging 29.0 minutes, 9.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks over his last five games. He had just five points, four rebounds and three blocks on Friday, but played 24 minutes in a tough matchup against the Pelicans. Given his recent boost in playing time, it’s time to move on Mozzy.


Alex Len Suns 13% - Len is going to be splitting minutes with Miles Plumlee and has been outplaying the starter lately. Len went off for 17 points, 11 rebounds and a block last Saturday, and then had 19 points and seven rebounds on Monday. He’s averaging 10.0 points and 5.8 rebounds over his last five games, hitting a ridiculous 78 percent of his shots, but only has one block during that stretch. But his minutes should be on the rise, and his production should follow. If you own Plumlee, think about dumping him for Len. He had six points and five rebounds in 21 minutes on Saturday, while Gerald Green got hot for 23 points and five 3-pointers off the bench.


Marreese Speights Warriors 11% - Speights has quietly been rolling off the Warriors bench, averaging 14.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in just 15.6 minutes over his last five games. He had 24 points and nine boards on 8-of-11 shooting last Sunday, and has become a key reserve for Golden State. I’m worried about him being consistent in so few minutes, but he’s playing well and might continue to see an increase in playing time in hopes of keeping Andrew Bogut healthy. 

Steve Alexander

Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for NBC Sports Edge and a contributor to NBCSports.com. The 2020-21 NBA season marks (at least) his 20th year of covering fantasy hoops for NBC Sports. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.