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Waiver Wired

Wired: Top NBA Pickups Week 15

by Steve Alexander
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Games Played Week 15

 

4 Games: ATL, BOS, BRK, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, IND, MIA, NOP, NYK, ORL, SAC, SAN, UTA, WAS

3 Games: CHA, HOU, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIL, MIN, OKC, PHI, PHX, POR, TOR

2 Games: GSW

 

That two-game week is going to be a long one for the owners of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here.

 

Guards

 

Archie Goodwin Suns 34 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues – Brandon Knight is out with a groin injury and there is thought among some of us that he might be shut down for the season at some point with the Suns having nothing to play for. If it happens, Goodwin is going to be a must-own player. He’s close to it already, averaging 17.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.6 blocks and 1.2 3-pointers on 41 percent shooting over his last five games. He struggled on Friday with just six points, but he took 15 shots in 23 minutes. He just never got it going in that one. If and when Knight returns, Goodwin takes a hit, but I still think he’s worth holding until we see how this plays out, and am surprised he’s not owned in more leagues.

 

Devin Booker Suns 51% - Booker replaced Eric Bledsoe, who is out for the season, and has been a nice source of scoring, among other things. He’s averaging 17.6 points, 2.0 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.0 3-pointers on 42 percent shooting over his last five games, and is showing no signs of slowing down.

  

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Norris Cole Pelicans 20% - Tyreke Evans is hurting and is another candidate to be shut down. But even when Evans is playing, Cole is getting minutes. He’s averaging 12.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.2 3-pointers on 42 percent shooting over his last five games, and is another point guard I think should be held until further notice. He had 17 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists on Thursday, showing the kind of dramatic fantasy impact he can have if Evans’ knee continues to keep him sidelined.

 

Zach LaVine Wolves 51% - LaVine has come alive over his last three games, getting 30 minutes a night and averaging 25 points, 2.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.3 3-pointers. He’s also shooting it lights out right now, hitting 31-of-44 shots in his last three games. He plays for coach Sam Mitchell, who could pull the plug on LaVine at any time, but after his last three games, he should be picked up where he’s available.

 

Langston Galloway Knicks 29% - Jose Calderon’s been out with a groin injury so Galloway’s been starting and playing well with heavy minutes. He’s averaging 12.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.6 blocks and 1.2 3-pointers on 56 percent shooting over his last five. The return of Calderon will hurt Galloway, but Calderon is another guy who may not be playing late in the season. And any time Calderon is out and Galloway is starting, he’s an excellent (cheap) DFS option.

 

Dion Waiters Thunder 13% - Waiters is starting for Andre Roberson (out a few weeks with a sprained knee) and has played pretty well. He’s averaging 13.6 points, 1.8 rebounds, 0.8 assists and 2.6 3-pointers on 49 percent shooting. While the scoring and threes have been nice, he’s not doing much else.

 

Garrett Temple Wizards 8% - Temple is more reliable when Otto Porter and/or Bradley Beal are hurt, but he’s been holding his own even when they’re around. He’s averaging 10.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.8 3-pointers on 37 percent shooting over his last five games. He’s playing just under 32 minutes a night and has played at least 34 in three straight games. The shooting percentage is a buzzkill, but he still looks like a deep-league guard option for desperate owners.

 

Forwards

 

Jeff Green Grizzlies 39% - Green has suddenly come to life off the Grizzlies’ bench, scoring 30, 21 and 29 points in each of his last three games. He’s averaging 20.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.8 3-pointers on 55 percent shooting over his last five, and his rise has happened at the same time Matt Barnes has faded. Green is worth grabbing in all leagues until something goes wrong. Barnes has been pretty awful in three of his last five games, so dropping him for a hot free agent like Green or Stanley Johnson makes sense.

 

Taj Gibson Bulls 51% - Gibson isn’t really blowing anyone’s socks off with his play, but the minutes and potential are certainly there. He’s played 29, 30 and 36 minutes in his last three games and is averaging 8.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks on 46 percent shooting over his last five games. Joakim Noah’s out for the year, Nikola Mirotic is out until the All-Star break and Bobby Portis is still highly inexperienced, so Gibson should continue to get a ton of opportunities to produce.

 

Stanley Johnson Pistons 34% - Ersan Ilyasova went down recently with an adductor injury and it could finally be Stanley time. He had 15 points, four rebounds, five assists and a 3-pointer on Friday, when Ilyasova went down, and scored 12 points with four rebounds and a steal on 4-of-13 shooting in 28 minutes on Saturday. He’s scored in double digits in four straight games and has had at least 10 shot attempts in three straight games. As long as Ilyasova is out, Johnson looks like a must-own player.

 

Aaron Gordon Magic 48% - Gordon has yet to have the breakout game I’ve been predicting, but he’s playing pretty well since moving into the starting lineup. He’s averaging 9.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 0.8 3-pointers on 43 percent shooting over his last five games. He’s also getting 29 minutes a night and I still think he has a huge breakout game in the very near future.

 

Justise Winslow Heat 15% - Winslow is a Luol Deng injury away from becoming a very good fantasy play, and he’s getting enough minutes as it is to make a nice dent. He might see a reduction in playing time when Hassan Whiteside is back from his oblique injury, but the numbers don’t lie. He’s getting 36 minutes a game and averaging 9.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 0.8 steals and a 3-pointer over his last five. 

 

Wes Johnson Clippers 5% - Johnson is going to get minutes with Blake Griffin out until the season winds down, although he’s not the most reliable player. He’s averaging 10.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.4 steals, 0.8 blocks and 2.4 3-pointers and 25 minutes over his last five games. Toronto’s Terrence Ross is a similar option that’s likely available in your league, but I like Johnson a little more given Blake’s broken hand.

 

Bobby Portis Bulls 11% - Portis has a ton of upside but minutes have remained a problem, even with Joakim Noah out for the season and Nikola Mirotic on the shelf until the All-Star break. He’s averaging just 6.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in 16 minutes over his last five games, and as usual, is nothing more than a luxury stash until he starts stringing together some impressive games.

 

Josh Smith Rockets 24% - I’m no longer a Smoove guy, but he’s getting Terrence Jones’ minutes in Houston and coach Bickerstaff seems to really dig him. Smith’s shooting is still a mess and he hit just 4-of-17 free throws last week. But he’s also averaging 10.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.8 blocks and 1.2 3-pointers over his last five games. However, he also got just 17 and 15 minutes in his last two games, so Bickerstaff might be starting to figure out that Smith’s poor shot selection may not be great for his offense. Again, he’s not for everyone, but in a points league or in some DFS games, he might make sense.

 

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Hornets 23% - MKG, thought to be lost for the season at one point, made his season debut on Friday night. He surprisingly played 34 minutes and hit 5-of-8 shots for 13 points and seven rebounds. Nicolas Batum is hurting and struggling for the Hornets, so MKG might get some good opportunities going forward. But he doesn’t hit 3-pointers and will be a little shaky once Batum gets right. MKG is worth keeping an eye on, but your league has to be pretty deep for him to be considered a reliable option.

 

T.J. Warren 23% & P.J. Tucker 43% Suns - Warren is stuck behind Tucker, but there’s still a chance he could make a lot of noise as the season carries on. Tucker is a better own right now if you need production, while Warren is more of a stash. Warren has scored in double figures in three of his last five games and is averaging 11.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists over those, but his steals, blocks and 3-point shooting is lacking. Meanwhile Tucker is averaging 9.0 points, 5.8 boards, 3.2 assists, a steal, 0.8 blocks and 1.4 3-pointers over his last five. The Suns are going nowhere fast and Warren could get a boost if they decide to prep him for the future and tighten the reins on Tucker. But Tucker’s the guy you want to be using in your lineup right now.

 

Centers

 

Gorgui Dieng Wolves 72% - It’s a tough call whether Dieng or Myles Turner is the right guy to own right now, but the best answer is that you should get both of them if possible. Dieng has been starting with Kevin Garnett out and we just have to hope Sam Mitchell sticks with that plan the rest of the way. Dieng has been great in his last three games, two of which were starts. He’s averaging 18 points, 10.0 rebounds and 1.7 steals over that stretch, but has just one total block. More should be coming and he’s played 26, 27 and 39 minutes in his last three games. There’s no way to know what Sam Mitchell is going to do with him, but after the week he just had, he has to be owned in all leagues.

 

Myles Turner Pacers 56% - Like Dieng, Turner is now starting for the Pacers, and playing very well. He played a whopping 40 minutes on Saturday, but hit just 3-of-11 shots for eight points, but he also had nine boards and four blocks. He’s sitting on 17.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.6 blocks over his last five games, hitting 52 percent of his shots and playing 29 minutes a night. The Pacers love him, Larry Bird recently called him his team’s best shooter, and he looks like a must-own player the rest of the way.

 

Nikola Jokic Nuggets 37% - Jokic struggled on Wednesday, but has played very well in four of his last five games, as Jusuf Nurkic struggles to get back to form after his injury. Jokic is averaging 13.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.2 blocks on 53 percent shooting over his last five games, and has even hit a couple 3-pointers. Like Dieng and Turner, he also looks like a must-own player right now.

 

Willie Cauley-Stein 34% & Kosta Koufos Kings 26% - WCS had a quiet week, but DeMarcus Cousins suffered a potentially serious ankle injury on Sunday night (X-rays were negative, thankfully, and he says he's fine, but it didn't look good at the time). I wouldn’t be surprised if he misses some time here, which means WCS could get more run. He is averaging 7.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.4 blocks over his last five, despite struggling and seeing fairly limited minutes. Koufos is in the same boat, as he’ll likely be getting starts if Cousins is out. Koufos is averaging 11.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.0 blocks in his eight starts this season, so he should be a decent short-term grab if Cousins is out.

 

Alex Len Suns 40% - Len got off to a hot start last week and then faded, scoring just four points on Wednesday and six points in 17 minutes on Friday. He’s still averaging 11.0 points, 8.6 rebounds and a block over his last five games, but the resurgence of Tyson Chandler hasn’t really helped him. Chandler has cooled off over his last three games, but with two monster games at the end of the previous week, he’s still averaging 6.8 points, 14.2 rebounds and a block over his last five. The Suns could eventually pull the plug on Chandler, which would make Len a solid player to own the rest of the way.

 

Ian Mahinmi Pacers 27% - Mahinmi is also coming off an injury and has played in two straight games for the Pacers, averaging 10.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.0 blocks in 29.5 minutes over his last two. He’s starting at center and Turner’s getting the call at power forward, and Mahinmi might start playing better now that he’s been back for a couple games.

 

Steven Adams Thunder 10% - Adams returned early from his elbow injury and has played in three straight games, averaging 7.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 0.7 blocks during that stretch. Enes Kanter has been playing very well, limiting Adams some, but he’s still worth a look in deep leagues where centers aren’t readily available.

 

Amare Stoudemire Heat 3% - Stoudemire’s been forced into action with Hassan Whiteside’s oblique injury and has played pretty well, averaging 8.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 0.6 steals and 0.6 blocks on 59 shooting over his last five. He’s getting 22 minutes a game, but will take a massive hit once Whiteside is back. He’s listed as questionable for Sunday’s game, but is probably closer to doubtful, meaning Stoudemire might have a few games of value left in the tank. But you only want to use/own him when Whiteside is in street clothes.

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.