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Waiver Wired

Wired: Top Pickups & Big Sauce

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

Games Played Week 20

 

5 Games: POR

4 Games: ATL, BOS, BRK, CHA, CHI, CLE, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, IND, LAC, MIA, MIL, MIN, NYK, ORL, PHI, PHX, SAC, SAN, WAS

3 Games: DAL, LAL, MEM, NOP, OKC, TOR, UTA

 

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Point Guards

 

Malcolm Brogdon Bucks 46 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues – Brogdon finally managed to wrestle away the starting gig from Matthew Dellavedova last week and it’s paying dividends. Brogdon had 17 points, five boards and three assists in 42 minutes on Saturday and is now averaging 16.2 points, 2.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.0 3-pointers over his last five games, while shooting 51 percent. He’s getting 31 minutes a night right now and he is my favorite point guard pickup these days.

 

Cory Joseph 30% - Joseph will start at point guard for the next month due to Kyle Lowry’s wrist surgery and had 14 points, eight dimes and two 3-pointers in Saturday’s loss to the Bucks. He’s averaging 12.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.8 3-pointers on 48 percent shooting over his last five games. If you need a point guard, Joseph should be near the top of your waiver-wire wish list.

 

Yogi Ferrell Mavericks 36% - Ferrell looks like the starting point guard in Dallas for the rest of the season and after a slump, he’s scored 17 and 11 points in his last two games. He’s averaging 9.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 0.8 3-pointers, but is shooting just 37 percent from the floor over his last five games. However, he’s hit 50 percent of his shots over his last two games, so things are looking up for the IU product.

 

Ish Smith Pistons 23% - Smith still hasn’t stolen the starting gig from Reggie Jackson, but he’s getting close. He racked up 11 points and 13 dimes on Saturday and had five points and 16 assists on Feb. 23. Over his last five he’s averaging 7.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 8.4 assists, 2.0 steals and 0.8 blocks, but is shooting just 37 percent and doesn’t shoot 3-pointers. Those numbers aren’t bad for a reserve and if he gets the starting job, he’s going to score more points. And even if he doesn’t get Jackson’s job, he’s still worth a look in all leagues.

 

Tyler Ulis Suns 8% - I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been sleeping on Ulis and he scored a career-high 14 points with seven assists and three steals in just 21 minutes on Friday night. He’s racked up at least seven dimes in three straight games and is now averaging 10.3 points, 7.7 assists and 2.0 steals over his last three games. He’s fun to watch and is getting the minutes that Brandon Knight owners thought their player would be getting behind Eric Bledsoe in Phoenix.

 

Others to consider: Rajon Rondo

 

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Shooting Guards

 

Khris Middleton is back, playing very well and should be owned in all leagues.

 

Tim Hardaway Jr. Hawks 44% – Just like teammates Kent Bazemore and Thabo Sefolosha, it’s hard to get a good read on what THJ will do from night to night. But he went off for a career-high 36 points with five 3-pointers on Friday night vs. the Cavs and is averaging 16.4 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.6 3-pointeers on 48 percent shooting over his last five games, getting 28 minutes a night. He’ll have some bad games and it’s very likely that his best game of the season is in the rearview mirror, but he’s getting minutes whether starting or coming off the bench, and is a decent option for a pickup right now.

 

Jamal Crawford Clippers 41% - Crawford went off for 25 points, two rebounds, two assists, two steals and two 3-pointers on 10-of-17 shooting in 26 minutes of Saturday’s loss win over the Bulls. Maybe it was a revenge game, but he looked very good and broke out of a funk that had dogged him for four straight contests. He’s going to be inconsistent with Chris Paul back and J.J. Redick starting, but he’s streaky, and his big game on Saturday should lead to more where that came from.

 

Terrence Ross Magic 48% - Ross is as hit-or-miss as they come but is getting starts for the Magic and playing 35 minutes a game. He’s averaging 13.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.8 blocks and 1.5 3-pointers on 43 percent shooting over his last four games. I like him better in DFS than season-long leagues, but on nights when his shot is falling he can post some big numbers. Like when he had 24 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals, a block and four 3-pointers on 10-of-15 shooting on Feb. 25 against the Hawks.

 

Josh Richardson Heat 24% – Dion Waiters is fading fast and Richardson is getting healthy. He’s getting 24-plus minutes a night right now and is averaging 7.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 0.7 blocks and 0.7 3-pointers over his last two games. He’s been a disappointment all season long due to inconsistency and injuries, but he’s getting healthy and could be getting ready to get hot.

 

Nik Stauskas Sixers 6% - Stauskas has been starting for Gerald Henderson (hip) and finally caught fire on Saturday, knocking down 10-of-15 shots and four 3-pointers for 24 points, five boards, two assists and two steals in a whopping 37 minutes. After a couple of low double-digit games, Stauskas had scored a total of just 14 points over his previous two games. But with the Sixers in tank mode and Henderson injured and old, it makes sense for Philly to turn Stauskas loose and give him the green light the rest of the way. He’ll have some really bad nights where he doesn’t do much, but it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see him start playing better the rest of the way.

 

Others to consider: Sean Kilpatrick, Caris LeVert, Allen Crabbe with a five-game week

 

Small Forwards

 

T.J. Warren Suns 66% – Warren was one of the league’s pleasant surprises early in the season, then disappeared as he struggled to return from a head injury. But he’s really coming on again and it looks like he’ll finish strong for the tanking Suns. He’s been shooting the ball incredibly well and is averaging 17.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 0.8 steals on 67 percent shooting over his last five games. More steals, blocks, assists and 3-pointers would be nice, but if you need a scorer who looks reliable right now, Warren is going to be one of the hotter pickups of the weekend.

 

Moe Harkless Blazers 36% - Harkless is rolling for the Blazers right now and it’s a little surprising that he’s not owned in more leagues. He’s averaging 13.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 1.6 blocks and 1.2 3-pointers on 59 percent shooting over his last five games, getting 35 minutes a night. He should simply be owned in a lot more leagues. And he has five games this week!

 

Jaylen Brown Celtics 7% – Brown doesn’t appear to be going away, despite the return of Avery Bradley. He’s averaging 25 minutes, 13 points, 5.0 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 1.4 3-pointers on 55 percent shooting over his last five games, and had 16 points and eight boards in 23 minutes against the Lakers on Friday. He could disappear at any time, but is playing well for the moment.

 

Justin Anderson Sixers 4% – The tanking Sixers targeted Anderson in a trade from Dallas and have turned him loose over their last three games. He’s coming off the bench, but hit 8-of-12 shots and three 3-pointers for 19 points, five rebounds and a block on Friday night. And over his last three, he’s averaging 10 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 27 minutes per game. He’s a really sneaky pick up right now and the fact he was quiet on Saturday night with five points and eight boards on 1-of-6 shooting means he should still be available in your league. He played 30 minutes in Saturday’s dud, the most action he’d seen since November.

 

Brandon Ingram Lakers 47% – Ingram had a career-high 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting in 35 minutes last Sunday, then followed it up with just eight points in 42 minutes on Tuesday, and failed to score in 26 minutes on Friday. Maybe he just can’t shoot, but he’s still getting 34 minutes a night from the tanking Lakers and you have to think that sooner or later, it will all come together for the rookie. He’s going to be up and down like a roller coaster, but the SF options on the waiver wire are pretty limited. I know that minutes played aren’t a fantasy stat that counts in most leagues, but if they did, he’d have a lot of value. If you pick him up, just hope he gets hot soon.

 

Bonus: Norman Powell Raptors 4% – With Terrence Ross in Orlando, more minutes have opened up for Powell, who is easily outplaying DeMarre Carroll right now. He’s hit double digits in three straight games, averaging 16.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 3-pointers over his last three games, hitting 16-of-30 shots. He’s also seen 25-plus minutes in his last two games, and seems to be coming on.

 

Others to consider: Lance Thomas, Joe Ingles, Andre Iguodala, Matt Barnes

 

Power Forwards

 

Al-Farouq Aminu Blazers 53% - Aminu had 23 points, six boards and five 3-pointers on Saturday against the sieve-like Nets, and finally looks recovered from his recent knee injury. He’s averaging 13 points, 6.5 boards, 1.3 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.8 blocks and 1.8 3-pointers in his four games since returning and should probably be owned in all leagues going forward. He’s shooting 55 percent in those four games, despite missing all five of his shots on Tuesday. And he plays five times this week!

 

Bobby Portis Bulls 25% – It feels like we’ve been calling for Bobby Portis to be freed for years now, and it might finally be happening. He’s gotten heavy minutes in three straight games, doesn’t have to play behind Taj Gibson anymore, and is probably more talented than teammate Nikola Mirotic. Portis is averaging 27 minutes, 13.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.3 3-pointers over his last three games. He’s started in four straight games and it looks like the Bulls are starting to trust him.

 

Richaun Holmes Sixers 35% – Joel Embiid is done, Nerlens Noel is in Dallas and Jahlil Okafor is banged up, so Holmes now looks like the center of choice for the sinking Sixers. He’s averaging 12.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 1.4 blocks and 0.6 3-pointers on 66 percent shooting in 26 minutes a night over his last several games. More rebounds would be nice, but he can block shots, steal the ball, knock down threes, and has scored in double figures in four straight games. He’s a hot pickup right now, so expect to see his ownership increase greatly over the weekend.

 

Terrence Jones Bucks 35% - The former Pelican has yet to make his Bucks’ debut, but with Jabari Parker out for the season and Michael Beasley dealing with a knee injury, Jones could make a Milwaukee impact immediately. Expect to see him make his Bucks’ debut on Monday against the Sixers (great matchup) and look for him to be thrown right into the mix. He’s averaging 11.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 1.0 blocks on the season, but he was constantly in and out of the starting lineup in New Orleans, playing behind Anthony Davis. Jones should be a solid fantasy add right now and we’re expecting him to see at least 25 minutes a night in Milwaukee.

 

Marquese Chriss Suns 19% – Chriss has been all over the place lately, but is getting 26 minutes over his last five games and is averaging 12 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.8 blocks and 1.4 3-pointers on 56 percent shooting over his last five games. With the tank on in Phoenix, Chriss should only get better from here on in, but if you look at his game log, you can tell that it might be a bumpy ride.

 

Others to consider: Skal Labissiere, Larry Nance Jr., Nemanja Bjelica

 

Centers

 

Jusuf Nurkic should already be owned in your leagues. Just double check the waiver wire to make sure he didn’t slip through the cracks, especially with five games this week.

 

Alan Williams Suns 38% – The man known as Big Sauce is making Alex Len an afterthought right now, while Tyson Chandler has basically been shut down for the tank-fest in Phoenix. Sauce is averaging 14.8 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.4 blocks on 63 percent shooting in 25 minutes per game over his last five. And over his last four, he’s averaging 28 minutes. He’s not starting, but he’s really fun to watch, playing at a high level, and possibly the No. 1 pickup option of the week. He’s double-doubled in three of his last four games, racking up 7 blocks along the way.

 

Willy Hernangomez Knicks 38% - Willy has been out with an ankle injury, but is expected to play on Sunday against the Warriors, which will hurt Lance Thomas, who has been very hot. Willy averaged 10.7 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.1 blocks in his 10 February games and will hopefully pick up where he left off today.

 

Willie Cauley-Stein 48% - WCS blew up for 29 points and 10 rebounds on Thursday, Feb. 23, but then went to the bench and scored just two points in his next game on Saturday. Despite the benching, he’s still averaging 13.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.2 blocks on 45 percent shooting over his last five games, getting 29 minutes a night. I wish he was starting, but the Kings need to develop him for the future and almost have no choice but to play him, even if it is off the bench.

 

Cody Zeller Hornets 42% – Frank Kaminsky was crushing while Zeller was out with his quad injury, but then Kaminsky went down with a shoulder injury and we simply don’t know when he’ll return. Zeller had 11 points, eight boards and a steal on Saturday and had six points, eight boards and two steals in 24 minutes on Thursday. As long as Kaminsky’s out, Zeller’s worth a look, but what his role will be once Kaminsky is back and healthy is anyone’s guess.

 

Ivica Zubac Lakers 14% – Zubac is supposedly going to be set free by the Lakers down the stretch, but played just eight minutes on Tuesday, the day that report was released. He bounced back for 23 minutes, eight points, three assists, two steals and two blocks on Friday against Boston, and will hopefully see at least that amount of run tonight (Sunday) against the Pelicans. He’s a project, but the Lakers are in full tank mode and have no reason not to turn Zubac loose and see what he can do the rest of the way.

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.