Hello and welcome back to another edition of Waiver Wired! We had a few players graduate from this list such as Gary Trent Jr., Jeremy Lamb and Justin Holiday, but the wire is still loaded with upside with the injuries piling up across the NBA. For news and fantasy advice, find me on Twitter here!
Week 8 Games Played:
4 Games: BOS, CHA, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, LAL, MEM, MIL, MIN, NOP, OKC, ORL, PHX, POR, SAS, TOR, WAS
3 Games: ATL, BKN, CHI, IND, LAC, MIA, NYK, PHI, SAC, UTA
Monday-Tuesday: GSW, HOU, SAS
Tuesday-Wednesday: BKN, NOP
Thursday-Friday: ORL, POR
Friday-Saturday: ATL, NYK, UTA
Sunday-Monday (Next Week): CLE, LAC, SAC, WAS
Top Pickups: These are players that are available in 55% or more of Yahoo Fantasy Leagues. The format I traditionally use when talking about rankings are 9-category leagues, and these players are listed in the order that I’d prioritize them.
Patrick Williams (19%)- With Otto Porter Jr. (back) out indefinitely and Lauri Markkanen injuring his shoulder, Williams now has a clear runway to 30+ minutes with a nice bump in touches -- his usage has been up 4% in recent games.
He’s averaging 18.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.0 dimes, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks and 0.5 triples in 33 minutes over his last two, and based off his per-minute production, he could remain pretty close to these numbers while the Bulls are shorthanded. "It was good to see him be more aggressive and more physical to the rim," coach Billy Donovan said. "Role-wise, the kind of game that I would like to see him do. Where he's attacking downhill, he's rebounding, he's physical, he's playing around the basket, he's taking his pull-up jumper when he's got it." Zach LaVine piled on the praise too, saying Williams can use his physicality to get to the rim at will and called him a “monster.” The Bulls were mocked when they took him 4th overall but it's the Bulls who are laughing now as he has the tools to become a superstar.
Lou Williams (41%)- He hasn’t been good this season and I think that’s pretty obvious. However, the Clippers are going to need the Lou Williams from previous seasons to come back and come back quickly, as Paul George is suffering from bone edema in his toe and doesn’t have a timetable. Lou had 18 points on Friday, hitting three 3-pointers with six assists, two rebounds and one steal in just 22 minutes. Those minutes are likely coming up too with Reggie Jackson suddenly going ice cold. With George off the court this season, Lou’s numbers spike with a per-36 line of 20.3 points, 7.1 dimes, 4.3 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 2.5 triples, and he shoots 6% higher from the field too with a 4% usage bump.
Joe Ingles (41%)- Mike Conley is battling a hamstring issue and coach Quin Snyder said he did not have a timetable. Ingles is the big winner with this news and moves into the starting lineup as the primary playmaker. He had 10 points and11 assists with four boards and a block in 28 minutes in his last game with Conley leaving early, and he has a per-36 line of 13.9 points, 7.5 dimes, 5.0 rebounds, 0.5 steals, 0.5 blocks and 2.9 triples with Conley off the court.
Jakob Poeltl (35%)- He went 0-6 from the field in his last game but that won’t happen often as a career 63% shooter who lives in the paint. LaMarcus Aldridge is going to see a doctor next week to evaluate his hip and it sounds like a lengthy absence could be brewing. The Spurs are high on Poeltl and this will give them a chance to see if he can lock down a starting role. He has five blocks in his last two games and is looking at minutes in the low 30s going forward, so the upside here is massive if you don’t mind a hit to your FT% -- he has a per-36 line of 9.8 points, 11.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 0.9 steals and 2.1 blocks, and those numbers are actually slightly down from previous seasons.
Kendrick Nunn (30%)- This is an aggressive ranking for a player who either plays 30+ minutes or not at all. However, coach Erik Spoelstra has no choice but to play Nunn heavy minutes now, as Goran Dragic injured his ankle pretty badly and Avery Bradley (calf) is out several weeks. Nunn had 25 points (11-of-17 FGs, 1-of-2 FTs) with eight rebounds, one assist, two steals and two triples in 32 minutes in his last outing, and in his last nine active games he’s put up 17.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.7 dimes, 1.3 steals and 2.1 triples on 50% from the field. Jimmy Butler is still working his way back and isn’t himself just yet, so Nunn is going to have a massive role and Spoelstra is giving him the start on Sunday.
Jarred Vanderbilt (12%)- If coach Ryan Saunders knew what he was doing and if the Wolves weren’t actively trying to throw games to protect their top-3 pick, Vanderbilt would be higher on this list. His minutes are down with 19, 16, 21 and 18 in his last four games, but he’s still a 10th-round value over his last 10 games in just 22 minutes with 7.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocks. Maybe this is wishful thinking and I could obviously be wrong, but I’m still high on Vanderbilt and believe Karl-Anthony Towns is going to want to play alongside him because Josh Okogie is not getting the job done, Juancho Hernangomez has been awful and Jaden McDaniels is still very raw (I’m super high on McDaniels in dynasty, however).
Denzel Valentine (2%)- The fantasy community has been hesitant to jump on the Valentine hype train and I get it, as this is a player who hasn’t been able to stay healthy in several years. However, if you look at his per-minute production throughout his career, it’s clear that he offers a ton of upside. He had 20 points (8-of-17 FGs), three rebounds, four assists, one steal and four 3-pointers in his last game, and he’s averaging 15.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.7 dimes, 1.7 steals and 3.0 triples in 25.5 minutes over his last three. Those are top-50(!) numbers in 9-cat, and the minutes could stick with Otto Porter (back) out indefinitely and Lauri Markkanen spraining his shoulder. "When he is challenged, he really, really responds," Donovan coach Billy Donovan said. "I really respect him."
Remember, this front office chose Valentine over Kris Dunn, and Donovan is obviously much more willing to give him a shot as opposed to Jim Boylen. I’m adding everywhere and my expectations are pretty high, as the Bulls could use his added playmaking with Coby White struggling in that regard.
Xavier Tillman (10%)- Jonas Valanciunas is back from the protocols, but he came off the bench in his first game back and the Grizzlies are going to take it easy on him. Tillman has won a rotation spot and could stay above 20+ minutes, at least until Jaren Jackson Jr. (knee) returns (whenever that is). Tillman has the look of a future fantasy stud, posting top-85 numbers over his last seven games with 9.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.6 dimes, 1.3 steals, 1.0 blocks and 0.6 triples in just 25.1 minutes. He has the sixth highest steal rate in the NBA as a rookie and looks like he could make a Draymond-like impact on the stat sheet someday soon.
Theo Maledon (16%)- He only missed one game due to the protocols, which I still don’t fully understand. Well, I thought I did until Kevin Durant was cleared and uncleared 17 times in the span of three minutes. The Thunder did get Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lu Dort back from their injuries, but Maledon’s minutes are here to stay with George Hill (thumb) out for the next month. Over his last five games, Theo is on a top-55 run in 9-cat, averaging 12.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.2 dimes, 2.2 steals and 2.6 triples.
Josh Jackson (17%)- Coach Dwane Casey called him the “wildcard” of the Pistons and more minutes are suddenly available with Derrick Rose gone. The percentages and turnovers terrify me, but strictly as a source of counting stats, Jackson will get the job done. He’s in the middle of his best stretch, averaging 19.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.8 dimes, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks and 3.0 triples over his last four.
T.J. McConnell (26%)- What a run McConnell has had. He’s mostly a two-category player for dimes and steals, but those just so happen to be the hardest stats to fill off the wire. Over his last seven games, he’s sitting on 10th-round value in 9-cat, averaging 6.1 points, 9.4 dimes, 3.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 26.2 minutes. Caris LeVert did rejoin the Pacers but doesn’t have a timetable to play just yet, so McConnell will be a fine pickup until then.
De'Anthony Melton (26%)- I should probably put an asterisk on this one as Melton suffered a left shoulder sprain in his last game. If we learn that he needs to miss time, go pick up Desmond Bane (4%), one of the most impressive rookies this season.
Melton has finally won the trust of Taylor Jenkins in recent games, averaging top-65 numbers in 9-cat in his previous four games with 14.3 points, 4.5 dimes, 4.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, 0.5 steals and 2.8 triples in 26 minutes. And we didn’t even see many steals which is what he’s best at with one of the highest steals rates in the NBA over the last few seasons.
Alex Len (11%)- He doesn’t always pass the eye test and isn’t necessarily a good player, but he does offer great per-minute upside and has stuffed many box scores in the past. Coach Scott Brooks is shaking up his starting lineup and is rolling with Len over Robin Lopez, so it’s time to add him in most leagues with bigs being short of supply these days. Len had a season-high 18 points with five blocks, three rebounds, two assists, two steals and two turnovers in 24 minutes of his last game, but he did clean up in garbage time. I expect him to play around half of the center minutes going forward, and he has a per-24 line of 11.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.5 dimes, 1.5 blocks and 1.1 steals. Fantasy is often times more about opportunity than talent, so let’s add him and see what happens.
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Streamers- I have not listed these players in the order I would prioritize them because it all depends on what categories you’re searching for.
Jeff Green (36%)- He has slowed down, but Kevin Durant quarantining this week should help Green get a bump. Has been a 10th-round value over the last two weeks with 12.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.6 dimes, 1.1 steals and 1.7 triples.
Tomas Satoransky (3%)- I’m keeping a very close eye on him. The Bulls need his playmaking with Coby White struggling and that’s what Billy Donovan was saying this weekend. His minutes are finally trending up after missing so much time with COVID-19 and had nine points (3-of-5 FGs, 1-of-1 FTs), five rebounds, six assists, one steal, two blocks and two 3-pointers in 27 minutes of his last outing. Those are in line with his averages from last season.
Maxi Kleber (11%)- NBA’s lineup data shows that Kleber is the best fit alongside Kristaps Porzingis. Kleber was an underrated fantasy asset last season as a source of triples, rebounds, steals and blocks and had 16 points on Saturday with eight rebounds, four triples and four assists in the win.
Monte Morris (17%)- If Jamal Murray (knee soreness) continues to miss time, Morris will belong in the pickup section above around No. 5. He’s averaging 13.5 points, 5.0 dimes, 3.0 boards and 1.5 triples over his last two games, but when the Nuggets are healthy his numbers have left a lot to be desired.
JaMychal Green (14%)- Coach Michael Malone has grounded Michael Porter Jr. and has been relying on the veteran Green. He’s averaging 12.0 points, 2.0 triples, 5.5 rebounds and 1.0 steals over his last two games, but this is as good as it gets which is why he’s just a streamer.
Danuel House (11%)- Don’t forget, House was a 9th-round value in 9-cat last season. The Rockets are going to need House to step up with Christian Wood (ankle) out a while, so more touches are coming his way. Over his last two, he’s averaging 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 dimes, 2.0 steals and 3.0 triples.
The Clippers- Marcus Morris (18%), Luke Kennard (11%) and Ivica Zubac (33%) are all winners as we wait for a timetable on Paul George. Morris is putting up 12.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 2.2 triples over his last six games and has the least upside here, while Kennard is a sneaky add as the Clippers could use his playmaking with Reggie Jackson struggling. Kennard had a 13/4/3 line with three triples in his first game without George, and as for Zubac I’m curious to see if the Clippers will be open to playing him alongside Serge Ibaka for a few minutes which is going to be the key.
Juan Toscano-Anderson (9%)- James Wiseman (wrist) should be back soon but Toscano-Anderson will be a streamer until then and the Warriors open the week with three games in four nights. In his last three, he averaged top-50 numbers of 10.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.7 dimes, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.7 triples.
Grant Williams (2%)- It sounds like Jaylen Brown should be back in no time, but throwing Grant on here to be safe. Has suddenly started hitting 3-pointers which is the key to his value because he’s already a great source of defensive stats. Was a stat stuffer in college, not so much in the NBA yet.
Hamidou Diallo (28%)- I fear his window is about to close with the Thunder healthy again, but don’t count him out yet.