Ryan Knaus

Waiver Wired

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Waiver Wired: Top NBA Pickups

Sunday, February 26, 2017


The trade deadline created a number of very intriguing pickups, but you had to act quick to secure guys like Willie Cauley-Stein, Yogi Ferrell or Jusuf Nurkic. It never hurts to double-check your waiver wire, but in competitive leagues you'll likely have to go deeper for rest-of-season or streaming value. For a discussion of some of the biggest winners at the deadline, check out the latest Rotoworld Roundtable column!

 

Everyone listed below is at or below 50% ownership in Yahoo leagues, but I go much lower for most recommendations since those ownership rates are heavily influenced by owners who have tuned out. Zach LaVine is owned in exactly 50% of leagues, for instance, and even if we account for keeper and dynasty leagues, that means a large chunk of his owners simply aren't paying attention.

 

T.J. Warren (50% owned) is an obvious add following P.J. Tucker's departure to Toronto. The Suns are leaning into a youth movement down the stretch, which is also why guys like Marquese Chriss (7%) and Alex Len (33%) are also very interesting holds rest-of-season. Chriss vanished from plenty of waiver wires after Saturday's performance, however, when he scored 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting with seven boards, two steals and two blocks.

 

My colleague Mike Gallagher, who lives in Arizona and watches every Earl Watson press conference, is also convinced that Tyler Ulis (1%) will make some noise down the stretch. I'm not betting against it. Alan Williams (1%) slotted into the backup center role on Friday, scoring 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting, and we've seen what he can do when given sufficient minutes. He's a target in deeper leagues.

 

Buddy Hield (46%) probably flew off your waiver wire within hours of the DeMarcus Cousins trade, and both he and Cauley-Stein (57%) are obvious post-deadline additions. Tyreke Evans (57%) is also fine, and deep-league owners should keep a close eye on Skal Labissiere (1%), who looked great in under 14 minutes of action on Saturday.

 

The Lakers are expected to feed their young guys minutes down the stretch, enabling Brandon Ingram (44%) to potentially break out down the stretch. He's already owned in most competitive leagues, as is Ivica Zubac (16%)...I still like Zubac despite his recent inconsistency. Jordan Clarkson (77%) is almost universally owned but I'm not all that into him anyway, whereas a sneaky guy like Larry Nance (21%) continues to produce top-120 roto value without garnering much attention. He's been quiet lately and may be popping up on waiver wires, in which case he's worth a long look.

 

Jon Leuer (43%) has been pretty hot lately and the Pistons' staying pat at the deadline wasn't necessarily a bad thing for Leuer, who has locked up the starting PF job. In 21 starts this season he's averaging 11.1 points, 0.8 threes, 5.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.3 steals and 0.2 blocks. More defensive stats are necessary for him to make a big leap, and his value is grounded in stellar 50.8% field goals and 90.6% free throws.

 

The defensive stats have been there lately for Richaun Holmes (6%), who has made the most of an expanded opportunity with Nerlens Noel traded away and Joel Embiid still on the shelf with a slightly torn meniscus. Philly will continue to play it very safe with Embiid, which is one more reason to think about Holmes in deeper leagues. In the past two games he's averaged 10.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 3.5 blocks.

 

The Bulls have explicitly said that they plan to play their younger guys down the stretch, and that includes Bobby Portis (22%), Cameron Payne (6%), and rookie Denzel Valentine (5%). Valentine busted out for 15 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals in his first post-break game. He cooled off vs. the Cavs on Saturday but is still an interesting option. Ditto for Portis and Payne, the latter of whom should see his minutes rise in the coming weeks as Chicago tests their theory that he can be the PG of the future.

 

Michael Beasley (25%) is making enough noise to warrant ownership in 14-team leagues...at least while he's hot. In the past five games he's averaging 16.2 points, 0.4 threes, 4.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.6 blocks. Keep in mind, however, that he's shooting an unsustainable 64.3% during that span, and has never been a reliable source of supporting stats.

 

This column doesn't provide a comprehensive list, of course, but here are some more guys worth a look if they're floating on your wire: Andre Roberson (11%), Channing Frye (33%), Terrence Ross (32%), Josh Richardson (28%), Ish Smith (23%), Ben McLemore (9%), and Nik Stauskas (6%). Even K.J. McDaniels (1%) is even worth monitoring in an anything-could-happen situation with the Nets. Good luck this week.



Despite residing in Portland, Maine, Ryan Knaus remains a heartbroken Sonics fan who longs for the days of Shawn Kemp and Xavier McDaniel. He has written for Rotoworld.com since 2007. You can follow him on Twitter.
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