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Waiver Wired

Wired: Top NBA Pickups Week 18

by Steve Alexander

Weeks 18 and 19 Schedule: Games Played

 

5 Games: NYK

4 Games: ATL, BKN, BOS, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, IND, LAC, MEM, MIA, MIL, MIN, NOP, OKC, ORL, PHI, POR, TOR, WAS

3 Games: LAL, PHX, SAC, SAS, UTA

 

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We combined Weeks 18 and 19 here, as the All-Star break will leave the number of games played at a minimum over the next two weeks. The Knicks are the only team with five games, so in addition to the guys listed below, Dennis Smith Jr., Kevin Knox, Allonzo Trier, Damyean Dotson, Mario Hezonja and Noah Vonleh all deserve a close look due to the number of games they play.

 

Point Guards

 

4 Terry Rozier Celtics 49 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues - Kyrie Irving left Saturday’s game with a sprained knee and didn’t return. And as we all know, whenever Kyrie’s out, Rozier goes off, and Irving will have more tests done on Sunday. Rozier did so again on Saturday with 16 points, five boards, three assists, two steals and two 3-pointers, and came in already hot. He’s averaging 11.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.4 3-pointers over his last five games, and with Irving’s latest injury, he’s simply a must-own player at this point. Marcus Smart did nothing on Saturday, but is also worth a look, especially if Irving’s going to miss time.

 

3 Tyler Johnson Suns 37% – TJ struggled in his debut on Friday, hitting just 1-of-9 shots, but he started and played 28 minutes, and also had two steals and a 3-pointer. It was a rough start, but it looks like the Suns want him to start and play a ton of minutes. The ASB schedule is a bummer, though.

 

4 Patrick Beverley Clippers 37% – Beverley’s cruising and had a 12-9-7 line on Saturday against the Celtics, and is averaging 10.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.6 blocks and 1.6 3-pointers over his last five games. He’s playing well enough to be owned in most leagues these days.

 

3 Patty Mills Spurs 14% - Mills is averaging 12.2 points, 2.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 0.4 steals and 2.2 3-pointers over his last five games. It’s almost impossible to pick between him and Bryn Forbes in DFS, and Forbes is averaging 11.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.4 steals and 2.0 3-pointers over his last five. Both players are worth a look any time the Spurs are playing, but I trust Patty a little more than Bryn.  The three games aren’t very intriguing here.

 

4 Monte Morris Nuggets 35% – Morris played just 13 minutes on Friday and the end could be near for him. Jamal Murray is healthy, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Morris continues to play decent minutes, even with Murray back. That wasn’t the case on Friday and the Nuggets don’t play again until Monday. Morris is trending down, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he remains relevant. But I wouldn’t start him next week.

 

Shooting Guards

 

4 Caris LeVert Nets 71% – LeVert finally returned from his severe ankle injury on Friday and had 11 points, two rebounds and four assists in 15 minutes. He’s going to be on a minutes limit for a bit, but he’s too talented to be left on the wire for much longer. It’s time to move on him in case he explodes in the final couple months of the season.

 

4 Malik Beasley Nuggets 48% – Beasley’s hit double digits in scoring in every game since Jan. 9 and is still rolling, even though the Nuggets are getting healthy. Beasley’s still at 20.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 3.4 3-pointers over his last five games, and honestly, I’d rather own him than LeVert right now.

 

4 Kevin Huerter Hawks 34% – I still don’t understand why he’s not owned in more leagues, but Huerter is locked in as a starter in the ATL and is averaging 13 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 0.8 steals and 3.0 3-pointers on 57 percent shooting over his last five games. Go get him.

 

3 Mikal Bridges Suns 40% - The minutes have been there all season for MB and he bounced back from a couple quiet nights on Friday with 19 points, five boards, three assists, two steals and four 3-pointers. He’s averaging 14.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.8 steals and 2.8 3-pointers on 54 percent shooting over his last five games, and even with only three games over the next two weeks, I’m still all-in on Bridges.

 

4 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Clippers 31% – Avery Bradley is gone and SGA should get at least 26 minutes a night the rest of the way. He had a fun stat line of 14 points, four rebounds, five assists, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer on Saturday, and is averaging 12.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.0 blocks and 0.4 3-pointers on 50 percent shooting over his last five. Landry Shamet is in LAC and could eat into some of what SGA does, but with Bradley gone, I’m expecting SGA to finish up the season strong.

 

4 Luke Kennard Pistons 4% – Reggie Bullock was traded to the Lakers and Kennard should be the winner here. He had 12 points, three boards, three assists, a block and two 3-pointers in 29 minutes on Friday, and is available everywhere. He’s not a must-own player, but I get the feeling he’s getting ready to start offering consistent fantasy value going forward.

 

4 Delon Wright Grizzlies 11% - Wright played 23 minutes for the Grizzlies on Saturday and had seven points, a couple assists and a steal in 23 minutes. He can play several positions, the Grizzlies aren’t going anywhere, and Wright could be a sneaky add. His numbers aren’t worth posting, but he can steal, three, rebound, assists and score, and is going to be a popular deep-league add.

 

4 Allen Crabbe Nets 30% – Crabbe’s been back for two games and had 19 points and five triples in 21 minutes on Friday. He’s a good player, but there are a lot of options in Brooklyn, and Crabbe might suffer once LeVert is up to full speed. But he’s still worth a look now that his knee is feeling better.

 

Small Forwards

 

4 Johnathan Isaac Magic 66% – Isaac has been tough to own for much of the season, but was already coming on before Jonathon Simmons was traded to the Sixers at the deadline. Simmons led the Magic with 17 points and added six rebounds, two blocks and three 3-pointers on Saturday, and should be good to go the rest of the way. His last-five numbers have been solid, but they don’t even matter. Isaac is now as must-own as they come, so go get him if he’s somehow still available.

 

4 Jabari Parker Wizards 57% – Parker has been freed from the Bulls and had seven points, 11 boards, nine assists, three steals, a block and a 3-pointer in his Wiz debut on Friday. He backed that up with 20 points, five boards, six assists, a steal and two blocks in 35 minutes on Saturday, and it’s clear he’s going to have a big role in Washington. Don’t think about it. Just go get him.

 

4 Kenrich Williams Pelicans 29% – Williams is averaging 12.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 0.4 steals, 1.0 blocks and 2.2 3-pointers over his last five games. He went off on Saturday, flirting with a triple-double, and finished with 10 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, a block and a 3-pointer, despite hitting just 4-of-10 shots and 1-of-6 3-pointers in his 37 minutes. The Pelicans love him, he’s been playing well for a couple weeks, and his ownership should be at least doubled by this time next week.

 

4 Justin Holiday Grizzlies 42% - Holiday has been rolling with Kyle Anderson injured, and the Grizzlies added both Avery Bradley and Delon Wright, which could make things dicey for Holiday going forward. But he’s been rolling, can play multiple positions, and is averaging 14.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.4 blocks and 2.4 3-pointers over his last five. I’m all about owning him right now, but as soon as the wheels start to come off, moving on makes sense.

 

4 Jake Layman Blazers 10% - Layman’s been cooking for the Blazers, and while it’s true they brought Rodney Hood in to threaten Layman’s status, I still like Layman better. He’s averaging 15 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.8 blocks and 1.6 3-pointers in 30 minutes over his last five games. I’m not scared of Hood, and you probably shouldn’t be either.

 

4 David Nwaba Cavaliers 2% – The Cavs are a mess and Nwaba has been starting at shooting guard lately. He went off for 17 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and two 3-pointers on Friday, but then fizzled on Saturday, hitting just 2-of-5 shots for five points in 23 minutes against the Pacers. He’s gotten solid run over his last four games, and while Saturday was a huge disappointment, I still think Nwaba has the potential for a solid finish to the season. Or at least a nice run for the next three weeks or so.

 

Power Forwards

 

4 Kenneth Faried Rockets 66% – Clint Capela is targeting the first game after the All-Star break, which is Feb. 21, or 11 days from now. I’m secretly hoping the Rockets use Faried over P.J. Tucker once Capela is back, but it’s not all that likely to happen. But the bottom line is we should have four more solid outings coming from Faried, who has become a double-double machine. If you’re looking long term, there are better players to grab than Faried. But if you’re looking for two more weeks of production, he should get them.

 

4 Bobby Portis Wizards 58% – Portis has officially been freed and went off for 30 points, six boards, two assists, a steal and four 3-pointers on 12-of-18 shooting for the Wizards on Friday, and backed that up with 10 points, 12 boards, four assists and two steals on Saturday. He was already playing well in Chicago, and hasn’t missed a beat in Washington. Go get him. Also, Portis is going to hurt the value of Thomas Bryant going forward, and I’d rather own most centers out there than Bryant right now. Which makes me a little sad.

 

3 Josh Jackson Suns 55% - Jackson’s on a run of seven straight games in double figures and had scored between 25 and 27 in three straight before Friday’s 19-point game. He’s averaging 22 points, 5.0 boards, 4.2 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.4 blocks and 1.2 3-pointers on 51 percent shooting over his last five. I love what he did over the second half last season, and he’s presenting us with a repeat performance so far this year. He’s a must-own player in my book.

 

4 Maxi Kleber Mavericks 13% – With both Harrison Barnes and Dennis Smith Jr. out of Dallas, Kleber has a route to minutes and a big role the rest of the season. He’s scored in double figures in three straight and has played at least 25 minutes in four straight. He’s averaging 9.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.0 blocks, 0.8 steals and 1.5 3-pointers over his last four games. He’s widely available and qualifies as a sleeper-add right now. Dorian Finney-Smith (owned in 10%) has also been playing very well for the Mavs and is averaging 9.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.4 blocks and 1.2 3-pointers on 50 percent shooting over his last five. He’s also worth a look, but Kleber’s the guy I’m targeting.

 

4 Dario Saric Wolves 54% - Taj Gibson is fading, but has not yet seen his flame completely go out, while Saric is finally showing signs of life. He had 22 points, seven boards, five assists and four 3-pointers on Tuesday, and backed that up with 17 points, eight boards and three 3-pointers on Thursday. Friday didn’t go as well, but he still played more minutes than Gibson in that one, finishing with nine points, three boards, one assist, one steal and a 3-pointer in 25 minutes. I think Gibson will continue to fizzle and also think that Saric could finally start living up to the hype over the rest of the season.

 

Centers

 

4 Ivan Rabb Grizzlies 28% – For now, the Grizzlies are saying that Rabb will start over Jonas Valanciunas. We kind of wrote Rabb off as dead once JV moved to the Grizzlies, but not so fast. Rabb’s been a blast to own since February rolled around, averaging 12.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.6 blocks on 64 percent shooting. And over his last three, those numbers jump up to 14.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.0 blocks on 72 percent shooting over his last three games. I have no idea how long this will last, but Rabb is worth holding, or picking up, everywhere. Valanciunas is ready to play, but had some visa stuff that kept him out on Saturday.

 

4 Ivica Zubac Clippers 34% – Zubac got his Clippers career kicked off with 12 points, nine boards and three blocks in 23 minutes against the Celtic son Saturday. Zubac and a red-hot Montrezl Harrell are going to both get minutes at center, but Zubac is in a good spot for success here. Simply put, he should be grabbed if you need a center.

 

3 Mitchell Robinson Knicks 22% – Robinson has been rolling for three straight games, despite the arrival of DeAndre Jordan, averaging 13 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.7 blocks over those games. All the upside is there, and while he’ll continue to likely bounce up and down like a yo-yo, he’s going to get minutes and get a chance to shine for the Knicks. It’s time.

 

4 Dwight Powell Mavericks 24% – Now that DeAndre Jordan is in New York, Powell has to play a big part in the middle for the Mavs. They’ve started both Maxi Kleber and Dorian Finney-Smith in the last two, foregoing a true center, but I still think Powell’s time is coming in Dallas. He had an 11 & 12 double-double with two steals and two blocks on Wednesday, and had 12 points, eight boards, a steal and three 3-pointers in just 20 minutes on Friday. Powell’s ability to hit the occasional 3-ball is intriguing, as is the fact that he’s now the Mavericks’ center.

 

4 Ante Zizic Cavaliers 17% – Kevin Love, Larry Nance and Tristan Thompson are all going to hurt Zizic going forward. He’s still worth a look, but the Cavaliers’ big-man spots are a complete crapshoot right now, and Zizic could be the odd man out. Keep a close eye on him over the next several games.

 

4 Boban Marjanovic Sixers 4% - Boban’s per-minute stats are pretty inspiring and Joel Embiid’s health is always a concern. He played 15 minutes in his Sixers debut on Friday and had four points, two rebounds and one block. If Embiid misses time, Boban will be an intriguing DFS option, but that’s about it. 

Steve Alexander
Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for Rotoworld.com and a contributor to NBCSports.com. The 2017-18 NBA season marks (at least) his 16th year of covering fantasy hoops for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.