The World Cup is in full promenade, Thursday Night Football offered up a juicy AFC East matchup between the Bills and Patriots, and the NCAA gave us a top-10 showdown between Texas and Creighton. Yep, it's a great time to be a sports fan. With so much activity, the NBA scaled back with one of its rare, one-game slates. Thursdays are typically light, but it's unusual that only two teams are in action, so tonight's Pickups column will focus on Pistons and Mavericks players.
Dallas is a moribund team in terms of fantasy values, with Luka Dončić ranked 9th in per-game value, Spencer Dinwiddie 62nd, and no other player ranked inside the top-140 for the season. Yikes. Detroit only has one player ranked inside the top-100, and it's… checks notes… Marvin Bagley!? That can't be right…
Neither team has been particularly fantasy friendly, but recent injuries and some solid play have significantly boosted the fantasy stock of several guys who are likely hanging out on your waiver wire. Let's find out who they are.
Marvin Bagley (61%): Seriously, I was wishing for a severe case of carpal tunnel with every word I typed. Bagley has been a vacuous fantasy option over the years, averaging 14 points, seven rebounds, no defensive stats and pedestrian shooting percentages for a big man. We've seen strong stretches before, but for the most part, they've proven to be fool's gold, and he's burned his share of fantasy managers. Could this finally be the turning point?
Bagley has been much maligned due to his on-court performance, and the scrutiny has been even worse for the No. 2 pick considering he was drafted ahead of Luka Dončić, Trae Young, Mikal Bridges and Shai Gilgeous Alexander in 2018. Now happily settled in with the Pistons, are we witnessing the MB3 redemption arc? It sure seems that way, as Bagley ranks 81st in per-game fantasy value over the last week thanks to 15.0 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.7 triples and 1.3 steals while shooting 50% from the floor.
Bagley went for 19 points, 13 boards, two assists, a steal and a triple Thursday to continue his hot streak of play. He's only available in 39% of leagues, but he's certainly worth a look if your league is one of them.
Killian Hayes (56%): We may not see Cade Cunningham back on the court this season, yet Hayes is just 56% rostered? I continue to be amazed when I write this column and glance at the shockingly low percentages that some of these guys command. Hayes posted TOP-30 VALUE over the last week. That's not a typo, folks. He was the hero of Thursday's win over Dallas with 22 points, including eight in overtime and two dagger threes. If we're talking about a redemption arc for Bagley, we've got to talk about one for Hayes, who seemed to be written off after the Pistons selected guards in the lottery in back-to-back drafts after selecting him in 2020.
He's a strong source of assists and steals, two categories that are ridiculously scarce on the waiver wire, so please make sure you pick up Killian “Purple” Hayes. 'Scuse me while I add this guy!
Dorian Finney-Smith (49%): Allow me to paint the portrait of Dorian
Gray Finney-Smith, a man who posted sixth-round value over the last week. He's posted some great 3-and-D stats with steals and triples, though he's done enough in the rebound, assist and points categories to round out a well-balanced stat line. DFS isn't the most exciting player in the world, but if you're looking for reliable fantasy production, you've come to the right place.
Tim Hardaway Jr. (36%): Don't look now, but “Three Point Timmy” is back on the fantasy radar after back-to-back strong performances. THJ isn't the most reliable guy in the world, and he derives most of his value from triples and points, but if Dallas keeps starting him and he's knocking down shots, he can be a useful option in deeper leagues and eventually 12-teamers.
Alec Burks (34%) is in the same vein of “scoring and three-pointers” as THJ, but an interesting wrinkle to Burks' game is his healthy 5.6 free throw attempts per game. That's easily a career-high mark for Burks, and he's hitting 82.1% of them. That's not small for a fantasy hoops team looking for help in the FT% category. Burks is still best reserved for deeper leagues, but like Hardaway Jr., he's inching toward standard league relevance.
Deep-league considerations: Maxi Kleber (10%), Josh Green (10%), Kevin Knox (3%)
Bonus, non DET/DAL add
A.J. Griffin (5%): Griffin should be a popular add, and it's for good reason. John Collins (ankle) is out at least two weeks, and De'Andre Hunter (hip) is out for at least a week, leaving plenty of opportunities available for the rookie to contribute meaningfully. In eight games with at least 20 minutes, Griffin has averaged 13.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 2.0 triples. There are a lot of mouths to feed in Atlanta, but don't sleep on Griffin.