Hello and welcome to another edition of Waiver Wired! If you couldn’t already tell, this was an absolutely brutal week around the NBA with several players sent to isolation with COVID-19 or as a precaution with contact tracing, and we didn’t have much luck on the injury front either with several key players going down. That has created some value on the waiver wire though, so let’s break down the top adds for Week 4. For NBA news and fantasy advice, find me on Twitter here!
Week 4 Games Played:
5 Games: IND, PHI
4 Games: ATL, BOS, CHA, CLE, DAL, MEM, NOP, NYK, OKC, ORL, PHX, POR, SAC, UTA, WAS
3 Games: BKN, CHI, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, LAC, LAL, MIA, MIL, SAS, TOR
2 Games: MIN
Week 4 Back-to-Backs:
Monday-Tuesday: CLE, IND, PHI
Tuesday-Wednesday: BOS, BKN, LAL, OKC, UTA
Wednesday-Thursday: CHA, POR
Friday-Saturday: ATL, DET, MEM, ORL, PHO
Saturday-Sunday: IND, PHI
Next Sunday-Monday: CHI, CLE, DAL, NYK, WAS
Top Waiver-Wire Pickups:
*These are the guys I consider to be must-roster players in 9-category leagues in the order that I would prioritize them. In order to qualify, they must be available in 60% or more of Yahoo Leagues. For that reason, you won’t see guys like Cam Reddish (47%), Nicolas Batum (47%), etc.
Justin Holiday (31% rostered)- Holiday has been a regular on this column, but shoots up to No. 1 this week with a whopping five games on the schedule. T.J. Warren (foot) has no timetable and Holiday has been on fire for the Pacers, posting top-65 value in 9-cat for the last two weeks. He’s putting up 12.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.3 blocks and 2.1 triples on 57% from the field, and it’s not like he hasn’t done this before -- he was a mid-rounder back in his Chicago days.
Kelly Olynyk (33%)- Admittedly, I was too slow to get on the Olynyk hype train. Meyers Leonard and Moe Harkless were getting burn at the four early this season, but have since fallen out of the rotation with Olynyk being the reason why. Coach Erik Spoelstra loves to mix things up which could be an issue eventually, but for now it looks like he’s content with Olynyk as the primary big alongside Bam Adebayo. Olynyk is getting 27 minutes per game over the last two weeks and has turned in top-60 numbers of 12.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.3 dimes, 0.8 steals, 1.0 blocks and 3.0 triples on 48% from the field and 66% from the line.
Hamidou Diallo (10%)- Things are really starting to click for the 22-year-old wing. He’s averaging 10.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 0.9 steals per game on 52.4% shooting for the season in 20 minutes, but is coming off a breakout game with a season-high 23 points and a career-high-tying 11 rebounds, two assists and one steal in 28 minutes. “He’s had a lot of ups and downs, he’s had injuries, he’s had a lot of nights where he’s probably staring at the ceiling, and it’s just a reminder that development’s not linear,” coach Mark Daigneault said. “He’s somebody that’s weathered storms. To his credit he’s been professional and he’s just stayed consistent.”
Diallo, who is known for his athleticism after posting a ridiculous 44.5 inch vertical at the combine, has been getting to the rim at will and ranks 7th in the NBA on those shots (69.7%). His jumper is still a work in progress as he’s hitting 28% of his 3s and is a career 25% shooter from deep, but there’s some fun upside here. And as many of you know, taking a shot on a young player on a rebuilding team is a recipe for success in fantasy.
Austin Rivers (26%)- With Alec Burks (ankle) still on the shelf, Austin Rivers has stepped up for the Knicks after missing the beginning of the season with a groin injury. In five appearances, Rivers has been a top-90 player in 9-cat in just 27 minutes with 13.0 points, 3.2 dimes, 2.6 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 2.6 triples on 55% from the field. Better days are ahead too, as Rivers has logged at least 32 minutes in his last three and has shined with the ball in his hands, ranking in the 97th percentile as a ball-handler in the pick-and-roll. The Knicks are competitive for the first time in a while too at 5-4, so Rivers’ workload appears to be stable for the foreseeable future.
Cameron Johnson (34%)- This sharpshooter is quietly having a top-75 season in 9-cat, becoming the next must-roster 3-point specialist in the mold of Duncan Robinsons and Davis Bertans of the world. He did go through a slump last week, but has been red hot over his last three with 14.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 blocks and 3.3 triples on 47% shooting in 26.7 minutes.
Moritz Wagner (6%)- Just like Hamidou Diallo, this aggressive ranking comes down to pure upside. Fantasy stud Thomas Bryant is out for the season after tearing his ACL, and while Robin Lopez becomes the starter by default, Wagner is by far the more intriguing player. According to Wizards reporter Chase Hughes, Bryant’s injury “paves the way for Moe Wagner more than anyone.” Wagner has been prone to injuries, foul trouble and inconsistent shooting early in his career, but has a tantalizing fantasy game with a career per-36 line of 16.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.3 dimes, 1.1 steals, 0.9 blocks and 1.4 triples on 49% from the field and 81% from the line. I believe this will be a timeshare at first with roughly 20 minutes for each, but I’m expecting Wagner to win the battle and earn a larger role in a season that is already lost for the Wizards.
Delon Wright (30%)- The amount of times Delon Wright has burned fantasy managers is just pure comedy. We’re all so desperate for him to find the form he had for Memphis when he was a triple-double threat and fantasy stud, and while it hasn’t been pretty for him in Detroit, there’s just too much opportunity to ignore with Killian Hayes (hip) out indefinitely and Derrick Rose (knee) battling soreness.
Wright had 16 points, six dimes, five rebounds and one turnover in 34 minutes of his last outing which tells me he still has a pulse, and he touched the ball 78(!) times compared to his season average of 45.0. That alone is enough reason to add him everywhere.
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Payton Pritchard (17%)- Unless Jayson Tatum (COVID-19) had a false positive, he’s looking at 10-14 days on the shelf, a gut punch to Boston and Tatum’s fantasy managers. Kemba Walker (knee) was recently cleared to practice but I haven’t seen a target date yet, meaning Pritchard should have some really nice short-term value. He’s firmly ahead of Jeff Teague right now, and is one of eight Celtics available this weekend. He’s averaging 11.3 points, 4.5 dimes, 3.5 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 1.5 triples over his last four, and now we get to see what he can do with no Tatum. But if you’re looking for someone for the long haul, I’d prioritize someone else.
Josh Jackson (33%)- A lot of the analysis in Delon Wright’s blurb applies here too. The Pistons are super thin right now, and Jackson is someone who can do a little bit of everything at multiple positions. He was coming off a two-game absence which explains the low minutes last game, but still has a respectable line of 14.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.7 dimes, 1.0 steals, 0.6 blocks and 1.4 triples in 23 minutes per game. Surely more touches are coming his way on that dumpster fire of a roster.
Royce O’Neale (25%)- Rarely will O’Neale catch your eye like his 18-point eruption with six triples vs. the Bucks, but he’s one of those guys that you just leave in your lineup and quietly let him go to work with contributions across the board. He’s an 8th-rounder in 9-cat that no one talks about, averaging 8.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.4 blocks and 2.2 triples.
De’Anthony Melton (7%)- For some reason, coach Taylor Jenkins thinks Grayson Allen is an NBA player. He’s not. Jenkins is using multiple wings right now instead of playing his best defender big minutes, but Melton is still doing some damage in 19.7 minutes over his last three, posting top-90 numbers of 9.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.7 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 triples. Until Taylor Jenkins wakes up, Melton can be treated as a high-end stash.
Tyrese Maxey (18%)- We are completely in the dark with what is going on in Philly. If Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are actually hurt and didn’t simply rest, Maxey becomes a priority add in a 5-game week. Maxey hit 18-of-33 shots and 3-of-8 3-pointers for a career-high 39 points, six assists, seven rebounds and two steals with two turnovers for the shorthanded 76ers, but it’s hard to gauge his value for the coming week when we don’t know the status of half of Philly’s roster.
Trey Burke (1%)- At first glance, it looks like Trey Burke could have some really nice value this week if several Mavericks remain in the medical protocols. Burke shined in the Orlando bubble so we know the talent is there, and he erupted for a season-high 29 points while hitting 11-of-13 shots and seven 3-pointers with four assists in just 21 minutes vs. the Magic.
Patty Mills (32%)- He’s been hot off the bench with 14.7 points, 3.3 triples, 3.2 dimes and 1.5 rebounds in 25.7 minutes over the last two weeks. Window for value remains open as long as Derrick White (toe) is out.
Luguentz Dort (30%)- His amazing start to the season appears to have been wishful thinking. He’s still one of the NBA’s best defenders, but has had trouble translating that to steals and blocks. I guess you could say he’s pulling a De’Andre Hunter. His season averages of 12.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.0 dimes, 0.6 steals and 2.0 triples is still stream worthy in a 4-game week.
Eric Paschall (12%)- Has been way better with the second unit where he can handle the ball. Minutes aren’t great, but he’s been super productive with 13.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.5 dimes and 0.7 triples over the last two weeks in 18 minutes per.
Deni Avdija (17%)- For whatever reason, the Wizards have really soured on Troy Brown Jr. With Bradley Beal in the medical protocols, Deni broke out of a nasty slump with a career-high 20 points (7-of-15 FGs, 1-of-1 FTs) along with five rebounds, five assists and two steals in 32 minutes. He needs the ball in his hands to be a factor and that’s going to happen for as long as Beal is out.
Robin Lopez (1%)- I’m only expecting 24 minutes for Lopez. Has a per-24 line of 9.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 0.9 blocks. Boring.