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Week 10 Schedule: Games Played
4 Games: OKC, ORL
3 Games: Everyone else
2 Games: CHA, CLE, MIN, POR
Week 10 Back-to-Backs:
Sunday (Dec. 19th)-Monday: CHA, CHI, MEM, PHI, SAC, SAS
Wednesday-Thursday: ATL, DEN, HOU, MIL, OKC, ORL
Waiver Wire Pickups:
*To qualify for this list, players have to be available in over 60% of Yahoo Leagues.
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Davion Mitchell (14%)- The Kings have several players in the protocols with De’Aaron Fox being the headliner, while Tyrese Haliburton is on the injury report with a back issue. Mitchell was already accustomed to seeing sizable workloads, but now he’s about to get a serious bump in usage. In a sample size of 390 minutes, Mitchell has a per-36 line of 15.7 points, 5.4 dimes, 3.6 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 1.9 triples to go with a 5% usage rate bump with Fox off the court. The Kings also have a +7.8 net rating in that sample size too, so he’s certainly capable of running the show when needed.
UPDATE: Here we go again. Davion joined the protocols shortly after I posted this column, gutting the Kings of their backcourt depth and leaving us without a must-grab player on the Sacramento roster.
Isaiah Hartenstein (14%)- I’m looking to scoop up Hartenstein everywhere as he’s finally getting the minutes he deserves. He has eclipsed 20 minutes in three straight and just put up his second impressive line in a row, averaging 13.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.0 dimes, 1.0 steals and 2.0 blocks in his last two games.
"He amazed me by the way he passed the basketball, his reads, and his instincts with the basketball in his hands and so you don’t really see that a lot from a guy who’s 6-11, 7 foot, to be able to make instinctive plays like he can,” coach Ty Lue said. Serge Ibaka has been racking up DNP-CDs and Ivica Zubac has seen his minutes decline, so I’m liking the chances of Hartenstein making a run here as he continues to earn the trust of Lue.
Kenrich Williams (2%)- I’ll go ahead and warn you that OKC only plays one more time this week, but they do follow that with a 4-4 schedule for the next two weeks. Kenrich had 17 points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals and five triples in 26 minutes vs. the Pelicans on Wednesday, and we’ve seen lines like these before. Lu Dort is battling an ankle injury and Aleksej Pokusevski is getting some reps in the G League, so Kenrich may be able to play a featured role in the short term. And that’s great news for OKC’s front office, as Kenrich is widely viewed as a valuable trade chip around the NBA – he’s owed a combined $4M in salary for this season and next.
Malik Beasley (33%)- Yes he’s coming off a pair of duds, but Beasley is about to get a massive boost in fantasy appeal with Anthony Edwards in the protocols. With a 300-minute sample size, Beasley has a per-36 line of 17.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.5 dimes, 1.1 steals and 4.3 triples with Edwards off the court. Don’t overthink this one, just add him.
KJ Martin (4%)- One of my favorite silly-season heroes from last season is finally getting some much-deserved run in Houston. He’s now played 26+ minutes in three straight, averaging 14.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.7 dimes and 1.0 triples. There haven’t been many steals and blocks lately, but he usually thrives there – he averages a combined 2.2 stocks per 36 minutes for his career.
Devin Vassell (30%)- Don’t let his recent slump fool you, as he’s still working his way back to 100 percent. Even when his shot isn’t falling, Vassell gets the job done on the defensive end with impressive steal/block rates – he averages 1.6 steals and 1.1 blocks per 36 minutes. And with the Spurs sitting in 12th out West, Vassell is likely to become a featured player down the stretch as one of their key building blocks of the rebuild.
Miles McBride (2%)- I initially wrote up Immanuel Quickley as a priority add, only for him to be the latest player to join the protocols. With Derrick Rose battling an ankle injury and Kemba Walker on ice indefinitely, the Knicks will have to rely on the rookie for the next 10+ days. He shined on Thursday with the Knicks snapping a 4-game losing streak, scoring 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting with nine assists, four steals, three boards and two triples across 36 minutes. McBride made a promise on draft night to make every team who passed on him pay, so his new fantasy managers will be hoping he keeps his word.
Danilo Gallinari (30%)- Nothing to see here as Gallo continues to go unnoticed in so many leagues. In his last six games, he’s sitting inside the top-50 for 9-cat in only 25.5 minutes.
Herb Jones (19%)- His last two games weren’t exciting by any means, but the minutes remain stable and the Pelicans announced on Thursday that Zion Williamson (foot injection) would be re-evaluated in 4-6 weeks. I still have my doubts that Zion plays this season, and that’s bullish for Herb who continues to make an impact on both ends. Over his last eight games, Herb has been a 9th-round value in 9-cat with 9.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.0 dimes, 1.0 steals, 1.5 blocks and 0.6 triples. He gives me some serious Robert Covington vibes with more playmaking but less shooting, and those steal/block rates are for real – he averaged 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks in 27 minutes for Alabama as a senior.
Isaac Okoro (23%)- Okoro’s thunderous dunk vs. Houston on Wednesday (link) sums up how he’s been playing lately, as his offensive impact is suddenly catching up to his elite defense. A career 29% shooter from deep, Okoro appears to have found his range, hitting 10-of-18 triples in his last five outings. In that same stretch, he ranks inside the top-70 for 9-cat leagues with 16.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.4 dimes, 0.6 steals and 2.0 triples. Even if his 3-point shot regresses again, he could offset that with a bump in steals which he’s usually good for one a game.
“It’s the confidence and the belief that he is an elite defender,” coach Bickerstaff said. “And that carries over to his confidence on the offensive end of the floor. He’s been spending a ton of time in the corners the past week, and he’s been working and working and working and you start to see that pay off. Now teams have to guard him and close him out. Now he can drive to the basket and finish and play to his strengths.” So, it’s his work ethic. It’s his commitment to it that’s given him an opportunity to have some success.”
UPDATE: The Cavaliers announced that Okoro entered the health and safety protocols on Thursday night, so unless we’re dealing with a false positive, he’s looking at 10 days on the sidelines. Cedi Osman now becomes the priority pickup and will be discussed below.
Cedi Osman (12%)- With Okoro in the protocols, the Cavaliers are going to need a ton of minutes out of their veteran wing. Osman is quietly having a productive season and I like him quite a bit as a pickup for the next 10+ days. In the past month, he managed to return 11th round numbers in only 21 minutes per game with 10.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.9 dimes, 1.6 steals, 0.5 blocks and 2.0 triples. If he approaches 30 minutes per night, we’re talking about a potential top-75 option.
Patrick Beverley (26%)- My analysis from last week hasn’t changed, and it’s quite surprising to see that Beverley is still so widely available. In his last four games since returning, Beverley averaged 11.0 points, 5.3 assists, 2.8 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 0.3 blocks and 1.5 triples. The steals/blocks are usually much better, so he still has another gear to hit. And with Anthony Edwards now in the protocols, there is suddenly a lot more usage to soak up.
Nicolas Claxton (16%)- Pegged as a breakout candidate by myself and many others, Claxton’s 2021-22 season hasn’t gone to plan between some mixed play and a mysterious month-long absence. But with several players in the protocols, including starting center LaMarcus Aldridge, Claxton has finally delivered for the Nets in their last two games. He’s averaging 16.5 points, 4.5 boards, 1.0 steals and 1.5 blocks in just 24.0 minutes in that stretch, and he could maintain this role through Christmas.
“I think he’s improved his finishing over people,” coach Steve Nash said. “He’s developed and has more confidence and strength. He’s finishing in the paint as well.” Claxton raises Brooklyn’s ceiling because he can protect the rim and he can be a lob threat in the pick-and-roll with James Harden, so it’s not out of the question that he remains relevant when LMA comes back too.
RJ Hampton (2%)- Orlando is one of two teams that play four times next week, and Gary Harris just picked up his 19th hamstring tweak of the season. Harris played 30+ minutes in seven of his last eight games, so another absence for the veteran would open up a lot of room for Hampton. In addition to Harris, Cole Anthony just popped up on the injury report with another ankle issue, so that’s another path to more minutes for Hampton. He had 15 points (4-of-9 FGs, 4-of-5 FTs), four assists, and three 3-pointers in 27 minutes on Wednesday, and we’ve seen some big lines from him in the past when given the opportunity –feel free to pull up his box scores to end 2020-21 for a trip down memory lane.
UPDATE: With the news of Hampton heading into the protocols, he will miss a minimum of 10 days barring a false positive. With Terrence Ross joining him, that suddenly makes Gary Harris somewhat interesting IF he can shake his hamstring issue. In his past eight games, Haris was a 9th rounder with 12.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.5 dimes, 1.1 steals and 2.0 triples. Those numbers aren’t exciting, but we can’t ignore the four games played for Orlando.
Saben Lee (6%)- Jerami Grant’s extended absence will open the door for a lot of value in Detroit, as he was rocking a 27% usage rate with 16 shots per game. Saben Lee is certainly one of the most intriguing names, and he looked great in his last two games with 14.0 points, 3.5 boards, 5.5 dimes, 3.0 steals and 1.0 triples. The bad news is that he played just 21 minutes on Thursday with Killian Hayes back in the lineup, and the Pistons haven’t seemed interested in using those two guys together much – they have shared the floor for a total of 17 minutes this season…
The hope here is that Saben’s talent forces coach Dwane Casey’s hand, and if he starts eclipsing 25+ minutes regularly then I think that will be enough to have standard-league appeal. His 3-point shot was his weakness coming into the NBA, but he had a promising run in the G League to begin this season by hitting 47% of his attempts. “He’s worked on it and done a good job of developing his 3-point shot,” Casey said. “I don’t think anyone holds their breath anymore when he shoots it because now you feel like it’s going in. There’s no limitations for him as a player.” Watch him closely.
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Dorian Finney-Smith (36%)- Sometimes boring is good enough. DFS contributes to every category and has one of the safest workloads in the NBA. DFS is a 10th-rounder in 9-cat on the season.
Eric Gordon (35%)- His momentum will end the second the starting backcourt is healthy, but you can’t go wrong with Gordon as a source of points, triples and low-end dimes until then.
P.J. Tucker (32%)- With 60+ players in the protocols midway through December, we’ve officially reached the part of the season in which Tucker has become a viable streamer. What a time to be alive.
Eric Bledsoe (23%)- His minutes cratered before the Paul George elbow injury, but I feel comfortable streaming him until the Clippers get their star forward back. Bledsoe is coming off a massive 21/8/5 line.
Terance Mann (22%)- Just like Bledsoe, he may disappear when George comes back. Mann put up 11.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.0 dimes and 1.3 triples in his last four.
Cam Reddish (17%)- He’s putting late-round numbers in his last two, but I also think there is some stash appeal here with Atlanta apparently open to moving him for a first-round pick.
Cam Payne (13%)- Quietly averaging 14.3 points, 4.8 dimes and 3.5 rebounds in his last four. Devin Booker (hamstring) just recently started on-court work.
Nassir Little (9%)- Hasn’t been reliable in fantasy lately, but if the Blazers blow it up and rebuild, Little has the potential to be a top-75 player down the stretch.