By Alex Rikleen, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
It looks like Christmas came a little late this year. After a disappointing crop of waiver wire candidates last week, Week 11 offers multiple players with potentially season-defining upside.
This week also saw our first in-season trade, with the Cavaliers shipping Jordan Clarkson to the Jazz in exchange for Dante Exum. Unfortunately for us, there’s not a ton of fantasy impact — Darius Garland got bumped up the “other recommendations” list at the bottom, but he’s still not important enough to warrant a full blurb. Hopefully, this trade will be the first of many.
Week 11 is another relatively light week, with just nine teams playing four games and three teams playing twice. On light weeks like this, there is less harm to playing someone with just two games, i.e., members of the Rockets, Pelicans or 76ers.
Correspondingly, there is an additional advantage to playing someone from one of the teams with four games: Cavaliers, Pistons, Clippers, Heat, Timberwolves, Magic, Suns, Trail Blazers, and Wizards. Day-to-day, the schedule is fairly balanced — there are only four games on Wednesday and 11 games on Saturday, but every other day has between five and nine games.
The players below are listed in the order I’d recommend adding them.
This article will focus on players available in at least 50 percent of leagues.
P..J Washington, Charlotte Hornets (51 percent rostered)
Technically, Washington is above the 50% cutoff for this article, but he’s so close I’m ignoring it. He’s missed the last five games, which caused a lot of managers to cut bait on one of 2019-20’s best rookies. But he’s expected to return Friday, and he’s been a top-100 player in nine-category settings so far this season. On the season, he’s two blocks short of being a 1-1-1 guy (one steal, one block, and one three per game). He helps in six of nine categories, is neutral in assists, and only a minor negative in points and free throw percentage. If you’re lucky enough to be in one of the leagues where he was dropped, add him ASAP.
Aaron Holiday, Indiana Pacers (24 percent)
Holiday first appeared in this article back when the Pacers were a mostly injured M.A.S.H. unit. At the time, we thought he was a temporary fill-in who would be droppable once the team got healthy. And we were sort of right. He was solid as a starter for eight games, and then put up a paltry 6.4 points in 16.4 minutes once he returned to the bench. But things started to flip when Malcolm Brogdon missed a game in early December. Holiday filled in, performed well, and the Pacers won.
The next game, with Brogdon back, Holiday was again sent to bench purgatory, and the Clippers housed the Pacers in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the 11-point margin implied. Since that loss to the Clippers, Holiday has played at least 21 minutes in every game, scored double-digits in each, and the Pacers are 6-1. He’s played at least 30 minutes in each of the last four games and started the last three. With last week’s announcement that Victor Oladipo is still a month or more away from returning, Holiday looks like a solid breakout candidate with long-term staying power.
Gorgui Dieng, Minnesota Timberwolves (26%)
Karl-Anthony Towns (knee) appears likely to return soon, as the team keeps handling his injury on a game-to-game basis. For each of his five absences, the Timberwolves have declared him questionable before eventually ruling him out. While that treatment often implies a pending return, there are notable exceptions, and the Timberwolves played a similar game during lengthy Derrick Rose and Jeff Teague absences over the past few seasons. Once Towns returns, Dieng probably becomes an instant drop. But we don’t know if Towns will play in their next game (Saturday) or miss another month.
While Towns is out, Dieng has shined. He’s started and scored double-digits in every game. He’s averaging 15.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 0.8 blocks, and he’s even making 2.4 threes per game — a new addition to his repertoire. He’s made 12 threes in the five Towns-less games. Before Towns went out, Dieng had never made more than 19 threes in a season.
Dieng’s minutes have increased through this run, as he saw just 24 in his first two starts, but then played 36, 30, and 41 in his next three. It should also be noted that the 29 year old Dieng is no stranger to fantasy success — he was a top-55 player in 9-cat for three seasons from 2014-2017. That run only ended because the team shifted away from playing Dieng alongside Towns, thereby dramatically limiting Dieng’s opportunities. In terms of per-36 production, Dieng’s stats have been remarkably stable throughout his six and a half seasons.
Danuel House, Houston Rockets (26%)
You didn’t think I was going to go a full article without mentioning House, did you? His shooting slump is over, and he’s now scored double-digit points in each of his last five. He’s scored nine threes over his past two games. His defensive numbers are stable as always and his turnovers remain almost non-existent. He should be rostered in all leagues.
Donte DiVincenzo (22%) and George Hill (31%); Milwaukee Bucks
Eric Bledsoe (leg) is supposed to come back soon, and I have nothing new that I didn’t include in last week’s blurb on this pair. Bledsoe’s initial timeline implied he’d return this weekend, though I remain a little skeptical of such an overly optimistic prognosis. Both guys are all-league plays until Bledsoe returns. Once he’s back, they’re only holdable in deep leagues.
Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors (30%)
Another repeat name from last week. The Raptors remain without almost 40 percent of their normal rotation, creating massive opportunities north of the border. Most of that value, however, has been sucked up by players already rostered in more than 50% of leagues. Boucher has been great when given an extended run, but he has still played fewer than 15 minutes in half of the games Pascal Siakam (groin) has missed. If you’re looking to add a Raptor, he’s the guy to target, but he’s not a must-add.
Other recommendations: Damion Lee, Warriors (32 percent rostered); Kevin Huerter, Hawks (47 percent rostered); Troy Brown, Wizards (35 percent rostered); Darius Garland, Cavaliers (23 percent rostered); Tim Hardaway, Mavericks (46 percent rostered); Christian Wood, Pistons (5 percent rostered); Dwight Powell, Mavericks (42 percent rostered); Furkan Korkmaz, 76ers (5 percent rostered); Gary Payton, Wizards (18 percent rostered); Duncan Robinson, Heat (44 percent rostered); Glenn Robinson, Warriors (26 percent rostered); Kris Dunn, Bulls (29 percent rostered); De’Andre Hunter, Hawks (31 percent rostered); Cedi Osman, Cavaliers (21 percent rostered)