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Fantasy Basketball: Waiver wire pickups for Week 8

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  • Memphis Grizzlies
    Memphis Grizzlies
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  • Miami Heat
    Miami Heat
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  • Ja Morant
    Ja Morant
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  • Bam Adebayo
    Bam Adebayo
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Dewayne Dedmon
    Dewayne Dedmon
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|

By Gabe Allen, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

Another week in the books, another rash of injuries. In the last seven days alone, Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (knee) and Heat center Bam Adebayo (thumb) have suffered somewhat significant injuries that will sideline them for at least several weeks.

While no one tunes into sports to see players getting hurt (except maybe the ghost of George Carlin, and even he was joking, I think), the incessant nature of injuries keeps the waiver wire from becoming stale, and it keeps fantasy managers on their toes.

Imagine what a barren wasteland the free agent pool would be if everyone simply stayed healthy.

Without further ado, here’s this week’s list of players to consider adding, more than half of whom made the cut due to injuries, and none of whom have been suggested prior to this week.

De’Anthony Melton, Memphis Grizzlies (49% rostered)

The relatively recent return of Dillon Brooks has meant fewer minutes for Melton of late, and his playing time has remained meager even with Ja Morant (knee) suffering an injury last weekend. Nevertheless, during the last three games, Melton has been phenomenal despite his modest role, averaging 14.0 points, 7.0 boards, 3.7 dimes, and 2.0 threes across 19.0 minutes. Capable of slotting in at both backcourt positions, Melton should end up earning plenty of playing time while Morant is sidelined indefinitely. Add him now while you still can.

Dewayne Dedmon, Miami Heat (41% rostered)

Dedmon delivered 11 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, two blocks, one steal, and one trey across 31 minutes in Wednesday’s loss to Cleveland. His rostered percentage is rising rapidly (+40% last day), and for good reason. With Bam Adebayo (thumb) out indefinitely and Miami possessing minimal depth, especially in the frontcourt, Dedmon should be heavily relied upon for at least the entire month of December.

Miami Heat center Dewayne Dedmon
It's last call for Dewayne Dedmon. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Otto Porter Jr., Golden State Warriors (37% rostered)

Small sample size alert! Over the last two games, Porter has combined for 34 points, 16 boards, seven threes, five dimes, and three steals across 56 minutes of action. His rostered percentage has shot up considerably as a result (+22% last day). There’s no way of knowing whether this is a sign of things to come or merely a hot stretch. However, in my opinion, there’s almost always merit in taking a swing on someone who has reached the heights that Porter has, even if that player hasn’t been a consistent contributor for a few years. Nicolas Batum is just one recent example of a former max-contract player who seemed like his days of fantasy relevance were behind him before he joined a contending club and carved out a quality role for himself.

Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks (29% rostered)

Quickley has scored a dozen points or more in six of his last seven appearances. Moreover, since struggling veteran point guard Kemba Walker was removed from the regular rotation last week, Quickley has averaged 35.7 minutes across the last three games. While Quickley’s shooting percentage (39.8% FG) leaves plenty to be desired, the sophomore guard boasts no shortage of long-term upside. In fact, strictly in terms of season-long ceiling, his is arguably the highest among this week’s list of recommended players.

Tyus Jones, Memphis Grizzlies (24% rostered)

Jones is holding his own as the starting point guard in place of Ja Morant (knee). In the three games (all wins) since Morant went down, Jones has managed averages of 6.7 points, 7.7 dimes, 4.0 boards, and 1.7 steals per game across 26.3 minutes. While he doesn’t offer much in most statistical categories, Jones should be a superb source of assists and swipes for the duration of Morant’s indefinite absence.

Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns (23% rostered)

Johnson is a strong streaming option for those in need of scoring and threes, supposing the Suns opt to play it safe with Devin Booker (hamstring). Johnson has reached double figures in scoring in six of the last eight games, and he posted 19 points, six boards, four treys, two assists, and one block in 27 minutes during Thursday’s win over the Pistons.

Garrison Mathews, Houston Rockets (21% rostered)

Mathews has been scorching hot lately, not only helping Houston snap a 15-game losing streak, but also reeling off four consecutive victories heading into Friday’s matchup versus the Magic. During the team’s winning streak, Mathews is averaging 16.3 points and 4.0 threes across 33.5 minutes. With Jalen Green (hamstring) set to be re-evaluated soon and Kevin Porter Jr. (thigh) hobbled as well, Mathews may be in line for another week of steady playing time, though it’s also possible he’s in the process of carving out a more meaningful long-term role.

Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers (18% rostered)

It’s rarely a great idea to add a player based on one good game. However, Howard is coming off by far his best performance of the year, having totaled 12 points, 13 rebounds, two steals, and two blocks in 35 minutes during Tuesday’s win over the Kings. Anthony Davis (thumb) is listed as questionable for Friday’s contest against the Clippers, but regardless of Davis’ availability going forward, it’s somewhat likely that Lakers’ coach Frank Vogel will look to limit Davis’ minutes at center as the long and grueling regular season continues. 

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As such, if Howard can carve out a consistent enough role, whether off the bench or as a starter, he’ll be a strong source of boards and blocks. I’m not necessarily recommending Howard as an immediate add, but keep an eye on him at least, in case he ends up stealing most of DeAndre Jordan’s minutes.

DeMarcus Cousins, Milwaukee Bucks (12% rostered)

Cousins (conditioning) played well in his Bucks debut on Wednesday, turning in seven points, four boards, one dime, one steal, and one trey in only 15 minutes. Then came the news that Brook Lopez (back) is out indefinitely following surgery. Bobby Portis will continue playing the vast majority of minutes at the center position. However, over time Cousins could earn a fairly consistent role off the bench, as Milwaukee won’t want to wear out Giannis Antetokounmpo by asking him to bang with the bigger bodies in the league during the regular season. At the very least, Cousins offers decent upside in deeper leagues.

DeAndre’ Bembry, Brooklyn Nets (11% rostered)

Bembry has earned at least 30 minutes in three of the last five games, during which time he’s averaging 9.6 points, 6.0 boards, 1.4 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.0 block across 31.0 minutes. Although best reserved for use in deeper leagues, the extended absence of Joe Harris (ankle) has clearly opened the door of opportunity for Bembry.

Facundo Campazzo, Denver Nuggets (6% rostered)

Campazzo has enjoyed an increased role of late, earning 24 minutes or more in six straight showings. During this recent stretch, he’s averaging 10.8 points, 3.7 dimes, 2.3 threes, and 1.5 steals across 27.0 minutes per game. Moreover, with Michael Porter Jr. (back) and Jamal Murray (knee) potentially out for the rest of the season, Campazzo possesses decent long-term upside. Those looking for assists, steals, and treys in deeper leagues could do a lot worse.

Dennis Smith Jr., Portland Trail Blazers (2% rostered)

With Damian Lillard (abdomen) expected to miss at least a few more games, Anfernee Simons became an obvious pickup overnight. However, Simons suffered an ankle injury in Thursday’s loss to the Spurs and left the arena wearing a walking boot. Assuming both Lillard and Simons remain sidelined for a little while, Smith is minimally worthy of consideration for streaming purposes, particularly in deeper points leagues.

Recent recommendations: Patty Mills, Monte Morris, Kevin Love, Devin Vassell, Alperen Sengun, Royce O’Neale, Kevin Huerter, JaVale McGee, T.J. Warren, Nicolas Batum, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Terance Mann, Willy Hernangomez, Cedi Osman