Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wired: Silly Season edition

We’re changing up the format for this column. Normally, we’ll compare who’s “tired” and who’s “wired”, but at this point of the year, things are very different. We can usually base where a player is tired or wired by how many leagues they’re rostered in, but that number isn’t going to be super accurate at this point of the season. Some leagues have been wrapped up for a couple of weeks or have been inactive for longer than that. For the leagues that are still active, players are rostered by teams that have been eliminated. For example, LaMelo Ball is still rostered in 82% of leagues. Teams that drafted him early probably didn’t have much success (Shoutout to you if you did!).

So, we’ll first look at some specific pickups, which will be your classic waiver wire targets, as well as some “wired” teams. Then, we’ll look at a few different sections of “tired” players and teams. It will look different, but we have to adjust to the silliness of the end of the season.

If you’re looking ahead to next week, there are no games on Monday or Saturday, but there are 15 games on Friday and Sunday, as well as 14 on Tuesday. There are only five games on Thursday, which makes it the best day for streaming.

If your league is done for the year, and you’re trying to look ahead to next season, just remember that it truly is Silly Season. A lot of the big performances over the next week will not translate to next season. The main takeaways will be from rookies that haven’t seen the floor much this season.

Wired Players:

Malaki Branham

Branham has started San Antonio’s last two games and has averaged 18.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.0 triples per game. With Devin Vassell done for the season, Branham should start during their final six games.

Tristan Vukcevic

Vukcevic moved into the starting unit for their last game and had 15 points, three rebounds and three triples in 21 minutes despite dealing with foul trouble early. He played 31 minutes in their previous game and had 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Marvin Bagley is considered “week-to-week” and could certainly be sidelined for the rest of the season. Vukcevic should continue to start as long as Richaun Holmes is sidelined, though he will still play a large role if Holmes is back in the lineup.

Dyson Daniels

Daniels missed almost two months after having surgery on his left knee. However, he has been a top-75 player in his three games since returning to the lineup. He only played 11 minutes in his return, but he has played 25 and 21 minutes in their last two games. His averages during this stretch are 9.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.7 triples per game.

Malachi Flynn

When an NBA player scores 50 points, you have to at least consider picking him up off the waiver wire. In their last four games without Cade Cunningham, Flynn is averaging 23.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.0 steals and 4.0 triples per game. Cunningham has already been ruled out for Friday’s game.

Jabari Walker

Walker had 14 points and 22 rebounds on Wednesday after having 18 points, nine rebounds and five assists on Monday. Jerami Grant will continue to be listed as doubtful ahead of every game, but if we’re being honest, his season is over. Walker should continue to start for the rest of the season.

Norman Powell

After starting in place of Kawhi Leonard on Tuesday, Powell came off the bench on Thursday. His production didn’t significantly improve, but he did end up logging 35 minutes in their win over Denver. Leonard is expected to remain out for Friday’s game against the Jazz, though things could change. If they don’t, Powell should see some extra minutes once again.

Noah Clowney

The rookie hasn’t had much of a role for most of the season, but he went off for 22 points and 10 rebounds on Wednesday. Brooklyn has been eliminated from postseason contention, and while they don’t have a first round pick to try and improve their lottery odds, there is incentive to see what they have in their young guys. Look for Clowney to get some more minutes down the stretch.

Miles McBride

OG Anunoby is getting closer to a return, but until he’s back, McBride is going to play a ton of minutes. He has provided third round value in 9-cat leagues over the last two weeks, with averages of 18.6 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.4 steals and 4.0 triples per game. With Tom Thibodeau forcing him into a ridiculous amount of minutes, McBride will be a reliable option until OG returns.

Rui Hachimura

Hachimura has been shooting 60.7% from the field over the past two weeks, with averages of 17.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.9 triples. That has him ranked as a fifth rounder over the past two weeks. He has had some big scoring nights recently, and he plays on both Saturday and Sunday to close out this week.

Trayce Jackson-Davis

TJD has started Golden State’s last five games, and they’ve won them all. Steve Kerr mentioned that he may continue to roll with Jackson-Davis in the starting unit over Jonathan Kuminga when he returns as long as they’re winning. TJD has been a borderline top-50 player over the past two weeks, and he scored a career-high 20 points on Thursday.

Aaron Wiggins

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has already been ruled out for Friday’s game, and Jalen Williams is doubtful. Wiggins will continue to start, where he has averaged 13.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.3 triples per game. Until both SGA and JDub are back in the lineup, Wiggins should be a reliable option, though managers shouldn’t expect any massive stat lines.

Wired teams:

There are only four games on Saturday before 13 games on Sunday. That will make it a pivotal day for streaming. If you’re looking for some schedule plays, here are a few recommendations that should be available. The Cavs, 76ers, Nets, Lakers all play on Saturday and Sunday if you’re looking to double up with one move.

Hawks: Bruno Fernando

Nuggets: Reggie Jackson

Cavaliers: Sam Merrill, Max Strus

Lakers: Rui Hachimura

Pistons: Malachi Flynn

Nets: Noah Clowney

76ers: Nicolas Batum

Grizzlies: GG Jackson, Jake LaRavia, Scotty Pippen Jr., Jordan Goodwin


Done for season:

Julius Randle

Lauri Markkanen

Devin Vassell

Jeremy Sochan

Jerami Grant (doubtful every night)

Marvin Bagley (week-to-week)

Tired teams:

Let’s be clear about what this section is. It is NOT the teams that won’t be a source of fantasy value over the final week. In fact, it might be the opposite. These are the teams that have already been eliminated from the postseason that have shown they aren’t afraid to bench their starters. Some of them have been doing it for months, while others started more recently. That allows for under the radar guys to shine. Some of these guys may have already been mentioned once or twice, but that just makes them better options. Approach with caution, since these teams haven’t been the best about communicating the availability of their players. Things can change just before tipoff (and sometimes after the scheduled tipoff), and there is simply nothing we can do about it.

Detroit: Malachi Flynn

Washington: Tristan Vukcevic

San Antonio: Malaki Branham

Portland: Jabari Walker, Dalano Banton

Toronto: Gradey Dick

Memphis: GG Jackson, Jake LaRavia, Scotty Pippen Jr., Jordan Goodwin

Utah: Brice Sensabaugh, Taylor Hendricks

Charlotte: Grant Williams, Vasilije Micic