Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wired, Week 14: Jonathan Kuminga rising

by Zak Hanshew, Rotoworld

It’s been another exciting week in the Association! Injuries continue to pile up, but we’ve got you covered with the best fantasy basketball adds and drops of Week 14!

The format for this article will feature players who are “tired” and those who are “wired.” Tired players are those worth adding off the wire but with tempered expectations or highly rostered players who can be dropped in favor of a hot pickup. Wired players are those who are the best additions with the highest rest-of-season ceilings.

Thanks for reading! It’s going to be an exciting season bringing this column to you each and every week. LET’S GO!

Pickups in Order of Priority

  1. Jonathan Kuminga

  2. Marvin Bagley III

  3. Nick Richards

  4. Alex Caruso

  5. Kevin Huerter

  6. Simone Fontecchio

  7. Ayo Dosunmu

  8. Amen Thompson

  9. Sam Merrill

  10. Jabari Walker

  11. John Konchar

  12. Scotty Pippen Jr.

Tired: Saddiq Bey 47%
Wired: Marvin Bagley III 53% ⚡

Bey Watch has officially been canceled in fantasy hoops. He’s averaged just 12.3 points and 5.8 rebounds on 32.8% shooting over his last 11 games. Bey has averaged north of 32 minutes per tilt, and while his minutes are big, his production is quite meager. Bey is ranked outside the top 175 in that span, and he’s not worth rostering anymore.

Bagley continues to get it done for his new team. In four games with the Wizards, he’s averaged 18.0 points, 11.3 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 0.8 blocks across 29.8 minutes. Bagley has shot a healthy 57.7% from the floor, and his turnovers have been negligible. He’s come off the bench in each of his last two, but he posted a 17/15 line in 26 minutes on Wednesday, as Daniel Gafford fouled out in just 21 minutes. Bagley’s work for the shorthanded Wizards can’t be ignored, and he needs to be picked up wherever he’s available.

Tired: Mark Williams 79%
Wired: Nick Richards 32% ⚡

Williams hasn’t played since December 8, and as of January 19, head coach Steve Clifford said he’s not close to returning. We suggested dropping Williams weeks ago, but if he’s still on your roster, it’s not too late to cut him loose. There’s no telling when he’ll be available again, so it’s time to move on.

Naughty Nicky returned from a three-game absence and went off for 21/10 and a block across 27 minutes in Wednesday’s loss to Detroit. Over the last month, he’s ranked inside top 120 in per-game fantasy value thanks to averages of 9.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and 65.8% shooting in 28.6 minutes per contest. He’ll be Charlotte’s starting center for the foreseeable future unless he gets traded or injured.

Tired: Cam Thomas 73%
Wired: Alex Caruso 54% ⚡

Thomas is another frequent flyer on the “tired” list, but he’s still rostered in nearly three-quarters of fantasy leagues. The score-first guard ranks just inside the top 200 over the last three weeks. His minutes are sporadic, his scoring is inefficient, and he offers empty calories across the box score that consist of points and triples only.

Don’t look now, but Caruso has provided fifth-round value over the last month. In that span, he’s averaged 10.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.2 blocks and 2.2 triples across 13 appearances. Caruso won’t typically give much on offense, though he has scored in double figures in four of his last five outings. Where he truly shines is on defense, and his steal and block numbers have been superb.

Tired: Chris Paul 79%
Wired: Jonathan Kuminga 60% ⚡

Paul underwent surgery on his fractured left hand on January 9, and he was given a three-week timeline for re-evaluation. Those three weeks are nearly at an end, but there’s been radio silence out of Golden State. There’s no timeline on a CP3 return, and fantasy managers in need of immediate production should feel comfortable dropping him.

Kuminga has been an absolute beast over the last two weeks! Since shifting back to the bench, he’s averaged 25.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.6 blocks and 1.2 three-pointers, while shooting 65.4% from the floor and 81% from the charity stripe. He’s scored at least 20 in five straight, and he delivered a career-high 31 points in Thursday's loss to Sacramento. Could Kuminga finally be breaking out? Don’t leave him on your waiver wire for another fantasy manager to find out.

Tired: Gordon Hayward 53%
Wired: Simone Fontecchio 14% ⚡

Shocker. Hayward has been out for 10 games due to a calf injury, and there’s no timeline for return. He was a serviceable option before getting injured, but he wasn’t so incredible that he deserves a valuable spot in your IL. Given his lengthy injury history and the fact that Charlotte is careening toward the lottery, the Hornets shouldn’t incentivized to bring him back anytime soon. He’s not worth rostering at this time.

Fontecchio has started each of Utah’s last 13 games, and he’s been solid in his recent run with the first unit. Fontecchio has been even better over the last week, putting together averages of 13.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.0 steals and 3.0 triples across 27.7 minutes in three outings. Fontecchio shot 56% from the floor in that span and finished the week as a top-65 per-game fantasy option. He’s worth a dice roll, with the hope that his role continues to grow as the season progresses and Utah falls further out of playoff contention.

Tired: Desmond Bane 96%, Marcus Smart 75%, Ja Morant 39%
Wired: John Konchar 4%, Scotty Pippen Jr. 3% ⚡

This is your weekly reminder to drop Memphis’ injured studs. Bane is out at least six weeks as of January 14 due to a left ankle sprain, but there’s no way he will return to finish out this lost campaign. Smart was given a similar six-week timeline on January 11 due to a right finger injury, and Morant is out for the season after getting surgery on his right shoulder. Free up a roster spot or two and drop all three of these guys.

Memphis’ injuries continue to pile up, so new faces could be in our fantasy plans. John “Magic Conch” Konchar has started four straight games and averaged 6.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 blocks while shooting 57.9% from the floor in those contests. He posted a beefy 11/10/2/1/1 on Wednesday at Miami, and he could be a reliable source of boards and swats moving forward. Pippen Jr. is more of a dart throw, but he’s got a higher upside than Konchar. Pippen Jr. went for 15/6/6 and a triple on 5-of-7 shooting across 24 minutes in Wednesday’s win over Miami. It will be interesting to see what he can do if he’s given a regular role in the rotation moving forward.

Tired: Bobby Portis 69%
Wired: Jabari Walker 32%, Duop Reath 17% ⚡

Over the last three weeks, Portis has averaged 11.4 points and 6.2 boards across 21 minutes per contest with nothing else to offer in the box score. These numbers are eerily similar to his season averages, and he’s far outside the realm of relevance in 12 or 14-team leagues. With Jae Crowder back, Big Bobby P’s playing time and touches will only continue trending in the wrong direction.

Walker’s numbers won’t blow you away, but the young big man has been solid as of late. Since joining Portland’s first unit as the starting PF, Walker has averaged 10.5 points, 8.8 boards and 1.2 triples while shooting 46.8% from the floor. Walker is averaging 30 minutes in those six contests, with two double-doubles under his belt. Reath has also been surprisingly effective, and even after shifting back to the bench in each of his last four, he’s averaged 9.5 points, 3.5 boards, 2.8 assists, 1.0 blocks and 1.3 triples in just 18.3 minutes per contest. Walker is a fringe option in 12-team leagues, while Reath is best suited for deep leagues.

Tired: Malik Monk 74%
Wired: Kevin Huerter 52% ⚡

Monk is ranked outside the top 200 over the last three weeks, and it’s time to drop him in favor of his sharpshooting counterpart listed below. Across his last 10 games, Monk has delivered 14.3 points and 6.1 dimes with little else in the box score. The assists are useful, but his overall fantasy value becomes a net negative when you take into account the 40.2% shooting from the floor and 69.4% shooting from the charity stripe.

Huerter has been feeling it lately. Unbelievably, he’s ranked just outside the first round in fantasy value over the last two weeks behind averages of 17.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.6 steals and 4.0 triples while shooting 57.1% from the floor. Huerter has been known to get hot and cold on offense, but he’s typically a reliable three-point shooter when given significant playing time. Huerter came through with a 12/10 double-double that included three steals and three triples in Thursday’s win over Golden State.

Tired: Jaime Jaquez Jr. 61%
Wired: Sam Merrill 23% ⚡

Jaquez Jr. has enjoyed a phenomenal start to his rookie season, but things have started to turn in the wrong direction lately. Before his injury, Jaquez Jr. posted value just inside the top 120, but Thursday marked his sixth straight absence. He’s still got no timeline for return, and as nice as his story has been as the latest success story of #HEATCulture, Jaquez Jr. isn’t worth a roster spot in most leagues. He can be scooped back up once he’s cleared to play, but he’s not a must-roster option at this point.

The sharp-shooting Merrill has been stroking over the last month, posting 13.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 3.7 triples and 0.4 turnovers across his last 11 games. In that span, Merrill has averaged 24.7 minutes per game as a top-90 player in 9-cat formats. Merrill has carved out a significant role within the Cavs’ rotation, making him worthy of a roster spot in 12-team leagues.

Tired: Aaron Gordon 84%
Wired: Nicolas Batum 11% ⚡

Gordon’s production is quite similar to Bobby Portis’, yet Gordon is far more widely rostered and doesn’t often get criticized by the fantasy hoops community. On the season, AG is averaging 13.6 points, 6.6 boards and 3.1 assists. His 54.2 FG% shooting is favorable, but his 62.1% shooting from the charity stripe is quite a drag. Gordon offers next to nothing in the way of triples or defensive stats, and there are better options out there on the waiver wire.

Batum has been on a roll recently. With both Robert Covington and De’Anthony Melton out for extended stretches, the veteran French forward has provided top-85 value over his last nine outings. In that span, Batum has averaged 5.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.2 blocks and 1.2 triples while shooting 50% from the floor. Batum is far from exciting, but he’s been doing enough across the board to keep him relevant.

Tired: Jalen Green 86%
Wired: Amen Thompson 18% ⚡

Green has regressed as a scorer this season, which is the only thing of note he adds in the box score. On the season, he’s averaged 17.4 points and 2.0 triples on 40.1% shooting from the field and 79.5% from the charity stripe. His peripheral contributions have been minimal, and his defensive contributions have been even less. Green isn’t worth rostering in fantasy hoops even as a points and threes specialist. His percentages will be a monster drag, and he doesn’t do enough elsewhere to compensate.

Thompson’s playing time has been sporadic over his last six games, but he’s still provided some quality production in that span. Over his last six, the rookie has averaged 9.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.8 blocks across 19.7 minutes per game while shooting 52.4% from the floor and 84.6% from the charity stripe. He drew his first and only start of the season Sunday against the Celtics and piled up a 15/14/5/1 line in 32 minutes. His per-36 production amounts to 13.8 points, 9.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.0 steals. If he can find his way to more minutes,

Tired: Keldon Johnson 83%
Wired: Ayo Dosunmu 15% ⚡

Johnson is another score-first option who does little else in the box score and offers a major drag to the FG% and FT% categories. He’s taken a step back as a scorer with the arrival of Victor Wembanyama, and on the season, Johnson is averaging 16.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.8 triples while shooting 44.8% from the field and 77.9% from the charity stripe. Just like Jalen Green, Johnson is a candidate to head back to the waiver wire in facvor of a more well-rounded option to fill out your roster.

Dosunmu has been a top 110 player over the last three weeks, taking on an expanded role due to the absences of Zach LaVine. With LaVine out for his latest stint, Dosunmu has been even better over the last week. In that span, he’s averaged 14.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 triples while shooting 56.7% from the floor and 85.7% from the free throw line. Dosunmu has been a top-85 option over the last week while logging 30 minutes per game off the bench. There’s no reason to expect a drop in playing time or production anytime soon.

Others: Caleb Martin, Alec Burks, Dario Saric, Al Horford, Ausar Thompson, PJ Washington