Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wired, Week 17: George is a Key(onte) Addition

by Zak Hanshew, Rotoworld

It’s been a week without hoops, and wow, it’s good to be back! The All-Star break gave fantasy managers the chance to exhale and re-evaluate their rosters as they head into the home stretch of the fantasy season. Some injuries and timelines have come into focus, and we’ve got you covered with the best fantasy basketball adds and drops of Week 17! Keep in mind that due to the All-Star break, Week 17 runs from February 12 - February 25.

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. Scoot Henderson

  2. Tre Mann

  3. Keyonte George

  4. Andre Drummond

  5. Precious Achiuwa

  6. Ayo Dosunmu

  7. Marvin Bagley III

  8. Grant Williams

  9. GG Jackson

  10. Brandin Podziemski

  11. De’Andre Hunter

  12. Ausar Thompson

Tired: Gordon Hayward 49%
Wired: Tre Mann 46% ⚡

Hayward last played on December 26, and he’s been out ever since with a calf injury. He said Wednesday that he’ll be ready to play in Oklahoma City’s matchup with the Clippers on Thursday. Despite the surprising availability, Hayward will be playing alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, Jalen Williams and Chet Holmgren, so the upside just won’t be there even if he’s able to stay healthy.

LaMelo Ball missed 11 games before the All-Star break due to an ankle injury, and he’s got no timeline for return. Following Terry Rozier’s trade to the Heat, Charlotte has minutes to go around at guard, and Mann has immediately filled them since joining the team at the trade deadline. In three games with his new team, Mann has averaged 13.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.0 triples across 30.3 minutes. His most recent game was his best of the season, as he delivered a monster 21/8/6/2 line with four triples against Atlanta to head into the break on a high note. Fantasy managers should scoop up man in a hurry before it’s too late.

Tired: Shaedon Sharpe 50%
Wired: De’Andre Hunter 35% ⚡

Sharpe underwent surgery for a core muscle injury on February 9, and he may not return this season. The Blazers are headed for a high lottery pick, so there’s no reason to rush Sharpe back into action prematurely. He’s not a hold for fantasy managers.

Hunter posted back-to-back 20-point games to wrap up the first half of the season, and he’s poised to keep up the strong play when Atlanta returns from the All-Star break. The young forward missed plenty of time before his recent return and resurgence, and now that he’s ramped up, he can be a consistent contributor to fantasy squads. Hunter averaged 22.0 points, 4.5 boards, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks and 3.3 triples across 28 minutes in his last two appearances.

Tired: Jordan Clarkson 75%
Wired: Keyonte George 41% ⚡

Clarkson has been a strong veteran presence for the young Jazz, and he’s been effective as a microwave scorer off the bench. For fantasy purposes? Not so much. Clarkson is ranked outside the top 200 in per-game fantasy value on the season, and he didn’t play particularly well before the All-Star break. Over his last 11 games, Clarkson averaged just 14.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists while shooting 39.2% from the floor.

Over his last nine, the rookie averaged 16.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 0.8 steals and 3.0 triples across 28.3 minutes while shooting 48.1% from the floor and 81.3% from the charity stripe. George had his best game as a pro in his last outing before the break, racking up 33 points, two boards, six dimes, three swipes and a ridiculous nine triples against Golden State. George’s nine three-pointers tied Yogi Ferrell (2017) and Rodrigue Beaubois (2010) for the most in a single game by a rookie all time.

Tired: Malcolm Brogdon 70%
Wired: Scoot Henderson 56% ⚡

Brogdon was diagnosed with right elbow tendinitis on February 11 and given a two-week timeline for re-evaluation. Brogdon has dealt with this injury before, and given the Blazers’ poor record, there’s little incentive to bring him back quickly. We wouldn’t expect him back until March if he returns at all. Don’t bother holding onto him while we wait for a health update.

Henderson has had a roller-coaster season full of dizzying highs and chasmous lows, but he’s come on across his last six. Heading into the break, Scoot averaged 18.3 points, 2.8 boards, 5.3 dimes and 1.7 triples across 29.8 minutes while shooting 43.1% from the floor and 95% from the charity stripe. He started his final game before the break, and Chauncey Billups said that he’ll remain a starter for the rest of the season. He’s available in nearly half of fantasy leagues, so make sure to pick him up in anticipation of a strong final push through “silly season.” Portland has every incentive to play him big minutes down the stretch, and despite his numerous rookie warts, Henderson has shown that he has a sky-high ceiling. Make sure you scoop him up wherever he’s available so that he’s not on an opponent’s team when he inevitably goes off over fantasy’s final weeks.

Tired: Jordan Poole 83%
Wired: Marvin Bagley III 48% ⚡

Poole is ranked just outside the top 170 on the season, and he hasn’t been any better as of late. Across his last 14 games, he’s averaged a pedestrian 12.2 points, 2.8 boards, 3.9 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.7 three-pointers while shooting 34.7% from the floor. It’s incredibly painful to write up Poole as a drop, especially after how much hope I had for him coming into the season, but there’s no reason to roster a man who’s getting booed by his home crowd for terrible play and a consistent lack of effort. The Poole Party is officially over. It’s time for adult swim, which means grownups only - that excludes Washington’s young guard.

No Daniel Gafford? No problem! Bagley III averaged 13.0 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks over his last two games before the All-Star break, showcasing just how effective he can be in a starting role for this shorthanded squad. Since arriving in the nation’s capital, MB3 has averaged 16.7 points, 11.5 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.5 blocks in four starts with at least 25 minutes. There should be plenty of starts and quality minutes to close out the season, as the Wizards are desperately thin at center.

Tired: Chris Paul 78%
Wired: Brandin Podziemski 54% ⚡

CP3 has been out since January 5, but a recent re-evaluation revealed that he’s progressing well in rehab and will begin ramping up after the All-Star break. There’s no telling how long the soon-to-be 39-year-old will need to get back in game shape and make an impact on the court. By the time he’s back to full strength, we’ll likely be nearing the end of the fantasy hoops season. Unless you have a vacant IL spot, Paul can be sent to the waiver wire.

Podziemski has been superb lately, and he went into the break on a bit of a heater. Over his last 11, “Air Podz” averaged 12.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.3 triples across 32.8 minutes. His shooting splits (46.6/60.9) leave a bit to be desired, but his ability to score, facilitate and rebound at a high level gives him a sturdy floor and high ceiling. Make sure he’s not still hanging out on your waiver wire.

Tired: Marcus Smart 73%
Wired: Jordan Goodwin 3%, GG Jackson 41% ⚡

Smart still doesn’t have a timeline for return, and the latest update we have for him is that he’ll be re-evaluated “sometime after the All-Star break.” That’s not too encouraging, especially for a team that’s way out of the playoff race. Don’t bother holding Smart any longer.

Goodwin joined the Grizzlies’ starting lineup in the team’s final game before the All-Star break, piling up an 11/7/3/2 line across 29 minutes. He’s worth a flyer for this injury-riddled Memphis team. Jackson has been a breath of fresh air, averaging 20.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 1.2 blocks and 3.3 triples over his last six across 28.2 minutes per contest. His FT% has been pretty bad, but otherwise, he’s been a stellar option who looks like he’s got staying power.

Tired: PJ Washington 64%
Wired: Grant Williams 29% ⚡

Washington was trending in the right direction before his trade to Dallas, but since joining the Mavericks, his fantasy value has cratered. In three games with the Mavs, Washington has averaged a meager 8.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists across 29.3 minutes, shooting just 40.7% from the field. If you’re still holding out hope, give him one more game, and then cut him if the production is more of the same.

G-Will has been solid for Charlotte since joining the squad, and there’s been a lot of buzz around him. Williams has averaged 17.0 points, 7.3 boards, 2.0 assists, 0.7 steals and 2.0 triples across 30 minutes in three appearances with the Hornets, shooting 51.4% from the floor and 90% from the charity stripe. The change in scenery has been wondrous for his fantasy value thus far. Let the good times roll!

Tired: Khris Middleton 85%
Wired: Ausar Thompson 57% ⚡

Middleton’s fantasy value has hovered right around the top 100 for most of the season, but at that value, he’s not worth holding while he deals with another injury. Heading into the break, Middleton missed seven of his last 11. Over his last nine played, he posted respectable (yet unexciting) averages of 15.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.7 triples across 29.2 minutes. It’s unclear if he’ll be back for Milwaukee’s next contest, but fantasy managers can cut him loose and avoid dealing with the continued headache of missed playing time.

Could it be? Are we witnessing the return of an early-season fantasy darling? It sure looks that way. After 20 games coming off the bench, Thompson started five in a row leading up to the All-Star break, averaging 12.2 points, 5.6 boards, 1.8 assists and 1.6 steals across 28 minutes per tilt. His 54.7% shooting mark from the field in that span has been useful, but his 2-of-7 mark (28.6%) from the charity stripe has been a let-down. Thompson was a steady contributor early in the season, and he’s got a high ceiling due to his defensive prowess. Now that he’s back in the starting five, he’s worth scooping up in the hope that he can rekindle some of that early-season magic.

Tired: Mark Williams 67%
Wired: Precious Achiuwa 55% ⚡

Williams has been out since December 8, and we finally got an update on his availability on February 9. Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak said that Williams would be re-evaluated in four weeks, meaning we won’t get another update until early March. Williams has been a drop candidate for well over a month now, yet he’s still rostered in nearly 70% of fantasy leagues. The Hornets won’t be rushing their young star center back before he’s fully ready to go, and that likely won’t be by the end of the current fantasy season.

Achiuwa has been absolutely dominant since joining the Knicks’ starting five. Over his last nine, the big man averaged 13.9 points, 10.2 boards, 1.3 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.6 blocks while shooting 54.1% from the floor and 77.8% from the free-throw line. In that span, Achiuwa has logged a hearty 40.4 minutes per contest. In his final game before the All-Star break, Achiuwa posted a monster 23/14/5 line against Orlando. With OG Anunoby not set to be re-evaluated until the end of the month, Julius Randle not yet cleared to practice and Isaiah Hartenstein still dealing with an Achilles injury, Achiuwa’s path to big minutes looks clear moving forward.

Tired: Terry Rozier 91%
Wired: Duncan Robinson 28% ⚡

Since arriving in Miami, Rozier has averaged 12.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.6 assists while shooting just 35.9% from the floor. He’s ranked outside the top 120 in per-game fantasy value in that span, and he’s now considered week-to-week with a sprained right knee. Things weren’t going amazingly for him before his injury, and fantasy managers shouldn’t feel the need to hold him while he’s out for an undetermined amount of time.

D-Rob turned it on before the All-Star break, averaging 21.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 5.5 triples across 29.5 minutes in two starts. Jimmy Butler and Terry Rozier were out, and while Butler (personal) is expected back, Rozier is expected to miss more time. Robinson is a fine add with at least one of Butler or Rozier out thanks to his ability to rack up triples, steals and points.

Tired: Bennedict Mathurin 45%
Wired: Andre Drummond 40%, Ayo Dosunmu 44% ⚡

Mathurin is ranked outside the top 200 on the season, and that’s where he’s ranked over the last month, too. Despite winning MVP honors in the Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star weekend, Mathurin doesn’t offer fantasy managers much beyond his scoring and three-point shooting. Not counting his last game against the Hornets in which he logged only 15 minutes, Mathurin averaged just 14.9 points, 4.8 boards, 1.8 assists and 1.1 triples across 26.9 minutes across his last eight appearances, shooting 43.5% from the floor in the process. The trades of Bruce Brown and Buddy Hield haven’t done much for Mathurin’s fantasy value, and we can’t anticipate that changing following the All-Star break.

Drummond has been excellent for Chicago over his last five games (two starts), averaging 11.6 points, 12.0 boards, 0.8 steals and 1.2 blocks across 25.4 minutes. He’s been even better in nine starts, boasting averages of 13.8 points, 17.0 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.7 blocks across 28.4 minutes. Even better for Drummond’s fantasy value is his production with and without Patrick Williams this season. With Williams available, Drummond averaged 7.7 points, 8.3 blocks and 1.7 combined blocks/steals in 15.6 minutes. With Williams out of action, those averages jump to 9.5 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.0 combined blocks/steals in 20.8 minutes. Drummond’s been even better when Craig sits, boasting a double-double average in those contests. Drummond should be in line for an expanded role post-All-Star break due to Chicago’s paper-thin frontcourt rotation.

Dosunmu has been great since taking on an expanded role. Over his last 15, he averaged 15.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, 3.3 dimes, 0.9 steals, 0.8 blocks and 2.3 triples across 32.3 minutes. Dosunmu has started eight of Chicago’s last nine contests, and he scored a career-high 29 points against Atlanta on February 12. With Zach LaVine done for the season and multiple injuries in the frontcourt, Dosunmu should continue to get opportunities to succeed down the stretch.

Others: Trey Muphy III, Rui Hachimura, Alex Caruso, Nick “Naughty Nicky” Richards, Herb Jones, Darius Bazley, Dillon Brooks, Paul Reed, Amen Thompson, Cam Whitmore