Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wired, Week 13: Marvin Bagley Time in the Nation's Capital

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 13!

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. Vince Williams

  2. Xavier Tillman

  3. Dereck Lively II

  4. Marvin Bagley III

  5. Mason Plumlee

  6. Wendell Carter Jr.

  7. GG Jackson

  8. Markelle Fultz

  9. Alex Caruso

  10. Jeremy Sochan

  11. Jontay Porter

  12. Jonathan Kuminga

  13. Gary Trent Jr.

  14. Luke Kennard

Tired: Russell Westbrook 75%
Wired: Mason Plumlee 16% ⚡

Westy is ranked just outside the top 180 on the season, and he’s not worth rostering in category leagues. He’s posting the worst numbers of his career with 10.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists and 1.1 steals across 23.1 minutes per contest. He doesn’t shoot particularly well, hitting 45.8% of his shots from the field and 65.6% from the charity stripe. Name value has kept his roster percentage much higher than it should be, but it’s not too late to drop him!

Ivica Zubac is out at least four weeks due to a right calf strain, which means we should see plenty of Plumlee moving forward. Plumlee made his first start of the season Tuesday against the Thunder and provided a 14/5/2 line with three blocks in 28 minutes. Last season, he averaged 12.1 points, 9.8 boards and 3.6 dimes in 60 starts, so he’s shown that he can be a viable option when given extended playing time.

Tired: Desmond Bane 97%
Wired: GG Jackson 42%, Luke Kennard 26%, Xavier Tillman 38% ⚡

Last week, Bane became the latest addition to a growing list of Grizzlies who are out for a significant amount of time. Bane will be out at least six weeks with a left ankle sprain, but that timeline puts his earliest potential return in late February/early March. The Grizzlies are down bad, and the team is not going to make the playoffs this season, which means bringing Bane back to close out a losing campaign wouldn’t make much sense. Even if he does return, most fantasy leagues will be wrapping up by the time he’s ramped up and ready to provide useful production. It’s time to let go. Goodnight, sweet prince.

Jackson balled out in two games heading into Thursday’s matchup with the Timberwolves, averaging 21.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 2.0 blocks and 3.5 triples across 28.0 minutes. He finished with just three points and a rebound in 10 minutes in a disastrous Thursday showing, but we’ve seen enough upside to keep him on the “wired” list… at least until the coaching staff permanently scales back his minutes and gives us reason to drop him. Over his last five, Kennard has averaged 13.8 points, 3.8 boards, 3.8 dimes and 3.0 triples across 29.6 minutes. His production is far from elite, but he can be a serviceable option, especially if you need three-pointers. Tillman is arguably the best add of this trio, and over his last five, he’s averaged 11.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.6 blocks across 32.2 minutes per contest. Tillman is ranked inside the top 75 over the last week.

Tired: Marcus Smart 76%, Ja Morant 42%
Wired: Vince Williams 58% ⚡

Just like Bane, Smart is expected to be out six weeks with a right finger injury, and there’s little hope that he returns and provides meaningful fantasy production in 2023-24. Morant is out for the season, yet he’s still rostered in over 40% of fantasy leagues. It’s time to move on from Smart and Morant and make room for players who will produce again this season.

Williams has been on a roll! He was our featured player in last week’s column, and over his last three games, “VW Bus” has averaged 17.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 2.3 steals, 1.0 blocks and 2.0 triples across 36.3 minutes. He’s been a top-50 player in each of the last two weeks, and his roster percentage has understandably skyrocketed. This may be your last chance to add him.

Tired: PJ Washington 55%
Wired: Wendell Carter Jr. 55% ⚡

Washington missed three straight due to a foot injury, and in two games since returning, he’s averaged just 6.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 triples across 26.0 minutes. Washington’s limited production can’t be blamed on his injury, as he averaged just 12.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.4 triples across 26.8 minutes in five games before the injury. On the season, he’s ranked just outside the top 150 in per-game fantasy value, and with LaMelo Ball back, there’s less usage and fewer minutes to go around for the fifth-year forward.

WCJ has been tired in this column in recent weeks, but he’s back on the wired side of the waiver wire! Over his last two games, he’s averaged 17.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks and 2.0 triples. In those two games, he logged 19 and 24 minutes, but his playing time is trending up, and so is his production. There’s no guarantee he will continue to produce at this level, but he’s certainly worth a speculative add after back-to-back solid performances.

Tired: Cam Thomas 68%
Wired: Gary Trent Jr. 39% ⚡

Thomas started the season on a heater to end all heaters. Over the first seven games of the season, the third-year man averaged 28.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.4 triples on 48.3% shooting. He missed three weeks and returned to post some useful numbers in the following weeks before ultimately losing his starting gig. Thomas has averaged just 13.8 points and 1.3 triples on 33.6% shooting in 24.1 minutes over his last nine contests - all off the bench. He’s ranked outside the top 200 on the season thanks to his one-dimensional play, and even fantasy managers in need of points can’t turn to him now thanks to his dip in production.

Trent Jr. posted 28 points and eight triples across 31 minutes on Wednesday, but he fell back to earth Thursday with a 6/2/2 line and no triples. Trent Jr. has been a streaky shooter throughout his career, so the sudden shift from big game to dud isn’t incredibly surprising. What’s encouraging is the playing time, as he logged 31 minutes on Wednesday and just under 30 minutes on Thursday. He’s been a massive disappointment this season, and he ranks outside the top 200 in per-game fantasy value behind meager averages of 11.3 points, 2.2 triples and 0.8 steals across 25.7 minutes per contest. Trent Jr. ranked inside the top 65 in per-game fantasy value in each of the last two seasons thanks in large part to his elite work in the steals category. His minutes and production have fallen off a cliff, but with Siakam gone, he could see more run to close out the season. He’s worth a speculative add in deeper leagues.

Tired: Saddiq Bey 56%
Wired: Jonathan Kuminga 50% ⚡

In the new year, Bey has averaged just 12.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.6 triples on 33.3% shooting. He’s ranked just inside the top 140 in that span, and his value has been buoyed by a lack of turnovers and strong FT%. Jalen Johnson has been cooking for the Hawks, and despite big minutes, Bey just isn’t doing enough to be worth rostering in 12-team leagues.

Shockingly, Kuminga is a top-40 player over the last week thanks to healthy averages of 24.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.3 triples across 27.7 minutes per game. He’s scored at least 20 points in three straight while shooting 58.3% from the floor and 90% from the charity stripe. That includes Draymond Green’s first game back, so there’s hope Kuminga can continue to produce even with Green back in the lineup.

Tired: Aaron Gordon 84%
Wired: Dereck Lively II 58% ⚡

Gordon plays a key role for the defending champs, and he’s a great real-life basketball player. For fantasy hoops? Not so much. AG is ranked 163rd in per-game fantasy value over the last month behind averages of just 15.6 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists. He’s shooting 68.6% from the charity stripe and provides no defense or triples. There are better options out there that provide more complete stat lines for fantasy managers.

Lively II missed five games with an ankle injury, and his roster percentage fell. In two games since returning, he’s averaged 11.0 points and 11.5 rebounds in 27.0 minutes. On the season, he’s a top-100 player behind averages of 8.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.4 and 73.5% shooting. Steady, top-100 guys aren’t readily available on the waiver wire, so add Lively II wherever he’s available.

Tired: Jalen Smith 12%, Obi Toppin 43%, Isaiah Jackson 10%
Wired: Jontay Porter 5% ⚡

Over the last week, both Toppin and Jackson rank inside the top 105. Jackson is averaging just over 15 minutes per game in that span, and Toppin’s production has been sporadic all season. The Pacers’ trade for Pascal Siakam means all frontcourt players in Indiana not named Myles Turner will see their minutes and production decrease moving forward. None of Smith, Toppin nor Jackson need to be rostered, as their holds on 12-team relevance have been tenuous at best. Jackson's injury on Thursday night makes dropping him even easier.

Jakob Poeltl is on the shelf, Pascal Siakam is gone, and the frontcourt is bereft of talent. Porter has stepped up to fill in the gaps, and over his last five outings, he’s averaged 7.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.2 triples across 20.4 minutes per tilt. He’s started three straight, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t remain with the first unit moving forward. He’s been solid in limited court time, but there’s hope that his playing time will continue to trend up as the season goes on.

Tired: Tim Hardaway Jr. 61%
Wired: Markelle Fultz 48% ⚡

THJ is the perfect example of a super streamer who loses value as soon as the regular starter returns. In three games with Luka Doncic sidelined, Hardaway Jr. averaged a ridiculous 32.3 points and 6.0 triples. Luka returned Wednesday, and Hardaway Jr. promptly crashed back to earth with 12 points on 17 shots and no peripheral contributions. This is who he is - a streaky shooter and scorer with no upside beyond the two categories of points and three-pointers. It was nice while it lasted. Thanks for your service, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Fultz missed nearly two months with a knee injury, but since returning on January 7, his minutes have steadily ramped up. He posted a serviceable 10/4/1/3 line in 30 minutes on Wednesday against Atlanta, marking the first time he logged at least 30 minutes since Halloween. In five games before getting injured, he averaged 11.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.2 steals. He was a top-90 player last season, and he can get back there again to close out the 2023-24 season if he can stay healthy.

Tired: Benn Mathurin 60%, Andrew Nembhard 13%
Wired: Alex Caruso 47% ⚡

Mathurin is just a scorer. Plain and simple, he’s not doing anything for your fantasy squad other than giving you 13-17 points per night on mostly serviceable efficiency. Tyrese Haliburton’s hamstring injury was supposed to have led to big performances from T.J. McConnell and Andrew Nembhard, but the two cannibalized each other’s production until Nembhard’s spine injury forced him out of action Thursday against Sacramento. McConnell had a 20/10 game and is worth holding. Hali is questionable Friday, and his return will extinguish any flicker of fantasy value Nembhard had.

Caruso is a top-85 player on the season, and he’s stepped it up lately as a defender. Over his last five, Caruso has averaged 8.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.4 blocks and 2.0 three-pointers across 31.8 minutes. Caruso has scored in double figures in three straight, stroked multiple triples in five straight and racked up at least four stocks three times in a row. He’s posted top-50 value in that span, and what he’s doing is certainly sustainable moving forward. He’s worth adding for his versatile skill set and elite defensive contributions. Zach LaVine exited Thursday’s matchup with Toronto early due to an ankle injury, and it’s unclear how serious the injury is. He could see even more run moving forward if LaVine is forced to miss time.

Tired: Jalen Green 87%
Wired: Jeremy Sochan 43% ⚡

Green is a full-time starter for a surprisingly competent Rockets team, but he’s not doing much to help fantasy managers out. On the season, he’s averaging 17.4 points on 40.1% shooting to go with 4.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.1 triples and no defense. Those who drafted him likely had a punt-FG% build in mind, but even punting this category, he is still outside the top 150. What does he do well, and what kind of value does he provide your fantasy team? Name value and potential need to be ignored in favor of the actual numbers. Green can be dropped.

It’s been an up-and-down Year 2 for Sochan, but he’s turned things around over the last week, and fantasy managers are hopeful that he’s turned the corner for good. He’s ranked just outside the top 50 over his last four outings behind averages of 13.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.8 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.5 three-pointers across 31.5 minutes per contest. The versatile forward has been much better on the court than in the box score for fantasy hoops, but if he can continue to rack up defensive stats at a high level, he should have a top-100 floor for the rest of the season. He’s worth a speculative add.

Tired: Max Strus 61%
Wired: Marvin Bagley III 24% ⚡

Strus logged only seven minutes and provided zero statistical contributions in the Cavs’ playoff victory over the Nets in Paris last week. His injury wasn’t serious, and he’s been back in the starting lineup for Cleveland in each of the last two games. Over those two, his numbers have fallen off a cliff, and before the injury, his value was tied largely to defensive contributions, which were unsustainable. Over his last eight, he’s averaged 9.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.9 triples and 2.8 TOs while shooting 37.7% from the field. His 1.8 steals and 1.4 blocks won’t keep up, and Strus is ranked just inside the top 115 on the season overall.

Bagley III has burned us plenty of times in the past, but we’re ready to get hurt again! The big man joined the starting five in Wizards debut on Thursday, and he had a productive evening. Bagley III led Washington in minutes, rebounds and defensive stats and finished behind only Jordan Poole in the scoring department. Bagley III posted 20 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, two steals and three swats across 39 minutes in the narrow loss to New York. Twenty-point double-doubles aren’t new for Bagley III, but he’s struggled to put up defensive stats throughout his career. This may be a one-off, or it could be the start of something great for the young big man. Bagley III should be in the starting five until Daniel Gafford (concussion) is available, but even when Danny G is cleared, Bagley III could play a significant role moving forward.