4 games: ATL, BOS, GSW, HOU, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIN, NOP, PHI, SAS
3 games: BKN, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, IND, MIA, NYK, ORL, POR, SAC, TOR, UTA, WAS
2 games: MIL, OKC, PHX
I’m not feeling too great this week with cold/flu season hitting it’s stride, but it’s going to take a lot more than that to keep me from writing about Chris Boucher and Robert “Time Lord” Williams. So instead of pulling a Kawhi Leonard and handing this article off to a colleague, I’m going to power through it and highlight some hot players that may be sitting on your waiver wire. If your league is super competitive and you don’t have 14 All-Stars on your roster, the more you scroll down the better chance you’ll have of finding what you’re looking for. For fantasy advice and questions, find me on Twitter talking about Jaren Jackson Jr. here!
45%-36% Owned in Yahoo Leagues:
Kevin Huerter (45%)- It took about three weeks, but “Red Velvet" finally reached 30 minutes in his last outing and it resulted in a season-best 17 points with four assists, three boards and four 3-pointers. Huerter’s slow start to the season and restrictions are directly tied to the knee injury that hampered him this offseason, but he said on November 6th that he’s feeling more and more like himself after every game. “Slow starts are going to happen,” Huerter said (h/t Chris Kirschner of The Athletic). “I wasn’t able to play much live over the summer, and then I missed all preseason. Every game I am trying to get better, and I think I am doing that.”
John Collins still has 22 games left on his suspension, and his 62.0 touchers per game are going to be picked up by mostly Trae Young, Jabari Parker and Huerter. That means Huerter’s 3.2 possessions per game as the pick-and-roll ball-handler will go up, and putting the ball in his hands is only going to lead to more fantasy value considering he was a 90th percentile shooter off the dribble as a rookie. It may not be long before he’s a consistent threat for a 15-4-4 line with a couple triples.
Bobby Portis (36%)- He’s coming off a miserable week that included two duds vs. the Pistons and Kings in which he scored a total of five points, so he’s back on the wire in a lot of spots. Portis did bounce back vs. the Mavericks in his last outing though, scoring 14 points with 12 rebounds, one assist, one steal and one 3-pointer in 24 minutes. Mitchell Robinson is sidelined with a concussion and most of Portis’ minutes have been at center, so he’ll get a bump in the short term. Plus, the schedule looks appetizing this week with games against the Cavs, Bulls and Mavs. The last time Portis played the Bulls he probably thought Nikola Mirotic was still on the roster as he went off for 28 points, 11 boards and four triples.
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35%-26% Owned in Yahoo Leagues:
Jordan Clarkson (33%)- He’s not a must-own player by any means, but he’s one of the best pure scorers that is likely floating on your waiver wire. He hasn’t scored fewer than double digits in any game since the opener, averaging 14.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.8 rebounds, 0.9 steals, 0.5 blocks and 1.6 triples on 41.6% from the field. Those are top-100 numbers in just 23.0 minutes per game, a workload that isn’t in danger right now with the Cavs shopping his expiring contract to contending teams.
Alec Burks (29%)- All kinds of weird stuff is happening in Golden State and Burks is the latest name to emerge out of the dumpster fire to make some noise in fantasy leagues. He has played 30+ minutes in three straight games and has sent Ky Bowman back to fantasy wasteland, averaging 23.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.7 triples in that span. He has a 22.9 usage rate in those games with 60.3 touches per game, while Jordan Poole continues to shoot himself (26.7% from the field )out of Steve Kerr’s favor. Of course Burks’ production won’t be this good and he’s not a long-term solution on your fantasy roster, as the Warriors are basically treating him like the “flex seal tape” meme until they get some bodies back. In fact, Anthony Slater of The Athletic said Burks is expendable and likely to be shopped later this season. But for now, ride the hot hand in a 4-game week.
Cedi Osman (27%)- His stat lines can you put you to sleep sometimes, but he’s returning top-85 value over the last two weeks with 10.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.3 triples on 43.6% from the field. He’s playing over 32 minutes per game but is just sixth in touches per game, but there’s room for growth since the Cavs could unload guys like Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson and Jordan Clarkson later this season.
Frank Ntilikina (26%)- David Fizdale has finally listened to the pleas of Knicks fans and unleashed Frankie Smokes with amazing results so far. He does have one dud in his last four games, but in his other three he put up 11.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.3 dimes, 2.7 steals, 2.3 blocks and 2.3 triples while playing at least 38 minutes in each. Elfrid Payton (hamstring) and Dennis Smith Jr. (personal) are due back soon, but it would be a terrible look for Fizdale if he goes away from Ntilikina at this point.
He became the youngest player in NBA history with at least four triples, four steals and three blocks in a single contest vs. the Mavs (h/t Tommy Beer), and even Fizdale gave him props for his recent play. “Just what he’s been doing is getting better and better,’’ Fizdale said. “Every game he becomes more confident. I’m really happy for the kid.’’ We saw this confident version of Frank during the World Cup with France, so it’s worth picking him up to see if he can build on his momentum.
25% and under in Yahoo Leagues:
Bryn Forbes (23%)- Not much analysis needed here as Forbes is as steady as they come for a 3-point and points streamer. He’s been a bit cold from the field, but 13.4 points and 2.4 triples per game over the last two weeks makes him a viable streamer in a 4-game week. The Spurs did use Derrick White alongside Dejounte Murray together in their last outing despite previously playing a total of one minute together, so that would be bad news for Forbes if the trend continues.
Markelle Fultz (24%)- The Magic are 1-3 since moving Fultz into the starting lineup, but two of three losses were competitive and Fultz has made his teammates better with his driving ability opening things up for guys like Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon. He isn’t exactly lighting the NBA on fire with 10.0 points, 2.3 assists, 2.0 rebounds, 2.3 steals, 0.5 blocks and 0.3 triples on 47.1% from the field and 87.5% from the line in 24 minutes, but those are 10th-round numbers in 9-cat and coach Steve Clifford said that his minutes are going to trend up. “Part of that is, again, he hasn’t played in two years,” Clifford said (h/t Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel). “I speak with [the team trainer] every day about that, and we’re being prudent as we go through [the season].”
Glenn Robinson III (18%)- It’s hard to be too picky when a player is comfortably averaging 30+ minutes with a 4-game week coming up. GR3 has played at least 34 minutes in four out of his last five games, returning 9th-round value in that span with 12.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.8 dimes, 1.0 steals and 1.8 triples. With Draymond Green (finger) likely out all week, GR3’s workload should remain in the 30s for a while longer.
Chris Boucher (16%)- Depending on how Sunday goes for Boucher, I’m either going to be ridiculously hyped or extremely disappointed, there is no middle ground for me… I’ve been stashing Boucher in my 30-team dynasties for two years and the awakening of this stat stuffer could be upon us with the Raptors losing both Kyle Lowry (thumb) and Serge Ibaka (ankle) indefinitely.
Toronto was running a tight 7- and sometimes 8-man rotation before they were hit with the injury bug, so Boucher could and should be the next man up in Toronto. With Ibaka out, there could be 20 minutes up for grabs for Boucher as a backup five, and we also know that coach Nick Nurse is open to playing him at PF and SF, so maybe he can get a handful of minutes there too.
Boucher has one of the most impressive seasons in G League history on his resume, but in his limited NBA action last season he put up some absurd per-36 numbers too with 20.5 points, 12.4 boards, 1.3 steals, 5.3 blocks and 2.6 treys. This season he has played a total of 36 minutes with nine points, 13 rebounds, two assists, one steal and six(!) blocks. When a player with this much upside falls into your lap you HAVE to take a flier just to see what happens, and hey if I’m wrong just dump him to the wire and move onto the next one.
Norman Powell (16%)- Am I excited to add Powell in fantasy leagues? No, no I’m not. That doesn’t mean he can’t have some short-term value though, as Lowry is out at least a couple weeks before he is even re-evaluated. Like I said previously, Toronto’s rotation was incredibly tight before the injuries to Lowry and Ibaka, so Powell could legitimately play 36 minutes per game. He scored 18 points with four rebounds, one steal and two 3-pointers in 29 minutes against the Pelicans on Friday, and his per-36 stats of 13.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.9 dimes, 1.5 steals and 1.7 triples are serviceable for an end-of-the-bench guy on your fantasy roster.
Bruce Brown (15%)- The second-year guard has been on quite a tear over his last four games, posting 13.8 points, 6.0 dimes, 4.5 rebounds, 2.0 steals, 0.8 blocks and 0.5 triples. He’s getting 37.0 minutes in those games and has been starting at point guard, so his reps there during the Summer League are paying dividends. Brown was a triple-double threat in Vegas and coach Dwane Casey has always believed that Brown’s future is at PG, so I think he holds onto the job even when Reggie Jackson (back) comes back in December. Brown’s usage/touches could take a big hit with Derrick Rose (hamstring) due back soon and Blake Griffin (hamstring) returning to the lineup Monday, but holding onto him while we see how his role develops isn’t a bad idea after the week he just had.
Daniel Theis (11%)- He’s pretty boring, but Theis is still a 9th-rounder over his last five with 6.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 2.6 blocks. Enes Kanter could complicate things when he returns, but his knee injury is healing a lot slower than expected and we still haven’t heard a target date. Theis is strictly being used as a center this season, but did log 34% of his minutes as a PF two years ago. With Gordon Hayward (hand) out indefinitely, I wonder if they will explore that again, especially after Robert Williams’ monster game on Saturday. But if I’m looking to add a center, I’m going to roll with the upside of Williams over Theis. More on him next…
Robert Williams (9%)- The Time Lord was must-see TV on Saturday night, racking up a career-high six blocks with 11 points, seven rebounds, two assists and no turnovers in 22 minutes. He helped hold LaMarcus Aldridge to three points, and was a walking highlight reel with several emphatic dunks. Arguably the most athletically gifted center in the league, it looks like his basketball IQ is coming around too with his playmaking ability being a pleasant surprise since the Summer League.
“He’s going to get some points to go down, but he was really running,” coach Brad Stevens said (h/t Tom Westerholm of MassLive). “He’s a great shot blocker, and where I think he’s been at his best this year is rebounding over the top. He’s still improving in pick-and-roll and different defensive coverages. But offensively, he has an ability to pass it and he’s a threat at the rim.”
Is it possible that Kanter returns and messes things up? Maybe, but I’m not about leave Williams on the wire while I found out. Boston has won seven straight games, and Kanter hasn’t been active even though he claims he’s healthy. Whether the training staff is being overly cautious, the Celtics are happy with the way things or maybe even a bit of both, Williams has to be picked up in standard leagues and it’s not like he wasn’t productive before Saturday. In fact, he’s ranked 76th in per-game value in 9-cat in under 16 minutes per game.
Raul Neto (4%)- Ben Simmons (shoulder) is out for at least the next two games on Nov. 10 and Nov. 12, giving Neto some short-term streamer appeal. And hey, if Simmons misses additional time then Neto can extend his run of relevance. The Brazilian has played 30 minutes in back-to-back games, averaging 12.0 points, 5.0 assists, 2.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 2.0 triples, and the next two matchups vs. the Hornets and Cavaliers are as good as it gets.
Anfernee Simons (8%)- There is a reason Portland GM Neil Olshey called Simons the most “gifted” player he’s ever drafted. The second-year PG has been generating some buzz in fantasy circles since his 37-point outburst in the season finale of 2018-19, and he was one of the best players at Summer League too.
His talent is starting to show up in box scores this season too, as he has scored at least 13 points in four straight games with his minute totals going up by the day (14, 19, 26, 36). In his most recent game, Simons had 15 points, four rebounds, two dimes, one block and two triples vs. the Nets. The guy can flat out score, and with the injuries in Portland piling up they will continue to use smaller lineups to his benefit. He’s one more solid outing away from a pickup in my book.
Hamidou Diallo (8%)- Diallo is probably a 99th percentile athlete in the NBA and things are finally clicking for him in OKC. In his last five games, Diallo has cracked the top-100 in 9-cat with 9.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.8 steals, 0.6 blocks and 0.2 triples in 25.3 minutes. Andre Roberson has been “progressing well” for 15 years with no end in sight, and Terrance Ferguson remains one of the worst offensive players I’ve seen and I don’t say that lightly (I grew up in Charlotte during the Bobcats era). When a young player on a rebuilding team starts making noise, you have to take notice and I’m excited to see what kind of mystery box upside he shows us going forward.
Jaxson Hayes (7%)- Derrick Favors is washed and a double-double vs. the Hornets doesn’t move the needle for me. The Pelicans have two wins this season and a change is needed up front, and when the inevitable youth movement begins it’s going to be Hayes who gets the nod. He’s just a way better fit on a Pelicans team that was hoping to lead the NBA in pace this season. Come back soon, Zion.
Jarrett Culver (11%)- The Wolves are giving him some reps at point guard which is nice to see while Jeff Teague (illness) and Shabazz Napier (hamstring) are on the mend, and while he’s had two solid lines to go with two duds, he’s at least worth monitoring as a guy who can contribute to every category.
Furkan Korkmaz (5%)- The 76ers are looking for some offense with Ben Simmons (shoulder) out and that explains why Korkmaz is the flavor of the month in Philly over Matisse Thybulle. He’s still more a 3-point streamer for now.
Grant Williams (1%)- If you’re in a very deep league, it’s worth watching Williams closely over the next week. Gordon Hayward (hand) is out indefinitely, and Williams was the first non-center off the bench in the second half of Saturday’s game. He can do everything on the stat sheet except 3-point shooting, but his offense has yet to click. Still, he’s a top-10 rookie in my book and I can see a scenario in which he becomes a sneaky fantasy asset on the back of his production in defensive stats and dimes.