NBA Waiver-Wired: Week 9

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Jonas Nader
·12 min read
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Hello and welcome back to another edition of Waiver Wired! There are some familiar faces at the top of this week’s list, but the wire isn’t as deep as we’re accustomed to. Nerlens Noel (53%) is the headliner for this week, but didn’t qualify as he’s already been picked up in highly competitive leagues within minutes of Mitchell Robinson’s injury. Noel had 10 points, six boards, a steal and two blocks in 32 minutes of his first start on Saturday, and if that workload holds he will be a nightly double-double threat that could flirt with three blocks and two steals per night. Congrats if you were able to scoop him up.

For NBA news and fantasy advice, find me on Twitter here!

Week 9 Games Played:

4 Games: ATL, BOS, BKN, CHI, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, LAC, MEM, MIA, MIL, MIN, NOP, NYK, OKC, PHI, SAC, TOR

3 Games: CHA, CLE, IND, LAL, ORL, PHX, POR, SAS, UTA, WAS

2 Games: DAL

Back-to-Backs:

Monday-Tuesday: BKN

Tuesday-Wednesday: BOS, DEN, DET, MEM, MIN, NOP, OKC, POR, SAS

Wednesday-Thursday: MIA

Thursday-Friday: MIL, TOR

Friday-Saturday: CHA, CHI, GSW, HOU, MEM, PHX

Saturday-Sunday: NYK, SAC

Sunday-Monday (Next Week): OKC

Top Pickups: These are players that are available in 55% or more of Yahoo Fantasy Leagues. The format I traditionally use when talking about rankings are 9-category leagues, and these players are listed in the order that I’d prioritize them.

Note: Hamidou Diallo (58%) and Josh Jackson (49%) did not qualify for this week’s list, but they are must-start players.

Jakob Poeltl (44%)- LaMarcus Aldridge (hip) has missed five games in a row and it’s still unclear when he will get the green light to return. Poeltl has shined in his absence, posting top-50 numbers in 9-cat with 10.6 points, 9.4 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 2.8 blocks on 69% from the field. He is shooting 37% from the line and may as well be blindfolded, but hey, at least it’s low volume. The blocks are the main attraction here and they are here to stay, as he swats 2.2 per 36 minutes for his career.

“He’s very solid,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He knows where to be on the court. He works really hard on the boards, protecting the rim, he runs the floor. He’s just done an excellent job, and mostly been very consistent.” LMA didn’t exactly light up the NBA when he was healthy, and there’s been a lot of talk on Spurs Twitter about Poeltl being handed the job full time, especially with the team sitting at 4-1 since the big man took over.

Kendrick Nunn (42%)- Just like Poeltl, Nunn has been a pickup for a couple weeks but he’s rostered in far too few leagues. Goran Dragic (ankle) has missed four games and isn’t even traveling, so Nunn’s minutes aren’t going anywhere. Over his last five, Nunn has seen 34 minutes per game with 18.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 3.0 triples on 50% shooting. He ranks 57th in 9-cat in that span, and the Heat have two straight weeks of four games on the schedule.

Kenrich Williams (8%)- You could argue that Kenrich is more of a “streamer” since he could lose most of his minutes when Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (knee) and Theo Maledon (protocols) come back, but SGA doesn’t have a timetable and it’s unclear when Theo will be back. Plus, Kenrich has played too good to be left out of the rotation when the Thunder are healthy again, and it helps that he can literally play positions 1-4 -- he has even seen some reps at PG for the Thunder.

Over his last six games, Kenrich ranks as a 7th-round value in 9-cat, averaging 12.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.3 triples on 63% from the field. “I’ve been talking about K-Rich since I first got here,” Al Horford said. “He really impressed me, just very early on.” OKC’s front office has been incredible and this is their latest win, as Kenrich has a team option for just $2M over the next two seasons. Bargain.

Jae'Sean Tate (19%)- Victor Oladipo is injured once again and coach Stephen Silas said the Rockets will have him undergo some tests on his foot/ankle. It was an ominous update from the Rockets, and there’s some concern that this could be more than a day-to-day issue. Whenever the Rockets are down a body, it’s Tate who benefits first, as this is a player who has already seen minutes at four(!) different positions already.

Tate has been an 8th-round value over his last six games in 29 minutes, averaging 12.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.7 dimes, 0.7 steals, 0.5 blocks and 0.7 triples. The best part? His defensive numbers have actually been much better than what we’ve seen in this stretch, so there is a bit more upside than you’d think. “I trust him and he’s a trustworthy player,” Silas said. “He’s in the right spots, a great listener, and a really good learner. We need him, we need him bad.” Houston’s defensive stats are dramatically better when Tate is on the floor, a testament to just how impressive this undrafted rookie has been.

Carmelo Anthony (45%)- I don’t want to spend much time here because Melo is literally old news at this point. The veteran has been unbelievable though, and he still has about a two-week window before the Blazers get some reinforcements. In his last six games, Carmelo ranks 73rd in 9-cat with 19.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.5 steals, 1.3 blocks and 2.7 triples on 48% from the field in just 24 minutes. My advice if you already have Melo is to try and flip him for another player inside the top-100 who will have a secure role the rest of the way, as Melo won’t always have this much responsibility.

Jaden McDaniels (1%)- This is an aggressive ranking for a player who doesn’t yet have a full workload, but I’m a sucker for young talent on tanking teams. If you listen to what the Minnesota players are saying, they can’t believe how good this kid is. D'Angelo Russell calls him a “beast” and it’s easy to see why as he swats every shot in sight. He’s averaging 1.9 blocks per 36 minutes for one of the best block rates among forwards in the NBA, and his jumper is working, as he’s hitting an elite 46% on corner 3-pointers.

Coach Ryan Saunders isn’t exactly putting on a coaching clinic and has gone away from Jarred Vanderbilt which is as bizarre as it gets, but at least McDaniels is getting more burn and the Wolves have been using him at both the three and four. In his last two games, we’ve gotten a good glimpse of his upside with 9.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 3.0 blocks and 2.0 triples in just 21.0 minutes. I’ve started to add him in a few spots and at the very least he should be at the top of your watch lists. His coach at Washington university said he’s “got all the gifts of elite players,” and the eye test and stats seem to agree for a player that is still 19 years old.

Marcus Morris (19%)- If you missed the boat on Lou Williams, Marcus isn’t the worst consolation prize. There’s still no known timetable for Paul George (foot), and all the updates from the Clippers have been as vague as possible. Morris was a sneaky top-100 player last season, but it took him awhile to ramp up this season because of his knee. He’s heating up now though, ranking 98th over his last four with 14.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.5 steals and 3.5 triples in 25.8 minutes, and I’m expecting his workload to get closer to 28-30. The Clippers gave him Timofey Mozgov money and it’s time he earned it.

Saddiq Bey (11%)- What a run from the rookie. Bey made a franchise record seven triples in his last outing on his way to 30 points in a stunning upset over Boston. He’s averaging 15.2 points, 4.8 boards, 0.8 assists, 0.6 steals and 3.0 triples on 56% shooting over his last five in just 23.5 minutes, and with Wayne Ellington suddenly going cold, it may be time for Dwane Casey to unleash him. "So proud of him. That young man is a worker," Casey said. "He's diligent and serious about his craft." Casey added that Bey is just “scratching the surface,” and if I’ve learned anything over the last several years playing fantasy, taking fliers on young players playing on bad teams has a pretty high success rate. I still think it’s more likely that Bey becomes a must-roster player later in the season as opposed to right away, as Casey’s track record with Christian Wood last season gives me pause.

Immanuel Quickley (27%)- He’s probably going to be off and on this list a ton, but such is life under Tom Thibodeau. Elfrid Payton is apparently going nowhere, and to his credit, his level of play has been on the uptrend. Quickley has been the better player, there’s no doubt about that, but for now the Knicks are content with bringing him off the bench alongside Derrick Rose in what has become a lethal combo. The Knicks have outscored their opponent by 42 points in the 59 minutes they shared the floor together (h/t Ian Begley). The rookie is coming off a 22-point game with four triples, and it’s possible that instead of Quickley taking minutes from Payton, he takes them from a struggling Alec Burks instead.

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Watching Closely:

Robert Williams (9%)- Everyone knows how I feel about this young stud, and while he’s been buried on the depth chart and coming off a two-game absence, get ready to add him if we get bad news on Daniel Theis. As I’m writing this, Theis left Sunday’s game with a pretty nasty looking hand injury and he was in a ton of pain. Williams is capable of being a top-50 player if his minutes eclipse 20.

Moritz Wagner (1%)- The Alex Len experiment is no more, apparently. Coach Scott Brooks has never liked Wagner in the past, and the front office isn’t high on him either as they declined his option. However, in terms of fantasy, he’s by far the most exciting option, but that’s not saying much when his competition is Len and Robin Lopez, destroyer of mascots.

Wagner has shown in the past that he only needs 20 minutes to breach the top-100 in 9-cat with good contributions in every category, so I’ve got my eyes on him in a few spots.

Michael Carter-Williams (17%)- He jumped from 1% to 17% like lighting after posting 21 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in 27 minutes. He’s the only “healthy” point guard in Orlando right now, and Cole Anthony (shoulder) and Evan Fournier (back) continue to miss time despite being “questionable” continuously. MCW has been a bust since his rookie season, but if you look at his per-minute production over the last couple seasons, it’s clear that’s he’s becoming a serviceable PG in real life and in fantasy.

Streamers- I have not listed these players in the order I would prioritize them because it all depends on what categories you’re searching for.

T.J. McConnell (31%)- Hard to argue with 9.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game over the last two weeks, but provides little else.

Danuel House (17%)- He’s coming off a dud, but before that averaged 12.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.8 steals and 2.3 triples in five games. Lots of opportunity here with Oladipo injured and P.J. Tucker on the trade block.

Denzel Valentine (8%)- Minutes will be tighter across the board with Wendell Carter Jr. expected back. I still think Valentine has earned a spot in the rotation, and his contributions across the board have been impressive. I’m also keeping an eye on Tomas Satoransky with Billy Donovan saying he wants to find more minutes for the veteran as he searches for a bit more playmaking.

Jeff Green (25%)- Continues to be among the minutes leaders for Brooklyn, posting 10th-round value in 9-cat over the last two weeks on the back of his points (12.1), rebounds (4.5), assists (1.6) and triples (1.9).

Grayson Allen (9%)- We’ve reached the Grayson Allen portion of the season. Say what you want about him, but Taylor Jenkins has a collection of his rookie trading cards.

Doug McDermott (17%)- 14.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.4 triples over the last two weeks. Is as likely to register a steal and block as often as Shaq praises the Jazz.

Deni Avdija (9%)- We talked about him a lot in recent weeks, and he doubles as a stash for the inevitable Bradley Beal trade. Yes, I said inevitable. The Wizards have a 5-game week beginning on Feb. 22nd.

Isaiah Stewart (6%)- If Mason Plumlee misses more time, and I don’t think he’ll be out long, Stewart will be a double-double threat that should average around 1.5 blocks per game.

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Sacramento
+115+1.5O 221.5
New York
-139-1.5U 221.5