Fantasy Basketball: Waiver Wire pickups for Week 8

Yahoo Sports

By Alex Rikleen, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports

It’s time to hit the waiver wire hard. There’s no shortage of potential adds in Week 8. In fact, two players in the other suggestions list at the bottom (Jordan Clarkson and Dwyane Wade) would have been the top recommended adds just one week ago. With such a deep field of worthwhile candidates, managers should take stock of their team and make some moves. In many cases, that will involve making a difficult drop.

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Schedule-wise, it’s another mostly normal week. The Celtics and 76ers each only play two games, while eight teams play four times. With so few teams playing four games, the harm done by adding or starting a Celtic or 76er is minimized. It’s still a downgrade, but not as much as it would be in most weeks.

The eight teams to play four games are the Nets, Cavaliers, Nuggets, Pistons, Pelicans, Knicks, Spurs and Raptors.

The players below are listed in the order I’d recommend adding them.

As always, we’ll focus on players available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues. That said, here are some good players who might still be available in your league, and are worth checking for:

  • Collin Sexton, Cavaliers (61 percent rostered)

  • Jonathan Isaac, Magic (60 percent rostered)

  • Larry Nance, Cavaliers (65 percent rostered)

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Clippers (52 percent rostered)

  • Marcus Morris, Celtics (59 percent rostered)

  • Danny Green, Raptors (55 percent rostered)

  • E’Twaun Moore, Pelicans (61 percent rostered)

Markieff Morris is the most important player to add, if he’s available — so important that I broke the “50 percent” rule to highlight him below. Otherwise, the players above are listed in order of preference (assuming they fit your roster’s needs). I recommend all of them before Kelly Oubre.

Markieff Morris, Wizards (61 percent rostered)

Next week’s schedule: at NY, at ATL, at CLE

I want to focus on more widely available players, so I’ll keep this brief but Morris demands attention right now. Throughout their careers, Markieff has been widely regarded as “The better Morris twin.” He finished inside the top-80 in both 2014-15 and 2016-17. After a slow start, his minutes are up and he’s put up double-digit points in five straight games. His rise in minutes has coincided with Dwight Howard’s (glute) absences. Howard is now expected to miss significantly more time. If he’s still available, Morris could be one of the best adds of the season.

Markieff Morris is proving his reputation as “The better Morris twin.” (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Markieff Morris is proving his reputation as “The better Morris twin.” (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Kelly Oubre, Wizards (43 percent rostered)

Next week’s schedule: at NY, at ATL, at CLE

Over the last week, the Wizards haven’t been quite the dumpster fire they were over the first month of the season. Even so, serious problems linger, and Washington remains openly willing to trade anyone. The most likely trade pieces are Bradley Beal and Otto Porter.

Oubre’s value would rise if either one of those were traded away. But Oubre is more than just a speculative add. He’s scored double-digits in five of his last seven games, and one of the games he missed that mark was due to foul trouble. He’s a well-rounded producer — not really great at anything, but not really harmful anywhere either.

Ryan Arcidiacono, Bulls (30 percent rostered)

Next week’s schedule: at IND, OKC, BOS

Full disclosure: I am not convinced Arcidiacono will turn out to have been a useful pickup. That said, his workload has been increasing throughout the season and he’s now averaging 33.5 minutes over the last 11 games. That’s too many minutes to ignore, and it’s enough games that it’s clear coach Fred Hoiberg is happy to keep using Arcidiacono as a significant piece of his rotation. His last two games have been the best of his career with averages of 22.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 3.0 assists.

It’s unlikely he’ll maintain that level of production, but he doesn’t have to in order to be a useful pickup. Kris Dunn (knee) is expected to be cleared for contact practice in the next few days, which implies that a return to games is only a few weeks away. When Dunn returns, Arcidiacono’s workload will decrease. If his current play keeps up, however, he could keep enough minutes to stay fantasy-relevant even after Dunn’s return.

Cedi Osman, Cavaliers (34 percent rostered)

Next week’s schedule: at BKN, GS, SAC, WAS

I’ve gone into depth on Osman in several previous articles, so I won’t belabor the point. He’s a starter and one of the best players on the Cavs. He also gets a ton of opportunities. Since he returned to a full workload after his early November injury, he’s averaging 35.4 minutes, 11.8 field goal attempts and three assists. Similar to Oubre, he’s not going to excite you in any category but he provides positive value in most. Sticking with the Oubre comparison, Osman scores and rebounds more, while contributing less in steals, blocks and field goal percentage.

Doug McDermott, Pacers (7 percent rostered)

Next week’s schedule: CHI, at ORL, SAC

In the modern NBA, players shoot a lot of threes. Not exactly breaking news, I know. But with so many more threes league-wide, fantasy teams need more to keep up, and the inherent nature of long-range shooting is streaky. It’s impossible to stay ahead of this curve, and it’s incredibly difficult to identify which performances are the start of a hot streak, versus which are just a random and ignorable games.

The best strategy seems to be identifying the handful of players most likely to go on these streaks, and rotating through whichever is currently available and playing the best. Key pieces of this strategy are being willing to let go quickly, and being comfortable with the fact that you might not be able to get the same player for their next streak.

So far this season, this group has included Bryn Forbes (Spurs, 22 percent rostered), Wayne Ellington (Heat, 27 percent rostered), and Terrence Ross (Magic, 47 percent rostered).

A few others who are likely to cycle in and out include: Malik Monk (Hornets, 9 percent rostered), Reggie Bullock (Pistons, 12 percent rostered) and Allen Crabbe (Nets, 40 percent rostered).

Over the past week, McDermott has shown that he belongs in this group of players. None of them are great for anything other than threes and scoring, and none can be relied upon for long-term value.

All of them, though, will have windows during which they are rosterable.

Note: I do not consider E’Twaun Moore a part of this group. Though Moore fits a similar mold to the rest of these players, his situation — starting for the shallow Pelicans — and his skill makes him too valuable to be freely dropped in competitive leagues.

The Knicks

Allonzo Trier, Knicks (23 percent rostered); Trey Burke, Knicks (25 percent rostered); Noah Vonleh, Knicks (45 percent rostered); Damyean Dotson, Knicks (4 percent rostered); Emmanuel Mudiay, Knicks (12 percent rostered)

Next week’s schedule: WAS, at BOS, BKN, CHA

The Knicks might be trying to drive fantasy managers crazy. Ok, probably not. In actuality, what they’re doing makes perfect sense.

Allonzo Trier has been quietly having an excellent season. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Allonzo Trier has been quietly having an excellent season. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

They have a ton of young prospects who show promise, but have not yet proven that they could be an important piece of a playoff rotation. So, they are mixing it up, trying a whole bunch of different rotations and starting lineups, each for a few games at a time before hitting the blender and trying something else. It is certainly frustrating to fantasy managers, but that’s definitely not the team’s objective.

When it’s their turn in the rotation, all five of the players above have shown that they warrant a spot on fantasy rosters. Additionally, some of the comments coach David Fizdale made during the preseason implied that he wanted to settle into a regular rotation around Game 25.

The Knicks play Game 25 on Monday. I know it has been frustrating, but don’t give up on these five guys. Some of them might become very valuable, very soon.

Deep league managers can add Mario Hezonja (26 percent rostered) and Mitchell Robinson to the bottom of this list of Knicks. Kevin Knox, on the other hand, should be ignored unless the Knicks settle on a rotation and he is a significant part of it.

At this stage of his career, Frank Ntilikina’s skill set does not translate to fantasy value and he should not be rostered outside of long-term dynasty leagues. And even in those formats, his value is on the decline.

Other recommendations: Jordan Clarkson, Cavaliers (43 percent rostered); Dwyane Wade, Heat (27 percent rostered); Elie Okobo, Suns (16 percent rostered); J.J. Barea, Mavericks (30 percent rostered); Aaron Holiday (3 percent rostered); Cody Zeller, Hornets (27 percent rostered); Marcus Smart, Celtics (14 percent rostered); Rodney Hood, Cavaliers (27 percent rostered); James Ennis, Rockets (9 percent rostered); David Nwaba, Cavaliers (1 percent rostered); Cory Joseph, Pacers (13 percent rostered)

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