Waiver-Wired: Week 14

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Jonas Nader
·8 min read
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Waiver Wired. I’m slightly tweaking the format this week, bringing you the top 10 adds that are available in 60% or more of leagues with the last few being some sneaky players that could break out down the stretch. For NBA news and fantasy advice, find me on Twitter here!

Week 14 Games Played:

4 Games: ATL, BOS, CHA, CLE, DEN, HOU, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIL, MIN, ORL, PHO, POR, SAC, SAS, TOR, UTA

3 Games: BKN, CHI, DAL, DET, GSW, IND, MIA, NOP, NYK, OKC, PHI, WAS

Back-to-Backs:

Mon-Tues: None

Tues-Weds: BKN, DEN, ORL, PHO

Weds-Thurs: LAC, SAC, SAS

Thurs-Fri: GSW, LAL, MIA, POR

Fri-Sat: BOS, CLE, DAL, DET, HOU, MEM, MIL, MIN, NOP, UTA

Sat-Sun: None

Sun-Mon (Week 15): TOR

Top Pickups: These are players that are available in 60% or more of Yahoo Fantasy Leagues (I bumped it from 55% to 60%) with the fantasy playoffs getting closer). 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.

Jordan Poole (33%)- Talk about a complete 180. Poole shot 33% as a rookie but has completely flipped the script in his second season, shooting a blistering 50% from the field. In his last seven games, including two without Stephen Curry, Poole has been red hot with 20.9 points, 2.6 assists, 2.1 rebounds, 0.7 steals and 3.3 triples in just 26.4 minutes.

“Not much holding it now,” coach Steve Kerr said last week of Poole’s improvement on the ball. “There’s no wasted motion. Last year, his rookie year and even in the early part of the season, he’d catch the ball and hold it. Not much holding it now. He’s catching the ball and making his move quickly, shooting it quickly.”

Fast forward a few days, and coach Steve Kerr has continued to hype him up, this time simply responding “yes” when asked if Poole has forced his way into the sixth man role even when the Warriors get back to full strength.

Moses Brown (33%)- The G League sensation still has a clear runway to a breakout second half. Al Horford is going to rest for his fourth game out of his last seven on Sunday, so even if a trade doesn’t happen (and I think one will), there’s going to be more than enough room for Brown as the only other true center on this roster. In his last five games, Moses ranks inside the top-75 in 9-cat in just 24.7 minutes, averaging 11.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 0.6 steals and 1.8 blocks on 54% from the field and 75% from the line. I said a month ago that he has the potential to make the same impact Hassan Whiteside made in Miami when he was fresh out of the G League, so let’s see if he can pull it off.

Saddiq Bey (37%)- Bey has become Detroit’s No. 2 option on offense behind Jerami Grant, and he’s looking more and more comfortable by the day. His 3-point prowess is well known, but Bey has been turning heads for another reason with some impressive drives. "So he’s just beginning, he’s scratching the surface. I can foresee him putting the ball on the floor, running pick and rolls, he’s an excellent passer,” coach Dwane Casey said. “As you see, he’s a guy that triggers the ball out of bounds in clutch situations. He’s just a solid, solid pro and he’s going to be a star in this league for a long, long time." Casey is not known for just loosely throwing out praise, so this is significant. He’s quickly becoming the total package as a fantasy wing, posting top-75 numbers of 16.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.7 dimes, 1.0 steals, 0.3 blocks and 2.8 triples over his last six games.

Talen Horton-Tucker (15%)- The preseason superstar is finally going to get a featured role for the Lakers with LeBron James joining locker room enthusiast Anthony Davis on the sidelines with a high ankle sprain. THT’s minutes were already trending up with 13.8 points, 5.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds in 23.5 minutes, and now we can pretty much double his upside in the short term. In a 266-minute sample size with LeBron and AD off the floor, THT has a per-36 line of 19.4 points, 6.1 assists, 6.0 rebounds, 2.2 steals, 1.2 blocks and 0.8 triples.

Nicolas Claxton (9%)- I’ve been saying for a while that I’m expecting Claxton to overtake DeAndre Jordan as the starting center. If he wasn’t such good friends with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, let’s be honest, it would’ve happened already. Claxton has already forced his way into a timeshare with Jordan, but with Blake Griffin set to debut Sunday, I think it’s going to be Jordan’s minutes who suffer. Claxton is the next “per-minute monster” that is poised for a breakout with a per-36 line of 19.0 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.7 steals, 3.4 blocks. He gives the Nets a different dynamic on both ends of the court and every time Steve Nash talks about him he says the word “upside” repeatedly. Claxton is one of my favorite speculation stashes right now who has also done a really good job providing some low-end value in the meantime.

De’Anthony Melton (19%)- At this point you just have to laugh, right? Grayson Allen, who has been nowhere near Melton’s level this season, played a whopping 32 minutes on Saturday, putting on an absolute masterclass with six points on 2-of-9 shooting. They will be singing tales about this performance for years to come and rumor has it that Taylor Jenkins has ordered the construction of his statue outside the arena, but lifted off the ground so that bypassers don’t trip over it.

All that said, Melton was in foul trouble on Saturday but only playing 10 minutes as a result is an embarrassment. Melton leads the Grizzlies in net rating at +11.5, while Grayson is a -0.5. The argument we hear for Grayson starting over Melton is because he’s a “better” shooter, but Melton is hitting 40% from beyond the arc, is a better ball-handler and already looks like an All-NBA defender. Despite Jenkins conspiring against Melton, he is ranked inside the top-50 over his last 10 games in just 19.9 minutes. He’s the Robert Williams of guards as we’re just waiting for the coaching staff to make the right decision here.

Aleksej Pokusevski (16%)- This is a bold ranking, but Pokusevski is a future superstar and passes the eye test with flying colors. The Thunder are resting veterans left and right, and we already know they will be sellers at the deadline. Plus, it’s no secret that they have been talking about putting the ball in his hands more often -- we’ve even seen the 7-footer run the point for stretches. He’s actually been in a slump lately, but I’ve been encouraged with the workload and his per-minute production across the board screams upside. If not Claxton, I think Pokusevski is the next player to catch a lot of fantasy managers by surprise.

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Isaiah Stewart (13%)- His minutes are slowly climbing and coach Casey continues to say that he’ll get some run as a four down the stretch alongside Mason Plumlee. Stewart’s newfound ability to hit the perimeter shot will only expedite the process. He’s been a 9th-round value in just 23 minutes over the last two weeks with 9.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.4 dimes, 1.0 blocks and 0.8 triples, so he’s just a few minutes away from being a walking double-double.

Kenrich Williams (3%)- We’ve talked a lot about Isaiah Roby (9%) in Waiver Wired, and this is likely where he would be placed in this week’s column, but let’s give Williams some ink this time around. Just like Roby, he’s another OKC player that is primed to take on a larger role down the stretch with the Thunder unloading Hamidou Diallo. He’s averaging 13.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.8 triples over his last four games in just 25.3 minutes, but those numbers actually lag behind his per-minute upside on the season. There’s a lot of value to be had and it seems like he’s widely available everywhere.

Jaden McDaniels (2%)- Jarred Vanderbilt fouled himself out of the rotation, so now it’s McDaniels’ turn to show what he can do. Anthony Edwards gets all the buzz these days, but McDaniels also has the potential to be a truly special player, particularly on the defensive end. He has a combined 10 points in his last two games and is still very raw on offense, but his per-36 line of 10.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.9 steals, 1.8 blocks and 1.8 triples is very tantalizing and I’ve been getting some major Jonathan Isaac vibes. It’s more likely that he breaks out next season or the year after, but you never know when the light will turn on.