Hello and welcome back to Waiver Wired! Before we get into our top adds of the week, let’s take a last call on some players who recently eclipsed the 40% rostered threshold. For questions on any of these players or fantasy advice in general, find me on Twitter here!
Last Call Adds:
Michael Porter Jr. (50%)- Coach Michael Malone has led us astray many times with empty promises about MPJ’s minutes allotment, but with injuries to Paul Millsap, Gary Harris and Jamal Murray, a door has finally opened for MPJ to get consistent run. He played 28.5 minutes over his last two games, averaging a cool 18.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.5 blocks and 2.5 triples. Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t see this coming, as MPJ played just three minutes vs. the Cavaliers on Jan. 11 and then 19 minutes the following day before he was finally freed. "Earlier in the season, he wasn’t sure when he was going to be playing, is he going to be playing? So now, that’s out the window,” Malone said. “Michael Porter is a huge part of our future, he’s going to play every night.”
MPJ is getting to the rim at will with 76 of his 158 total attempts coming inside the paint, and he has shown a nice touch from long range with the forward making 22 of his 53 triples, good for 41%. Malone said before the season that Porter can play positions 2-4, so hopefully there’s some longevity here with his playing time.
Jarrett Culver (42%)- What a difference a month can make because Culver went from outside the top-200 in standard leagues to putting up consistent mid-round value for the last few weeks. He scored a career-high 26 points (8-of-16 FGs, 6-of-9 FTs) with four rebounds, one assist, one steal, two blocks and four 3-pointers on Saturday, and it looks like he’ll sustain a lot of his value with Karl-Anthony Towns back because the Wolves dumped Jeff Teague to Atlanta.
So what changed? For starters, the Wolves are putting the ball in his hands a lot more and are letting him operate as the primary playmaker, a role he excelled in at Texas Tech. Shabazz Napier isn’t a true PG and the Wolves have also dialed back Andrew Wiggins’ pick-and-roll possessions, so Culver’s newfound role is here to stay. He had a 25.3 usage rate in his last outing, up from his season average of 19%. While the percentages have been a concern, Culver has been playing downhill a lot more often and is no longer settling for jumpers, so expect the FG% to trend up. I’m also confident that the FT% will slowly stabilize too. In the last two weeks, Culver has shown us why he’s now a must-start player in 9-cat with 16.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.8 triples on 51% from the field and 67% from the line, good for top-30 numbers. He’s a future early-round pick, mark my words.
Nerlens Noel (40%)- It sure is nice to have Noel back in our lives. His first two games back in the lineup have been outstanding with Noel averaging 12.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.5 blocks. That’s in 20.0 minutes… Of course one of those games was without Steven Adams with a mild knee issue, but even in a reserve role Noel is just a per-minute monster — he’s ranked 62nd on the season in 9-cat with 7.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.6 blocks in 18.5 minutes. While he’s worth holding onto in his current role, he could hit another gear if the Thunder move Adams before the Feb. 6 deadline (the Hawks are making a strong push to acquire him).
Week 14 Schedule: Games Played
4 games: ATL, BOS, BKN, CHI, DEN, DET, HOU, IND, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIN, NOP, NYK, OKC, ORL, PHX, SAS, TOR, WAS
3 games: CLE, DAL, GSW, MIA, PHI, POR, SAC, UTA
2 games: CHA, MIL
Top Adds of the Week (less than 40% Owned in Yahoo Leagues)
1.) Christian Wood (31%)- His minutes have come back down with eight and 16 in his last two, but if you cut bait now you’re doing it wrong with the trade deadline (Feb. 6) fast approaching. Even if you include his quiet 8-minute game, Wood is still averaging 11.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.0 steals, 2.3 blocks and 0.8 triples. Those are top-35 numbers in 9-cat in 18.9 minutes per game. All signs continue to point to an Andre Drummond trade followed by the Christian Wood awakening.
2.) De’Anthony Melton (10%)- Congrats are in order if you hung in there for his 2-game schedule last week, because he gets four this week. Melton is sitting on 9th-round value over his last four games with 9.5 points, 4.8 dimes, 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 1.0 blocks and 0.8 triples in 20.8 minutes, highlighted by an incredible defensive performance on James Harden when he held him to 3-of-8 as the primary defender. The Grizzlies have won seven straight with the playoffs in their sights, and I still think it’s just a matter of time before Melton is playing 25+ minutes consistently.
It doesn’t look like Dillon Brooks is going anywhere, but there’s still a simple solution for coach Taylor Jenkins and that’s to play them alongside each other at the expense of Jae Crowder — Melton and Brooks have an absurd net rating of +23.6 when they share the floor (96-minute sample), easily the best mark on the team.
3.) Damion Lee (38%)- The contract saga that kept Lee out of the lineup for two games is over. Lee now has a guaranteed future with the team, and I’m expecting him to pick up right where he left off. He’s been a top-60 asset in 9-cat over the last month, averaging 15.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.8 steals. His fantasy value is going to take a hit when Steph Curry (hand) returns in March, but he still has a six-week window for value. He’s an excellent off-ball player which makes him a nice fit next to D’Angelo Russell, hitting 38% of his catch-and-shoot 3s.
4.) Troy Brown Jr. (31%)- Brown was dropped in so many leagues after a scoreless outing vs. the Bulls, but he’s back in full force after scoring 22 points (9-of-13 FGs, 2-of-3 FTs) with eight rebounds, one assist, three steals and two triples in 26 minutes vs. a tough Toronto defense. Jordan McRae (ankle) leaving the game early was a big reason why, as McRae has been the No. 2 option on offense with over 15 shot attempts in the last month. McRae surprisingly isn’t on the injury report, but I’m still rolling with Brown in a lot of leagues. Over the last month, Brown is ranked just inside the top-100 with 14.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.7 dimes, 1.3 steals and 1.0 triples, and you have to love young players on laughably bad teams.
5.) Eric Paschall (28%)- Golden State’s revolving door of fantasy assets continues with Paschall getting his turn in the spotlight this week. He scored 20 points with nine rebounds, one assist, two steals and two 3-pointers in 35 minutes against the Magic on Saturday with Draymond Green sitting out with another phantom injury, but Paschall was trending up before this outburst — he’s ranked 27th in 9-cat over his last four games with 15.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.3 triples in 27.4 minutes. His minutes will probably be closer to 24 when Draymond plays because Paschall’s best position is the four, but I like what I’ve seen from the rookie and think he should be rostered in all 12-team leagues.
6.) Luke Kornet (13%)- This is a perfect example of how sometimes opportunity outweighs actual talent. Kornet is not a good player and doesn’t pass the eye test, and that’s me being nice. That said, Kornet is a good fantasy player as a poor man’s Brook Lopez with excellent 3-point shooting and decent shot-blocking. Wendell Carter Jr. (ankle) and Daniel Gafford (thumb) are sidelined for a while, so Kornet likely has a nice little window to provide value at least until the All-Star break. In his last three games, Kornet is averaging a respectable 11.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.7 blocks and 2.0 triples in 28.3 minutes.
7.) Donte DiVincenzo (16%)- Like Melton last week, I recommend holding onto Donte despite the two-game week for the Bucks. DiVincenzo is another player who crushes in limited minutes, mainly on the back of his elite steal rate. In the last two weeks, he’s been really good with top-45 numbers in 9-cat, averaging 13.0 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.9 steals, 0.4 blocks and 2.0 triples in 24.1 minutes. The Bucks have already started resting their key players as they lap the field in the East, so I’m projecting the second-year guard to flirt with 28 minutes for the second half of the season.
8A.) Malik Beasley (16%)- Gary Harris (adductor) and Jamal Murray (ankle) being out helped Beasley surface in a big way on Thursday, as he dropped a season-high 27 points with four rebounds, one assist, three steals and five 3-pointers in 39 minutes. The game before that, Beasley played seven minutes… Denver’s rotations are the wild, wild west right now, but I’m comfortable rolling the dice on Beasley for the back-to-back set on Sunday-Monday. There’s another reason he’s on this list though…
With Beasley and the Nuggets failing to reach an extension, he’s going to be a valuable trade chip on a team that is continuously looking to upgrade their roster for their playoff run. If Beasley can find himself in a better situation via trade, there’s some serious upside here — in 18 starts last season, Malik averaged 15.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.7 steals and 3.0 triples on 55% shooting.
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8B.) Monte Morris (14%)- He’s probably the safer short-term solution rather than Beasley, as it sounds like Murray will be out longer than Harris. But unlike Beasley, I doubt Morris is moved via trade. Monte hasn’t been lighting up the stat sheet in recent games, but as a fill-in starter last season he put up 15.0 points, 5.3 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.7 triples.
9.) Omari Spellman (16%)- After looking like a no-brainer pickup last week, coach Steve Kerr let us all down when he went back to Willie Cauley-Stein as his starting center. However, it sounds like Kerr will play the matchups going forward, so I still like Spellman as a hold if he can hang around 24 minutes per game. He’s still been a 9th-round value over the last two weeks in 22.9 minutes, averaging 10.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.6 blocks and 1.9 triples.
10.) Svi Mykhailiuk (9%)- I don’t have a clue how to say his name, but I’ve picked up Svi in a few spots and have been pretty happy so far. Luke Kennard (knees) isn’t expected back until the All-Star break, giving us another three-week window to squeeze some value out of this guy. Over the last two weeks, the sharpshooter is ranked 28th in 9-cat, averaging 14.3 points, 3.0 assists, 1.9 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 3.4 triples.