Fantasy Basketball: CBS Waiver Wire Week 4
The Knicks and Timberwolves bear watching with rotations in flux, and so do players like under-owned Jae Crowder and Justise Winslow .
The waiver wire ebbs and flows, and the biggest story on the wire this week is that two rotations are undergoing significant changes.
The Knicks unveiled a surprisingly young starting lineup against the Warriors a week-and-a-half ago. At the time the move seemed to be motivated by that particular matchup, but they've kept with it for five straight games. The Timberwolves' Jimmy Butler drama seems to be back, with him missing two of the last three games due to general soreness. In addition to that, Derrick Rose's ankle is acting up again, and the team has provided no clarity on what to expect going forward.
Some might want to include the Suns as a third rotation with a lot of Fantasy impact, but my general advice on the Suns this year is: Avoid anyone other than Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton. As a result, you'll notice no Suns listed in the article below.
As always, the players in this article must be rostered in less than two-thirds of CBS leagues. Players are listed in the order that I recommend adding them, assuming they are equally good fits for your team.
Adds for All Leagues
Jae Crowder, Jazz (63 percent rostered)
Crowder barely qualifies for this article, and I've mentioned him before, so I'll be brief: He's been a top-60 player in nine-category settings so far this season. What are you waiting for?
Justise Winslow, Heat (44 percent rostered)
Is this the year Winslow finally starts to put it together? Winslow was the cornerstone of possibly the most interesting non-trade of the past decade, when the Hornets reportedly passed on the Celtics' war chest of first-round picks so they could move up to select Winslow. His first three seasons were injury-plagued and mostly forgettable. But Winslow is showing signs of life through his first four games this season.
He missed the first four with a hamstring injury, but his minutes have increased in each outing since he returned to action. He's averaging 1.8 steals and 1.0 blocks in 27.5 minutes, and, for now at least, the Heat appear intent on giving him closer to 30 minutes when he's fully healthy. It's obviously still very early, but his advanced stats are all on track to establish new career-highs. In his last outing, he posted 15 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. There is a lot of small sample size noise, and he's unlikely to ever become a volume scorer, but Winslow could be a well-rounded season-long value, though the impending return of James Johnson (abdomen) will further complicate an already-cluttered rotation.
Mitchell Robinson, Knicks (47 percent rostered)
Richardson, along with Noah Vonleh (below) is a part of the Knicks' new-look starting lineup, and coach David Fizdale said over the weekend that Robinson could remain the starting center for the rest of the season. In case you're wondering how that impacts Kristaps Porzingis (knee) if and when he returns, it would probably be good for him, since Porzingis and the Knicks have both played better when Porzingis operated as a power forward. I must confess: I'm not totally sold on Robinson, but I'm in the minority among industry analysts. In a paid, "expert" league with FAAB, Robinson was the most expensive player claimed this season, and eight out of 13 managers put in a bid for him. His biggest attribute is his opportunity, but he's not far from developing into a traditional double-double/blocks/high field goal percentage big man.
Noah Vonleh, Knicks (32 percent rostered)
Vonleh's roster numbers have been a roller-coaster lately, skyrocketing after Halloween before plummeting back to earth over the weekend. Powering the incline was three starts packing increased minutes and across-the-board production, during which he averaged 9.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.7 steals, 1.7 blocks and 0.7 threes with extremely efficient 56-50-90 shooting percentages.
After the crest, the gravity of back-to-back games in which he only played 10 minutes with minimal production brought him back to widespread waiver availability. But Vonleh still started in both, and his small workloads were caused by severe foul trouble – he accumulated five fouls in the first game, and four in the second. The Knicks are still prepared to play him as long as he doesn't force himself off the floor, and his ability contribute in every category gives him unusually high upside.
E'Twaun Moore, Pelicans (40 percent rostered)
Moore is another player I've already written about. He's inside the top-90 overall, and he has made multiple threes in six of his last seven games, with what looks to be a safe workload. If he's not owned in your league, now's the time to pounce.
Josh Okogie, Timberwolves (28 percent rostered)
Okogie's minutes had already increased before Derrick Rose's (ankle) Friday injury. And with Jimmy Butler (rest) skipping two of the past three games, there could be a ton of minutes available in the Timberwolves' backcourt this week. Over his past four games, Okogie has averaged 30.5 minutes per game. In three of those games he provided double-digit points and at least one steal. He's probably most valuable for his defensive production, and though he contributes in both steals and blocks he is also inconsistent in both. Outside of his defense, he doesn't provide reliable help in any category, but the large workload demands attention. A rookie with a big workload makes for a good stash, especially for managers who don't need much from him right away.
Tyus Jones, Timberwolves (7 percent rostered)
Managers in weekly lineups should probably stay away from Jones because coach Tom Thibodeau has made it abundantly clear that Derrick Rose (ankle) will play, and Jones' minutes will be limited any time Rose is healthy. But Rose could miss some time this week, and Jones is startable in all leagues for every game that Rose is out. Jeff Teague has already been ruled out for Monday's game, as well, which will mark his fourth straight absence with what's apparently a rather severely bruised knee.
Not for Everyone
Frank Ntilikina, Knicks (43 percent rostered)
Ntilikina has become a reliable staple in the Knicks' rotation, starting and playing at least 31 minutes in seven of their 10 games. In two of the other three he was in foul trouble, and the third was a 28-point blowout loss. Between these 10 games, and what he showed as a rookie in 2017-18, we have enough data to say confidently that Ntilikina is not a standard league player, even with his substantial workload. However, while he is actively harmful in points, rebounds, and field goal percentage, he is an excellent source of assists and steals. He could be a valuable addition in fine-tuned punt-builds. However, unless he fits the very specific needs for your roster, he should not be added, even in 14-team leagues.
What about Boban?
Boban Marjonovic, Clippers (31 percent rostered)
Just your semi-regular reminder that Boban – he's too awesome to stick to the "proper writing" convention of using his last name – only belongs on deep league rosters -- preferably only deep leagues with daily lineups. He was completely out of the rotation against the Pelicans and Rockets, two up-tempo teams with highly athletic centers. Then he became a popular addition over the weekend after he saw some extra run late last week against the 76ers and the Magic.
The Magic are one of the league's slower teams, and Everyone's Favorite Giant can keep pace with Nik Vucevic. I'll talk about the 76ers game in a minute, but with the exception of that game, whether Boban had a good game or a bad one has been fairly predictable based on the opponent. He was good against Vucevic, Ian Mahinmi and the Wizards, and Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets. Boban split the series against Steven Adams and the Thunder -- they were Boban's best bad game and his worst good game. And Boban was unusable against the aforementioned Rockets (twice) and Pelicans. In his good games, he's a double-double threat and likely to add some defensive production. In four bad games, he's averaged 5.0 minutes per game.
If you are a Boban Believer, then you've got to cling pretty hard to that 76ers game, as that's his one successful Fantasy outing that doesn't fit the narrative. The 76ers are fast and have a quick and athletically superior big man. In that game, most of Boban's production (10 of his 15 points, eight of his 11 rebounds, all 3 blocks) came while Joel Embiid was on the floor. The Clippers have several options at center, and coach Doc Rivers has said that he plans to continue rotating his available centers according to the opponent throughout the season. As much fun as his good nights can be, his bad nights can be ruinous, and standard league managers are probably better off avoiding those headaches.
Tyson Chandler, soon-to-be Lakers (5 percent rostered)
Chandler was just bought out by the Suns and is expected to sign with the Lakers in the coming days. Over his entire career, he's never averaged fewer than 9.8 rebounds per 36 minutes. Since his rookie season, Chandler has never shot worse than 56 percent from the field. His abilities as a shot-blocker and steals-gatherer have waned as he has aged, but he still chips in occasionally. I don't believe in the idea of "JaVale McGee, starting center for a playoff team," and I'm pretty sure the decision-makers in the Lakers' organization don't either. Even if Chandler is limited to only 25-ish minutes per game, he'd be a great source of rebounds, have a positive impact on field goal percentage, and be "meh, fine" in steals, blocks and turnovers.
P.S.: Don't add Garrett Temple.
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