Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire: Markieff Morris, Mavs trio among players to target for Week 10

Christmas week has arrived. Santa brought a mixed bag Christmas day schedule -- Clippers-Lakers and Bucks-76ers should be great, but the NBA is frantically looking for the gift receipt in the hopes that they can exchange the Warriors and Pelicans for, um, almost any other teams.

It seems like the North Pole had to deal with some cutbacks this year -- either that, or we've all been naughty, because this week's waiver wire crop feels a bit like a lump of coal in our stockings. There are a few high-value short term injury replacements, but I compare this week's best long-term pickup to soggy cereal, below (at least it's a favorable comparison?). At least some of the short-term pickups are crushing it.

It's a quiet week, and the schedule is lopsided. The NBA goes dark Tuesday, and everyone except the Hornets and Thunder play on Saturday. Monday is another overloaded 11-game slate, while Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday all feature just five or six games. 

With just eight teams playing four games, there is extra value in targeting the Nuggets, Warriors, Rockets, Grizzlies, Pelicans, 76ers, Kings and Raptors. Because there are so few games overall, there is much less harm in playing someone on the Nets, Hornets, Bulls and Clippers, who each play just twice. That said, the Bulls only play on Monday and Saturday, the busiest days of the week, making them effectively useless to daily league managers.

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

Jalen Brunson (53 percent rostered), Tim Hardaway Jr, (64 percent rostered), Seth Curry (12 percent rostered)

Luka Doncic (ankle) is too good to be replaced by just one guy. His initial timeline after suffering a moderate ankle sprain was "a couple of weeks", which would imply that he should miss at least all of Week 10, and the Mavericks are playing well enough in his absence that they don't need to rush him back. All of these Mavs are worth adding while Doncic is out, though Brunson is definitely my favorite. He's averaging 13.0 points, 9.3 assists and 5.3 rebounds in the time since Doncic went down. Those 9.3 assists would be good for third in the league this season. Even if he wasn't helping in points and rebounds, he'd be a must-add just for his ability to help in one of Fantasy's scarcest stats.

Hardaway and Curry have picked up much of the scoring and usage since the Doncic injury, and their improvements there make them valuable pickups as well. Hardaway has the additional appeal that he's likely to remain rosterable even after Doncic returns. He'd started 11 games in a row before Doncic's injury, averaging 15.7 points and scoring at least 20 in four of those games.

Donte DiVincenzo (42 percent rostered), George Hill (28 percent rostered), Bucks

Eric Bledsoe (leg) has another week left on the sidelines according to his initial timeline. Also, I'm (obviously) no doctor, but his diagnosis was a "fibula avulsion fracture" – I'm not really sure what "avulsion" means (yes, I googled it, it didn't help), but the word "fracture" makes me think the initial two-week timeline was on the optimistic side. I feel very confident that DiVincenzo and Hill have at least another week of value, if not more.

DiVincenzo has taken over as the starter, and he's a pretty balanced producer. He's putting up 9.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.3 3s in the four games without Bledsoe so far. That included two of his worst shooting games of the season. He's not a great scorer, but expect him to put up a little more points over the rest of Bledsoe's absence. Hill is a consolation prize with a higher ceiling in points. Though Hill is averaging more, 13.0 per game without Bledsoe, DiVincenzo outscored him in two of the four games. Hill is also putting up 3.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.8 3s.

Markieff Morris, Pistons (21 percent rostered)

Sometimes it's difficult to keep track of the Morris twins, who, as you may know, have identical matching tattoos. It's easy to forget that it was Markieff, not his current-Knickerbocker brother Marcus, who was the superior Fantasy producer throughout their first six seasons in the league. It should come as little surprise, therefore, that Markieff is putting up solid numbers now that he's getting extra run with Blake Griffin (knee) sidelined and Christian Wood (knee) out at least another week.

In his past three starts without Griffin, Morris averaged 18.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists  and 3.3 3s in 33.7 minutes. Even when Griffin is active, Morris has remained a major part of the rotation, so he'll probably maintain some deep-league appeal after Griffin returns. The only reason Morris isn't listed higher in this column is that the Pistons have been dealing with Griffin on a game-to-game basis, and he could return soon.

Cody Zeller, Hornets (64 percent rostered)

Rostering Zeller is about as fun as eating room-temperature oatmeal. But, like oatmeal, Zeller provides a solid baseline to fuel your day – or, in this case, your box score. He's a lot more valuable when he starts, averaging 25.5 minutes in starts compared to 21.0 off the bench, so managers should monitor his status, especially in games max leagues. But even off the bench, Zeller provides a solid baseline of points, rebounds and great field goal efficiency while throwing in the occasional assist, steal, block and 3. He's boring, but he'll get the job done.

Other recommendations: Enes Kanter, Celtics (57 percent rostered); Danuel House, Rockets (41 percent rostered); Kevin Huerter, Hawks (46 percent rostered); D.J. Augustin, Magic (29 percent rostered); Gorgui Dieng, Timberwolves (4 percent rostered); Damion Jones, Hawks (10 percent rostered); Duncan Robinson, Heat (35 percent rostered); Derrick Jones Jr., Heat (10 percent rostered); Willie Cauley-Stein, Warriors (53 percent rostered); Kris Dunn, Bulls (34 percent rostered); Marquese Chriss, Warriors (14 percent rostered)

Watch-list only: The Artists Formerly Known As 'The Raptors'

Chris Boucher (16 percent rostered), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (20 percent rostered), Terence Davis (4 percent rostered), Raptors

This article needs to address the Raptors, who have been absolutely decimated by injuries over the past week. They are now without Pascal Siakam (groin), Marc Gasol (hamstring), and Norman Powell (shoulder), in addition to a few bench options. Siakam and Powell are both out indefinitely, while Gasol is out for at least a few weeks. Those three combined for more than 90 minutes per game, so their absence should create a ton of Fantasy opportunity.

Unfortunately, however, it looks like their approach is going to be the one that creates the least possible impact on the waiver wire. Serge Ibaka (86 percent rostered) and OG Anunoby (85 percent rostered) are seeing some boost, and Patrick McCaw received the bulk of Powell's vacated workload in their first game without Powell. McCaw's a decent NBA player, but he has no Fantasy value no matter how many minutes he plays – I would not add him, even in an 18-team league.

Siakam and Powell have only missed one game so far, and Gasol just one and a half. If the Raptors shift their rotation and give more minutes to Boucher, Hollis-Jefferson, or Davis, then the beneficiary could have significant Fantasy appeal. All three played less than 20 minutes in their last game, however, so none need to be added right away.

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