There are also other stories on the waiver wire this week. There's a whole column full of recommendations. But the penultimate pick in the 2020 draft – and whether or not we can expect his hot play to continue – is the main story this week.
There's no "deep league special" this week, but the reason is actually one that should excite deep-league managers: there are multiple players available in fewer than 15% of leagues who should be added even in standard leagues. Deep-league availability and standard-league production, the best of both worlds!
One last note before we get to the recommendations. Congratulations are in order! Jae'Sean Tate no longer qualifies for inclusion this week! He's up to a very nice 69% roster rate! It was a long road, but we finally got there. Good work, everyone.
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
Malachi Flynn, Raptors (23% rostered)
This might be the big one. Over the past four games, the 22-year-old rookie is averaging 13-6-5 with 3.5 (!) stocks (steals plus blocks) and 2.0 3s. That puts him inside the nine-category top-20 over the past week. If that can continue, even assuming the defense falls off a little, then Flynn is going to be one of the defining pickups of the season.
So, will it continue? The worst news is that this surge is happening while Kyle Lowry (foot), Fred VanVleet (hip) and Rodney Hood (hip) are sidelined and while some other rotational wings are also in-and-out of the injury report. Lowry, VanVleet and Hood are all expected to return early next week.
But there are some positive signs, too. In the three games before Hood's injury, Flynn was playing 78% of his minutes alongside Hood – meaning they aren't competing for minutes. In the four games before Lowry's injury, Flynn shared the floor with Lowry for roughly half of his minutes, implying that coach Nick Nurse is willing to have the guards share the court together. Finally, in the first game of Flynn's current streak, during which VanVleet suffered his injury early in the third quarter, Flynn was already on track to set a season-high in minutes before VanVleet got hurt.
It appears as though there is room for Flynn to maintain a large workload even as his teammates get healthy. And if the Raptors, currently three games outside of the play-in tournament, ever transition to tanking, then there's going to be a lot fewer games when the stars are "healthy".
Another factor working in Flynn's favor is that his improved productivity is not the result of an increased usage rate. Even if Flynn is able to maintain a large minute load as the stars get healthy, he wouldn't be able to maintain a high usage rate. Fortunately, that's not a problem here, as Flynn's usage rate has remained at just 18.5% through this surge.
It's almost impossible for Flynn to remain a top-20 per game player once Lowry and VanVleet are back. But it's very possible that he remains an all-leagues starter the rest of the way.
Aleksej Pokusevski, Thunder (58% rostered)
I'm finding it difficult to avoid the comparison at this point. Not since Giannis Antetokounmpo have we seen a player this young who inspired this many "jeez he can do that already?" double-takes. That's probably also the last time we saw a player this tall and this skinny. The comparison goes one step further (before it completely collapses under its own weight) – like a young Giannis, baby's Poku's production was frustratingly inconsistent, until all of a sudden the bad nights started coming more and more rarely. His field-goal percentage and turnovers are still a big drain, but Pokusevski should be rostered everywhere.
Jalen Brunson, Mavericks (40% rostered)
The beatings will continue until morale improves. By which I mean Brunson will remain a feature here until he stops qualifying. Brunson is averaging 15-4-4 with one 3 and an excellent 55% FG over the past 10 games.
RJ Hampton, Magic (14% rostered)
I try to stay alert to players with a draft history like Hampton's – guys who were once expected to be a top-five-ish draft pick until odd circumstances made their draft stock tumble. Of course, many who fit this criteria never turn into much. On the other hand, this helped me get in early on guys like Michael Porter Jr. and Robert Williams. Hampton fits this profile.
Hampton has been really good since arriving in Orlando at the trade deadline. After a small role in his first few appearances, his workload has jumped in the last three games. He's played 30.3 minutes for the now-obviously-tanking Magic and is putting up solid numbers in the process. He's helping in points, rebounds and 3s, without hurting anywhere. As a low-assist point guard, he'll be especially valuable for some punt builds.
Jaden McDaniels, Timberwolves (42% rostered)
Another recurring name in this column, McDaniels is averaging 11-5-2 with 1.2 blocks and 1.9 3s over a nine-game stretch. That's a pretty big sample size. Josh Okogie returned to action for three games last week, and McDaniels remained playable. His minutes took a small hit, but he remained in the starting lineup and still averaged 8-5-1 with 1.0 blocks and 1.3 3s. As we expected, Okogie's presence hurts, but McDaniels remains a workable option in most leagues.
Minor irrelevant trivia: McDaniels was drafted 28th, directly before Malachi Flynn. It's been a good week for the back half of the 2020 first round. The 30th pick, the Grizzlies' Desmond Bane (11% rostered), is a workable deep league play if you want to stick with the theme.
Jalen McDaniels, Hornets (7% rostered)
Jaden's older brother is also worth our attention after scoring 21 points in 32 minutes Wednesday night. Jalen had been an end-of-bench option for the Hornets before Gordon Hayward's (foot) injury, but he re-entered the rotation with a flourish over the past two games. An eventual Malik Monk (ankle) return will probably hurt, but Monk is supposed to miss at least another week. Jalen appears to be a priority deep-league target, and a solid short-term play for standard-sized leagues.
Mo Bamba, Magic (13% rostered)
Look, I'm as surprised to see Bamba here as you are. Three weeks in a row of non-ironic Bamba recommendations? Alas, here we are. The Magic even waived Khem Birch, removing one of the biggest obstacles to Bamba's ongoing production. He's averaging 17.6 minutes since the trade deadline. At that workload, he's probably only a deep leagues option. But he played 25 minutes Wednesday, and that was before they cut Birch. Bamba's per-minute production corresponds to 15.6 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per-25 minutes. Those are standard-league numbers. I can't believe I'm saying this, but Bamba is worth a flier in standard leagues right now.
Other recommendations: Hamidou Diallo, Pistons (59% rostered); Tomas Satoransky, Bulls (41% rostered); Theo Maledon, Thunder (53% rostered); Jaxson Hayes, Pelicans (8% rostered); Jae Crowder, Suns (43% rostered); Killian Hayes, Pistons (28% rostered); Patrick Williams, Bulls (43% rostered); Grayson Allen, Grizzlies (13% rostered)