There is still a lot of talent on the waiver wire this week, though not quite as much as last week, especially in deeper leagues. If you haven't yet, it's time to strike on this week's top two additions, as both have long-term potential and are getting snatched up in a hurry.
The Fantasy landscape is littered with injuries, include many that remain ambiguously "day-to-day" despite players already missing several games. In response, this week I've added a section to highlight players who can be confidently called upon if your starter is a late scratch.
The schedule remains a Fantasy factor this week, as the NBA fits seven days worth of games into a six-day week (no Christmas Eve games).
All players listed must be owned in less than two-thirds of leagues.
Adds for all leagues
Trey Lyles, Jazz (41 percent owned)
Lyles gets the bump from a secondary deep-league recommendation last week to the highest-priority add in Week 10. He now has at least 19 points in three of his last four games, and his minutes and supplementary contributions are also rising. He's played more than 30 minutes in two straight games, and he's topped 26 minutes in five of his past six -- his season high before December was just 24. Paul Millsap (wrist) is expected to remain sidelined for at least another two months, and the Nuggets have shown time and again that they do not view Kenneth Faried as a long-term solution.
Lyles' steadily increasing role has coincided with a steep drop-off in Faried's involvement -- and based on how this team has used Faried in the past two seasons, Faried's return to a small bench role could be lasting. In previous weeks, I've occasionally referenced an industry league in which I play. In that league, the winning FAAB for Lyles was $23 out of a $100 budget, the fourth-highest bid since the first week of the season.
E'Twaun Moore, Pelicans (56 percent owned)
I focused on Moore as a top add last week, and the justification has not changed. He's averaging 38.0 minutes per game in December, and since his minutes increased he's shooting 64.4 percent from behind the arc, and the Pelicans are playing better overall. Moore should be owned in all leagues. The primary reason he's behind Lyles is that Moore's production is unsustainable. No player who averaged at least one 3-point attempt per game and played at least 30 games has ever maintained a 3-point percentage above 56.5 percent, and only 12 players have ever finished above 50.0 percent. Lyles, on the other hand, appears to be still improving. If you can, make room for both.
George Hill, Kings (58 percent owned)
The Kings are a Fantasy disaster and, generally speaking, should be avoided at all costs. But it's pretty uncommon for a player this talented to qualify for an article like this, especially when that player is averaging more than 30 minutes per game. Now, Hill is only averaging more than 30 minutes per game over a three-game span, and, it bears repeating that the Kings rotation is a mess. As long as his minutes stay up, he's worth owning. Just remember to cut him loose if his minutes start dipping below 25 on a consistent basis.
Other recommendations: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Hornets (50 percent owned); Mike Scott, Wizards (4 percent owned); David Nwaba, Bulls (23 percent owned); J.J. Barea, Mavericks (55 percent owned) Yogi Ferrell, Mavericks (21 percent owned)
Maximizing the schedule
Daily lineups: add
Weekly lineups: avoid
The Cavaliers have the unusual distinction of being an excellent target for some league formats, and a horrible target for others. The Cavaliers are one of only two teams that plays just twice this week (the other is the Pistons). Since 16 teams play four games this week, LeBron James and Kevin Love are the only Cavs who should be started in most weekly lineup leagues.
In daily lineups leagues, however, the advice is the exact opposite. The NBA does not play on Christmas Eve (Sunday), so there are only games on six days this week. Despite the shortened week, the league is playing a full schedule of games, meaning most nights are pretty busy. Four of the six nights have at least nine games. On those nights, streaming is typically not an option, since teams can usually fill their starting lineup with players already on their roster. Therefore, the only nights optimal for streaming this week are Tuesday and Thursday. The Cavaliers and the 76ers are the only teams that play both nights.
Weekend adds: Bucks
The Bucks play three games this week before they begin a three-week stretch of four-game weeks in Week 11. With 13 games Saturday, and zero games Sunday, managers should consider adding a member of the Bucks before Saturday's games. The player dropped is unlikely to fit into Saturday's starting lineup, so managers can painlessly "beat the rush" and add a player who can help for several weeks in a row. If Malcolm Brogdon is available, he's the best option. John Henson is the second-best choice. If Tony Snell, who practiced Monday, is healthy by the weekend, he would be the third choice. Thon Maker is a good option for deeper leagues.
Deep leagues special
Ekpe Udoh, Jazz (11 percent owned)
With both Rudy Gobert (knee) and Derrick Favors (eye) out, Udoh saw 29 and 33 minutes on back-to-back nights. Favors is expected to return within the next few days, but Gobert will be sidelined for another month. When Favors returns, he will take over Gobert's role as the starting center, but Favors' old role -- backup center and starting power forward, combining for roughly 26 minutes per night -- becomes available. Jonas Jerebko (3 percent owned) likely takes most of the power forward minutes, but he's not really capable of the backup center work. Udoh averaged 16.8 minutes during Gobert's last extended absence. While that's usually not enough to warrant Fantasy considerations, he averaged 1.3 blocks per game in that stretch. In a season where waiver wire blocks have been harder to find than Waldo, 1.3 per game is a massive injection into a lineup, especially in deeper formats. Jerebko and Joe Johnson (7 percent owned) are other players who might be worth adding, at least so long as Gobert is out.
Other recommendations: Bam Adebayo, Heat (18 percent owned); Maxi Kleber (13 percent owned); Jose Calderon, Cavaliers (2 percent owned)
Michael Beasley, Knicks (14 percent owned)
Beasley does not warrant ownership in most leagues. However, as he showed again Saturday, he can be added and started in all formats any time Kristaps Porzingis misses time. Porzingis has missed four games in the past month. In those, Beasley has two 30-point games, a 21-point game, and a 13-point effort. Plus, he shot above 50 percent from the floor in all four. Porzingis (knee) is a game-time decision for Monday's game.
Richaun Holmes, 76ers (21 percent owned)
Holmes' situation is very similar to Beasley's. Holmes currently doesn't warrant ownership when the 76ers are playing at full strength. In Friday's triple-overtime game, he saw only 10 minutes. However, in Holmes' five previous appearances, the 76ers were missing one or more key big men. In those five games, he shot 54.2 percent from the field and averaged 12.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, and just under one each in assists, steals, and blocks in only 23.8 minutes. Joel Embiid (rest) and Trevor Booker (ankle) have already been declared out for Monday, meaning Holmes is a viable streaming option to start the week. The 76ers also play Tuesday, and the team has not yet commented on whether either Booker or Embiid will be available for that game.
Bobby Portis (59 percent owned)
The Bulls have my favorite schedule this week. They play four games, including one game on Thursday, so Portis will play on one of the two very quiet days this week. All four Bulls opponents are in the top half of the league in pace, and three are in the bottom half in per-possession defense. Meanwhile, most of the other teams that play four games either face one of the super-slow teams (Jazz, Mavericks, Grizzlies, Spurs), or play neither Tuesday nor Thursday. Portis has played well while Lauri Markkanen (back) has been out, though Markkanen will return to the starting lineup Monday night.