Fantasy Basketball Week 11 Waiver Wire targets: Make Ish Smith, Bismack Biyombo your priority
With injuries to starters, Ish Smith and Bismack Biyombo have a big opportunity to contribute over the next few weeks.
A deep pool of waiver targets got even deeper when Nikola Vucevic (hand) and Reggie Jackson (ankle) suffered injuries in recent days. Their replacements jumped to the top of the list of potential adds, ahead of some promising new additions to the "Adds for all leagues" section, and bumping Wayne Ellington down from a featured player to "Other recommendation." For one reason or another, each of this week's top four players could find themselves back in the waiver pool quickly – but each could also turn into one of your best pickups of the season.
All players must be owned in less than two-thirds of CBS leagues.
Adds for All Leagues
With Jackson set to miss six-to-eight weeks, Smith is a must-add and a must-start for the next month-and-a-half. Smith is one of the few examples of a true "handcuff" that exists in Fantasy basketball. Jackson hasn't missed a game yet this season, but in the 30 games Smith played without Jackson last season, Smith averaged 12.7 points, 6.4 assists, and 3.3 rebounds in 30.2 minutes.
Nikola Vucevic's (hand) injury transitions Biyombo from a Fantasy afterthought to a top potential add. He started each of the first two games without Vucevic, playing 24 minutes in the first and 30 in the second. Biyombo's line in the second game – three points, 12 rebounds, five blocks, and zero assists, steals, or attempted threes – is characteristic of what owners should expect from him moving forward. Biyombo is a good rebounder and one of the best per-minute shot blockers in the NBA, but he is unlikely to provide any meaningful production anywhere else. Most nights, he won't reach 12 rebounds or five blocks, but he also will probably do a little bit more in the other categories.
The Suns might have finally found a functional point guard. They spent the first two months of the season waffling between Mike Davis and Tyler Ulis, but Canaan has taken over the majority of the nightly point guard minutes since he was acquired six games ago. Canaan's previous teams typically used him more as a shooter than a distributor, but he has shown some skill for both roles. As long as he can keep his minutes elevated, he should continue to be a solid source of assists, threes, and points.
Zaza Pachulia (shoulder) is set to return to the starting lineup Wednesday, which could be the end of Bell's recent run of Fantasy utility. Pachulia has played only five minutes since Dec. 3, and in his eight-game absence, Bell averaged 8.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.1 steals in 22.8 minutes, while shooting 68.2 percent from the field. That kind of across-the-board production is so rare in Fantasy that Bell should be added, even though there is a chance his minutes are about to fall off. While Pachulia is set to reclaim his starting status, Bell has played too well to return to minimal, scrub minutes and occasional DNP-CDs. I'm willing to invest a roster spot in the idea that Steve Kerr will figure out a way to continue to include Bell in a meaningful role.
Lyles has been featured in this column in each of the past two weeks, but he's still available in enough leagues to qualify for this article. Around the start of December, Lyles surpassed Kenneth Faried as the Nuggets' primary power forward while Paul Millsap (wrist) is out. Millsap is not expected to return until late February, at the earliest, and it seems likely that the transition to Lyles will be a permanent one. Over the last eight games, Lyles is averaging 16.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.5 threes, and 1.4 assists while shooting 57.8 percent from the field and playing 28.4 minutes per game.
Deep league special
With his ownership already creeping up, Jack might already be unavailable in some deeper leagues. He's a solid deep-league add, but he doesn't do enough to justify non-streaming ownership in a 12-team league. Jack is seeing stable minutes as the Knicks' nominal starting point guard, but in actuality, his role is a pretty evenly split timeshare with Frank Ntilikina (36 percent owned).
Jack only really adds value in assists, where he is averaging 6.0 per game over his last 10 games. His rebounds are solid for a guard, and he gets enough points and threes that he doesn't do much damage there. Jack doesn't see enough court time to benefit standard leagues – 25.5 minutes per game in December – but he can absolutely add value in deeper formats.
The Lakers play four games over the next six days, and they may be without Lonzo Ball (shoulder) for that entire period. The latter two games are on the road, where the Lakers will be without Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who legally cannot leave the state of California. Hart is therefore likely to be looking at a huge boost in minutes, at least for this short stretch. In his last two games – both with KCP in the lineup – Hart averaged 11.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 threes and 1.0 steals in 36.5 minutes per game.
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