Fantasy Basketball Week 13 Waiver Wire targets: UK schedule warning; will Gerald Green keep firing away?
Gerald Green has fit in perfectly in Houston, and he should be at the top of your Waiver Wire wishlist.
Week 13 is another week in which schedule considerations are the most important factor impacting the waiver wire, as well as the lineups managers should be setting for their teams.
The 76ers play the Celtics in London on Thursday, and that is the only game either team will play all week. In weekly lineup leagues that means all players from both teams -- including Joel Embiid and Kyrie Irving -- should be on your bench. Unless you are in some super-deep, 20-plus-team league, getting three times as many games from whomever is on your bench will almost certainly yield better results. If looking for immediate help off waivers in daily lineup leagues, one game in seven days (actually eight days for the Celtics) is probably not enough to make the desired impact.
The London game isn't the only reason the schedule is so important in Week 13, though it is a major factor. As result, this week article kicks off with a more detailed schedule break-down, even before getting into the recommended players.
The top two players this week are both excellent 3-point shooters, and both have been mentioned in previous iterations of this article. After a few weeks of a very deep waiver pool, things have grown more shallow again.
All players must be owned in less than two-thirds of CBS leagues.
Working the schedule
The Celtics and 76ers play only one game, and three other teams play only two games -- the Grizzlies, Jazz and Suns -- so they should also be faded in weekly lineups. Of the three, the Suns have the most appeal for daily lineups leagues, as they play on Sunday, when only four games are on the ledger.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, 11 teams play four games this week: the Bucks, Clippers, Kings, Nets, Nuggets, Pacers, Pelicans, Raptors, Timberwolves, Trail Blazers and Warriors.
Schedule-conscious managers can pick up a lot of ground in most leagues by targeting these teams, and avoiding players from the five teams with one or two games.
For leagues that permit streaming, there are only four games on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, so targeting players who play on those days ensures that you get the most utility with the fewest number of transactions. With that in mind, here are the best teams to target, in order of best to not-quite-as-good:
- Kings and Raptors: Each has four games and plays on Tuesday and Thursday, while avoiding Wednesday's giant, 11-game slate.
- Trail Blazers: Play four games and plays Tuesday and Sunday.
- Lakers: Play three games and play Tuesday and Thursday, while avoiding Wednesday.
- Heat: Play three games and play Tuesday and Sunday.
Adds for all Leagues
Gerald Green, Rockets (51 percent owned)
Green was recommended as a deep-league add last week. Concerns about how he would fit into the rotation were the only reason he wasn't recommended for all leagues. However, within hours of the article being posted, the Rockets announced that James Harden (hamstring) will miss at least two weeks, at which point he will be re-evaluated and given an updated timeline.
It seems rather likely that Harden will ultimately miss more than two weeks, so Green is likely to maintain value for more than just another week. In the three games without Harden, Green is averaging 23.7 points, 6.3 made 3s (no, that's not a typo) and 4.0 rebounds in 30.3 minutes per game. While I still have some concerns about his role when Harden returns: A) I think that won't happen for at least two more weeks, if not much longer; and, B) Recall that last season, after the Lou Williams trade, four members of the Rockets' backcourt (James Harden, Patrick Beverley, Eric Gordon and Williams) produced top-140 value in eight-category leagues.
Wayne Ellington, Heat (24 percent owned)
Over the past month, Ellington is averaging 3.9 made 3s per game while shooting 43.5 percent from behind the arc. In that stretch, he has one game in which he made zero 3s, compared to four games in which he made at least six. He has emerged as one of the elite shooters in the league, and he's seen a big jump in playing time, to the point where he averaged 31.9 minutes per game over that span.
My biggest concern about the Heat backcourt this season was that it was too deep, and that the players would cannibalize each others' values, but coach Erik Spoelstra's guard-heavy rotation has minimized that concern. In each of the past four games, Goran Dragic, Josh Richardson, Tyler Johnson and Ellington all have played at least 31 minutes. The fifth game -- the one that broke that streak -- was a 24-point blowout. Johnson (57 percent owned) is another potential waiver wire target, but while he's more widely owned, I'd prefer to add Ellington.
Other suggestions: John Henson, Bucks (54 percent owned); Tyus Jones, Timberwolves (36 percent owned)
Jawun Evans, Clippers (4 percent owned)
Thirty-year-old rookie Milos Teodosic is struggling with plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is particularly problematic as a midseason injury because it's possible to play through the pain, but the quality of play suffers, and the only way it heals is with lengthy rest. Teodosic is listed as a game-time decision Monday, and he will probably carry that designation for most games in the near future.
Teodosic missed a chunk of time with the same issue earlier this season, and whatever minutes doesn't play are likely to go to Evans, a promising rookie in his own right. On Saturday, with Teodosic sidelined, Evans scored 12 points to go with seven assists, four rebounds and one steal. He might not always get quite so many assists, but that production is otherwise in line with what we should expect going forward. With Austin Rivers (heel) also out for at least another week-and-a-half, and Patrick Beverley (knee) out for the season, there is a ton of opportunity available in the Clippers' backcourt.
There is no sign of a rush to grab Evans, but he's worth consideration in standard sized leagues, too.
Other suggestion: Tyrone Wallace, Clippers (2 percent owned)
Skal Labissiere, Kings (18 percent owned)
This entire season, the Fantasy Basketball universe has been playing whack-a-mole with the Suns and the Kings, habitually adding last week's breakout just in time for Jay Triano or Dave Joerger to slash their minutes back into the teens. I've been deliberately avoiding mentioning any Kings in this column, yet I have been repeatedly seduced by the Suns, who are peddling the same claptrap. These teams are both inconsistent and rudderless, and we must recognize that anyone we add could warrant dropping in a matter of days.
All that said, these teams do have several young players with a ton of potential. And if the rounds of whack-a-mole ever stop, there could be a ton of value to be had. Labissiere is averaging 16.7 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.4 blocks per-36 minutes this season, and he is capable of providing minor assistance in steals and 3s, as well. He has at least 12 points in three of his last four games and is averaging 20.0 minutes during that stretch.
Labissiere has spent most of the season buried in the Kings' rotation, but an injury to Zach Randolph or a commitment to giving more playing time to younger players would make Labissiere a valuable asset. In leagues where you are not using all of your players every week -- that is, weekly lineups leagues or games max leagues -- Labissiere's potential makes him absolutely worth a medium-term stash. He's not the only promising option from these two teams, but, over the last week or so, he's the one making the biggest moves.
The Suns' Dragan Bender (10 percent owned) had an excellent game Sunday, scoring 20 points and adding six rebounds, four assists, three blocks and a steal in 39 minutes. Nonetheless, Bender's 2017-18 ceiling is probably a lot lower than that of Labissiere. Bender is firmly (and, in my opinion, rightly) behind Marquese Chriss (66 percent owned) on the depth chart. Chriss (hip) left Sunday's game early, which is why Bender saw so much action. There is not yet any reason to believe Chriss' injury will sideline him for long, and as soon as he is back, Bender is likely to again struggle to find playing time. Unless news breaks that Chriss will miss significant time, he should be held or added -- do not overreact to Sunday's injury game.
Follow Alex on Twitter @Rikleen
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