Fantasy Basketball: Week 17 Waiver Wire

Another week, another NBA bombshell. This time, the Knicks threw away their best player for cap space and spare parts, throwing both the Mavericks' and Knicks' rotations into the dramatic unknown. Meanwhile, Anthony Davis' camp is making it increasingly clear that when they said they wanted a trade, they mostly meant "a trade to the Lakers".

Two other trades went down over the last week, and they will also impact the waiver wire this week. The more important trade saw the Trail Blazers receiving Rodney Hood in exchange for Nik Stauskas, Wade Baldwin, and picks. Elsewhere, the Thunder traded backup wing Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to the Bulls.

Schedule-wise, there's not too much for managers to worry about. The most relevant detail is how balanced the day-to-day schedule is – every day features between five and nine games. A schedule that balanced means, in leagues that permit streaming, managers should have no trouble fitting in a streamer every day of the week.

The Jazz play only twice, while nine teams play four games. That makes it a relatively light week, so the penalty for starting a member of the Jazz is not as significant as it might usually be for someone with only two games in a week. The nine teams to play four times are the Hawks, Pacers, Bucks, Pelicans, Magic, Suns Kings, Spurs, and Wizards.

Adds for All Leagues

Jonathan Isaac, Magic (51 percent rostered)

Fantasy managers might be getting burned out on the Isaac hype. And that's understandable. It's been a year-and-a-half and he still hasn't done much of anything. He's 6'10", his arms reach practically to the moon, and yet he only recorded his second-career double-double last week. He was the runaway winner of my informal Twitter poll last week: "Which Fantasy player has received the most hype on the least production?" And, yes, I'm partially guilty of contributing to the hype.

But Isaac is so long and athletic, he averaged 2.2 steals and 2.0 blocks per-36 last season, and he's finally putting together a solid run. He's averaging 29.5 minutes over his last 10 games, up from 24.6 per game prior to that. He's averaging 10.8 points over his last six, and over his last three, he's (finally) averaging double-digit rebounds. Plus, his defense continues to be excellent.

Maxi Kleber, Mavericks (13 percent rostered) and Dwight Powell, Mavericks (24 percent rostered)

The big Fantasy impact of the Porzingis trade is the Mavericks' frontcourt rotation. Porzingis (knee) is still out, with scarce reliable info about when he might return – the range of possible dates seems to be as soon as "very" or as late as "not this season". In the trade, the Mavericks sent away DeAndre Jordan, who was a minute and rebounds vacuum. Both Kleber and Powell should see their values skyrocket, at least until Porzingis returns to action — if he does so at all.

I'd prefer Kleber to Powell, but Kleber's scoring is so low some managers simply cannot take that hit. Blocks are hard to come by on the wire, and Kleber averages 1.9 per game when he's in the starting lineup — that would be good enough for eighth in the league this season. Kleber has started both games since the trade. He's also a good source of rebounds, steals, and threes. Powell has not started either game, but his minutes have increased, and he's likely to continue to see around 24 per game. He may end up being one of those unusable-in-standard, must-add-in-deep-leagues kind of players, offering a more balanced production profile. While his first two post-trade games have been decidedly underwhelming, he's still worth adding or holding until we have a larger sample size.

Jerryd Bayless, Timberwolves (22 percent rostered)

Bayless is good! Kinda! I mean, he's not good enough to stick in the rotation once Derrick Rose (ankle), Jeff Teague (foot) and Tyus Jones (ankle) are all healthy again, but he's definitely good enough to add while he's the only healthy point guard. He's good enough that his 15.7 points, 8.0 assists and 3.0 threes per game over the last six contests should not be viewed as a fluke. It's the Timberwolves, and they're still too busy expunging the influence of Tom Thibodeau's mismanagement to worry about things like "providing the media injury updates", so we don't know how long Bayless will remain one of the only point guards. Jones and Teague were limited at practice Monday, while Rose was held out altogether. For now, Bayless should be started.

Rodney Hood, Trail Blazers (34 percent rostered)

Is Rodney Hood good? Once again, we are forced to face this core question, and after four-and-a-half seasons and 293 games, I still don't know. But the price the Trail Blazers played for him — two decent bench players and two second-round picks — implies that they're excited about the addition. He's certainly a capable scorer, averaging at least 16 points per-36 minutes since his rookie season. He's shot at least 35.9 percent from behind the arc every season, but his shot-profile is so heavily weighted towards jumpers that his overall field goal percentage has never cracked 43 percent.

Hood's Fantasy value will heavily depend on how big his role is with his new team, which, unfortunately, is pretty hard to predict. The Blazers' wings situation is most similar to that of the Heat in that they have several capable options at similar talent levels, though each offers their own sets of strengths and weaknesses. For now, Hood is a speculative add on the hope that he settles into a role of at least 25 minutes per game. If he doesn't get there after a few games, drop him.

Malik Beasley, Nuggets (39 percent rostered)

Unfortunately, Beasley's window as a productive Fantasy asset might be closing, as Jamal Murray (ankle) is about to return. But I wanted to at least give Beasley a shoutout for his excellent play over the last few weeks. He had a six-game run of 34.3 minutes, 16.2 points and 3.7 threes while shooting almost 60 percent from the field. Then, he started a new, even-more-productive run – currently at six games and counting – during which he's putting up 21.7 points and 3.3 threes while shooting better than 60 percent from the field. And he's doing it in only 27.7 minutes per game. While Murray's impending return will cut into Beasley's minutes, Gary Harris (groin) is still without a clear timetable.

Deep League Special

Jalen Brunson, Mavericks (12 percent rostered)

The Mavericks sent Dennis Smith Jr. and Wesley Matthews to New York and received Tim Hardaway, Jr., Trey Burke, and Courtney Lee. Importantly, the Mavericks also lost J.J. Barea (Achilles) for the season just a few weeks prior. The injury and the trade upend their old rotation, and it leaves Brunson and Burke as the only two semi-traditional point guards on the roster (Doncic is more of a point-forward). The incoming Knicks have not yet made their Mavericks debuts, and their inclusion could decimate Brunson's value, but I think he has a solid chance of maintaining a role of more than 20 minutes per game once the dust settles. If that happens, Brunson could become a nice source of points and assists. He's unlikely to provide any kind of season-defining upside, but the rookie second-rounder could return to being a stable contributor, as he's been periodically throughout the season.

  • Other recommendations: Harry Giles, Kings (13 percent rostered); Nik Stauskas, Cavaliers (2 percent rostered)
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