The end of the All-Star break marks an inflection point for the Fantasy season. The combination of the trade deadline, teams realizing they need to start tanking, and the continued pileup of injuries leads to significant changes to rotations.
There are a ton of solid and attractive potential waiver pickups this week. But while the field is deep, there is very little certainty. I highlight Bruce Brown and Daniel Theis as two potential breakouts, below, but the arguments in their favor could reasonably be applied to many of the players listed in the "other recommendations setting". Planting your flags on the right guys could be season-defining. I've picked my favorites, but I've also listed a lot of reasonable alternatives. Some weeks, there is a ton of variation between the players blurbed and the players listed – this is not one of those weeks.
It'll be a busy week, with 18 teams playing four times and just two (Bulls & Spurs) playing twice. The busiest day, Friday, has 10 games, so most managers will be able to fit in a waiver add that day if they want to. There may be some value in targeting players on Thursday's four-game slate, especially the 76ers, Warriors, Knicks, Kings and Lakers, who each have a four-game week.
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
With Gorgui Dieng traded away and Karl-Anthony Towns (wrist) back on the sidelines, Reid is a borderline must-add, at least until Towns is back. Towns will miss at least the next two weeks. In the three games since Dieng was traded that Towns was still active for, Reid averaged just 12.3 minutes per game. While his 10.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in those games should generate some deep-league interest, that's not rosterable for most managers. But in the two games without Towns, Reid has averaged 15.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals in 27.5 minutes. Those numbers alone should generate interest, but when you also factor in that Reid played 33 minutes and started the second of those Towns-less games, Reid becomes one of the most valuable pickups in Fantasy – at least in the near term.
Bruce Brown, Pistons (48 percent rostered)
One of the classic post-ASB breakout archetypes is the "young player on a bad team suddenly getting a lot more minutes". There are a few players who fit that description right now (Kevin Porter Jr and Cam Reddish, among others), but Brown is my favorite. Looking only at the games in which Brown played at least 27 minutes, he's averaged 11.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.5 steals this season. The problem was that the combo guard was buried on the depth chart. But with the Pistons buying out Reggie Jackson, and Luke Kennard (knee) still far away from returning, Brown should be locked into a major role going forward. The sophomore is one of the Pistons' better young prospects, and the team has no hope of making the playoffs, so there are no threats to Brown's workload looming. It's really hard to find someone who can make a meaningful contribution in assists.
Daniel Theis, Celtics (45 percent rostered)
The other common post-ASB archetype is the "good player on a team still fighting for playoff positioning who has already flashed glimpses of Fantasy excellence." Typically speaking, the players in this type have averaged limited minutes so far, but have multiple possible avenues to increased minutes down the stretch. As was the case above, Theis is not the only player who could meet this description (De'Anthony Melton stands out here, among other possibilities), but he's the one I think has the best combination of upside and likelihood of success. After averaging just 22.6 minutes before a recent injury, Theis is up to 27.8 over the last four. In that window, he's averaging 15.3 points and 10.3 rebounds while providing marginal help in steals and blocks and actively helping in free throw percentage. Theis already went on a month-long run of top-40 production earlier this season.
Malik Monk, Hornets (43 percent rostered)
I've been scorned by my affinity for Monk in the past. That makes me trepidatious, and is the reason I don't have Monk listed higher. But his recent run is different. This is just the second time in his career that he's scored at least 15 points more than three games in a row – his current streak is six games. He's averaged 29.5 minutes during this stretch, playing at least 27 in each game – he averaged just 20.1 before this stretch, and had topped 27 minutes only four times in his previous 48 appearances. Monk has had some brief moments in the sun before, but this current run is longer and includes more positive indicators than anything we've previously seen from him. His shooting will cool off, he's not going to maintain the 51% from the field that he's currently on, but as long as his minutes stay up he could be a solid source of points, rebounds and 3s.
Other recommendations: Jordan Clarkson, Jazz (58 percent rostered); Dewayne Dedmon, Hawks (36 percent rostered); Thad Young, Bulls (55 percent rostered); Juancho Hernangomez, Timberwolves (37 percent rostered); Kevin Porter Jr, Cavaliers (26 percent rostered); Jae Crowder, Heat (58 percent rostered); De'Anthony Melton, Grizzlies (21 percent rostered); Cam Reddish, Hawks (35 percent rostered); Duncan Robinson, Heat (50 percent rostered); Dwight Howard, Lakers (49 percent rostered); Terrence Ross, Magic (36 percent rostered); Danuel House, Rockets (45 percent rostered); Moe Wagner, Wizards (21 percent rostered)
On the mend
Otto Porter Jr, Bulls (57 percent rostered)
I gave Porter top-billing last week. If anything, he's even more appealing now, as we're even closer to his return from an early November foot injury. Bulls' management said before the break that Porter was expected to return in February – that means this week! He was a top-45 player last season and has been a top-60 guy for each of the last four.
If you've already secured a playoff spot, leaving Porter on the wire is pure negligence. He should be added pretty much everywhere, but those teams in particular need to act immediately.
Harry Giles, Kings (6 percent rostered)
Giles has long been one of my favorite prospects, so I have to acknowledge that at the outset here. There may be a little bit of seeing-what-I-want-to-see. But Giles is a per-36 multi-category monster, he's just never had and kept a meaningful role before. With the Kings stagnating and their top-two center options out for at least the next several weeks, Giles is finally getting a chance. His biggest competition for minutes now is the once-awful-still-awful-always-will-be-awful Alex Len. Giles has started six of the last eight games. He's played at least 21 minutes in four of his last five. Over that five-game stretch, he's averaging 8.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists. Though he hasn't put up much defensive production recently, he's averaged more than one steal and more than one block per-36 in both of his NBA seasons. And, most promisingly, he's averaged 28.5 minutes in two games since the All-Star break.
Anfernee Simons, Trail Blazers (13 percent rostered)