Fantasy Basketball: Week 22 Waiver Wire
Here's who you need to add for this week as we head into the Fantasy playoff season.
The injury bug has infected the NBA, and it's hit non-playoff teams particularly hard. While the severity of these injuries run the gamut, from extremely serious to suspiciously tank-y, the severity or lack thereof is irrelevant to Fantasy. What impacts us is whether the players will play and who will replace them if they are out.
In that cold-hearted mindset, we need to pay particular attention to the high-impact starters who are now out, some of whom may be out for the rest of the season. Unsurprisingly, those backups make up most of the top names on this week's list of players to add.
The theme of the schedule this week is balance. Every day has between six and eight games. That flat distribution could provide giant opportunities for managers who can get the most out of their league's streaming rules.
Eighteen teams play three games this week, and only two teams play twice (Warriors and Grizzlies). There is added benefit to using players from the 10 teams that play four times, but because there are so few of those teams, playing someone with only three games isn't necessarily harmful. The teams with four-game weeks are the Nets, Cavaliers, Pistons, Rockets, Clippers, Lakers, Thunder, Kings, Jazz and Wizards.
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
It's Bradley's second straight week as the top name on this list, and he probably will be too widely rostered to qualify by this time next week, so your window is closing. Bradley has been a top-60 Fantasy producer before, and he joined the Grizzlies just after they traded away players who had used up a giant portion of the team's backcourt minutes. He's averaging 16.6 points, 4.2 assists, 2.1 3s and 1.2 steals as a member of the Grizz.
Karl-Anthony Towns (knee) was injured late in Saturday's game, and sat out Sunday. While the team is "optimistic" after his Sunday MRI, there is no reason for the Timberwolves to rush their franchise player back into action when they are already effectively eliminated from the playoffs. They're six games back of the eighth seed with 15 games to go, meaning that if they went 11-4 the rest of the way, they'd still need either the Spurs or Clippers to go 3-12. Gibson started Sunday, posting 25 points and eight rebounds in 30 minutes. Even when (if) Towns returns, they'll probably cut back his 33.2 minutes per game, opening up extra run for Gibson and Gorgui Dieng, the latter of whom is listed as a deep league add below.
Jrue Holiday (abdomen) is out through at least Thursday, and potentially longer. Our most recent information says he'll be "re-evaluated" between Thursday and Sunday, and the re-evaluation could determine that he needs more time on the sidelines. As long as Holiday is out, Jackson is likely to keep starting, and he's been stellar so far in that role. In the last two games, Jackson is averaging 21.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 3s in 35.0 minutes. Given that the Pelicans are even farther from the playoffs than the Timberwolves and Lakers, it's highly likely that they'll be diligent with Holiday's return.
Moritz Wagner, Lakers (25 percent rostered)
Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball are both done for the season. Kyle Kuzma has missed the past two games with a non-specific ankle injury he sustained last week. LeBron James is on a minutes restriction. Andre Ingram is back. The Lakers are 7.5 games out of the playoffs with only 16 to play and effectively eliminated.
Given all of that, the Lakers are now moving into full-on tanking mode, and a critical feature of tanking is giving extra minutes to young backups. Wagner scored 11 points in 27 minutes on Wednesday, and followed that up by starting and scoring 22 points in 34 minutes on Saturday. Center is probably the Lakers' weakest position, and with winning no longer a priority, they might as well see what they can get out of the youngster.
He's played so few minutes this season that we still don't have a great handle on which of his skills will translate to the NBA, but he's likely to end up somewhere between an offensive-minded Thon Maker and a poor-man's Lauri Markkanen. Wagner has the height to play center, though he lacks the bulk to match up with more traditional centers like Jusuf Nurkic or a Gasol brother. He's a good 3-point shooter, and an OK rebounder and shot-blocker.
Other recommendations: Luke Kennard, Pistons (36 percent rostered); Robin Lopez, Bulls (43 percent rostered); Allonzo Trier, Knicks (22 percent rostered); Bam Adebayo, Heat (44 percent rostered); Tyler Johnson, Suns (48 percent rostered); Dwight Powell, Mavericks (61 percent rostered)
Players who are being widely dropped but are worth holding onto despite one or more recent bad games.
Kelly Olynyk is a chronic bad-game-haver. It's just a thing he does. If you roster him, you need to understand that, accept that, and be prepared to roll with it. So, when he scores just a single point in 24 minutes after averaging 16.6 over the previous 11 games, your reaction shouldn't be a panic-drop. If anything, your reaction should be, great, hopefully now he's gotten the inevitable bad game out of his system for a few more weeks.
In addition to great scoring over that 11-game stretch, Olynyk has provided his usual accompaniment of rebounds, good-for-a-big-man assists, some steals, and 2.3 3s per game. If his minutes drop off, then I'd consider dropping him. But for now, if you thought he was addable before, he's still worth holding.
Mitchell Robinson, Knicks (75 percent rostered)
Robinson has been one of the most-dropped players in CBS leagues over the past week, primarily because he's averaged only 7.0 points during his past four games. But he also has 3.5 blocks per game during that window, a pace that would easily lead the league this season. In fairness, many of the rosters dropping Robinson probably play in points-heavy formats. Nonetheless, it's worth taking a moment to reiterate that Robinson is fantastic, regardless of his scoring, and should be rostered in almost all formats.
Better luck next year
Players who are best for keeper or dynasty teams that are effectively out of the running for 2018-19. All of these players have significantly more potential for next year and beyond than for the remainder of this season.
Unfortunately, the Suns' logjam at small forward is a long-term problem that will not get solved by the start of 2019-20. They have Bridges and T.J. Warren under contract for next season and are virtually certain to exercise their team option on Josh Jackson. Plus, they have matching rights for Kelly Oubre, who will be a restricted free agent. It is very possible that, once again, the Suns' third, fourth, fifth and sixth best players will all play the same position.
That said, all four have decent trade value, and a team building for their future should probably prioritize Oubre and Bridges over Jackson and Warren, and moving any of them would open up more minutes for Bridges. Bridges is averaging 2.5 steals per-36 minutes as a rookie, and he's shown the ability to block some shots and provide steady 3s, as well. Even in the best-case scenario, where the Suns move on from at least two of Oubre, Jackson and Warren, Bridges would still project out as a late-round Fantasy draft pick. That said, in keeper leagues that reward keeping a waiver wire pickup, Bridges could provide solid value.
Over his past five games, Kaminsky has scored at least 15 points four times. The lone exception was the game in which he played only 15 minutes and managed to salvage some Fantasy value by grabbing nine rebounds. Over the full five-game stretch, he's averaging 14.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.2 3s -- a solid line for a deep-league pickup.
Kaminsky's production boom has coincided with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist falling out of the rotation. With Kidd-Gilchrist still working through a knee injury he suffered spelling Kaminsky during that low-scoring game last week, Kaminsky's role seems relatively safe right now. Cody Zeller (knee) and Marvin Williams are also slated to miss Monday's game, which could open up even more opportunity for Kaminsky in the short term.
Which injuries will you have to keep an eye on in the offseason? We've got the rundown on who...
Here's who you need to add for this week and even next season as we wrap the NBA season.
Who can help you in this Fantasy crunch time? Yes, some leagues play until the bitter end.
Nearing the end of the season, Nick Whalen checks in on the first-year players impacting the...
Here's who you need to add for this week and even next season as we wrap the Fantasy playoff...
Who can help you in this Fantasy crunch time? The schedule is more even than usual in the last...