Fantasy Basketball: Week 25 Waiver Wire
Here's who you need to add for this week and even next season as we wrap the Fantasy playoff season for most leagues.
Only 10 days remain. Nine, if you exclude Monday April 8, when the NBA goes dark for the NCAA Tournament championship game. If you're here, then the championship is probably within reach. Congratulations.
(If you're out of it for this year, fear not -- we've got some potential keeper pickups listed below, too.)
Who are the players you'll need to clinch that championship belt? We've got you covered.
As always, a few schedule notes: Tons of games this week, with 24 teams playing four games, compared to just six playing three. Players with just three games face a similar disadvantage to what a two-game player would face in a normal week, especially in weekly lineup leagues.
In daily leagues, managers must pay attention to the distribution of games, with massive 12-, 13- and 14- game slates on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, compared to tiny four-, three- and two-game slates on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. With that distribution, waiver pickups are unlikely to crack starting lineups on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, and provide an added advantage on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The best managers will get a step ahead of the normal streaming cycle, adding players the day before they are needed.
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.
Simplifying the schedule
Daily lineup leagues -- Avoid: Clippers, Grizzlies, Pelicans, and Wizards (all play only three games, and all of their games are on the busy nights).
Adds for all leagues
Caldwell-Pope is worth adding regardless of his schedule. That said, he would not be this week's top add if not for the Lakers playing a four-game week that includes contests on both Tuesday and Thursday, two of the slowest days of the season. With LeBron James (tanking) out for the rest of the season, Caldwell-Pope should see a steadily increased workload for the rest of the season.
He averages an extra 6.4 minutes per game when James is out, and Caldwell-Pope is averaging 19.5 points across James' last four missed games. When you add in the Lakers' schedule -- four games, including on Tuesday and Thursday -- Caldwell-Pope becomes the best prospect for championship week.
Christian Wood, Pelicans (25 percent rostered)
Anthony Davis (disgruntled, tanking) is probably done for the season. We don't have an official announcement to that effect yet, but he's missed the past three games, and four of the past five. Now that other teams have started resting their stars to facilitate their own tanking efforts, the Pelicans have no reason to put Davis back out there. And Wood is making the most of Davis' missed games.
Wood has averaged 21.0 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 2.7 steals in 29.0 minutes during Davis' last three absences. If Davis were officially done for the season, and not probably-done-but-we-don't-technically-know, Wood would be this week's top pickup, even with his terrible schedule (the Pelicans only play three games, on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday).
Bruno Caboclo, Grizzlies (19 percent rostered)
Insert gratuitous two years away from two years away joke here. Caboclo's four years have finally passed, and he's become a consistent starter for the Grizzlies. He's started their past eight games, and 13 of the last 15. In a recent, three-game stint, he averaged 17.7 points, 10.0 rebounds, 3.0 3s and 1.3 blocks. That's probably his best-case scenario, but as long as Caboclo is seeing big minutes, he's worth a look as a rebounder, 3-point shooter and shot-blocker.
Dion Waiters, Heat (31 percent rostered)
We're doing this? Really? Shockingly enough, this is not an April Fool's joke. Waiters, one-time member of "the best backcourt in the league", is actually worth adding and starting on real Fantasy basketball teams in the April of 2019.
Waiters is averaging 19.5 points, 4.2 3s and 3.0 assists in 31.5 minutes over the past six games. Frankly, that production is so good that I sincerely believe that the "am I seriously considering adding Dion Waiters?" brand is artificially lowering his roster rate. With Josh Richardson (heel) and Justise Winslow (thigh) out, and potentially for the rest of the season, Waiters workload is not in any danger. Teammate Dwyane Wade (60 percent rostered) is also a solid pickup option.
Note: D.J. Wilson, Bucks (1 percent rostered) is not listed in this section. If Giannis Antetokounmpo misses any games this week, Wilson would become viable in almost all leagues.
Other recommendations: Dwyane Wade, Heat (60 percent rostered); Seth Curry, Trail Blazers (16 percent rostered); Shaquille Harrison, Bulls (15 percent rostered); Thomas Bryant, Wizards (57 percent rostered); Miles Bridges, Hornets (41 percent rostered); Tyus Jones, Timberwolves (39 percent rostered); Alex Len, Hawks (31 percent rostered); Richaun Holmes, Suns (9 percent rostered); Dwayne Bacon, Hornets (12 percent rostered); Bam Adebayo, Heat (61 percent rostered); Wayne Selden, Bulls (4 percent rostered); Dragan Bender, Suns (4 percent rostered)
Daily lineups leagues only
The Bucks are one of just five teams that play on two of the three slow days this week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday; the Bucks play Thursday and Saturday). Players on those teams provide a massive advantage in daily lineups leagues since the busy days are so busy that waiver wire pickups might not make it into a starting roster at all. Normally, a waiver wire pickup provides the following value:
[difference between dropped player and added player] x [number of games added player plays]
This week, however, Connaughton and the players below probably provide the following value:
[full value of added player] x [number of games on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday].
If the player you pick up has no games on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday, they might be completely useless to you. Connaughton, and all the players listed below, have two games on those three days.
Why is Connaughton my first choice here? Well, Bullock and Connaughton are the only two who might have made it into this article without the weird schedule, so there weren't a ton of stellar options to choose from.
First, Bullock is a points and 3s specialist, so he only helps some team builds. Second, with the Bucks effectively locked into the East's No. 1 seed, I expect several nights off from Khris Middleton (groin), Giannis Antetokounmpo (ankle), and Eric Bledsoe (lengthy injury history).
Connaughton is averaging 30.4 minutes over the past seven games, along with a balanced and respectable 10.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.7 3s and 1.0 steals. His floor is sturdy, though his ceiling is unspectacular.
Other recommendations: Reggie Bullock, Lakers (19 percent rostered); George Hill, Bucks (16 percent rostered); Ersan Ilyasova, Bucks (6 percent rostered); Nemanja Bjelica, Kings (36 percent rostered); Moe Wagner, Lakers (14 percent rostered); Jonas Jerebko, Warriors (1 percent rostered); Lance Stephenson, Lakers (6 percent rostered); Sterling Brown, Bucks (1 percent rostered); D.J. Wilson, Bucks (1 percent rostered)
Managers in keeper leagues should check what injured players have been dropped by teams vying for the championship. Depending on league settings, that can be one of the best ways to acquire strong keeper options. If your settings don't reward that practice, however, here are a few players to target.
Robinson is too widely rostered to qualify for this article, so I'll be brief. If he's available in your keeper league, he is an immediate must-add. This applies to leagues of all sizes and settings.
Zach Collins, Trail Blazers (14 percent rostered)
Most importantly, Jusuf Nurkic (leg) could miss most of next season. The most comparable injuries in recent NBA history are probably those of Gordon Hayward, Paul George and Nerlens Noel, though George's is the closest comparison. George's occurred in a Team USA scrimmage on August 1, and he only returned for the final six regular season games the next season. Noel's happened in mid-February, and he was not cleared to play until late March, at which point the 76ers decided simply to delay what would be his NBA debut. Hayward was injured on opening night, and could not play until the following preseason.
There is always the chance that Nurkic heals quickly, but even an expedited recovery process wouldn't have him on the floor much before the All-Star break. The Blazers' will enter the 2019-20 season with a giant opening at center.
Collins has a much different playing style than Nurkic, but he is the best center they have under contract for next season. He's a capable shot-blocker and a decent 3-point shooter. The 2017 lottery pick will be just 21 years old at the start of next season, and though his minutes have been limited, he's made massive strides across the board in his per-36 productivity. If he continues to improve and sees the expected boost in workload, he'd be a solid Fantasy asset.
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