Welcome back to your Week 3 waivers segment. I got overly excited writing about the players this week, so I'm trying to keep the intro short.
Waivers are good! Lots of players to add! And some to not add! And one to drop! I'll tell you all about it below! Let's get to it.
As we do every year, the players in this article must be rostered in less than two-thirds of CBS leagues. That said, this early in the season, I may fudge the boundary there a little bit as rosters settle out. Players are listed in the order that I recommend adding them, assuming they are equally good fits for your team.
Double check your league
A few names right at the cut line, rostered in roughly two-thirds of leagues, who are still under-rostered. Double-check to make sure they aren't available in your league.
De'Anthony Melton, Grizzlies (66% rostered)
Alperen Sengun, Rockets (64% rostered)
Adds for all leagues
Franz Wagner, Magic (50% rostered)
One of the bigger surprises of my week was seeing that the younger Wagner still qualified for this article. Granted, I'm mostly a boring person, so that's not saying a ton. But still. The point stands – a rookie lottery pick who is playing 30-plus minutes as a starter right off the bat is available in half of leagues?
Wagner is already producing solid numbers. He's 20 years old and already averaging 14-4-2 through his first five games. He's showing potential as a "1-1-1" guy, averaging 1.0 steals, 0.8 blocks, and 2.0 3s. College production doesn't really translate to the pros, but Wagner's college career did imply that he could both block and steal. But the most important thing isn't what Wagner is already doing for lineups.
The reason Wagner is this week's top add is because – unlike Sengun (listed above) and Mitchell (below) – his current production is a bonus while we wait for what might develop as the season goes on. Sengun and Mitchell should be rostered for their upsides, but they will hurt a little in the short term. Wagner lifts your ceiling without hurting you today.
Cam Reddish, Hawks (67% rostered)
The Hawks' wing rotation ought to be the envy of the entire league. Unfortunately, it's a Fantasy liability for the players involved. However, at this point I'm feeling confident that the odd man out will be Kevin Huerter – just weeks after signing a (fair!) $65 million four-year extension. Bogdan Bogdanovic and De'Andre Hunter seem safely ensconced as the starters, and Reddish has been ahead of Huerter in both minutes and productivity.
As long as that arrangement holds, Reddish should be capable of maintaining roughly his 16.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.2 3s in 25.4 minutes off the bench. The lack of assists and blocks can sting a bit, but he adds enough in rebounds and steals to be worth the add.
Mason Plumlee, Hornets (59% rostered)
Usually I'm against adding floor-boosters early in the season. This is the time when the waiver wire is plentiful! Shoot for the guys who might change the course of your season! But Plumlee's stability combined with his stat profile make him an exception. Plumlee's ability to add 3-plus assists from the center spot, combined with being the rare waiver prospect who can make an impact in blocks makes him a must-add. He doesn't take enough free throws to hurt, and he'll be a reliable near-double-double in points and rebounds. It's hard to imagine him ever sniffing the top-100 in per-game ranks, but he's nonetheless a fantastic pickup.
Grayson Allen, Bucks (25% rostered)
He's managing to maintain Fantasy relevance, despite never rekindling the magic that led to six assists on opening night. A steady starting role with 28.8 minute per game is helping, as is the Bucks' offense. Despite effectively matching his career low in 3-point percentage, he's crushing his career highs in points and 3s due to a dramatic increase in attempts behind the arc.
The Bucks' offense will continue to get him open looks, so we should expect his shooting efficiency to normalize, further boosting his made 3s and points production. Allen is basically a specialist, but in the modern NBA Fantasy teams usually need 3-point specialists to remain competitive in the category.
Other recommendations: Eric Gordon, Rockets (39% rostered); Patty Mills, Nets (50% rostered); Bobby Portis, Bucks (39% rostered); Anfernee Simons, Trail Blazers (10% rostered); Jalen Brunson, Mavericks (23% rostered)
Looking to the future
Davion Mitchell, Kings (49% rostered)
Mitchell's ferocious defense is already earning him big minutes. Unfortunately, it hasn't yet resulted in any kind of meaningful production. His box scores might be mistaken for Tony Snell's. He's providing some steady value in assists with at least three per night. He had one game with 22 points but scored only 10 points combined in his other three. And his lock-down defense hasn't yet translated to much Fantasy stats, with just fours steals and zero blocks to date.
But the rookie certainly looks ready. He's a part of this rotation, and that's not going away. Eventually the defense is likely to translate into a lot of steals, and the scoring is likely to improve with time. Many managers are not in a position where they can add and hold a player who is providing so little in the short term. But, if you have the room and the patience, Mitchell is a worthwhile lottery ticket.
Devin Vassell (28% rostered)
Lonnie Walker (33% rostered)
Doug McDermott (31% rostered)
McDermott (knee) was off to a solid (though inconsistent) start, but he will miss at least the next two games due to injury. His usage implied that, when healthy, he's likely to once again be on the Fantasy radar as a 3s specialist. For the short term, at least, we don't have to worry about him because of the injury.
Vassell and Walker can be treated similarly for Fantasy. Both were attracting some Fantasy attention even before McDermott's injury, but his absence adds to their relevance. Walker is 22 and in his fourth season, while Vassell is 21 and a sophomore. Both players are much more attractive for their long-term potential than their short-term production. Both players have had a few good nights already this season, but both have also had some stinkers.
Both have short-term appeal with McDermott out, but once he returns, Vassell and Walker are likely to return to fringe status, at least for a while. Though Walker has had more good nights than Vassell, Vassell strikes me as the player with more upside. If you're looking for a short-term play, go with Walker and consider McDermott's return the likely end date. If you're in a position to be patient, Vassell would be my preference.
Popular pickups I'm avoiding
Pat Connaughton, Bucks
First, my guess is Connaughton's minutes drop off as Bobby Portis works his way back into the rotation. But even if I'm wrong about that, we need more than just minutes in Fantasy. Connaughton doesn't score, pass, or block, and he's a career 44% FG shooter.
Anthony is a case where your league should determine your approach. He's an absolute add (or, more likely at this point, hold) in deep leagues. But in standard, 12-team leagues he's just not worth it. Especially during this early phase of the season, we're looking for waiver wire guys who might step up and become long-term top-100 producers. Anthony is highly likely to finish inside the top 200, and maybe even the top 140, but his ceiling is too low for most managers to bother with right now.
No one would even be considering Caruso if it weren't for all the steals he's racked up over the first four games. He's averaging 8.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists – and even that scoring figure is boosted by his unsustainably efficient shooting. So, can he keep up his current pace of 3.3 steals per game? No. Of course not. No one has averaged even 2.5 steals in the past decade, and it's been 31 years since someone managed 3.0 per game. Caruso's current steals-per-minute pace is more than double his previous career high. He's not even worth a one-night stream in most cases.
I compliment the CBS Fantasy community all the time. Waivers in CBS leagues are meaningfully harder than most other host platforms. But that just makes it all the more disappointing when Hassan "him?" Whiteside is rostered on more than one third of all leagues. He's averaging 16.3 minutes per game, and there is no room for that to increase while Rudy Gobert is healthy. He's a deep league source of rebounds and blocks and nothing more. Whiteside plays both Saturday and Sunday, so, begrudgingly, I'm OK with holding him through the weekend in daily lineups leagues. But Monday morning, get him out of here.