Fantasy Basketball: Week 5 Waiver Wire

A wacky schedule is the big story as we look at and beyond the Week 5 waiver wire. Almost half the league plays four games this week, while four teams play only twice, and the Pistons play just once. There are only four one-game weeks during the entire season (excluding the All-Star break and the final three-day partial week in April), so the Pistons should be faded everywhere in Week 5. The teams with two games are the Bucks, Cavaliers, Hornets and Pacers.

To put that into player specifics, in shallow leagues with weekly lineups, Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin should be benched, and potential waiver pickups like Reggie Bullock or Langston Galloway lose a lot of their appeal. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kemba Walker are still startable, but few other players from that second set of teams are.

There are a ton of potential waiver wire prospects from those five teams – so much that they received their own section below. Managers who don't already roster someone from these five teams might be able to use their extra roster flexibility to pick up some potentially season-long contributors.

Darren Collison and Bojan Bogdanovic are likely to be rosterable for most of the season, even if they're unlikely to ever become nightly studs. Larry Nance has top-80 (or better) upside, though he's struggled so far this season. By necessity, some managers will drop these players and others will be unable to pick them up. It is an unusual buy-low window for them.

The NBA was rocked by the big Jimmy Butler trade over the weekend – the 76ers acquired Butler for Robert Covington and Dario Saric – but, for most Fantasy teams, the Week 5 schedule will be far more impactful.

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

Quinn Cook, Warriors (41 percent rostered)

Steph Curry (groin) is out, so Cook is in. With Curry absent for the Warrior's final 17 games of 2017-18, Cook became a must-add in all formats. He averaged 34.3 minutes per game, putting up 15.6 points, 4.2 assists, 2.2 threes and with an efficient 51-47-86 shooting line. Curry already missed one game and has been ruled out for two more. Predictably, in Curry's absence, Cook went off: 27 points, five assists, three rebounds and three three-pointers; he shot 69-100-60 in that game. The Warriors have a rare five-game week, which includes dates with the Clippers, Hawks, Rockets, Mavs and Spurs.

Derrick White, Spurs (56 percent rostered)

White is now the Spurs starting point guard, and he is likely to keep that role as long as he is healthy. He's an OK scorer, likely to help more in rebounds than assists, and capable of steadily mediocre defensive numbers.

Wilson Chandler, 76ers (14 percent rostered)

In the blockbuster Jimmy Butler trade, the 76ers sent away two players averaging a combined 64.3 minutes per game. They only received one player in the deal, Butler. Butler tends to play a lot of minutes, but even if he matches his career-high 38.7 minutes per game, then the trade still opens up 25.6 minutes in the 76ers rotation. Make no mistake, Chandler was not good last season, and the 76ers have not provided any information about how the newly available minutes will be distributed.

Furthermore, Chandler has been sitting out the second night of back-to-backs since he returned from a preseason hamstring injury. There's plenty of justifiable reasons for skepticism here. But a big workload just opened up, and looking at the 76ers roster and the pre-trade rotation, Chandler is the heavy favorite to step into a larger role. And while his 2017-18 was forgettable, his 2016-17 was excellent. In 30.9 minutes per game, he averaged 15.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 threes.

If Chandler isn't the primary beneficiary of the trade, then the two other candidates to watch are Landry Shamet (3 percent rostered) and Mike Muscala (3 percent rostered). Both players are worth a speculative add in deep leagues.

  • Other recommendations: Justise Winslow, Heat (65 percent rostered); Danny Green, Spurs (54 percent rostered); Noah Vonleh, Knicks (41 percent rostered); E'Twaun Moore, Pelicans (38 percent rostered); Terrence Ross, Magic (25 percent rostered)
  • Other recommendations (with 1 or 2 games this week): Darren Collison, Pacers (66 percent rostered); Larry Nance, Cavaliers (54 percent rostered); Cedi Osman, Cavaliers (62 percent rostered); Bojan Bogdanovic, Pacers (53 percent rostered); Reggie Bullock, Pistons (12 percent rostered); Cody Zeller, Hornets (23 percent rostered); Jordan Clarkson, Cavaliers (39 percent rostered); Langston Galloway, Pistons (5 percent rostered)

This Week Only

Players who may not be worth holding for the long-term, but, due to the NBA's uneven Week 5 schedule, are worth a short-term pickup.

Terrence Ross, Magic (25 percent rostered)

Ross has been someone thrown in at the end of the "other recommendations" section for a few weeks now, but with four games in a lopsided week, he deserves a little extra attention. Ross has scored double-digits in five straight, averaging 28.2 minutes during that stretch. He throws in a small-but-steady quantity of rebounds and assists, boosting his value, but his main appeal is as a scorer and a three-point shooter. While he's still one of my less-recommended players in leagues with daily lineups – I just don't see any upside for him to be better than what he's already doing during this five-game stretch – as a volume scorer playing four games, he's a great short-term addition in weekly lineups.

Other recommendations: Justise Winslow, Heat (65 percent rostered); D.J. Augustin, Magic (36 percent rostered)

Deep League Special

Gary Clark, Rockets (3 percent rostered)

If you've never heard of Clark, don't worry, you're not alone. He's a 23-year-old undrafted rookie out of Cincinnati, and he was a key figure in their back-to-back appearances in the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament. While he's played in all but one of the Rockets' games this season, he only averaged 6.7 minutes over their first 8 contests.

Clark should be rostered in deep leagues – and even some 12-team-leagues – due to his shot-blocking. Since he became a regular part of the rotation on November 3rd, he's averaging 1.2 blocks in 25.8 minutes per game. He's also averaging 5.4 rebounds, 1.4 threes and 1.0 steals, but the blocks are what's most important. Last week, I published an article analyzing the impact of the NBA's three-point shooting boon on the shot-blocking landscape. One of the key takeaways was that blocks are harder to come by and therefore otherwise borderline Fantasy players should be rostered if they are a reliable source of blocks. Clark is almost a perfect prototype of the type of player I was talking about.

Other recommendations: Tyson Chandler, Lakers (10 percent rostered); Allonzo Trier, Knicks (17 percent rostered)

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