Fantasy Basketball: Week 9 Waiver Wire

Multiple injuries to Nuggets' starters have Trey Lyles vaulting to the top of this week's waiver wire additions. With Gary Harris and Paul Millsap both probably done until at least 2019, there are a lot of open opportunities in the Mile High City, so I went a little deeper than usual explaining why Lyles is such an important pickup.

There isn't much to worry about schedule-wise in Week 9. Sixteen teams play three games and the other 14 play four games, making for the most balanced possible breakdown. Monday and Wednesday have 11 games, which is on the high side, but there isn't much to gain from that observation -- the only teams that play neither Monday nor Wednesday, the Spurs and Rockets, both only play three games this 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

Trey Lyles, Nuggets (30 percent rostered)

Paul Millsap broke his toe Friday and is out indefinitely. The team hasn't provided any further information, but the recovery timeline for a broken bone -- even just a toe -- is usually a minimum of 4-6 weeks. Last season, Millsap missed 44 games, during which Lyles averaged 13.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.6 3s, 1.5 assists and 1.1 "stocks" per game. In every category, the increased production was almost perfectly proportional to his increased minutes, which jumped from 19.1 to 24.6. But even those numbers are underselling Lyles' potential.

In the middle of Millsap's prolonged absence, there was a 19-game stretch during which the Nuggets boosted Lyles' minutes all the way up to 28.3 per game. In that span, he put up a young-Tobias-Harris-esque line of 16.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.1 3s and 1.4 assists. The Nuggets are also without Will Barton (groin), which makes for one fewer forwards dividing minutes. Meanwhile, Gary Harris (hip) is also out for at least three more weeks, limiting the Nuggets' ability to use smaller wings to fill some of Millsap's vacated 26.8 minutes per game, since those wings will be needed to cover for Harris.

Juancho Hernangomez (61 percent rostered) also warrants attention, but he was already averaging more than 30 minutes per game over the past month, so his only route to increased value is a change in how he's used when on the court. With double-digit points in seven of his past eight, and double-digit rebounds in three of those, Hernangomez definitely has Fantasy value, but I'd much prefer to roster Lyles as long as Millsap is out. Malik Beasley (6 percent rostered) is a good option for deeper leagues.

Bobby Portis, Bulls (63 percent rostered)

We don't know what the Bulls' rotation will look like when Portis (knee) plays just his fifth game of the season Monday, and his first since Lauri Markkanen returned to action. The Bulls also recently fired coach Fred Hoiberg and replaced him with Jim Boylen, and the transition has not been smooth. There are a lot of unknowns here, but if Portis settles into a decent-sized role (at least 25 minutes per game), 15-plus points, seven-plus rebounds, and a smattering of 3s and assists are reasonable expectations.

Alec Burks, Cavaliers (42 percent rostered)

Burks is making the Cavaliers side of the recent Kyle Korver-to-the-Jazz trade look a bit lopsided. He scored at least 13 points and grabbed at least six rebounds in his first three games. More impressively, with a bigger workload over the past two games – 36.0 minutes per night – he's increased his scoring to 18.0 per game while keeping the rebounds and adding 6.5 assists. Another Cavalier worth adding is Jordan Clarkson (65 percent rostered), but we've spent a lot of time on him in previous weeks.

Tomas Satoransky, Wizards (6 percent rostered)

Satoransky's value depends on John Wall's (heel) health, which is currently in question. Wall will miss Monday's game, and he missed last Wednesday, though he played over the weekend. When Wall is active, Satoransky's floor makes him unattractive even in most deep leagues. But when Wall is out, Satoransky shines. On Wednesday, he scored 14 points and added seven assists, four rebounds, two steals, two 3s and a block.

Other recommendations: Justise Winslow, Heat (54 percent rostered); Jaylen Brown, Celtics (63 percent rostered); Larry Nance, Cavaliers (57 percent rostered); Kelly Olynyk, Heat (29 percent rostered); JaMychal Green, Grizzlies (40 percent rostered); Dwyane Wade, Heat (43 percent rostered); Terrence Ross, Magic (47 percent rostered)

Deep league recommendations: Malik Beasley, Nuggets (6 percent rostered); Richaun Holmes, Suns (16 percent rostered); Cory Joseph, Pacers (16 percent rostered)

Not buying it

De'Anthony Melton, Suns (16 percent rostered)

Melton's roster numbers are shooting up after averaging 24.7 minutes over his past three games. His 13.3 points and 4.5 assists would warrant attention on most teams, but the Suns aren't most teams. How many times have we seen streaks like this from Suns pretending to offer clarity at point guard, only to fade back into obscurity in less than a fortnight? Isaiah Canaan, Tyler Ulis, Shaquille Harrison, Mike James -- and that was just last season!

I know the team has a new coach and GM now, but we've already seen the same game so far this season with Elie Okobo. It's nothing against Melton, a 2018 second-round pick out of USC. If you need assists and have a player you are ready to drop, fine, Melton is an OK pickup for a few days. Or if you're in a 16-team league. But for most Fantasy managers, the potential reward and the probability of success are both too low to bother.

Those pesky Knicks

The Knicks are still in Phase One of their "test every possible rotation" strategy. There is still a lot of value to be had from rostering the correct Knicks, and we are now past the point when coach David Fizdale said he wanted to have settled on a steady rotation. I still believe that, eventually, the rate of change will slow dramatically, and the players getting the most minutes are likely to have a lot of Fantasy value. As of the start of Week 9, here are my current Knicks' Fantasy rankings (excluding Tim Hardaway Jr and Enes Kanter, who have been and will continue to be rostered in all leagues):

All leagues potential: Noah Vonleh (75 percent rostered); Emmanuel Mudiay (52 percent rostered); Trey Burke (knee) (28 percent rostered); Allonzo Trier (23 percent rostered)

Deep-league potential: Damyean Dotson (25 percent rostered)

Leave on waivers unless they're averaging 30-plus minutes: Kevin Knox* (63 percent rostered); Mario Hezonja (8 percent rostered); Mitchell Robinson (29 percent rostered)

*Yes, I am aware of his incredible game Sunday night, but over his previous six games Knox averaged 10.8 points and 5.2 rebounds while shooting 35.4 percent from the field.

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