Fantasy Hoops: Navigating Stephen Curry's injury in Week 24 Waiver Wire

After a rash of point guard injuries, the waiver wire is dominated by attractive replacement guards. Some of these guards are above-average fill-ins, but some are what-are-you-waiting-for must-adds. Especially in head-to-head settings, it's likely that some of these guards will determine which team gets crowned champion.

Some of the top recommended players are still widely available, so there is no distinction between top adds and deep league adds this week. Instead, there is an extended look at the upcoming schedule.

As always, players must be owned in less than two-thirds of CBS leagues. Players are listed in the order in which I'd recommend adding them, assuming they are equally good fits for your team.

Adds for All Leagues

Quinn Cook, Warriors (46 percent owned) and Nick Young, Warriors (15 percent owned)

Steph Curry (knee) is now out for the rest of the regular season, so adding these two guards should be every Fantasy manager's top priority. This is very much a case where the value added is likely to be so great that managers should ignore fit and categorical needs. Cook is the priority add here, but Young is a solid consolation prize. When Curry was out with an ankle injury earlier this month, Cook averaged 16.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.2 threes and shot 52.7 percent from the field while playing 34.2 minutes.

It appears Young's value is more closely tied to Klay Thompson's (thumb) absence. Young saw a slight increase in minutes during the two games that Curry missed and Thompson played, but Young's role was bigger in the game with Curry and without Thompson. In games with both Splash Brothers sidelined, Young has averaged 14.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.0 threes in 37.4 minutes per game. Thompson is expected to miss a minimum of two more games, and it seems probable that he'll be out longer. Thompson's pending return is the biggest reason Young is a less desirable add than Cook.

Terry Rozier, Celtics (79 percent owned)

Mentioning Rozier is kind of cheating, since he's too widely owned for this article. I'm putting him here for two reasons:

  1. A reminder to those of you in the 21 percent of leagues in which he is still available to get your act together. Seriously, one in five leagues are leaving the Celtics' starting point guard for the remainder of the season available?
  2. To demonstrate how valuable Cook and Young are right now, depending on team needs, I'd consider adding them ahead of Rozier.

Maurice Harkless, Trail Blazers (12 percent owned)

To quote Matt Moore of the Action Network: "Moe Harkless is good now… He was always 'could be good', and now he is just good good." This is a welcome development for Fantasy managers, as Harkless has always had an atypical production profile.

Harkless isn't a huge scorer, and he's struggled to earn a consistent role in the rotation. But he averages at least 1.2 assists, steals, blocks and threes per-36 minutes. Only six other players reach that mark, one of whom is out for the season, and two more who are currently injured. With Harkless averaging 14.8 points and 28.7 minutes over his last six games, he's nullifying the two biggest critiques of his Fantasy profile.

Andrew Harrison, Grizzlies (43 percent owned)
Regardless of any news updates, at this point we should probably assume that the tanking Grizzlies are going to make every effort to keep Tyreke Evans (personal) out for as much of the rest of the season as possible. Since the All-Star break, Harrison is averaging 17.5 points, 7.1 assists and 4.1 rebounds per-36 minutes with Evans off the court. Harrison has struggled with his own health lately, which is the primary reason he isn't listed higher in this article. When Harrison is out, Wayne Selden (4 percent owned) is a viable streamer.

Other recommendations: Greg Monroe, Celtics (53 percent owned); Marquese Chriss, Suns (33 percent owned); Fred VanVleet, Raptors, (19 percent owned); Skal Labissiere, Kings (32 percent owned); Luke Kennard, Pistons (10 percent owned); Dillon Brooks, Grizzlies (44 percent owned); Cheick Diallo, Pelicans (5 percent owned)

Schedule Impact

Weekly vs. Daily

When looking at the schedule, league settings make an enormous impact on which factors are most important. Managers in weekly lineups leagues need to maximize games played throughout the week, while managers in daily lineups leagues need to also consider what days those games are played on.

The best example of the difference this week is the Raptors. The Raptors are the only team to play just two games this week, which makes them a team to avoid in weekly lineups leagues. However, in daily lineups leagues, the Raptors are much more attractive, since they don't play Sunday. With Fred VanVleet one of the widely available recommended adds above, this difference is particularly important.

Number of Games

One team, the Raptors, plays two games this week. Twelve teams play three games. Most of the league, 17 teams, plays four games. With so many teams playing four times, weekly managers need to make an extra effort to maximize their total number of games. In standard sized leagues, Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas should be the only Raptors in weekly starting lineups, and players with three games should be faded when possible.

The 12 teams that play three games are: Hawks, Nets, Rockets, Pacers, Pelicans, Thunder, Magic, Spurs, Jazz, Celtics, Heat and Knicks

Unusual Day-By-Day Schedule

Due to the NCAA championship Game, there are no NBA games next Monday, April 2. With a built-in day off, the NBA loaded up the schedule on Sunday (and next Tuesday, though that's a problem for Future Us) with a whopping 13 games. Only four teams – the Raptors, Celtics, Heat and Knicks – are off Sunday. The Celtics, Heat and Knicks each play three games this week.

Since this article is about waiver wire players, we are usually focusing on the worst players on your roster. The players you add are unlikely to make it into your starting lineup Sunday, since the slate is so jam-packed. That means that as far we) are concerned, the "number of games" section above was lying.

Here is the effective breakdown of games a waiver wire addition may contribute to our week:

  • 20 teams (including the Celtics, Heat and Knicks): three added games
  • 10 teams (Raptors, Hawks, Nets, Rockets, Pacers, Pelicans, Thunder, Magic, Spurs, Jazz): two added games.

A Few Important Takeaways

  • Since no waiver player is adding four games, the opportunity cost of adding a Raptor is smaller; Fred VanVleet and other Raptors are now reasonable targets
  • The Celtics, Heat and Knicks drastically increase in value. If you were on the fence between adding three games of Greg Monroe or four games of Marquese Chriss, closer analysis of the schedule should push you toward adding Monroe.
  • The difference between two and three is more important than the difference between three and four. This week, the schedule should play a bigger factor than it normally does when considering who to add.
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