Fantasy Hoops Waiver Wire: Deadline frenzy creates huge potential in Week 18
The trade deadline was unpredictable, and so was the impact it would have on Fantasy. That and the odd All-Star break schedule shape the waiver wire landscape for Week 18.
The trade deadline got a little wacky and ended up being far more eventful than many anticipated. Players widely believed to be on the move -- like Tyreke Evans -- ended up staying home. The Suns made a move, but it had nothing to do with their crowded frontcourt. The Cavaliers pulled off some shockers. When the dust settled, a lot of potential Fantasy value was unleashed.
After weeks of sifting through a waiver wire desert, the rains have finally come. The next few weeks are frequently some of the most important waiver periods of the season, so stay active and attentive. Prospects change quickly, and the outlook for key waiver options already looks a lot different than it did on Friday.
As always, players must be owned in less than two-thirds of CBS leagues
Adds for all leagues
Emmanuel Mudiay, Knicks (47 percent owned)
There is a very good chance that putting Mudiay ahead of D.J. Augustin will look very stupid in a few weeks. It's important not to overreact to a single game. I had Augustin ahead of Mudiay on Friday, and both have only played one game since. But I think we learned some important things in those two games. For Mudiay, the most important lesson is that coach Jeff Hornacek is not afraid to play him alongside Frank Ntilikina. In fact, Ntilikina was on the floor for the entirety of Mudiay's 29 minutes. Even better, Jarrett Jack was limited to eight minutes.
My biggest concern about Mudiay following the trade to the Knicks was that he wouldn't play enough, and that fear is rendered moot if Ntilikina and Mudiay will play together and Jack is not an impediment to their workload. Given enough opportunity, Mudiay can be a solid source of scoring, assists and rebounds for a guard.
D.J. Augustin, Magic (56 percent owned)
After the Magic traded away Elfrid Payton, they are left with only two point guards on the roster. Augustin seems like the obvious choice for big promotion over Shelvin Mack, given that Augustin was the primary backup and has played 33 percent more total minutes this season. However, while many have been ready to anoint Augustin as Fantasy's biggest deadline winner (or place him second to George Hill, who is too widely owned to qualify for this article), I'm a little hesitant.
Projecting out a full starter's workload, Augustin would still rank only around 100th overall in most Fantasy formats. Much of the hype is based on the idea that his floor is barely lower than that, as the starting PG role is securely his. While I agree that he is the favorite to claim the bulk of the PG duties -- I still have Augustin listed second in a week with tons of solid waiver options -- I think it's too soon to rule out Mack winning this competition.
When Payton missed eight games earlier this season, the workloads of both Augustin and Mack increased equally, by about four minutes per game. While Augustin started Orlando's first game since the Payton trade, Mack was much more effective and ended up seeing more minutes. There is a huge opportunity here, and if Augustin comes out on top he'll be a very good source of assists, while also helping in points, 3s and steals.
Wayne Ellington, Heat (30 percent owned)
A guy has a few rough games and people start running for the hills? I know I talk about Ellington almost every week, but he's earned it. He's got a steady role in the rotation and he has emerged as one of the five-ish best 3-point shooters in the league this season. He should be owned in all leagues. His workload was unchanged in Dwyane Wade's Heat return Friday.
Shelvin Mack, Magic (12 percent owned)
I spent the entire section on D.J. Augustin talking about the fact that Mack has a chance to earn the bulk of the Magic's point guard minutes after the Payton trade. Augustin is still the safer add, but this is an open competition. Mack's workload is likely to increase either way, but if Mack becomes the primary PG, it could be one of the more impactful deep-league adds over the remainder of the season. The upside is worth the risk that you may have to drop him after a few games.
Other suggestions: Cedi Osman, Cavaliers (7 percent owned); Royce O'Neal, Jazz (4 percent owned); *Derrick Rose (14 percent owned)
*Assuming Rose signs with the Wizards. Credible news sources have said Rose and the Wizards are in discussions about a deal, but nothing has been confirmed. A reunion with Thibs in Minnesota also appears to be in play.
Streamers take note: CBS treats the week of 2/12 and the week of 2/19 as two separate weeks. However, as the All-Star break runs from Friday, Feb. 16 to Wednesday, Feb. 21, some host sites combine the 14-day period into a single "week." If you do not play on CBS, make sure you know your league settings.
This week, eight teams play only one game, while all other teams play two. The eight teams are the Celtics, Hornets, Cavaliers, Mavericks, Pacers, Grizzlies, Trail Blazers and Wizards.
Next week, after the All-Star break, four teams play three games -- the Hornets, Cavaliers, 76ers and Wizards. Four teams also play only one game -- the Hawks, Nets, Pacers and Raptors.
The 76ers are the only team to play five games over these two weeks. The Pacers are the only team that plays just two games during that period. Streamers in either format should target the 76ers and avoid the Pacers.
Marco Belinelli, 76ers (17 percent owned)
Soon after drafting Ben Simmons, the 76ers identified Jerryd Bayless as a solid complement to his skill-set. In Bayless, they hoped to have a playmaker who could share the ball-handling duties while doubling as an off-ball long-range sharpshooter.
Unfortunately, Bayless has been derailed by the same wrist injury that cost him almost all of 2016-17. He looked good for a few weeks to start this season, but then reinjured the wrist and has never fully recovered. In that short window before reinjuring his wrist, Bayless averaged 31.3 minutes, 11.9 points, 2.4 3s (on 5.3 attempts) and 2.0 assists. One thing to note: J.J. Redick was playing 32.3 minutes during that span. Bayless and Redick were used in tandem, and one did not interfere with the impact of the other.
Bayless was acquired before the 76ers were certain what they had in Simmons. Since then, Simmons has proven himself to be well ahead of the curve as a playmaker. By acquiring Belinelli off waivers, the 76ers have landed themselves a healthy version of Bayless modified to Simmons' developing skill set. Belinelli is still a capable passer but with more emphasis on the off-ball shooting. The 76ers don't get enough credit for how deep they are, so there is no guarantee for big minutes, but buyout candidates rarely sign somewhere without some assurance of either playing time or a serious chance at a ring. We already know Belinelli is a great fit for the 76ers, and they are the only team that plays five games over the next two weeks. There is, of course, some risk involved, but there is also the very real chance that either Belinelli or Redick lead the NBA in made 3s over the next 14 days.
Mario Hezonja, Magic (33 percent owned)
In the current era of NBA injury reporting, where "day-to-day" can mean anything from "100 percent playing tonight" to "out for six to eight weeks," we have no idea when Aaron Gordon (hip) will return from his injury. I have no interest in holding Hezonja once Gordon returns, but Hezonja has shown himself to be a reliable Fantasy starter as long as Gordon is out. In the past seven games without Gordon, Hezonja is averaging 15.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.4 threes and 1.4 steals in 28.7 minutes per game. The Magic play twice this week and twice next week.
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