Fantasy Hoops Week 21 Waiver Wire: Targeted priority adds can be the difference
There is plenty of talent available at this late hour of the season. Alex Rikleen starts his Week 21 waivers with JaMychal Green and Jarrett Allen.
The waiver wire is fairly deep right now, which is particularly good news now that the Fantasy trade deadline is in the rear-view mirror. A small number of the players listed below could be season-defining acquisitions, and if they are available, they should be your top priority.
But always remember -- you play to win the game. This article lists players in the order that I recommend adding them. But remember, I don't know your team. If you're already the best rebounding team in your league, then adding JaMychal Green or David Nwaba is redundant. You're probably better served adding a player who helps you in categories that are more competitive. There are only six weeks left of the season. We're past the point of focusing on maximizing overall value and now we need to focus on maximizing strategic value.
A note on this week's structure: as noted above, the waiver pool is deep right now. That said, most of the attractive players are only available in between 40 and 67 percent of leagues. They probably are not all be available in your league, but there are enough of them that most leagues will have one or two. Between that, and the need for managers to shift their focus from "best available" to "best fit," this week's column features fewer separate sections. Instead, we're going deeper in the all leagues adds, with some notes on the schedules at the end.
As always, players must be owned 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
JaMychal Green, Grizzlies (63 percent owned)
If Green's still available in your league, consider yourself lucky -- and rectify the situation promptly. Every season, a handful of players break out in a big way after the All-Star break, and Green fits one of the more familiar archetypes. He's young, shown ability in previous seasons, and underperformed compared to expectations before the break. He's on a bad team without even a prayer of making the playoffs. His minutes have increased since the break, and his production has improved a little more than the prorated value of his extra minutes. He's double-doubled in every game since the break.
Another common archetype is the raw rookie on a bad team who starts getting expanded minutes after spending the first two-thirds of the season gaining experience in much more limited role. One of the most appealing aspects of Allen's game is that he is a steady source of blocks, which has been by far the scarcest category on waivers this season.
Larry Nance, Cavaliers (59 percent owned)
Nance was set to be one of the lower names in the "other recommendations" section before Sunday's Tristan Thompson (ankle) news. Thompson has a sprain and will miss multiple games, though no specific timeline has been announced. Thompson's absence probably means a lot more minutes for Nance. This ranking is for Nance's value as long as Thompson is out, which could be two games or it could be 20.
David Nwaba, Bulls (49 percent owned)
A third archetype of a post-All-Star break breakout is the young backup on a bad team (noticing a trend?) who's suddenly thrust into a starting role. Over the All-Star break, the Bulls announced Nwaba's promotion, and he's risen to the challenge. As always, the most important stat is minutes, and he's now averaging 32.6 of those per game since the break. He's converted that into 12.4 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals with an excellent 61.0 field goal percentage. For teams looking to improve in the traditional "big man stats," Dunn's contributions in rebounds and field goal percentage from a guard position can make a gigantic impact.
Siakam isn't great in any single category, and he's even a slight drain in points, but since the break he's providing value in seven of nine categories. Given the Raptors favorable schedule -- they play four games in each of the next three weeks, and then again in the fifth week -- that across-the-board help can fit on any roster.
Other recommendations: D.J. Augustin, Magic (45 percent owned); Skal Labissiere, Kings (28 percent owned); Rudy Gay, Spurs (47 percent owned); Andrew Harrison, Grizzlies (49 percent owned); Emmanuel Mudiay, Knicks (52 percent owned); Marcus Morris, Celtics (38 percent owned); James Johnson, Heat (59 percent owned); Tomas Satoransky, Wizards (58 percent owned); Trey Burke, Knicks (46 percent owned); Danny Green, Spurs (25 percent owned)
The Timberwolves play only two games this week: Thursday and Sunday. Half the league plays two games before Thursday. If you're in a league that allows streaming and are considering adding a Timberwolf -- Nemanja Bjelica, for example -- wait until Thursday morning to do so. This will allow to get two extra games from a temporary placeholder. In weekly lineups leagues, almost all Timberwolves should be avoided.
Everyone else plays either three or four games this week, and the split between them is almost even. Every day has between five and 10 games, so nothing funky there, either.
The Rockets, Pelicans, and Raptors all have four games in each of the next three weeks. That schedule is a huge advantage in their favor. The Clippers have their own stretch of three weeks with four games each starting next week, so consider adding members of the Clippers towards the end of this week.
Speaking of the Timberwolves, they have fewer games remaining than any other team in the league -- sixteen, to be exact. The Suns and Thunder are right behind them, with 17. The rest of the league has between 18 and 20 games remaining.
While that difference may seem small at first glance, it's actually quite significant. Nine teams have 25 percent more games remaining than the Timberwolves. That means that, for instance, if Joel Embiid (the 76ers are one of the teams with 20 games left) plays every remaining game and averages 20.0 points, then Karl-Anthony Towns would have to average 25.1 points in order to score more total points than Embiid.
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