By Alex Rikleen, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
This is fun. The waiver wire in Week 13 is loaded. No caveats. There are a lot of high-value players worth adding. End sentence. Send tweet.
The pool is deep. Tim Hardaway Jr., listed halfway through the “other recommendations” pool at the bottom, is a solid add for many shallow leagues and almost all standard leagues.
With so much talent available, give your current roster a good hard look — should you be dropping more than one of those guys? As an example, I’d let go of OG Anunoby (64 percent rostered) and Danny Green (50 percent rostered) for most of the players listed up to and including Hardaway.
Schedule-wise, it’s a light week. Only nine teams have four games: Celtics, Bulls, Cavaliers, Pacers, Timberwolves, Thunder, Magic, 76ers and Trail Blazers. Whenever you have a light week, there is less harm in playing a guy with just two games — this week, that means a Hornet, Grizzly, or Wizard.
An interesting nuance this week: There are only two games on Sunday. The Pacers are the only team with a four-game week and a Sunday game. The other three teams that play Sunday all have three games this week, and none of them play Monday or Tuesday. If you’re in a daily lineups league with a strict acquisition limit, it makes sense to pick up someone on either the Nuggets, Heat, or Spurs on Wednesday. That approach will help you get the most games in your lineup this week.
The players below are listed in the order I’d recommend adding them.
This article will focus on players available in at least 50 percent of leagues.
Gorgui Dieng, Minnesota Timberwolves (49 percent rostered)
Next week’s games: OKC, Ind, at Ind, Tor
Nothing new here. This situation is the same as last week and the week before. The Wolves are being obnoxiously useless with their Karl-Anthony Towns injury updates. At this rate, he could return tomorrow or in March. As long as he is out, Dieng is an all-league must-start. That said, Dieng probably loses all his value whenever Towns returns.
Thaddeus Young, Chicago Bulls (47 percent)
Next week’s games: at Bos, Was, at Phi, Cle
Insert “WHAT YEAR IS IT” gif here. Except, while Young may feel like a distant remnant from the fantasy past, he’s actually just 31 years old and finished as a top-70 player last season. With Wendell Carter (ankle) expected to miss four-to-six weeks, Young should be looking at a lengthy run with an expanded role. He started the first Carter-free game Wednesday, putting up an excellent 18 points, six rebounds, three steals, three threes, and two assists in 35 minutes. Managers should remember that Young isn’t usually that much of a scorer, but if his workload stays above 30 minutes, he should be able to do plenty to stick in lineups.
Daniel Gafford (8 percent) is a deep-league add while Carter is out, and he has a chance at earning some standard league relevance. He saw extra minutes in the second half of the game Carter left early due to the injury, but Gafford’s role was minuscule compared to Young in the one full game without Carter. The rookie will start Friday’s game against Indiana, however.
Sekou Doumbouya (38%) and Christian Wood (19%); Detroit Pistons
Next week’s games: NO, at Bos, at Atl
Blake Griffin (foot) underwent surgery and will sit out for “an extended rehabilitation period" — whatever that means. The Pistons are 10th in the East, 3.5 games out of the playoffs, and about to be without their best player for (presumably) at least a month or two. Extrapolating, it seems very possible that Griffin’s season is over. Even if he does return, there should be a lengthy window of fantasy opportunity for his backups.
So far, that has been mostly Doumbouya, the 15th pick in the 2019 draft. Doumbouya was completely out of the rotation before Griffin’s recent injury, but he started the last five games, averaging 30.4 minutes per game. Dr. Doum’s production has been a mixed bag, with two double-doubles, a 15-points-2-rebounds game, and an 8-1 dud.
As a whole, the five-game sample averages out to 12.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.4 threes and 1.2 steals. Those averages are ok, but if he’s going to stick in a standard league lineup, we’re going to need more of those double-doubles. Wood warrants consideration, but his minutes have been erratic, even in games without Griffin. The data sample on Doumbouya is still tiny, but Wood looks like the superior per-minute producer. I’d recommend adding Doumbouya above Wood for now, but that’s based on potential and recent workload, not on the hard production numbers.
Damion Lee, Golden State Warriors (43%)
Next week’s games: Dal, Den, Orl
No one should be surprised that Lee’s absurd hot streak cooled to room temperature. I’m surprised, therefore, to see Lee’s roster rate falling during the same week that the Warriors made a long-ish term investment in him. The Warriors cut Marquese Chriss and signed Lee through the end of the season. Chriss isn’t great, but he’d been somewhat effective and had seen consistent minutes — cutting him wasn’t much, but it was something. Lee has started the last 12 games, averaging 14.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.2 steals. He’s an all-league guy who is way too widely available.
*Wizard of the Week*
Next week’s games: at Chi, at Tor
We’ve been playing whack-a-mole with the Wizards’ backcourt for the past few weeks, and I’ve been pretty transparent about my lack of trust in the whole lot of them. That said, there is value in hitting these players while they’re streaking, especially in leagues that enable streaming. This week’s leading Wizard is Troy Brown Jr. (41%), a sophomore with a pretty fantasy-friendly skillset. I’m still a bit skeptical of Brown, but I think he has a much better chance of lasting on your roster than his teammates Gary Payton II or Jordan McRae (44%) did. Both players were hot adds over the past two weeks; Payton should be dropped almost everywhere, while McRae remains an option in deeper leagues, though I doubt his ability to stay impactful in standard leagues.
If you want to believe in Brown as a long-term add, the argument goes like this: His per-36 numbers are great for fantasy at 14.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.9 steals with decent shooting and not-too-many turnovers. After averaging 22.9 minutes over the first 24 games of the season, Brown’s workload has surged to 32.2 over the last 10 games. If it weren’t for a two-game shooting slump in the middle of that stretch — a slump that perfectly coincided with McRae’s surging — Brown probably wouldn’t even qualify for this column. He’s scored double-digits in 12 of his last 14 games, and he has at least five rebounds in 15 of his last 17.
Normal Powell, Toronto Raptors (27%)
Next week’s schedule: at OKC, Was, at Min (note: Powell may not play in Week 13)
If you’re in a situation where you can stash an injured player for a week or so, it’s time to add Powell. He’s missed 11 games with a shoulder injury, but he was upgraded from “out indefinitely” to “doubtful” ahead of that 11th absence. Powell averaged 17.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.3 threes, and 2.1 assists in 31.6 minutes as a starter, and is likely to quickly return to the starting lineup once he is active.
Other recommendations: Jarrett Culver, Timberwolves (38 percent rostered); Ish Smith, Wizards (46 percent rostered); Darius Garland, Cavaliers (35 percent rostered); Dillon Brooks, Grizzlies (38 percent rostered); Aaron Holiday, Pacers (27 percent rostered); Jae Crowder, Grizzlies (34 percent rostered); Tim Hardaway, Mavericks (34 percent rostered); Maxi Kleber, Mavericks (39 percent rostered); Trevor Ariza, Kings (7 percent rostered); Kris Dunn, Bulls (34 percent rostered); Duncan Robinson, Heat (40 percent rostered); Bruce Brown, Pistons (17 percent rostered); Dwight Howard, Lakers (47 percent rostered)