February 27, 2023, 11:58 am
Hello all and welcome back after a two-week break due to the All-Star festivities in Utah last weekend. As many fantasy playoffs begin this week after what “usually” occurs for All-Star Weekend: a double scoring week in fantasy basketball that takes the first half of week 18 and the second half of week 19 — I am here to help you with some final looks on the waiver wire to help your case in the postseason. In general, trade deadlines have passed at this point; therefore, it is paramount to utilize free agency as your source of roster upgrades until you (hopefully) win the championship for your league. The news nowadays will center mainly around new opportunities as contending teams like the Warriors or the Lakers try to solidify a currently-shaky playoff spot, while the likes of the Thunder or the Pacers have star fantasy players who may get rested for a tank. In other news, the “silly season” is approaching, so keep an eye out for some funny names popping up as fantasy studs coming up around weeks 21 and 22.
In this edition of Working the Wire, I will revisit last week’s takes to see if there was a win or a loss for each player, while also introducing a few new names rostered less than 50% to look at after Week 18/19 due to new intel. Remember to take this list and use it how you need it. If an obvious surging player is already scooped up in your competitive league, then our hope is to help you find the next gem ahead of time. If managers are ignoring the more obvious value on the wire, then fire away without spilling the beans to your competition on these potential studs.
(Positions and rostered percentages are from Yahoo leagues.)
Win or Loss?
Zach Collins, PF/C, Spurs (50% rostered 2 weeks ago)
Last two weeks (four games): 13.3 PTS, 8.5 REB, 4.0 AST, 1.5 STL, 0.5 BLK, 1.5 3PM, .467 FG, 1.00 FT, 1.5 TO
Extremely solid win, and now rostered in 57% of Yahoo leagues. Collins is fully entrenched as the starter for the Spurs while also expanding his steals capabilities compared to his usual career averages. The former Gonzaga big is putting up nearly a double-double each game with 1.2 steals in a hair under 30 minutes per contest as a starter in general.
Donte DiVincenzo, PG/SG, Warriors (46% rostered 2 weeks ago)
Last two weeks (five games): 13.6 PTS, 3.2 REB, 3.4 AST, 2.0 STL, 0.2 BLK, 3.4 3PM, .523 FG, .833 FT, 2.0 TO
Slam dunk win, take a look at his steals and 3-pointers numbers. DiVincenzo has been benefiting from the absence of Andrew Wiggins (personal), so it cannot be expected that these numbers can continue ROS. However, DiVincenzo really should be a solid play for 3-and-D action until both Wiggins and Stephen Curry (lower leg) return to the rotation.
James Wiseman, C, Pistons (41% rostered 2 weeks ago)
Last two weeks (three games): 9.7 PTS, 8.3 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0.3 BLK, 0 3PM, .500 FG, .500 FT, 1.7 TO
Win, considering he’s double-double threat on a nightly basis and that Jalen Duren (ankle) is constantly dealing with injuries or foul trouble lately. Wiseman is the latest project big for the Pistons and the franchise is clearly counting on him or Duren being the man in the middle for the future. Wiseman has failed to be a solid big thus far, but perhaps the change of scenery will help.
Josh Green, SG/SF, Mavs (38% rostered 2 weeks ago)
Last two weeks (four games): 8.0 PTS, 2.5 REB, 1.8 AST, 0.3 STL, 0.3 BLK, 1.8 3PM, .364 FG, .250 FT, 1.8 TO
Loss, because Green lost his shooting touch and also has not been able to contribute as a two-way player like he was initially when starting. At this point, he is coming off of the bench for Justin Holiday and is likely a drop for a more steady two-way player. In dynasty leagues, Green may be a gem but he can be dropped in standard formats for now.
Isaiah Hartenstein, C, Knicks (28% rostered 2 weeks ago)
Last two weeks (four games): 5.5 PTS, 9.0 REB, 0.8 AST, 0.8 STL, 0.8 BLK, 0 3PM, .714 FG, 1.00 FT, 0.8 TO
Win at what he has historically always been good at in bigger minute samples. Hartenstein continues to be an inside contributor with great boards and field-goal percentages. Mitchell Robinson (thumb) is back and starting, but Hartenstein has some late-round value that can be boosted if you punt points; moreover, the 1.6 combined defensive stats are not bad.
Talen Horton-Tucker, SG/SF, Jazz (22% rostered 2 weeks ago)
Last two weeks (four games): 10.8 PTS, 5.5 REB, 6.0 AST, 0.5 STL, 1.5 BLK, 1.5 3PM, .310 FG, .846 FT, 3.0 TO
Win since Horton-Tucker has been balling as Colin Sexton (hamstring) has been struggling to get back on the floor for the Jazz. With a rare combination of assists potential with blocks, he has been an exciting prospect as of late. As the Jazz try to stabilize with their roster for the future, THT should be considered a potential high-value target in the silly season.
Sam Hauser, SF/PF, Celtics (16% rostered 2 weeks ago)
Last two weeks (four games): 7.0 PTS, 3.0 REB, 1.0 AST, 0.5 STL, 0.8 BLK, 1.5 3PM, .579 FG, 0 FT, 0 TO
Unfortunate loss because he lost his touch that had him on fire for a couple weeks. Since we have seen this type of story with a hot shooter, hopefully the few 3-pointers that Hauser did drain were able to help you out a little bit. It really is time to move on and find another shooter on the wire if that is the lone category you are looking for from a free agent.
Jonathan Isaac, SF/PF, Magic (16% rostered 2 weeks ago)
Last two weeks (two games): 5.0 PTS, 5.5 REB, 0.5 AST, 1.5 STL, 0.5 BLK, 1.0 3PM, .400 FG, 0 FT, 1.5 TO
I am going to call this a push once again, since Isaac was nearly back to being a 2.0-plus defensive stat contributor off of the bench before he sustained a hamstring setback. At this point, it is understandable to drop Isaac for a better defensive streamer. My advice would be just to watch the wire closely if he starts to pick it up again.
Xavier Tillman, PF/C, Grizzlies (11% rostered 2 weeks ago)
Last two weeks (three games): 7.7 PTS, 6.7 PTS, 2.3 AST, 0.7 STL, 1.0 BLK, 0 3PM, .600 FG, .625 FT, 0.7 TO
Win, because Tillman is consistently producing with what he is good at. Steven Adams (knee) has been working out with the team again, but Tillman should be counted on for low-end rebounds with defensive stats in limited minutes. Until Adams is fully returned as a starter, keep Tillman around in 14-team leagues or deeper.
Isaiah Livers, SG/SF, Pistons (4% rostered 2 weeks ago)
Last two weeks (three games): 6.7 PTS, 2.0 REB, 1.0 AST, 0.3 STL, 0.7 BLK, 2.0 3PM, .583 FG, 0 FT, 0.5 TO
Loss, as we may have been too early to pull the trigger on Livers. He is still getting some nice minutes, hovering around the mid-20s mark on a nightly basis. However, just wait until he (potentially) gets unchained as a starter in the silly season for Detroit before considering grabbing him off the wire again.
Post-Week 18/19 Targets
Kenyon Martin Jr., SF/PF, Rockets (49% rostered)
As the Rockets coaching staff struggles to prove their competency with providing their first-round young assets with guaranteed minutes, Martin has been taking advantage of nearly 10 shots per game while grabbing plenty of rebounds in the process; add him if you can ASAP.
Kevin Love, PF/C, Heat (43% rostered)
With a new home in Miami, Love got the start next to Bam Adebayo in his debut with a solid double-double as the outcome; if K-Love can find some of his stretch big magic alongside one of the best defensive players in the league, this could be fantasy playoffs gold.
Killian Hayes, PG/SG, Pistons (40% rostered)
His field-goal shooting and turnovers are just terrible sometimes, but 6.2 assists per game over the last month is hard to find on the wire in general; as the Pistons contend for a better draft pick, Hayes should be primed for a late-season push in terms of volume-based counting stats.
James Wiseman, C, Pistons (39% rostered)
Another Piston who may benefit from a silly season tank, Wiseman has been reaping the benefits of Duren’s struggles to stay on the floor. Injury and foul trouble have been the cause of more Wiseman minutes recently, but perhaps he takes the role fully in the coming weeks.
Josh Richardson, SG/SF, Pelicans (37% rostered)
Nabbing an insane amount of steals with low-level 3-point shooting and assists, Richardson is playing over 30 minutes per game on his new team; if this holds, he will be a sneaky add for most efficiency-punting rosters in standard 12-team formats everywhere.
Talen Horton-Tucker, SG/SF, Jazz (33% rostered)
Beyond the horrendous field-goal shooting and turnovers, Horton-Tucker is actually becoming the counting stat stud that had the Lakers front office desperate to hold onto him over Alex Caruso a couple summers ago; hold tight for now with THT, at least until Sexton is back.
Tari Eason, SF/PF, Rockets (21% rostered)
Another Rockets player who could benefit from the coaches adjusting his current minutes split, Eason has been a per-minute monster whenever exceeding just 20 minutes in a game; many dedicated fans have been holding, but keep watch if the dream can become a reality.
Matisse Thybulle, SG/SF, Blazers (20% rostered)
Fully loaded at the starting small forward spot for the Blazers, the All-Defensive wing has been able to average 2.3 steals and 1.0 blocks over the last four games alongside the supernova of Damian Lillard; hurry to the wire if you need defensive stats, Thybulle is still legit.
Isaiah Joe, PG/SG, Thunder (13% rostered)
One of the most underrated shooters, Joe has knocked down 3.2 triples per game in the last two weeks while scoring 16.0 points over his last five contests; Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (ankle/abdomen) is the only limiting factor here for ROS fantasy success with Joe.
Kris Dunn, PG/SG, Jazz (4% rostered)
More of a deeper league target for 14-team leagues or more, Dunn has been thriving as the backup lead guard while Sexton (hamstring) remains out; if you need some assists and steals in the short term, there may be a play here that also is seeing him shoot the ball quite efficiently.
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