January 2, 2023, 11:53 am
Happy New Year! Welcome to Working the Wire, edition No. 11 as we wrap up 2022 and move closer to the second half of the NBA regular season. One thing to look forward to in the near future, about one month out or so, is All-Star weekend and the different trade deadlines or league playoffs that may be starting early. Most leagues have trade deadlines either towards the end of January or right around the All-Star break, so this is sort of a new phase of the fantasy basketball season that becomes far more focused on the playoffs. If you are in a sweet spot in the top third of your standings, perhaps some stashes off of the wire are appealing. On the flip side, as someone who is clawing their way back into the playoff picture, some specifically targeted players for five or six category goals may be your move ROS. In either case, I am here to help you out in 2023.
In this edition of Working the Wire, I will revisit the 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 11 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 on these potential studs while waivers reset for many come Monday morning.
(Positions and rostered percentages are from Yahoo leagues.)
Win or Loss?
Onyeka Okongwu, C, Hawks (49% rostered last week)
Last week: 13.7 PTS, 9.7 REB, 0.3 AST, 1.0 STL, 2.0 BLK, 0 3PM, .607 FG, .636 FT, 1.0 TO
Slam dunk win. Over the last couple weeks, Okongwu has been rated well within the top-30 of all 9-cat rankings thanks to his huge defensive output in place of Clint Capela (calf). As Capela nurses this annoying type of injury, Big O is a must-roster player in any format. Even after the return of the starter, Okongwu may have some value if you want to stash his strengths.
Marcus Morris, PF/C, Clippers (46% rostered last week)
Last week: 13.3 PTS, 4.8 REB, 2.3 AST, 0.5 STL, 1.0 BLK, 2.5 3PM, .439 FG, .875 FT, 0.5 TO
Win. Morris continues to serve as exactly the player he is advertised to be. Still hanging out in the top-120, he is far too available on waiver wires and will still be on our list this week. As the Clippers are constantly nursing injuries, it is nice to have a guy like Morris who has played in 35 games already thus far and remains consistent with his play.
Derrick White, PG/SG, Celtics (45% rostered last week)
Last week: 11.0 PTS, 4.0 REB, 4.0 AST, 0.7 STL, 1.3 BLK, 1.3 3PM, .600 FG, .833 FT, 1.0 TO
Win. White is a full-time starter again next to Marcus Smart and is getting a big amount of minutes. His diverse skill set can even be separated from other guards in how he is able to block shots from the shooting guard position. The Celtics have the best offense in the league, but it is all-around play and defense from guys like White who can help you in your fantasy season.
Donte DiVincenzo, PG/SG, Warriors (42% rostered last week)
Last week: 11.8 PTS, 6.3 REB, 4.0 AST, 2.0 STL, 0 BLK, 2.8 3PM, .421 FG, 1.00 FT, 0.8 TO
Big win. DiVincenzo has been an awesome fit into the starting lineup as Stephen Curry (shoulder) was announced to be out for a minimum of two more weeks after Christmas Eve. An all-around producer, DiVincenzo was a viable guard to roster in his later days on the Bucks. After his playoff injury before their title run, the guard has returned to 12-team league status.
Royce O’Neale, SG/SF, Nets (42% rostered last week)
Last week: 10.3 PTS, 3.3 REB, 3.7 AST, 0 STL, 1.3 BLK, 2.3 3PM, .632 FG, 0 FT, 0.7 TO
Win. O’Neale’s biggest issue was his terrible shooting percentages, but his field-goal shooting over the last week was awesome while he continued to do a bit of everything. The blocks at his undersized forward position are sweet, along with the triples that come with rostering him. As long as the Nets are this red hot, winning 11 straight, hold onto O’Neale.
Jeremy Sochan, PF, Spurs (26% rostered last week)
Last week: 13.5 PTS, 6.3 REB, 2.5 AST, 0.8 STL, 0.8 BLK, 0.5 3PM, .488 FG, .833 FT, 1.8 TO
Solid win. Sochan has improved his free-throw shooting in a big way with his one-handed form and is becoming a threat to collect 2.0 or more defensive stats on any given night. The Spurs have begun to start him in the frontcourt alongside Keldon Johnson and Jakob Poeltl and he is looking like their mainstay power forward for their rebuild.
Patrick Williams, PF, Bulls (25% rostered last week)
Last week: 9.3 PTS, 4.0 REB, 1.0 AST, 0.8 STL, 0.8 BLK, 1.3 3PM, .457 FG, 0 FT, 0.8 TO
Small win. Williams collected 0.8 steals and blocks, respectively, while still playing as the starting power forward for the Bulls. His minutes dip on some nights, but he has earned the right to huge nights in the 39-plus range on a regular basis. He is a low-floor option, but in 14-team leagues or deeper there are worse players to roster at the end of your bench.
Landry Shamet, SG, Suns (24% rostered last week)
Last week: 31.0 PTS, 2.0 REB, 6.0 AST, 0 STL, 1.0 BLK, 7.0 3PM, .500 FG, 1.00 FT, 2.0 TO
Win, but be wary because Shamet (Achilles) missed three games this week and these inflated stats are from one game only. However, Shamet should be all good to return as the starting shooting guard as the replacement for Devin Booker (groin) as he is out for four weeks at minimum. Shamet should be a hold until he stops scoring and getting shots up at a high rate.
Austin Reaves, SG/SF, Lakers (22% rostered last week)
Last week: 7.3 PTS, 2.0 REB, 1.8 AST, 0.5 STL, 0.5 BLK, 1.0 3PM, .281 FG, 1.00 FT, 2.5 TO
Loss. Reaves is getting big minutes but his performances having value were extremely dependent on his shot falling. He shot terribly over the last week and at this point can be dropped until he gets hot again. The Lakers are a bit too inconsistent to trust streaming options outside of Thomas Bryant in place of Anthony Davis (foot), but just keep Reaves on the watch list for now.
Aaron Nesmith, SG/SF, Pacers (18% rostered last week)
Last week: 12.8 PTS, 3.5 REB, 2.3 AST, 0 STL, 0.8 BLK, 1.3 3PM, .486 FG, 1.00 FT, 0.5 TO
Win in deeper formats. Nesmith should be a solid grab in 14-team leagues or deeper as long as he continues to get big minutes as a Pacers starter. He gets into foul trouble at times, but he is also an undersized forward playing against some bigger bodies down low. His stat set does not quite pop enough to be a must-roster in 12-team leagues, but he does not hurt you much so just expect a low-floor safer play here.
Post-Week 11 Targets
Marcus Morris, PF/C, Clippers (48% rostered)
It is getting kind of ridiculous that someone who is floating well within the top-120 players is on most waiver wires this late into the season, but I am here to tell you to trust Morris for the near future at least. The Clippers are pushing hard for a top seed out west, and Morris should not be at risk of losing his starting job while many Clips are in and out of the lineup.
Donte DiVincenzo, PG/SG, Warriors (42% rostered last week)
Curry still has a ways to go, so continue to fire it up with DiVincenzo as a nice streamer who can really do it all for the Warriors. His upside on the glass is quite underrated and the steals have always been there for the Villanova product. This is a safe play that can be taken advantage of in most leagues still and might end up being a hold ROS with his legs under him now.
Royce O’Neale, SG/SF, Nets (41% rostered)
Another undervalued wing, O’Neale should be rostered in most 12-team leagues due to his all-around box scores. His shooting splits have improved in a big way recently, so his ranking just outside the top-100 right now might be on the rise. Even at 41.3% field-goal shooting, his defensive contributions and triples alone make grabbing him attractive.
Alec Burks, PG/SG/SF, Pistons (40% rostered)
As Killian Hayes serves out his final game of the brawl suspension on Monday, Burks may have some more value for that game and the remaining games this week as Hayes gets back up to speed. Burks is outside the top-150 on the season, but his recent lines continue to illustrate how much of a professional scorer he is. The assist upside is there if Hayes misses time.
Daniel Gafford, C, Wizards (37% rostered)
Well folks it finally happened: Gafford is getting the continued starting nod next to Kristaps Porzingis as the inside big man to complement the offensive finesse game of KP. While Bradley Beal is struggling to stay on the court with a lingering hamstring issue, Gafford is someone benefiting from the absences. Hold as long as Gafford is starting and getting minutes.
Jeremy Sochan, PF, Spurs (34% rostered)
The young rookie often compared to Dennis Rodman is not quite The Worm just yet, but his feisty play is earning him more minutes to also contribute more heavily in the box score. The best part of this stash is any tanking implications would likely not affect Sochan’s minutes or availability, since the Spurs want him to get as much run in as possible. Hold strongly here.
T.J. Warren, SF/PF, Nets (28% rostered)
Someone else who is benefiting from the Nets going on an 11-game winning streak is Warren. The forward has received upwards of 30 minutes in his last three games and has the potential to score the ball at all three levels. He is well outside the top-150 rankings but with the proper targets, Warren can be of service for you as he tries to reinvigorate his career.
Patrick Williams, PF, Bulls (26% rostered)
For Williams, he is more of a 14-team league target or deeper due to his low-end contributions. However, the 0.8 blocks and 0.8 steals recently are nice enough to warrant some attention if you are targeting them. The Florida State product continues to tease while illustrating potential as a defensive stalwart. Perhaps he will figure it all out by the end of the season.
Landry Shamet, SG, Suns (19% rostered)
It is somewhat surprising that Shamet was dropped so much with how clear his role is when Booker is out, but take advantage here if you need some points or triples. Likely a safer play for deeper leagues, there may be some serious 12-team league appeal here if Shamet can continue to jack up threes with success like Tim Hardaway Jr. does for the Mavs.
Aaron Nesmith, SG/SF, Pacers (13% rostered)
Another recent full-time starter on this list, Nesmith has been nearly a top-100 player over the last month while receiving over 24 minutes per game and stealing the starting job from Jalen Smith. The statistical output does not necessarily pop, but he has decent shooting percentages with awesome free-throw shooting. The defense and triples are the main appeal, too.