January 9, 2023, 12:43 pm
We are wrapped up with 12 weeks of NBA action, and headed closer towards the fantasy playoffs for many within the next six weeks! I will keep the intro short, but the many injuries have continued to ravage some teams on a consistent basis. For someone like Thomas Bryant, he has soared up the fantasy rankings to just outside of the top-100 in terms of per-game value due to how he has filled in for Anthony Davis (foot). Moving forward, keep some tabs on the trade rumor mill; within a month or so, teams will be making deals to improve their rosters and there will be plenty of fantasy fallout. If an early deal is made prior to the league-wide deadline, stand ready to grab a free agent or claim on a waiver to improve your team before the exciting fantasy playoffs. Once again, stashes are appealing for teams locked into the top-half of standings while lower-ranked teams should be taking things one week at a time in most cases.
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 12 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. One new technique I am trying down below is having quick-hitting takes on the prediction or target section, while staying in-depth about the win/loss columns. The goal here is to not overthink, as I have gotten feedback from some fellow fantasy players about how they tend to try far too hard to find the perfect waiver grab. It will never be perfect, so just keep working the wire as best as you can.
(Positions and rostered percentages are from Yahoo leagues.)
Win or Loss?
Marcus Morris, PF/C, Clippers (48% rostered last week)
Last week: 11.0 PTS, 3.0 REB, 0.7 AST, 0.7 STL, 0 BLK, 2.0 3PM, .423 FG, .714 FT, 1.0 TO
Small loss. Morris still sits just outside of the top-120 in 9-cat rankings on the entire season and still gets up a decent amount of triples for someone with center eligibility. Though his defensive stats slowed down in this one, he still is putting up 0.6 steals and blocks respectively over the last month. If you need a low-end option at PF/C, look for Morris to get back on track.
Donte DiVincenzo, PG/SG, Warriors (42% rostered last week)
Last week: 9.3 PTS, 6.7 REB, 3.7 AST, 1.3 STL, 0 BLK, 2.7 3PM, .400 FG, 0 FT, 2.0 TO
Win. DiVincenzo has about one week before we need to start reconsidering his status as a solid fill-in player for Stephen Curry (shoulder) who is doing 5-on-5 work with the team again. Curry could be back next Friday, so just wait and see where DiVincenzo lands this next week while the superstar is undoubtedly ramped up slowly for his awaited return.
Royce O’Neale, SG/SF, Nets (41% rostered last week)
Last week: 7.0 PTS, 5.5 REB, 2.0 AST, 1.5 STL, 1.0 BLK, 2.0 3PM, .294 FG, 0 FT, 1.0 TO
Win. The shooting was as ugly as it has been all season, but those 2.5 combined defensive stats really pop on the box scores. O’Neale may be thrust into a bigger role if Kevin Durant (knee) has to miss time after a scary fall on Sunday. A sneaky defender for years now, O’Neale remains a 12-team option until he is not playing such large amounts of minutes.
Alec Burks, PG/SG/SF, Pistons (40% rostered last week)
Last week: 14.3 PTS, 3.3 REB, 3.0 AST, 1.0 STL, 0 BLK, 1.3 3PM, .414 FG, .882 FT, 0.3 TO
Small win. Burks scored well over his last three while adding some decent counting stats on the box score. However, it is hard to fully trust Burks each night without a solidified role at 25 or more minutes. With Killian Hayes fully reintegrated into the lineup, managers who streamed Burks can let go without any reason for regret at this point.
Daniel Gafford, C, Wizards (37% rostered last week)
Last week:14.3 PTS, 8.3 REB, 2.7 AST, 0.3 STL, 0.7 BLK, 0 3PM, .731 FG, .455 FT, 0.7 TO
Win. The field-goal percentage is sweet with solid boards and better scoring than his averages over the last month. Gafford is getting well over 20 minutes each game, a watermark that usually sees him provide serviceable stat lines when he exceeds that number. As long as he is getting these types of minutes, he is an inside big to target for those needing that skill set. He usually blocks more shots than this, too.
Jeremy Sochan, PF, Spurs (34% rostered last week)
Last week: 6.5 PTS, 4.3 REB, 2.5 AST, 1.0 STL, 0.5 BLK, 0.3 3PM, .423 FG, 1.00 FT, 3.0 TO
Loss. Well, was the 100% free-throw shooting enough to carry the rest? Absolutely not. However, Sochan failed to take care of the ball in terms of turnovers and simply was not the same defender he was a couple weeks ago while scoring more as well. His consistency is lacking but the appeal is there for a late-season push once the Spurs shut it all down even more.
T.J. Warren, SF/PF, Nets (28% rostered last week)
Last week: 11.0 PTS, 1.7 REB, 0.3 AST, 1.0 STL, 0.7 BLK, 0.3 3PM, .609 FG, 1.00 FT, 0.3 TO
Small win. Warren continues to be a low-level option in standard formats but mainly has been an efficient two-way player for the last two weeks now. His 1.7 defensive stats last week with double-digit scoring might be improved upon even more with touches potentially going around the horn. Keep an eye on Durant’s aforementioned injury for more guidance.
Patrick Williams, PF, Bulls (26% rostered last week)
Last week: 14.3 PTS, 5.3 REB, 1.5 AST, 1.0 STL, 0.3 BLK, 2.3 3PM, .487 FG, .909 FT, 0.8 TO
Win. Williams upped his scoring during last week’s four games while still serving as a threat from downtown and in the passing lanes. His role on the Bulls is clear as a fourth or fifth option to play lockdown defense, but at the end of your roster if you need a streaming option he is here. His main gains, though, come from other injuries so this may be a ceiling for now.
Landry Shamet, SG, Suns (19% rostered last week)
Last week: 10.3 PTS, 4.0 REB, 2.7 AST, 0.3 STL, 0 BLK, 1.7 3PM, .333 FG, .857 FT, 2.0 TO
Loss. Shamet (and many Suns players in general) cooled off from downtown and could not make as large of an impact as expected. As the Suns have dropped six straight games, there simply is not enough offense going around right now. The sharpshooting Shamet might be more of a boom-or-bust DFS option until Devin Booker (groin is back in February).
Aaron Nesmith, SG/SF, Pacers (13% rostered last week)
Last week: 10.3 PTS, 5.7 REB, 1.7 AST, 0.7 STL, 0 BLK, 1.0 3PM, .360 FG, 1.00 FT, 0.3 TO
Push. Nesmith was advertised as a deeper-league target, but his foul troubles lately have limited his statistical output in some ways. He can be let go, if anyone in a 12-team league took a plunge, but deeper formats may want to give him a longer look if he continues to get more minutes. Over the last month, he is within the top-75 in 9-cat rankings and has room to grow.
Post-Week 12 Targets
Jalen McDaniels, SF/PF, Hornets (47% rostered)
Usually the player who benefits the most without Gordon Hayward (hamstring) and Kelly Oubre (hand) in the lineup, McDaniels is primed to be a 1-1-1 threat while scoring in double-digits anytime he plays more than 30 minutes.
Royce O’Neale, SG/SF, Nets (41% rostered)
As versatile as they come, O’Neale may benefit without Durant (knee) or may simply continue his role as a jack-of-all trades who only needs his shooting splits to be up for his value to increase.
Dennis Schroder, PG, Lakers (41% rostered)
Putting up 23.8 points over the last week with 1.0 steals and solid efficiency, Schroder is currently worth a look as the Lakers try to ride this momentum into territory above .500 without Anthony Davis (foot) and other hurt role players.
Daniel Gafford, C, Wizards (38% rostered)
As long as he is getting minutes over roughly 22 per game, Gafford is an inside big who you can count on for blocks and solid shooting from the field while Bradley Beal (hamstring) has to nurse a lingering problem for the next week.
Tyus Jones, PG, Grizzlies (37% rostered)
As a backup, he dished out 6.7 assists per game last week without turning the ball over a single time; Jones is as solid as they come and is arguably the best point guard handcuff in the entire NBA behind Ja Morant.
Quentin Grimes, SG/SF, Knicks (37% rostered)
His 14.0 points, 3.0 triples and 53.3% field-goal shooting have him earning a starting role with the Knicks worth its weight in gold; he is a nice presence at the end of rosters right now, with decent defense some nights. If nothing else, you know he’s playing a ton while he’s the starter.
Alex Caruso, PG/SG, Bulls (37% rostered)
He is starting the week hurt, but Caruso remains a nice defensive stash with his 1.6 steals and 0.6 blocks per game; moreover, his assists go up whenever he gets the starting nod over Ayo Dosunmu and Goran Dragic.
Larry Nance Jr., PF/C, Pelicans (22% rostered)
Also starting the week hurt, Nance has a window of opportunity with Zion Williamson (hamstring) waiting to be re-evaluated in at least two more weeks as we wonder where Brandon Ingram (toe) has gone.
T.J. Warren, SF/PF, Nets (19% rostered)
Warren may also benefit from Durant (knee) missing time, but honestly he has been serviceable enough lately thanks to his efficiency and two-way play recently; look for him in 14-team leagues or more, especially.
Torrey Craig, SF/PF, Suns (17% rostered)
The final look and more of a 14-team league or deeper target as well, Craig has an easy pathway to minutes without Cam Johnson (knee); the normal starting power forward in Johnson may be returning soon, but a low-level 1-1-1 threat in Craig is nice to have for now.