• It is officially All-Star season for the NBA and the fantasy season is approaching playoffs for many around that time. We will be plowing along here at SportsEthos until the wheels fall off for your fantasy season and I hope we have been providing some useful information for those quick waiver wire hitters to bolster your lineup. Last week we had some serious success with Delon Wright and T.J. McConnell, with some more guards joining the party this week. At this point, you know what the story is with how you should tackle the wire. If you have a safe playoff spot, start gearing up to take down your projected opponents in at least five (or whatever majority) categories. If you are climbing or clawing still, really try to focus in on a few categories to boost for victories heading into the playoffs. In either case, there are plenty of players to grab off of the wire as “league winners” down the road for you.

    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 14 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?

    Naji Marshall, SG/SF, Pelicans (48% rostered last week)

    Last week: 13.0 PTS, 4.0 REB, 3.5 AST, 0 STL, 0 BLK, 0.5 3PM, .440 FG, 1.00 FT, 1.5 TO (two games)

    Small win, but an unfortunate injury took place. He is looking like a more well-rounded offensive player than most would expect, especially considering he is usually better for defensive stats. If Zion Williamson (hamstring) remains out longer than projected, Marshall is still a target.

    T.J. McConnell, PG, Pacers (46% rostered last week)

    Last week: 16.3 PTS, 4.5 REB, 8.3 AST, 1.5 STL, 0 BLK, 1.3 3PM, .659 FG, 1.00 FT, 2.5 TO (four games)

    Slam dunk victory. McConnell was a top-50 player last week and is now rostered in more than half of all Yahoo leagues. If you were lucky enough to grab, you can count on his surge continuing until Tyrese Haliburton (elbow/knee) returns as soon as after this upcoming week.

    Tyus Jones, PG, Grizzlies (44% rostered last week)

    Last week: 10.8 PTS, 2.3 REB, 4.0 AST, 0.5 STL, 0 BLK, 2.3 3PM, .405 FG, 1.00 FT, 0.5 TO (four games)

    Win. Jones continues to dish a solid amount of assists while taking care of the ball and shooting an incredible 100% from the line over the last two weeks. The triples of late have been somewhat of a nice surprise, since he only knocked down 1.1 3-pointers per game last season.

    Quentin Grimes, SG/SF, Knicks (36% rostered last week)

    Last week: 10.5 PTS, 4.0 REB, 2.3 AST, 0.5 STL, 0.3 BLK, 2.3 3PM, .467 FG, .833 FT, 0.8 TO (four games)

    Small win, but mainly for his perimeter game only. The 2.3 triples per game are nice, with some solid rebounding from the guard position. His steals went down a tad bit, but he is at 0.8 steals per game and rising so look for his 3-and-D influence to grow ROS.

    Daniel Gafford, C, Wizards (32% rostered last week)

    Last week: 11.3 PTS, 5.0 REB, 0.7 AST, 0.7 STL, 0.7 BLK, 0 3PM, .750 FG, 1.00 FT, 1.3 TO (three games)

    Win, as Gafford is still starting and receiving a good amount of minutes. He is a steady source of defensive stats and solid field-goal shooting. Kristaps Porzingis (ankle) may need some time off to nurse this sprain, so Gafford would have even more opportunity to shine then.

    T.J. Warren, SF/PF, Nets (31% rostered last week)

    Last week: 7.8 PTS, 2.8 REB, 0.8 AST, 0.5 STL, 0.3 BLK, 0.3 3PM, .429 FG, .750 FT, 0.5 TO (four games)

    Loss. Warren has slowed down in a big way as a bench scorer as Kevin Durant (knee) still remains out for the time being. Instead, Royce O’Neale and many other (often random) replacements fill in on a nightly basis to try in keeping this team afloat. Warren can be dropped.

    Jonathan Isaac, SF/PF, Magic (27% rostered last week)

    Last week: 15.7 PTS, 6.7 REB, 2.0 AST, 0 STL, 2.0 BLK, 0.3 3PM, .410 FG, .727 FT, 1.3 TO (three games, G League)

    Win. Isaac was looking more and more like his old self while playing a week in the G League, swatting plenty of shots while getting plenty of reps with his jump shot. In 2019-20, He averaged 1.6 steals and 2.3 blocks per game on his way to a No. 17 per-game ranking. Grab him.

    Terence Mann, SG/SF, Clippers (18% rostered last week)

    Last week: 7.8 PTS, 2.8 REB, 3.0 AST, 0 STL, 0.3 BLK, 0.8 3PM, .464 FG, .500 FT, 1.3 TO (four games)

    Loss. Paul George returned and Mann has become far less of an effective starting point guard alongside the superstars in Los Angeles. Despite remaining in the opening lineup for the Clippers lately, Mann has shown us that he is far from a must-roster player now.

    Torrey Craig, SF/PF, Suns (17% rostered last week)

    Last week: 6.5 PTS, 3.8 REB, 1.0 AST, 0.8 STL, 0.5 BLK, 1.0 3PM, .435 FG, 1.00 FT, 1.0 TO (four games)

    Small loss, even in deeper formats. Despite being more of a 14-team league player to grab, Craig only mustered up 1.3 combined defensive stats alongside 1.0 triples. With Cameron Johnson and Chris Paul fully in the swing after injuries, Craig is more of a drop now.

    Delon Wright, PG/SG, Wizards (8% rostered last week)

    Last week: 11.7 PTS, 3.0 REB, 6.3 AST, 2.3 STL, 0.7 BLK, 1.7 3PM, .611 FG, 1.00 FT, 0.7 TO (three games)

    Slam dunk win. Wright was a top-25 asset last week after he put up 11.7 points per game with 6.3 assists and 2.3 steals. While the scoring or passing may not remain constant, steals are pretty much exactly/only what Wright is good for on a game-to-game basis as a guarantee so far.

    Post-Week 14 Targets

    Caris LeVert, SG/SF, Cavs (50% rostered)

    Dropped to only half-rostered across all leagues, LeVert was able to put up per-game averages of 16.5 points with 4.3 assists last week as a solid option heading into Week 15 — due to a schedule that has the Cavs playing on Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

    Alex Caruso, PG/SG, Bulls (46% rostered)

    A one-game week saw Caruso nab four steals and swat three shots in Paris while also dishing out four assists; while games like this will not be the norm for him, Caruso has the chance to remain a defensive specialist to help your fantasy team even off the bench.

    Tyus Jones, PG, Grizzlies (41% rostered)

    Jones continues to remain an absolutely elite assist-to-turnover specialist guard to hold onto at the end of your fantasy bench despite his real-life bench role, since he is also one of the best handcuffs in the NBA if Ja Morant or Desmond Bane have to miss time for any reason.

    Jonathan Isaac, SF/PF, Magic (35% rostered)

    Isaac looked a lot like his old self in the G League appearances he had, swatting plenty of shots; however, caution must be exercised with stashing him because the Magic are going to handle him with ultra-sized “kiddie” gloves — only hold here if you are solid in standings.

    Patrick Williams, PF, Bulls (33% rostered)

    His performance in Paris would have had him ranked in the top-30 last week if he could extrapolate it to three or four games; in reality, Williams has the potential to be a fringe top-100 play anytime he hits the floor due to his defensive upside as a Swiss army knife for the Bulls.

    Dennis Smith Jr., PG, Hornets (27% rostered)

    LaMelo Ball (ankle/wrist) is questionable to play on Monday and if he cannot go it is Smith Jr. who gains quite a bit of usage most based on past evidence this season; though inefficient, he can really rack up assists and steals in a hurry sometimes.

    Daniel Gafford, C, Wizards (26% rostered)

    If Porzingis is out with the ankle sprain mentioned before, Gafford will be the pivot man with great defensive upside and a solid streaming option across the board; his free-throw shooting from last week might be unsustainable, but might as well take it while you can.

    Jeremy Sochan, PF, Spurs (21% rostered)

    In two games last week, he was a solid streamer in 9-cat due to the nice field-goal shooting to accompany 16.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game; Sochan’s inconsistencies are frustrating, but on this tanking team he has can rise in the rankings ROS.

    Delon Wright, PG/SG, Wizards (16% rostered)

    Wright was way too good last week not to give him another shot as a specialist who can pop off to do far more than just pluck some steals; the field-goal and free-throw shooting splits may not be this good all the time, but he is serviceable for most teams quite easily right now.

    Larry Nance Jr., PF/C, Pelicans (16% rostered)

    Nance returned to form a bit last week in four games as a top-100 option (far higher if you punt points), thanks to his 1.8 steals per game and amazing field-goal efficiency; as the Pelicans fight off many injuries, LNJ is worth a look as a specialist.

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