• Hello friends and welcome to the 17th edition of this season’s Working the Wire with us here at SportsEthos! The NBA trade deadline was quite a whirlwind as All-Stars, role players and plenty of second-round picks were exchanged across the league. As Week 18 begins on this fine Monday, some leagues have playoffs starting up while many leagues are one or two weeks away still. In any case, there are a ton of gems hidden on many waiver wires still — be sure to capitalize while you still can. The regular season is already 70% complete, so put your general manager cap on and hop onto your waiver wires if you need a boost in any category whatsoever. The biggest disclaimer this week is that most leagues are running a matchup period with two weeks included due to the All-Star break; keep this in mind and do not spend all of your acquisitions too early.

    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 17 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?

    Deni Avdija, SF/PF, Wizards (49% rostered last week)

    Last week:16.0 PTS, 7.7 REB, 2.0 AST, 0.7 STL, 0.3 BLK, 1.7 3PM, .581 FG, .875 FT, 2.0 TO

    Big win. Avdija is not available in a majority of leagues anymore, so I hope you took advantage of his earlier availability. His rebounding and defensive contributions are rounding out while he also is getting it done on the offensive end. The third-year wing is finally putting it together for a Wizards team that has won seven of their last ten games.

    Royce O’Neale, SG/SF, Nets (48% rostered last week)

    Last week: 6.8 PTS, 3.0 REB, 4.0 AST, 0.8 STL, 0.3 BLK, 2.3 3PM, .310 FG, 0 FT, 1.0 TO

    Unfortunate loss due to the blockbuster Nets deals over the past couple weeks. Still a hold in 14-team leagues or deeper, the appeal is not really there in standard formats as a bench player with many other wings. The arrival of Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson and Dorian Finney-Smith directly saps the value out of O’Neale for the sneaky stats he has had this year.

    Tari Eason, SF/PF, Rockets (46% rostered last week)

    Last week: 7.3 PTS, 4.0 REB, 0.7 AST, 0.3 STL, 0.7 BLK, 0.3 3PM, .529 FG, .600 FT, 1.0 TO

    Push, since he is stabilizing back into a stabilized role as Jabari Smith is back in the lineup. While he may be hard to argue as a must-roster player in 12-team leagues, his season-long steals appeal and sneaky rebounds are enough to be held onto as long as he can get around 18 minutes per game. I am not saying hold on for dear life, but try to exercise patience.

    Donte DiVincenzo, PG/SG, Warriors (42% rostered last week)

    Last week: 12.3 PTS, 2.0 REB, 4.0 AST, 1.3 STL, 0.3 BLK, 3.3 3PM, .433 FG, 1.00 FT, 1.7 TO

    Big win. DiVincenzo has been performing to his potential as a 3-point scorer who can also grab steals while serving as a secondary playmaker. The former Villanova guard simply knows how to play the right way. Moreover, the recent four-team trade was perceived to potentially hurt DiVincenzo, but I do not think it is true since Gary Payton II is not healthy.

    Isaiah Hartenstein, C, Knicks (39% rostered last week)

    Last week: 4.7 PTS, 7.7 REB, 0.7 AST, 0 STL, 1.7 BLK, 0 3PM, .778 FG, 0 FT, 0.7 TO

    Solid win, especially if you already punt points. The 1.7 blocks per game are really nice next to a serviceable 7.7 boards per game. The field-goal shooting has been consistent even in a bench role, so the only hope here would be for some steals coming Hartenstein’s way. While he may not be a must-add player for all teams, there are many who can utilize his skill set.

    Drew Eubanks, PF/C, Blazers (23% rostered last week)

    Last week: 9.7 PTS, 6.0 REB, 2.7 AST, 0.3 STL, 0.3 BLK, 0 3PM, .706 FG, .833 FT, 1.3 TO

    Win, for who Eubanks is. A common theme on this list is that some guys really have their specialist strengths and it is clear what their value stems from. For Eubanks, the rebounds and solid field-goal shooting remained while the blocks probably could have come up. The health was a concern last week but we will see if he can turn into the silly season hero he once was.

    Jonathan Isaac, SF/PF, Magic (23% rostered last week)

    Last week: 2.7 PTS, 4.0 REB, 0.7 AST, 1.3 STL, 0.7 BLK, 0 3PM, .182 FG, .667 FT, 0.3 TO

    Small win, but I see hope here. Though the field-goal percentage was horrible, the defense with some rebounds in limited minutes make me believe that a breakthrough is imminent for Isaac once he clears even 18 minutes each game. If you are struggling in the standings, we addressed that before; however, he may be a playoff hold with defensive categories.

    Xavier Tillman, PF/C, Grizzlies (15% rostered last week)

    Last week: 7.0 PTS, 3.3 REB, 1.7 AST, 1.0 STL, 0.3 BLK, 0 3PM, .769 FG, .200 FT, 1.0 TO

    Loss, but he is still exactly who he is going to be. I am not arguing that last week was rough for standard 12-team leagues, but the hold here would be for deeper formats as Tillman is a promise at this point to grab a few boards while shooting a very high percentage. The steals are a bonus from a big man and Steven Adams (right knee) is still out for a bit.

    Delon Wright, PG/SG, Wizards (14% rostered last week)

    Last week: 3.7 PTS, 3.0 REB, 6.0 AST, 1.0 STL, 0 BLK, 0.3 3PM, .214 FG, 1.00 FT, 1.0 TO

    Loss unless you only needed assists and steals, as the field-goal percentage was awful. At this point, we all know Wright’s fantasy profile as a clear specialist in two main categories. If the Wizards had made more moves to clear up their backcourt, then perhaps there would be more of a safe play here but I understand dropping if you cannot wait for the shooting to stabilize.

    Josh Green, SG/SF, Mavs (7% rostered last week)

    Last week: 20.8 PTS, 5.0 REB, 2.8 AST, 0.8 STL, 0.3 BLK, 2.8 3PM, .625 FG, .857 FT, 1.5 TO

    My goodness, what a slam dunk win. Green has shown that he likely should be the starting small forward next to Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic, but hopefully he is still available in your leagues. The shooting will not remain quite this good, but the young man may be in for a nice surge now that he has 37-plus minutes per game to show what he has got.

    Post-Week 17 Targets

    Zach Collins, PF/C, Spurs (50% rostered)

    Cheating a bit here with him being halfway rostered in Yahoo leagues, but Collins is fully entrenched in the starting role out in San Antonio with a chance to build on his top-100 play over the last two weeks for a potential top-80 outlook ROS.

    Donte DiVincenzo, PG/SG, Warriors (46% rostered)

    A final call before he gets onto a majority of teams, DiVincenzo should truly be rostered in standard formats with confidence now that Gary Payton II (abdomen) is out at least one month alone; the 3-and-D guard should have plenty of time to shine moving forward.

    James Wiseman, C, Pistons (41% rostered)

    Shockingly, the Pistons are planning on starting Wiseman in their future plans (much to the chagrin of those who roster Jalen Duren); this suggestion of a grab off the wire is more of a speculative one that assumes roughly 28 minutes per game will go to the former 2020 No. 2 pick.

    Josh Green, SG/SF, Mavs (38% rostered)

    Absolutely balling out of his mind since the Kyrie Irving trade, Green seemingly has a runway to be the third or fourth best fantasy producer on the Mavs after their two superstars; Green plays extremely hard and should be given an add off your wire if he is there.

    Isaiah Hartenstein, C, Knicks (28% rostered)

    Another steady presence in the punt-points world, Hartenstein has been flashing his upside as a low-volume big man who shoots efficiently while grabbing boards for a while now; the Knicks just need to give him a chance to be more of a playmaker like his natural flow allows.

    Talen Horton-Tucker, SG/SF, Jazz (22% rostered)

    Playing in over 24 minutes each game in the last three contests, Horton-Tucker has put up 15.7 points with 7.0 assists and 1.3 blocks in that time span; whether he holds down this reserve role or a starting nod eventually, young THT may have time to blossom without Malik Beasley around.

    Sam Hauser, SF/PF, Celtics (16% rostered)

    While the Celtics struggle with injury, Hauser has begun to knock down many triples at an alarmingly good rate; while we have seen this story before, regarding a red-hot shooter who gets run as an injury replacement play, there is no reason to ignore his strengths right now.

    Jonathan Isaac, SF/PF, Magic (16% rostered)

    Still more of a punt-points hold for teams sitting better off in the standings, Isaac has begun to show his defensive acumen in more ways than one; the steals and blocks should be over 1.0 each in 20-plus minutes of play, but whether or not he gets there is the question.

    Xavier Tillman, PF/C, Grizzlies (11% rostered)

    More of a 14-team lock to be streamed for field-goal percentage or rebounds with sneaky steals, Tillman has been holding down big minutes for the Grizzlies without Steven Adams; it is hard to argue him as a must-roster player for all formats but there are big man builds to use him.

    Isaiah Livers, SG/SF, Pistons (4% rostered)

    This is another speculative add from the Pistons camp, but Livers has seemingly gained some minutes due to the Saddiq Bey trade; one double-double and one stinker makes it hard to gauge his ROS outlook — but the 27 and 40 minute counts are always a good thing off the wire.

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