• Welcome back to Working the Wire, friends! I hope your teams are starting off the season in a strong manner, and I also hope the injury bug has not bit you too badly already. If you are down on your roster a bit, I am here to help you find some immediate replacements to get you back into the wins column as soon as possible. While we do not recommend a complete blow-up of your roster this early into the season, switching out a dud of a draft pick for someone with a rising role moving forward can really swing you in the proper direction early on.

    Some of the more surprising developments since the first few opening slates of games, in terms of the waiver wire, were the different lineups that came out of the gate to start the 2022-23 season. Kawhi Leonard came off the bench for the Clips, Santi Aldama had full hold of the starting four spot in Memphis and many veteran Jazz players are outplaying expectations in big rotational minutes despite their alleged tank. We are still far too early in the season to call anything concrete with projections or predictions; however, the beauty of fantasy hoops lies in how we will continue to get answers about our speculation through the numbers over time.

    In this edition of Working the Wire, I will revisit the Week 1 takes to see if there was a win or a loss for each player, while also introducing a few new names to look at after Week 2 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.

    (Rostered statistics are from Yahoo leagues.)

    Win or Loss?

    Santi Aldama, PF/C, Grizzlies (61% rostered)

    Last Week:10.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks, 0.7 3-pointers, 54.5% field goals

    Win. Not only is the status as a 1-1-1 contributor already looming, Aldama has not quite found his consistency on the glass yet. Grab him for the end of your roster right now if he is still lingering on the waiver wire at this point.

    Jalen Duren, PF/C, Pistons (33% rostered)

    Last Week: 7.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.0 blocks, 57.1% field goals

    Small win, but the per minute production is still promising from young Duren. The Pistons are not playing competitive basketball by any means, but an ankle injury did get him off the court on Sunday during a win. This does not bode well for his status as a streamer this week.

    Cam Reddish, SF/PF, Knicks (10% rostered)

    Last Week: 4.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, 0.7 3-pointers

    Loss, this one is ugly and we should move on (as we should from pretty much all Knicks wings). Hopefully you did not spend a final acquisition on Reddish.

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG/SF, Nuggets (47% rostered)

    Last Week: 9.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 2.0 3-pointers

    Win, as a true 3-and-D player it is KCP who has found some consistency despite struggling with some questionable statuses. More below, but Caldwell-Pope is a nice addition to the end of any roster needing some decent all-around stats.

    Trey Murphy III, SF/PF, Pelicans (63% rostered)

    Last Week: 17.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 3.3 3-pointers, 64.3% field goals

    Big win as Murphy lit up opposing defenses with precision that likely cannot hold for an extended period of time. As long as Brandon Ingram is out, Murphy is a must-add in all formats.

    Dennis Smith Jr., PG, Charlotte Hornets (59% rostered)

    Last Week: 12.3 points, 7.3 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 0.8 3-pointers

    Big win. In terms of inefficient guard play, DSJ is a prime target at the moment while the Hornets deal with some guard injuries. More below, but he is a must-grab asset if you do not care for field-goal percentage.

    Terrence Ross, SG/SF, Orlando Magic (31% rostered)

    Last Week: 6.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 1.3 3-pointers

    Loss, as the Magic are moving towards giving their supersized players the opportunity to have the ball in their hands more than the veteran Ross. At this point, he can be dropped in standard formats.

    Malik Beasley, SG/SF, Jazz (20% rostered)

    Last Week: 9.4 points, 1.6 steals, 1.6 3-pointers, 83.3% free throws

    Small win, but his main production comes with steals and 3-pointers. If you are not in need of these stats, you can drop him; otherwise, ride his strengths to boost your fantasy bench unit.

    Nick Richards, C, Hornets (39% rostered)

    Last Week: 12.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, 73.1% field goals, 80.0% free throws

    Small win, but Mason Plumlee remains the starter and the better option for a more all-around skillset. However, Richards still should be scooped up if you need boards and field-goal percentage as a strength in a bench option.

    Week 2 Watches

    Bol Bol, PF/C, Magic (62% rostered)

    One thing is very clear: if Bol is getting starter’s minutes, he will produce eye-popping numbers that average players cannot normally provide. He received more than 20 minutes in his last couple of games games and put up 13.0 points, 7.3 boards, 2.3 swats and 69.6% from the field. If he is not on a roster right now, you should change that before his role on the Magic also changes for reasons unknown to all of us watching.

    Dennis Smith Jr., PG, Charlotte Hornets (59% rostered)

    Until Charlotte regains LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier in their backcourt, DSJ is a sneaky value guard to be held onto. He continues to have the keys to push the pace and get everyone on the team involved, thanks to his ability to get into the lane as a physical undersized guard. Smith Jr. has had flashes over the past few seasons that managers have been able to take advantage of when he is hot; this is certainly one of those times.

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG/SF, Nuggets (47% rostered)

    I continue to ride the KCP sleeper train and it has paid off nicely thus far. The wing out of Georgia has solidified himself as a solid player that can truly assist any championship-contending team in many ways. He does not need plays to be run for him, but the sneaky assists and 3-pointers can help any team needing some lightweight (yet consistent) numbers in those fields.

    Royce O’Neale, SG/SF, Nets (46% rostered)

    Similar to KCP, O’Neale gets it done across the board as a near 1-1-1 threat in any game. Besides field-goal percentage, there is value to be had as he put up 10.3 points, 2.8 boards, 2.8 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.5 blocks and 2.8 triples last week in four games. Grab O’Neale for a low-risk streamer at the end of your roster.

    Andre Drummond, C, Bulls (44% rostered)

    Drummond somehow always finds his way into “sleeper” territory for just about anyone who wants a rebounding specialist who cannot shoot free throws. It is a simple answer here, grab Drummond if you can deal with his inconsistent minutes but want to take advantage of his gifted eye on the boards.

    Jalen McDaniels, SF/PF, Hornets (37% rostered)

    A must-roster player right now, McDaniels has been playing some bigger minutes while raising his points and rebounds numbers in the meantime. He is usually good for a triple and some defensive contributions as well. Thus, his 1-1-1 potential is enough to earn him a nice status as a streamer in standard formats.

    Will Barton, SG/SF, Wizards (33% rostered)

    Whenever Bradley Beal has to sit out, Barton is the guy to grab, thanks to his shooting and his all-around offensive contributions. The ceiling is a bit lower here, but Barton is a veteran who knows how to get it done whenever he plays starter’s minutes. Off of the bench, he still has a nice floor for 14- or 16-team formats with top-150 production coming quite easily when he’s playing well.

    Josh Richardson, SG/SF, Spurs (24% rostered)

    As Josh Primo leaves the Spurs, Richardson may have some added value due to his playmaking ability that has remained underrated since his time as a Miami Heat member a few years ago. The vet can handle the ball as a primary offensive set starter or get busy in the passing lanes on the defensive end. Overall, Richardson is worth the flier with tame expectations simply due to the opened up opportunity left by Primo.

    Caleb Martin, SF/PF, Heat (22% rostered)

    After earning the starting power forward spot this season, Martin has been mainly a steals specialist with benefits. With 2.3 pilfers per game in the last week, Martin also was able to put up 11.0 points with 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists. At this point, the floor is high for a fantasy bench option, but he will surely have increased value into starter territory whenever Jimmy Butler has to miss time in the future.

    Javonte Green, SG/SF, Bulls (3% rostered)

    This shoutout is mainly due to Green being a junkyard dog for me in a couple leagues last season, but also because he has emerged as one of the league leaders in deflected passes already. Though this stat is not tracked formally, it’s leading to nice stats in an actual fantasy category; his 1.6 steals are likely to remain this high for anyone looking for a cheap specialist on the wire. The boards are there for Green as well, while he also serves as an upside play whenever a Bulls wing player must sit out due to injury.

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