November 13, 2023, 3:18 pm
Another fantasy week in the books means it’s time for you to evaluate your rosters and make some changes! It’s becoming increasingly difficult to hold onto those slow starters, but luckily for you there are lots of solid alternatives out there who can give your team a boost. As a bonus, many of them are still widely available.
The unquestioned top pickup of the week is Skylar Mays, who has basically had the starting PG spot fall right into his lap. With Anfernee Simons, Scoot Henderson and Malcolm Brogdon all dealing with injuries that will sideline them for a little while longer, Mays is a must-add, must-start fantasy player. He posted crazy numbers as the last man standing during silly season but is getting an early start on that this time around. Mays posted top-50 value in his two games last week, averaging 16.5 points and 11.5 assists per game.
Normally someone like this would go in our “Injury Fill-Ins” section but the other Blazers figure to be out long enough that you make space for Mays and sort the rest out when they start to come back to the lineup.
Another player who might typically be an injury fill-in in the wake of Walker Kessler’s elbow injury, Olynyk is a full-fledged add thanks to his track record of production as a member of the Jazz. He was already playing enough to deliver borderline 12-team value anyway (though some of that is probably a result of Kessler being limited) so Olynyk is definitely worth a pickup now that the center minutes are up for grabs. He slotted just outside the top-100 last week and brings a diverse stat set to the table.
Kelly Oubre will be out long-term after getting hit by a car this weekend, and Nick Nurse has signaled that Nic Batum will take his place in the starting lineup. It’s quite the turn of events for a player who had retirement rumors circulating after he wasn’t with the Sixers for a few games due to personal reasons. Regardless, Batum was terrific in four games last week, averaging 7.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 0.8 steals, 1.0 blocks and 2.0 triples in 25.8 mpg. He also shot .667 from the field and while that won’t last, the other numbers will easily keep him in the picture for 12-team managers, and he has an indefinite runway to work with.
When Wendell Carter Jr. broke his finger we said that Wagner would be the top add even if he stayed in a bench role, and that has played out so far. Last week he averaged 17.5 points per game in only 22.5 mpg, so while you’d like to see him get 30 minutes a night it’s not like he’s letting you down as the rotation is currently constructed. Wagner should be rostered by any manager in need of some frontcourt help.
It’s always been a little weird that late-career Biyombo has had to wait for opportunities. Teams want big, athletic guys who run the floor and put pressure on the rim. Isn’t that what Biyombo has always done? And he can’t get signed until injuries hit? Anyway, he has jumped right into the starting five for the Grizzlies and is an automatic pickup if you need rebounds and blocks. He played over 33 minutes a night last week, which basically guarantees 10-plus boards per game.
Jordan Hawkins has already established himself as a solid pickup in the wake of CJ McCollum’s injury, but that’s old news. We did learn last week that Daniels is the next man up, as he’s been filling in for Herb Jones (fibula). It’s a little funny that it took the wing stopper getting hurt to plug in the backup point guard, but whatever. Daniels averaged 31 minutes across his four games last week and put up usable numbers in points, rebounds, assists, steals, 3-pointers and both percentages. He’s had a tough time getting opportunities on a deep Pelicans roster but he’s making the most of it right now.
Lonnie Walker IV
Walker had been playing well as a secondary scorer off the bench, but fantasy managers have been rightfully concerned about his shaky playing time. That’s still somewhat of an issue (only 21.1 mpg last week) but Ben Simmons and Cam Thomas are now dealing with injuries, which means that Walker gets the green light if you need points. He’s shooting very well right now and while that won’t last, the usage should be there for him to keep putting up points until the Nets get back to full strength.
Tyler Herro and Kyle Lowry are battling injuries and Robinson has been the guy to step up in their absence so far. Already a clear-cut 3-point specialist, Robinson exploded for 26 points on the weekend and has looked rejuvenated since last season’s run to the Finals. He might drop a clunker every now and then but Robinson is a solid option if you need some extra scoring pop with elite 3-point potential.
Maledon wasn’t great last week but Terry Rozier is sidelined by a groin strain and there isn’t much news on when he might be back. Last season, Maledon really took off when Rozier and LaMelo Ball were both out, and he should be able to be a serviceable guard specialist even if he’s operating alongside or behind Ball.
Jalen Duren can’t seem to shake ankle troubles, and while they may not knock him out for extended periods of time, it does give Bagley a path to semi-regular starts. So far he’s hitting his shots at a great clip — from both the field and the line — with decent scoring and moderate output in rebounds. A run of multiple starts would really get him going but Bagley should be on your radar whenever Duren is ailing.
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