• Week 4 of Working the Wire is here! Welcome back to this weekly article, where I am excited to take a look at more talent lingering on the wire for you to grab either for free or with a claim. Now, nearly a month into the season, I want to shift focus away from the more obvious grabs (50% or more rostered in leagues) to grab some lower-key players who can have upside in certain scenarios. What are these scenarios, you ask? There are injury replacements, matchup-dependent rotations and statistical trends to take a closer look at. As we head towards a more stabilized list of player statistical averages, we shall continue locking down what is real and what can be ignored as fantasy fodder.

    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 to look at after Week 4 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 thing that has changed since the last edition is that any player rostered more than 50% cannot be included on our watch list any longer.

    (Positions and rostered percentages are from Yahoo leagues.)

    Win or Loss?

    Royce O’Neale, SG/SF, Nets (Last week 57% rostered)

    Last week: 11.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.7 blocks, 3.0 3-pointers

    Win. These averages are amazing off of the wire, especially if you punt percentages (33.3% field goals and 66.7% free throws). O’Neale is primed to continue as a low-level must-roster fantasy player and he is no longer on a majority of waiver wires. Even if Irving returns, O’Neale can get it done as a role player no matter which stars are around him.

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG/SF, Nuggets (Last week 54% rostered)

    Last week: 13.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.7 steals, 3.0 3-pointers, 57.7% field goals

    Big win, again. As KCP moves off of the majority of waiver wires, I will certainly miss him appearing on our Working the Wire articles. At this point, if he is not scooped up in your league there is something wrong. He sits around the top-60 in per-game value in 9-cat formats and should not be at risk of losing his starting job on the Nuggets anytime soon.

    Max Strus, SG/SF, Heat (Last week 44% rostered)

    Last week: 19.7 points, 1.3 steals, 4.7 3-pointers, 51.2% field goals

    Big win. These scoring totals and amount of triples will not sustain with such solid shooting numbers, but Strus is a must-roster player at the moment. Ranking in the top-70 of 9-cat per-game value at this point, do not miss out on Strus even if he is dealt in the NBA to a team seeking a true sniper from downtown so the Heat can rebalance their own roster. He is no longer on a majority of waiver wires.

    Precious Achiuwa, C, Raptors (Last week 41% rostered)

    Last week: 6.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.0 blocks

    Loss, with an injury. Achiuwa sustained partial tears in his right ankle, making him out indefinitely. At this point, Chris Boucher (49% rostered) remains a no-brainer grab while Pascal Siakam is out with his groin issue. If Boucher is still not grabbed in your competitive league, you need to make that move if you need any type of big man stats.

    Grant Williams, SF/PF, Celtics (Last week 32% rostered)

    Last week: 9.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.5 blocks, 58.3% field goals

    Small win, but keep at it here. Williams continues to be an unsexy option, due to his numbers not necessarily jumping off the board. However, he has thus far provided top-85 value off of waiver wires all season. As a steady 9-cat asset, there is no reason he should continue sitting on wires, especially until Robert Williams III returns at the very least.

    Tari Eason, SF/PF, Rockets (Last week 23% rostered)

    Last week: 9.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 3.3 steals

    Win, especially if you are hunting steals. I mean how much more can you ask from a defensive specialist than getting over three steals per game for an entire week? Eason shoots terribly from the field, but luckily he does not take too many shots in general. If you are targeting steals, this is a must-hold player at the moment.

    Javonte Green, SG/SF, Bulls (Last week 15% rostered)

    Last week: 7.0 points, 2.7 steals, 53.3% field goals

    Loss. Green’s defensive stat-stuffing capabilities seemingly slowed down last week as he only averaged 0.3 steals and 0.3 blocks. After putting up huge steals numbers previously, his minutes dropped due to the Bulls wings being healthy throughout this week. At this point, he can be dropped for a better defensive specialist (like Eason).

    Patty Mills, PG/SG, Nets (Last week 8% rostered)

    Last week: 2.0 points, 18.8% field goals

    Big loss. This was as ugly as Cam Reddish in the Week 1 article. See below, but Seth Curry got healthy and is currently the real sharpshooting target in this situation.

    Torrey Craig, SF/PF, Suns (Last week 4% rostered)

    Last week: 6.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 0.7 blocks, 1.3 3-pointers

    Loss. Craig simply does not do enough in the big minutes he receives despite being a very solid and physical player on the defensive end. The 31.6% from the field is ugly and the combined 1.7 defensive stats are not worth that headache. Craig is only a hold in the deepest of formats as a defensive and 3-pointer specialist only.

    Jevon Carter, PG/SG, Bucks (Last week 1% rostered)

    Last week: 19.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, 7.7 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.0 blocks, 50.0% field goals

    Biggest win on this list. His averages in three games led him to be an early-round value type of player for the week. He gained a lot from Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday being out for some contests, but it is clear he can be a stud in a perfect scenario if or when the Bucks are missing some stars.

    Post-Week 4 Watches

    Trey Murphy, SF/PF, Pelicans (41% rostered)

    Over the past two weeks, Murphy has averaged 9.3 points with 3.4 rebounds and 1.5 triples. This is decent value at the end of rosters, with upside for bigger games in the Pels have anyone missing the game for an injury. On the season, his 11.9 points and 4.8 boards are enough to consider a stash if his production receives an uptick for any reason at all. Many people dropped him after a strong start, but if you can handle the inconsistencies then there may be value worth holding onto here.

    Seth Curry, PG/SG, Nets (37% rostered)

    After starting the year off injured, it is Curry who has come out to a decent start in his first five appearances. Over the last week specifically, Curry’s 15.3 points on 3.3 3-pointers are his biggest lure to grab off of the waiver wire. If you are targeting some triples, he is absolutely a nice grab at the moment while Kyrie Irving is out. The one thing to really watch for here is the injury management that is taking place for his left ankle. Other than the pesky missed games, the younger Curry brother appears to have a nice pathway to productive minutes when Irving is out.

    Patrick Williams, PF, Bulls (34% rostered)

    Over the last week, he put up averages of 10.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks with 1.3 triples. Williams is not an efficient scorer yet, but these averages are really nice for anyone targeting defense at the end of their roster. The Bulls commonly play without Zach LaVine due to injury maintenance, and Williams is usually the main player who benefits. Also, the defensive potential has always been real here and it was only a matter of time for him to blossom on that side of the ball.

    Tari Eason, SF/PF, Rockets (32% rostered)

    Making another appearance on our list, the answer is simple. Grab Eason if you need steals and hold onto him for as long as possible, thanks to his upside with any larger minutes played total than he is currently receiving. The Rockets coaching staff absolutely adores Eason, so he should gain value over time while this team tries to stabilize with their young, developing talent all over the floor.

    Grant Williams, SF/PF, Celtics (28% rostered)

    Another repeat appearance for Williams is boosted even more by the fact that he has been inserted into the Celtics starting five as of late. He already is a top-100 asset for any manager holding onto him thus far, so you should absolutely grab him as a safe bench player for your fantasy squad. His stats are not pretty, but they certainly get the job done. Sometimes, that is better than a swing for the fences.

    Kevon Looney, C, Warriors (25% rostered)

    This recommendation comes only for those trying to stack rebounds. Over the last seven days, Looney has grabbed 10.7 boards and has shot the ball 53.3% for only 5.7 points each game. At this point, it seems as if James Wiseman has been phased out of the Warriors rotation. Lastly, Looney has swatted away 1.7 shots over the last week as this surge is worth keeping an eye on at the very least in standard formats. Grab if it fits your team’s build.

    Larry Nance Jr., PF/C, Pelicans (22% rostered)

    A bit of a riskier play here, Nance has been solid on the stat sheet when given big minutes. Though a pesky knee issue held him out of a couple games, he has recently been receiving more minutes than starter Jonas Valanciunas in some matchups. There is not much consistency yet to count on, but Nance has the chance to be an upside double-double off of the wire for anyone needing big-man stats with sneaky steals.

    Charles Bassey, PF/C, Spurs (16% rostered)

    Right now, Bassey is a must-look player for someone needing a big man with pop in the box score. Bassey put up 14 boards, four assists and four blocks in his last appearance prior to this article. Head coach Gregg Popovich indicated that Bassey will continue getting extended run with Zach Collins (leg) out for over a month. This is not yet a safe play, but his recent stat sheets require a look from absolutely anyone interested in a new big to hold for a few weeks. The Spurs also play five games this week and he’s not enough of a proven guy to get the courtesy rest game, either, so it’s a huge green light for this week.

    Killian Hayes, PG/SG, Pistons (16% rostered)

    Keep in mind, this stream will be valuable until Cade Cunningham (shin) returns in about a week or so. For now, though, Hayes was able to get up two straight games with at least 11 points, six rebounds and seven assists in each. These counting stats are not common on the wire, and are reminiscent of Dennis Smith Jr.’s surge as an awesome inefficient stat-sheet-stuffer earlier this season. Keep your bias from previous showings aside with Hayes here and give him a look.

    Deni Avdija, SF/PF, Wizards (11% rostered)

    The Israeli wing has begun to heat up with averages of 12.3 points, 4.5 boards, 3.5 dimes, 1.3 steals and 1.5 3-pointers on 43.6% shooting from the field. Avdija has been getting more playing time with Bradley Beal (health and safety) still yet to make a return after missing a few games here. Avdija has never been known for his scoring, but any boost there alongside his usually-sneaky counting stats is obviously a nice addition at the end of rosters. This is more of a deep-league look, but his progress as a serviceable forward is worth monitoring.

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