November 20, 2022, 5:01 pm
Welcome back to Working the Wire and I hope you will have an awesome Thanksgiving coming up soon! Five weeks of NBA action have come and gone, with nearly each day this week having some huge long-term news in terms of injuries around the league. Furthermore, some teams in the NBA have been getting ravaged by injuries to the point of barely having enough players on game day for a legal roster. With these shifts come streaming options that may pack just as much punch as some of your regular starters in shorter, opportunistic bursts. We had some success in a big way with a few targets last week, and I personally got a much-needed boost from a couple of these players in multiple leagues (shoutout to Larry Nance Jr.). If one of your top picks goes down for multiple weeks, as many of them are unfortunately doing at the moment, you need to adapt and overcome with streamers who can play like they are well worth those precious acquisitions each week.
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 5 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?
Trey Murphy, SF/PF, Pelicans (Last week 41% rostered)
Last week: 10.7 PTS, 4.3 REB, 1.0 AST, 1.3 STL, 0.7 BLK, 2.7 3PM, 57.1% FG, 0 FT, 0.3 TO
Win, but there is an injury to consider now. A stinker of a game with zero points in 12 minutes was a result of an injury, but the first two games were awesome for Murphy this week. He is becoming a must-grab player when Brandon Ingram or Zion Williamson have to miss time with injuries. If history has proven anything thus far, those guys will certainly be missing more games than they already have so far (just be wary of Murphy’s own right foot contusion).
Seth Curry, PG/SG, Nets (Last week 37% rostered)
Last week: 4.5 PTS, 2.0 REB, 1.5 AST, 0.5 STL, 0.5 BLK, 0.5 3PM, 27.3% FG, 100% FT, 2.0 TO
Loss, but the sample from last week is still too nice to forget moving forward. After putting up a week of awesome numbers, he crashed back down to Earth despite playing big minutes. He is still worth targeting in deeper formats, especially as a 3-pointers specialist with the chance to go off next to some superstars. However, his time as a must-grab in standard 12-team formats are likely gone as Kyrie Irving is set to return from suspension on Sunday.
Patrick Williams, PF, Bulls (Last week 34% rostered)
Last week: 10.7 PTS, 5.0 REB, 1.0 AST, 0.7 STL, 0.7 BLK, 1.7 3PM, 61.1% FG, 100% FT, 1.3 TO
Win. Williams does not quite have the offensive confidence that was expected out of the gates in season three, but he continues to be a solid defensive forward who can be an efficient scorer while he picks his spots for now. As Zach LaVine slowed down in a big way on Thursday vs. the Magic, it was Williams who had some clutch points and stops in an unfortunate loss. He is still worth holding for now unless a streamer with absolute higher-value return is available.
Tari Eason, SF/PF, Rockets (Last week 32% rostered)
Last week: 7.0 PTS, 5.3 REB, 0 AST, 0.7 STL, 0.3 BLK, 0.3 3PM, 38.1% FG, 100% FT, 1.3 TO
Small loss, but hang on if you can afford these rookie ups-and-downs or need steals in a bad way. Eason still is getting around 18 minutes per game, but his steals average on the season is at 1.4 per game. He will not blow you away with much else, but the upside if he were to receive 24 or more minutes each contest would be immense. Eason can do it all, he’s just missing a consistent platform to show it.
Grant Williams, SF/PF, Celtics (Last week 28% rostered)
Last week: 12.3 PTS, 4.3 REB, 0.7 AST, 0.7 STL, 0 BLK, 2.3 3PM, 50.0% FG, 100% FT,
Win. As a top-90 asset on the season, it is still extremely surprising to see Williams on so many waiver wires still. We are big fans of Williams here at SportsEthos and his steady production as a now-starter for the Celtics is something to keep track of. The blocks were not present this week, but he still was able to make an impact with some efficient shooting (especially out of the corner pocket). The Celtics are rolling and he should continue to see big minutes.
Kevon Looney, C, Warriors (Last week 25% rostered)
Last week: 6.3 PTS, 7.5 REB, 2.8 AST, 0.5 STL 0.8 BLK, 0 3PM, 61.1% FG, 75.0% FT, 0.8 TO
Win. Looney sits outside of the top-120 in 9-cat, but if you punt 3-pointers he is easily in the top-90. A solid rebounder and decent passer for the Warriors, Looney can be a nice grab for specific target builds in 12-team formats at the moment. He has no other real pop besides the field-goal percentage and rebounding categories, but you truly can do a lot worse at the end of your roster when looking for cheap big man stats.
Larry Nance Jr., PF/C, Pelicans (Last week 22% rostered)
Last week: 14.3 PTS, 7.0 REB, 2.0 AST, 1.0 STL, 1.7 BLK, 0.3 3PM, 73.9% FG, 100% FT, 1.0 TO
Big win. The field-goal percentages and defensive stats were amazing as he continues to get big minutes over Jonas Valanciunas. A floor-raiser for the Pels, Nance has the ability to do a lot more than the average big man on defense thanks to his speed and athleticism. He also does not let the ball stick in his hands too long, nor does he cost you much efficiency at the line. You should not miss out on this for another week.
Charles Bassey, PF/C, Spurs (Last week 16% rostered)
Last week: 5.5 PTS, 5.8 REB, 1.5 AST, 0.3 STL, 0.8 BLK, 0 3PM, 58.8% FG, 50.0% FT, 3.3 TO
Loss. Bassey was a popular fantasy free agent addition due to his breakout game on November 11 with 14 boards and four blocks. However, he has not lived up to that hype at all in minutes ranging from 11 to 24 over a rocky week. He is fine for the deepest of formats, but 12-team managers can let go and not look back for now. If he could start putting together more consistent big man stats while holding onto the ball more (those 3.3 turnovers in low volume are atrocious), he can then be brought back to the standard league conversation.
Killian Hayes, PG/SG, Pistons (Last week 16% rostered)
Last week: 9.7 PTS, 2.7 REB, 4.0 AST, 2.3 STL, 1.3 BLK, 1.3 3PM, 39.3% FG, 75.0% FT, 0.7 TO
Big win. As Cade Cunningham is feared to have a stress fracture in his shin, it is Hayes who receives a direct injection of usage and minutes. In a loss against the Lakers, he put up 18 points and nine assists while hitting four triples. These games cannot always be expected of the young Hayes, but these flashes are attractive because he still has the capability to be a solid lead guard for the Pistons. The team does not plan on winning games any time soon, so Hayes may be in for a huge workload ROS if Cunningham is shut down for surgery.
Deni Avdija, SF/PF, Wizards (Last week 11% rostered)
Last week: 12.0 PTS, 3.3 REB, 3.3 AST, 0.3 STL, 0.7 BLK, 2.3 3PM, 46.4% FG, 60.0% FT, 2.7 TO
Small win. If Avdija continues to hit shots at a nice rate, he can remain an add in most standard formats. For now, managers may need more weeks of this type of consistency (especially with Bradley Beal fully back in the rotation) but if you need him in deeper formats this play still makes sense.
Post-Week 5 Targets
Tyus Jones, PG, Grizzlies (49% rostered)
Barely qualifying for our article requirements at 49% rostered, Jones comes in as an extremely attractive streamer while Ja Morant (ankle) is sidelined for a few weeks. Typically, when Jones fills in for Morant as a starter, he is able to produce big assists numbers while keeping the turnovers down with the efficiency high. The Grizzlies are without their star backcourt at this point, so Jones may be in line for a heavy workload alongside Jaren Jackson Jr. as the leaders of this squad offensively. Expect some large assists totals from the older Jones brother in the coming weeks.
Larry Nance Jr., PF/C, Pelicans (42% rostered)
Nearly out of the sub-50% rostered category of players on waiver wires, Nance is likely not going to be on this list for much longer. A top-70 talent thus far, he has come out of the gates in a huge way while helping the Pelicans win some games in the process. He is not a factor from downtown, but besides that he has potential to influence all of the other eight categories in some way. Make sure he does not make it to our target list after Week 6.
Killian Hayes, PG/SG, Pistons (41% rostered)
Another player unlikely to linger on wires much longer, Hayes has been improving on his slow start with the opportunity allotted by Cade Cunningham’s shin injury that may require him to have surgery. If Cunningham has surgery, Hayes becomes a must-roster play for any manager who has built an efficiency-punted team. The expectations do need to be managed with Hayes, but there is still the chance he can continue building on what he has flashed for the fantasy world to see so far.
Grant Williams, SF/PF, Celtics (32% rostered)
I will not count how many times this man appears in our article week after week, but it is getting to be too many. It is understandable that managers may want more pop in the box score, but there is nothing wrong with a guy who consistently gets a little bit done across the board each game. Plus, if you are holding on Al Horford there is a direct handcuff here as injury insurance with Williams. Grab him if your current last roster spot is occupied by someone who generally cannot be trusted to perform semi-decently.
Shake Milton, PG/SG, Sixers (30% rostered)
As Tyrese Maxey will miss 3-to-4 weeks with a small fracture in his left foot, Milton and De’Anthony Melton have the most to gain in the backcourt for the Sixers. Both starting guards are no longer available at the moment, with James Harden (foot) still a couple weeks away. Milton has served as a nice injury-replacement streamer in the past, so he will likely continue to be a solid source of 3-pointers, points and assists in the coming few weeks behind Melton (who should already be held onto tightly within your league).
Patrick Williams, PF, Bulls (29% rostered)
Similar to Grant Williams, Patrick Williams is not the sexiest option in terms of fantasy stat set. The forward out of Florida State has disappointed managers that had expectations of him being a top-100 lock due to an improvement with his offense. For now, we should appreciate that he has always had the chops to be a nice defender as the Bulls do need someone like him on the floor most of the time. The minutes are secure and the upside is still there for more scoring if his shot can fall consistently.
Tari Eason, SF/PF, Rockets (26% rostered)
I can understand if you let go after this week, but just know that there is always a chance for Eason to flash his upside at any given time. Whether it is an injury to another Rockets forward, or a set of games that see him nab three-plus steals — Eason is a future 9-cat stud who is simply going through the rookie ups-and-downs while this team tries to build its identity under Stephen Silas. If you are targeting steals and need some at the end of your roster, there is no reason to give up Eason just yet due to the immense amount of defensive potential the rookie out of LSU has.
Kevon Looney, C, Warriors (25% rostered)
Looney only plays 23.8 minutes per game for the Warriors, but his 7.0 rebounds on the season are nice as a streamer for deeper formats in general. Over the last week or two, the blocks and the incredible field-goal percentage have caused many 12-team managers to give him a look as a flier. Guys like Steven Adams and Mason Plumlee can run hot or cold depending on matchups or who is running the point for them. Looney fills that same mold of being a rebounding specialist alongside some of the best shooters in the NBA. Grab him if your wire is dry of other rebounding specialists.
Thaddeus Young, PF/C, Raptors (13% rostered)
With an 18-point, nine-rebound, four-assist and four-steal ballgame until his belt on 9-of-12 shooting, there is reason to give Young a look if he continues as the starting center for the Raptors. Pascal Siakam (groin) is still about one week away from being re-evaluated prior to being inserted back into the Raps rotation. Young is far from the seasons of being a low-key stud across nearly all 9-cats as a sleeper middle-to-late round pick, but he still has some fuel in the tank. Manage your expectations about a resurgence of his career during his twilight seasons, but he is worth the flier for this week.
Corey Kispert, SG/SF, Wizards (3% rostered)
Still more of a deeper-league target, Kispert is similar to Avdija in that their value is heavily dependent on if they are knocking down shots. Kispert has knocked down 2.3 triples per game over the last week, while nabbing 1.3 steals each game. His 10.3 points in that span are modest, but his 3-and-D upside is showing itself after a slow start to his sophomore campaign. At Gonzaga, he was able to knock down threes at a high clip while grabbing nearly a steal per game in each of his final two seasons. If you need cheap triples in deep formats, Kispert may be your guy.