• I’m going to peel back the curtain on my writing process. This is for all the aspiring writers out there who wonder how it goes. I started drafting on Saturday afternoon. After maybe five minutes, I was watching a 20-minute Youtube video on North American accents and how people from Ocracoke Island talk. Then I was looking up demographics of Ocracoke Island and spent the rest of Saturday procrastinating. The bulk of these 2000 words happened somewhere between midnight and 3:00 AM after a couple adult beverages and a premature Chik-fil-a run. I heard they had a new sandwich but my combination of overexcitement and poor reading comprehension meant that I learned in the drive-thru that the release date of the sandwich was… Monday. I sheepishly ordered anyway because I was too deep in the drive-thru to decommit and then I punished myself by eating nothing else the rest of the day. This happens to me a lot as a man who is trying to maintain fitness in a snowy hellscape. I eat like a rabbit because there’s only so much pacing back and forth I can do in my living room to keep my steps up. There’s a lot of celery and crying.

    Our weekly Blazer check-in is somehow even more disheartening than the last. Losing C.J. McCollum for at least a month days after losing Jusuf Nurkic is… not great, Bob. It’s once again time to feel bad for a team that’s just out there trying at the peak of their roster. It’s also time to feel good for me here at the Working the Wire desk because I don’t have to write about the 5th man off the Bulls bench or something.

    Week 6 Stream Table

    In the stream table, home games are in orange because basketballs are orange. Road games are in blue because blue is not orange. Again, the disclaimer that some of these games will definitely not be played because the world is mad.

    Back to Backs

    Brought to you by Drake*

    *not actually

    Sun/Mon (of Week 5): BOS, CHA, CLE, IND, MEM, OKC, ORL, POR, SAC, SAS, TOR
    Mon/Tues: none
    Tues/Weds: ATL, UTA, WAS
    Weds/Thurs: DET, GS, LAL, MIA, PHX
    Thurs/Fri: LAC
    Fri/Sat: CHA, DAL, MIL, NOP, SAC, SAS
    Sat/Sun: none
    Sun/Mon (of Week 7): CLE, DEN, MIN, NYK

    Working The Wire

    This is one of the richest crops of wire free agents because half of fantasy basketball leagues seem to be filled with people who are content holding onto Hassan Whiteside who is still 53% owned despite being injured and playing 10 minutes a game. WHAT’S UP WITH THAT? Here’s some free advice that’s become a constant: just pick up Justin Holiday no matter who you are and no matter where you are. That’s a top-120 player in fantasy for THREE YEARS IN A ROW and I’m the only one that’s going to own his jersey. Here’s some other guys I guess.

    Point Guards

    Monte Morris: Welcome back Monte, who the third best Denver Nugget in total fantasy value behind two players y’all may have heard of in Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. It’s important to recognize when availability and consistency is more valuable than taking a shot in the dark and hoping for a boom. Morris is a deeper league steadying force but at this point should be owned in almost all formats. Being the 120th player per game but the 79th best player in total value really shows how valuable his availability really is, especially in a roto format.

    Jalen Brunson: The Mavs are running a light rotation and Brunson has gotten a big boost in minutes over the last week. He’s averaging 31.2 minutes in the last four games, starting over Trey Burke and making a good fantasy impression as a top-130 player in 9-category formats. It’s mainly on the back of an unsustainable 52.6% shooting, but we’ll thake 14-3-4 while the Mavs work through Ronawatch 2021.

    On the Radar
    Trey Burke: Burke graduates onto the radar because it’s not a great time to be a waiver wire point guard right now. Points and 3-pointers on a hot streak are on the table and he can pop off for a 25 point night any day. He’s a better daily gamble than a long-term add.

    Shooting Guards

    Kendrick Nunn: Nunn shot back onto the scene over the last week as the Heat are woefully understaffed. He probably got picked up for streaming purposes after this hot streak, but he may have played himself into a longer term role with good performances. I would want to see his deployment when Tyler Herro and Jimmy Butler are back, which could be as early as Tuesday.

     Wayne Ellington: Ride the hot hand here. Ellington has averaged more than 18 points and more than five threes over this last stretch of four games. He should be added in every league of 12+ teams while he’s on a hot streak because he’s guaranteed to make the Pistons lose.

    On the Radar
    Kevin Porter Jr.: This is a clear watch list player but I just want to put him on the radar as someone who MAY get in the rotation and get usage on a Rockets team with a lot of shots open now.

    Small Forwards

    Joe Ingles: Your friendly neighborhood Menard’s employee is once again asking for you to consider him for a role on your team. Ingles returned this week from an Achilles injury and hasn’t gotten back up to normal deployment yet. His usage even in limited action as a second-unit facilitator is completely solidified and he really should be owned in every league. Good source of 3-pointers and contributes across the scoreboard.

    Rodney Hood: Hood started in place of the injured C.J. McCollum in a resounding loss to the Spurs and he at least did his part. It seemed like Gary Trent Jr. was going to be the obvious pickup but the combination of the Hood’s 21 points and two postponed games against the Grizzlies has slowed down the rush to replace C.J. in lineups. It seems like Hood will get another shot.

    On the Radar
    Gary Trent Jr.: We can’t mention one without the other. Trent will have to stay on the radar since he and Rodney Hood could flip roles at a moment’s notice. Doesn’t look good when you can’t throw a ball into an ocean while your counterpart is only outscored by a relatively well-known player in Dame Lillard.

    Garrett Temple: It feels great to call up someone from the stream team. Temple is getting minutes for a mediocre Bulls team and has found some value on the defensive end in addition to a couple nice scoring lines. He has six steals in the last four games and was chugging along well until a stinker against the Lakers.

    Power Forwards

    Cameron Johnson: Cam Johnson just really isn’t a drop at this stage yet. The profile is very similar to his rookie season and the only thing that has changed drastically over the last two weeks is the dumpster shooting percentage. He gets too many good outside looks to shoot under 40%. He’s a top-120 asset on the back of shooting and making a lot of 3-pointers even with this troubling slump with a higher minute-share.

    Jeff Green: Well Steve Nash and Jeff Green must be pals because he’s really invested in Green as a small-ball center. Even in a couple of lower deployment games, Green still managed double-digit points, now pushing his streak to six games. Apparently he’s going to continue to start so he’s solidly on the radar as an add.

    On the Radar
    Isaiah Roby: Roby is an add as long as he’s starting in place of Al Horford who is off welcoming the miracle of life. He’s played well enough to keep a 20-25 minute bench role.

    Xavier Tillman: If the Grizzlies ever play a basketball game again, Tillman is right on the radar. He’s done well filling in for Valanciunas, scoring with good efficiency and impacting the game on the defensive end.

    Center

    Nerlens Noel: It’s been replicated in four different organizations that Noel only really needs 20 minutes to be a fantasy stud defensively. Even if we include the last stinky game against the Kings which for our sanity just didn’t happen, Nerlens has averaged one full defensive stat more than his scoring average (four stocks vs. three points per game). The defensive counters as a standalone stat are enough for him to be rostered.

    Cody Zeller: If Bismack Biyombo holds off Cody Zeller for the starting center role in Charlotte longer term they’re bigger dummies than we thought. Zeller absolutely has late-round value in 25 starter minutes as a plodding 11-7 guy who doesn’t miss shots. He should reclaim the starter job pretty quick or we should all write passive aggressive notes to Michael Jordan.

    On the Radar
    Jakob Poeltl: I’ve always been high on Poeltl’s fantasy game and his shot-blocking abilty is enough to keep him in the fantasy picture. It’s hard to know if he’ll ever truly get unleashed in San Antonio, especially if they stay in the thick of it and pretend that LaMarcus Aldridge remains an answer for a first-round exit roster.

    The Stream Team

    PG: T.J. McConnell – Always seems to find his way onto radars as an assist specialist.

    SG: Tomas Satoransky – Finally made it back from a COVID-19 absence. Low-upside 22ish minutes per game.

    SF: Ben McLemore – There’s going to be some fluidity in this rotation. McLemore needs 25 minutes to have potential 3-point streaming value.

    PF: Georges Niang – Secretly had a nice run, averaging 10 points per game since my birthday, a very consequential day six Jazz games and one postponement ago. He’s being asked to make some 3-pointers and he’s delivering for now.

    C: Daniel Gafford – Coaching staff likes him and that might be enough to keep 15-20 tease minutes.

    Miscellaneous Musings

    As we’re wrapping up here, we’re about two hours from kicking off the NFC Championship game. There are two things that I would like to happen in that game. First, I want the Packers to lose because I live in Wisconsin and I thrive on misery, so if the Packers lose there’s a deadness in the air that I live for. Second, I want Tom Brady to lose because nobody wants Tom Terrific in another Super Bowl. I’ve accepted that I’ll never be happy.

    On the AFC side of the gridiron, I only want the Bills to win and I have no idea how Patrick Mahomes is going to play in this game post-concussion. In sports, I’m a proponent of new teams winning rings and I don’t want to hear Lakers fans say they “deserve to win a championship at least once a decade”. Some of us are just happy to be here, don’t be bragging about tampering your way into rings.

    I made a bold prediction in a preseason HoopBall roundtable that Giannis, my best friend and hero, would finish as the top player in fantasy basketball on the back of fixing either his jump shot or his free throw form. Exactly zero of those things have happened. Every time Giannis dribbles for five seconds in a row in one place I start forming an ulcer knowing he’s about to take a stepback jumper from more than 16 feet out that very well could go a foot wide and a foot short. I’m a big dumb idiot, what else is new.

    Come see my next stupid takes here on the Twitter machine. Happy streaming.

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