• Week 9 of NBA hoops has come to an end and Sunday brings us closer to the halfway point of the regular season (we are about 30 games there for each team). One funny story from this week concerning the waiver wire was when the Miami Heat were fined $25,000 for violating injury reporting rules. As a response, the Heat decided to put all 17 of their possibly available players on the injury report. My question to you is: who did you grab? I cannot say I knew who to play with certainty, but it really was a hilarious moment of tongue-in-cheek humor between the Heat and the NBA front offices. Continue to monitor the different NBA news spaces (like @ethosfantasyBK on Twitter) to keep up with all of the mania around the league!

     

    Two long-term injuries shook up different NBA and fantasy rosters as the top-two players in all 9-cat formats went down. At No. 1, Anthony Davis is slated to miss over a month of time due to a foot injury; meanwhile, Stephen Curry at No. 2 is out for multiple weeks with his own shoulder problem. As you will see below, there are a few players who should benefit from these two monumental absences in the meantime. Donte DiVincenzo and Thomas Bryant were likely grabbed the second Davis or Curry went down, but Bryant is probably the more available option at this moment (do not wait too long to scoop him up).

     

    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 9 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?

    Lonnie Walker, SG/SF, Lakers (49% rostered last week)

    Last week: 9.3 PTS, 2.0 REB, 0.3 AST, 0.3 STL, 0 BLK, 2.0 3PM, .478 FG, 0 FT, 0.7 TO

    Loss. Walker’s scoring has taken an unfortunate dip and his minutes have been inconsistent over his last two games this week. Still worth streaming only for scoring, he is similar to someone like Tim Hardaway Jr. in how he has to be knocking down a bunch of triples while scoring towards the 20-point mark to be worth holding onto in 9-cat formats. There are worse players to stream for one more week, though, to see how the Lakers rotation stabilizes.

    Walker Kessler, PF/C, Jazz (46% rostered last week)

    Last week: 8.7 PTS, 9.0 REB, 0.7 AST, 0.3 STL, 2.3 BLK, 0 3PM, .688 FG, .667 FT, 0.7 TO

    Big win. Now rostered by 57% of Yahoo leagues, Kessler is no longer that much of a secret as he continues to swat shots away while also being a double-double threat at this point. He still has varying minutes on some nights due to blowouts (tanking), but the Jazz will surely use him when they are in competitive games. If you missed out on a shot-blocker like Brook Lopez or Robert Williams, I hope you scooped up Kessler if you are targeting some swats.

    Moritz Wagner, PF/C, Magic (46% rostered last week)

    Last week: 16.0 PTS, 5.3 REB, 0.7 AST, 0.7 STL, 0 BLK, 2.0 3PM, .621 FG, 1.00 FT, 1.7 TO

    Big win. Wagner continued to be a very solid streaming option this week while Wendell Carter (foot) is still out but nearing a return to the floor. If you hold onto Wagner even after Carter returns, I would not blame you just to see how the rotation pans out. However, expectations need to be managed here because Wagner has previously shown flashes of being this solid as an injury replacement on whatever team he plays for. Take this for what it likely is.

    Markelle Fultz, PG/SG, Magic (44% rostered last week)

    Last week: 11.7 PTS, 4.0 REB, 5.7 AST, 2.0 STL, 0.7 BLK, 0 3PM, .517 FG, .833 FT, 3.7 TO

    Big Win. Until Jalen Suggs (ankle) has any positive news about his return to the floor, keep rolling with Fultz if you are targeting counting stats and are not too worried about efficiency. The solid field-goal shooting was a plus this week, and the Magic fought their way to some nice wins behind solid production in their backcourt next to Paolo Banchero up front. Fultz may end up being the starting point guard all season, so hold on here to see what happens.

    Marcus Morris Sr., PF/C, Clippers (44% rostered last week)

    Last week: 12.3 PTS, 7.0 REB, 1.3 AST, 0.5 STL, 0 BLK, 1.5 3PM, .439 FG, .778 FT, 1.5 TO

    Win. Morris continues to serve as a decent power forward for the Clippers, knocking down shots from all over the floor and grabbing rebounds in an underrated way. His outside shooting can be streaky, but at the back end of a roster he is a solid big man to have. Ranked just outside of the top-120 at the moment, he is a reliable hold in 12-team leagues — with benefits whenever Kawhi Leonard or Paul George have to miss time.

    Caleb Martin , SF/PF, Heat (42% rostered last week)

    Last week: 8.3 PTS, 4.0 REB, 2.0 AST, 0.7 STL, 0 BLK, 0.7 3PM, .391 FG, 1.00 FT, 2.0 TO

    Loss. Martin continues to be a disappointment when managers typically need to stream him most. He has shown up on our lists and been removed on multiple occasions thanks to his lack of consistency. On the season, he ranks inside the top-120 of players in 9-cat formats but a lot of his surges have come when the Heat were a skeleton crew of players. If Martin can somehow turn into a consistent player when the Heat are healthy, he will be back on the list.

    Andrew Nembhard, PG/SG, Pacers (41% rostered last week)

    Last week: 10.3 PTS, 3.0 REB, 2.3 AST, 0.7 STL, 0.7 BLK, 1.0 3PM, .522 FG, .800 FT, 2.0 TO

    Push. This one is tough, because Nembhard is still receiving big minutes each game. He still scores in double-figures, with marginal contributions in other counting stats (1.4 combined defensive stats per game over the last week was a nice surprise), so it may just take him some time to get fully settled as a starting shooting guard. My advice would be to hold on if there are truly no solid waiver adds in your league, but move on for a better streamer otherwise.

    Onyeka Okongwu, C, Hawks (38% rostered last week)

    Last week: 10.5 PTS, 9.3 REB, 0.5 AST, 1.0 STL, 0.8 BLK, 0 3PM, .538 FG, .737 FT, 1.3 TO

    Win. Okongwu nearly averaged a double-double while collecting 1.8 combined defensive stats each game over the last four. Clint Capela (calf) still has some time to miss and those injuries can sometimes be tricky for players to come back from. Hold tight here as Okongwu still has not quite reached his potential as a starting big man with his defensive capability. He ranks outside the top-150 of players so his status as a 12-team hold is more about his upside. 

    Kyle Anderson, SF/PF, Wolves (36% rostered last week)

    Last week: 9.3 PTS, 4.3 REB, 4.0 AST, 2.0 STL, 0.3 BLK, 0.3 3PM, .407 FG, .625 FT, 1.3 TO

    Small win. Anderson, or Slow-Mo, continues to be an all-around contributor who may not score in the double-digits all the time but who can fill it up elsewhere. The four rebounds and assists per game over the last week were a decrease from the six per game the week prior. In general, I would not blame you if you moved on from Anderson, but honestly unless it is for someone truly worth adding there is no huge reason to drop Slow-Mo.

    Grayson Allen, SG/SF, Bucks (22% rostered last week)

    Last week: 11.0 PTS, 3.0 REB, 2.0 AST, 0.3 STL, 0 BLK, 1.3 3PM, .471 FG, 1.00 FT, 1.3 TO

    Small loss. This was advertised a deeper-league stream, but still Allen slowed down with the counting stats and steals compared to the week prior. Joe Ingles (knee) is set to make his 2022-23 debut on Monday against the Pels. Though Ingles will be brought back slowly into the fold, he has historically averaged nearly a steal per game with a couple triples — production similar to Allen. There are many mouths to feed when fully healthy and Allen may miss touches.

    Post-Week 9 Targets

    Larry Nance Jr., PF/C, Pelicans (49% rostered)

    Somehow, Nance is still not rostered in a majority of leagues despite being productive when the Pels are involved in competitive games. Over the last week, LNJ was able to put up 8.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks while shooting 60.9% from the field. These averages make him a must-roster player in 12-team leagues at the moment as he also ranks in the top-75 of players all season. Hold tight and do not make the same mistake as others.

    Marcus Morris Sr., PF/C, Clippers (48% rostered)

    Morris continues to serve as the starting power forward for the Clippers and is consistently averaging a decent amount of points and rebounds with a couple triples sprinkled into his production. He does not have much upside, but Morris is also not going to hurt you anywhere except field-goal percentage during off-night shooting games. If the Clippers are ever fully healthy (a massive “if” indeed), that would be the only time to consider dropping Morris.

    Markelle Fultz, PG/SG, Magic (45% rostered)

    Continue to confidently rock with Fultz until Jalen Suggs (ankle) returns because at this rate it seems like the Magic may employ Fultz as the starting lead guard for the rest of the season. In a recent game against the Hawks, Fultz put up 16 points with nine assists, seven boards and four steals while shooting 8-of-14 from the field. This is not sustainable each game, but the former No. 1 pick in the NBA draft still has enough gas to fuel an offense.

    Alex Caruso, PG/SG, Bulls (42% rostered)

    As a starter, Caruso is nearly a must-start option if you are targeting assists and defense. Sometimes, though, he does not quite make it over the cut line even in big minutes. However, in replacement of Ayo Dosunmu (abdomen), Caruso has averaged a healthy 2.7 steals per game with 4.7 assists each night during the last three appearances for him. In this current role, there is no reason that a top-130 player with clear upside should still be on the wire.

    Kevon Looney, C, Warriors (32% rostered)

    A monster game on Friday against Joel Embiid and the Sixers saw Looney put up an awesome 14 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, two steals and two blocks on 6-of-8 shooting. He has been a top-120 player all season, surprising many due to the lack of big scoring numbers. Do not let his unsexy numbers fool you, Looney Tunes is having a career year in many regards, while serving as the starting five for the defending champs with great durability.

    Thomas Bryant, C, Lakers (25% rostered)

    With Anthony Davis (right foot) sidelined for at least a month, managers everywhere can likely grab Bryant for some solid field-goal percentage, rebounding and defensive stat boosts as a likely starter. In recent games filling in for Davis, Bryant has been more than serviceable with a 21-point and 6-rebound game recently while shooting 9-of-11 from the field. The young big man can shoot the ball a bit, but it is his shot-blocking that can make him a streamer with nice peripheral stats off the wire.

    Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG/SF, Jazz (19% rostered)

    At this point, Alexander-Walker is looking a lot better than when he started with the Jazz as he has put up a solid 14.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.7 blocks in his last six games. Colin Sexton (hamstring) will not be gone all season, but the improved field-goal percentage and 3-point shooting from NAW is very encouraging with the bigger minutes he has been awarded. He is worth a flier in deeper leagues, especially. 

    Chris Duarte, SG/SF, Pacers (12% rostered)

    Duarte is making his return on Sunday after missing 21 straight games with an ankle sprain. As a rookie, he averaged a solid 13.1 points with 4.1 boards and 1.0 steals. To start this sophomore season, he has not been getting nearly as many steals as last season. However, he remains a decent target for anyone needing some points and triples off of the waiver wire. He comes with deficiencies, so manage your expectations regarding field-goal percentage especially.

    Austin Reaves, SG/SF, Lakers (17% rostered)

    Another deeper-league look, Reaves has been taking advantage of having a larger role within the Lakers offense. Over the last two weeks, Reaves has put up 14.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.4 3-pointers while playing nearly 30 minutes each game even in a reserve role. It is hard to justify Reaves as a lock in 12-team leagues, but 14-team leagues or deeper can utilize his top-150 play while the Lakers try to battle it out without their superstar Davis.

    Bismack Biyombo, C, Suns (8% rostered)

    As Deandre Ayton works his way back from an ankle injury, Biyombo will draw the fill-in starts and play big minutes as long as he stays out of foul trouble. There is not much upside with the veteran big man, but he continues to be a great rebounder and shot-blocker when filling in for an injured starter. In 14-team leagues or deeper, Biyombo is worth a look when he gets the chance to start and man the middle for the ever-competitive Suns out west.

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