March 22, 2018, 6:05 pm
Hey Hoop Ballers! Welcome back to another edition of Deep League Digging – my weekly column scouring the darkest reaches of the fantasy NBA landscape in search of diamonds in the rough for deep league owners. While that other madness goes on in the college hoops world, the deep league wire is filled with even more madness this time of year.
It is the playoffs for most owners, and silly season “rest games” for veteran players, late season injuries and 10-day contract signings are all injecting considerable new value into the deep league waiver wire on a pretty ongoing basis. So, here’s a quick and dirty look at waiver moves that deep league owners should make (or avoid making) to help bolster that playoff run.
Ante Zizic (1% owned) – Zizic filled in admirably in the banged up Cavaliers frontcourt and posted solid top-150 value over the past two weeks. However, the immaculate return of Kevin Love probably puts an end to this run. He still should see a few regular rotation minutes while Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance Jr. remain out. They are both set to return potentially by this Friday, so outside of 30-team leagues, owners can probably move on.
Cheick Diallo (1% owned) – It has been a roller coaster ride of a season, but Diallo is finally getting the chance to deliver on some of the immense potential that he has flashed at times throughout his career. Over his past three games he is averaging 11.0 points on 62 percent shooting with 8.0 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in 20 minutes per game. The numbers will be there as long as the minutes are, but my concern for his value down the playoff stretch is with the latter. Some of this increased playing time of late is coming at the expense of Emeka Okafor, and given how Alvin Gentry has deployed Diallo so far this season, there is really no guarantee of this sticking. If you’re feeling bold, consider Diallo must-own in all deep leagues, but keep in mind the minutes could evaporate at any point without warning.
Mike Muscala (2% owned) – The Moose is officially loose at just the right time down the stretch this season. Over his last six games, Muscala is averaging 10.5 points on 48 percent shooting with 2.2 threes, 5.7 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 0.8 blocks. There isn’t any competition of note for his minutes down the stretch, and he still has some serious playoff value with three games left this week, so consider Muscala a must-add player in all deep-league formats if you need a smattering of threes, boards and defensive stats.
Jonathan Isaac (4% owned) – Note: Isaac won’t play in Thursday’s contest against the Sixers with a foot strain. Keep an eye on his status going forward, but with this absence, it may be hard to justify holding Isaac outside of 18- or 20-team leagues and deeper. It will be team dependent, but unfortunately even as must-own as he is at the moment (averaging 2.3 steals and 1.7 blocks per game in the last week) it is do-or-die time and every game counts. If Isaac misses significant time, look for Khem Birch to get a few more minutes and be a decent rebounds and blocks streamer in 16-team leagues and back-end roster worthy in anything larger.
Malik Monk (4% owned) – After spending most of his rookie year out of the rotation, Monk is finally settling in to a consistent 20-ish minute per night role as the backup point guard for the Hornets. He is still struggling to find any consistency to his shot, so feel free to move on from Monk if you are concerned about your field goal percentage category. The minutes will be there though, and he can be a great source of threes with some sneaky assist upside, so give him a look in 18-team leagues and deeper if that is what you need. Feel free to stream Monk for triples in 16-team leagues, but the wire likely has better and more consistent options.
Jordan Bell (5% owned) – It isn’t the first time he’s been mentioned here on Deep League Digging, and it may not be the last. He is still on some deep league wires, and if you need blocks, he is one of the better options out there. In only 18 minutes per game in his last four outings, Bell is averaging 1.3 blocks per game. The suddenly depleted Warriors will need minutes from Bell this weekend, so lock him in as a starter on Friday (and probably Sunday as well) in all deep leagues if you need blocks.
Jeff Green (6% owned) – Ante Zizic isn’t the only Cavaliers reserve to benefit from the bevvy of injuries in the frontcourt. Green has started for the Cavaliers in their last five contests, and continued to see big minutes even with Kevin Love back in the rotation. As a starter, he is posting top-100 value in nearly 40 minutes per game. The minutes will probably decline with Love back in the rotation, but he should hold value for as long as Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance Jr. remain sidelined. Green is one of a few rare sources of points (17 per game over his last five) off the deep league wire, so give him a hard look in all leagues if you need points on decent efficiency.
Noah Vonleh (<1% owned) Vonleh is getting some good run while Lauri Markkanen continues to be sidelined with back issues. It may not be for much longer, but Vonleh has must-own 16-team type value for as long as Markkanen remains out. In the past week, he is averaging 10.0 points per game on 43 percent shooting with 2.0 triples, 10.0 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in 28 minutes per game. That is borderline elite per-game rebound production that may be sitting on the wire in 16-team leagues and deeper. The Bulls play on a Friday and Saturday back-to-back, so grab Vonleh while the getting is good if you need boards with some upside for treys and blocks.
Devin Harris (<1% owned) – Harris has carved out a nice role for himself lately off the bench for the Nuggets. He is averaging 23 minutes per game over the past week (that is slightly inflated due to overtime game against the Heat), and managing to knock down 1.8 triples and dish 4.5 assists per game in that span. That type of production is worthy of streaming consideration in 16-team leagues, and should probably be rostered in anything deeper.
Deyonta Davis (<1% owned) – His role in the rotation has been pretty consistent over the past few weeks, but his production has not been. Still, despite the ups and downs, Davis is a top-200 player over the month of March and needs to be owned in 20-team leagues and larger if you need his rebounding, blocks and near 60 percent shooting from the field on moderately low volume.
Wayne Selden Jr. (<1% owned) – Tyreke Evans sat again for the Grizzlies on Wednesday, which meant that Wayne Selden Jr. got some extra run. He has looked good filling in for Evans, and is posting top-100 value over his last four games, but is far from a sure thing. There are more consistent options out there on the wire in 16-team leagues, but he can be deployed as a three point streamer with bonus upside if Evans sits more going forward.
Tyler Dorsey (1% owned) – He is only really a play in 30-team leagues. Give him a look in 20-team leagues or deeper if he is around for some threes with a few assists here and there.
Quinn Cook (6% owned) – I’m only covering him here on Deep League Digging for posterity’s sake – he burst on to the scene so quickly that I am basically just staring at a smoke trail. In his last four games filling in for the injured Splash Bros, he is averaging 21.5 points on 58 percent shooting with 3.3 triples, 3.3 assists and 1.3 steals. Must-add type of stuff, right? Well, in the regular season I couldn’t really fault you for taking a flier, but this is not the time of year for fliers and speculative adds. The reality is that he will not keep shooting 58 percent from the field on 15 shots per night (many from downtown), and Steph Curry should be back by this weekend, so holding Cook until Friday when he may not play meaningful minutes is probably ill advised. As tough as it may be to part with production like this, if you are in a close matchup and need the games, consider moving on from Cook and opening up a streaming spot.