November 12, 2017, 6:02 pm
The Week Five waiver wire is upon us and there are fewer and fewer home runs available. Rotations are stabilizing and the sample is big enough where we can start seeing things more clearly. Here are a handful of widely available players who you might consider adding.
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Spencer Dinwiddie: With news that D’Angelo Russell will miss at least several games and is undergoing further evaluation, the door is open for Dinwiddie to take the reins for an uncertain amount of time. In 22.3 minutes per game he’s averaging 9.8 points, 4.9 assists, 1.5 threes and 0.9 steals. In the past has shown he may not hurt your FG%, and he shot .444 last year. Without Russell the Nets would be terribly thin at PG and Dinwiddie could average around 30 minutes per game even in their up-tempo offense. It sounds like Russell escaped with just a knee contusion, but the Nets are being tight-lipped on his return.
Bottom line: He’s a very strong short term add in all leagues and will still maintain value when Russell returns.
Kris Dunn: It’s not always going to be pretty with Dunn but boy will he provide fun counting stats for your squad. In his first seven games he’s putting up 10.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.1 steals in 25.5 minutes. He once averaged 2.7 steals per game at Providence College and really anyone with two-steal upside should be owned. Dunn is one of the few instances where I’ll mention the turnover stat, but is important to know that he’s averaging 3.4 turnovers per game for 9-cat owners. His current stats play as top-75 in 8-cat leagues and top-125 in 9-cat leagues.
Bottom line: Absolute must add in 8-cat leagues and strong add in 9-cat leagues. Owned in only 42% of Yahoo leagues.
Terry Rozier – When the Celtics are at full strength, Rozier is typically a 20-24 minute per game player. Marcus Smart provides a more polarizing but similar skill-set and plays about 30 minutes. If Smart continues shooting under 30 percent from both the field and three it may open the door for Rozier to grab a few extra minutes. Rozier is athletic, similarly gritty on defense and provides a superior spot up game between the two.
Rozier has established himself as one of the best rebounding guards in the league at 5.3 per game and supplements it with 1.3 steals and 1.5 threes per game. He struggles to finish on drives to the basket (40% in the paint in 2017, 45.5% in 2016) and has to take tougher shots when serving as the focal point for the Celtics second unit.
Kyrie left Wednesday’s game with a minor facial fracture and Rozier stepped up with 15-7-4 and two steals, thoroughly outplaying Smart who shot 3-for-16 and 0-for-7 from deep. Keep an eye on the minutes between these two. Both come off the bench but Smart more routinely plays with the first unit and finishes games.
Bottom line: Rozier should provide late round value in 20-25 minutes but has upside for more. A reasonable add in 12-team leagues and a must add in 14-team leagues.
Frank Ntilikina – Over his last six games he’s averaging 6.7 assists and 1.8 steals in just 23.3 minutes. He’s not providing much of anything in the other stats but there’s enough there to make him intriguing in standard leagues. Combine that with a gaping runway for more minutes – all apologies, Jarrett Jack – and you have a player with both upside and immediate usefulness. Get on the bandwagon before it’s too full.
Bottom line: There will likely be ups-and-downs, but Ntilinka is worth consideration in 12-team leagues and a must add in 14-team leagues.
Stanley Johnson – With Johnson we have pedigree, opportunity and improvement to his shooting touch in the early part of the season. His first two years were mired by ineffectiveness putting the ball in the bucket — his best marks came in his rookie season where he shot 37.5 percent from the field and 30.7 from deep. He’s improved both marks to more acceptable levels, 40.3 and 33.3 respectively, and the former eighth overall pick is playing over 30 minutes per game. Where he can really bring value is in steals, he’s averaging 1.4 per game this season, in line with his per-minute rate in prior years. He’s widely available at 5% owned in Yahoo leagues, and that number should be higher. Unless he regresses in FG% he has a high floor with 30 minutes a contest and you never know when something might click with young talent and create a breakout.
Bottom Line: Solid add in 14-team leagues, worth watching in 12-team leagues if you need steals.
Jeff Green – Green put himself back on the radar by averaging 10.8 points on 51.0 percent shooting with 1.0 steals and a 81.4 percent clip from the line. He plays particularly well off the ball with LeBron and has been a key scorer on the second unit. He doesn’t have much upside in threes, rebounds, steals or blocks, but his minutes are trending up with 24.2 per game in the last five. Jae Crowder has really been struggling in his new digs, and Green appears to be the biggest beneficiary.
Bottom line: He’s inside the top-175 on the season and seems like a solid add in 16-team leagues. Anything deeper and he is a must-own.
John Henson: With Greg Monroe out of town the Bucks center rotation is a lot less complicated. Henson has averaged 25.3 minutes since Monroe’s departure and in his last four seasons he has swatted 2.0, 1.9, 1.4 and 1.5 blocks per game. He will play over 20 minutes per game for the first time since 2013-2014 and blocks aren’t easy to find. Even if you don’t need the blocks someone in your league will. His first three games without Monroe produced 8.3 points, 5.7 boards, 2.7 assists, 1.3 blocks and a .545 shooting percentage.
Bottom line: The opportunity is there and he has a fantasy friendly game. He’s only owned in 35% of Yahoo leagues and should be added in standard leagues.
Dewayne Dedmon – Yes, he’s boring. He’s also bankable for top-100ish stats as long as he’s getting around 24 minutes per game. Typical big man stats without hurting your FT% and he’s chipping in 0.5 threes per game on .385 shooting from deep, so maybe he’ll take a couple more per game if he continues having success.
Bottom Line: It comes down to what a high-floor, low-upside center means in the context of your team. He should be owned in most standard formats. Currently 43% owned in Yahoo leagues.
The Drop Zone
Nerlens Noel: It hurts me to write this as Noel’s steals could be so fun from the center position, but it may not be his year. Rick Carlisle is losing patience with his gambling ways on defense and recently said Salah Mejri is ahead of him for center minutes. This resulted in a DNP recently against the Cavs and their small-ball lineups.
Noel is an unrestricted free agent this offseason and it’s hard to see him sticking with the Mavs, so he likely won’t be a priority for them after a stinker of a start. His best case scenario will be to get traded to a team that needs some interior defense. I haven’t quite dropped him in my 12-team league but it may be hard to hold him much longer in standard leagues.
Dirk Nowitzki: It seems the sun has set on our day with Dirk. He just looks really old. Statistically, he’s been in steady decline for the last four years, and he’s ranked 180th in 8-cat leagues right now. He’s impossible to hide defensively whether he’s playing the four or the five which is limiting his minutes. Moving forward, with the Mavs getting off to a 2-11 start, they may begin to prioritize getting Dwight Powell and Dorian Finney-Smith some minutes. Dirk is owned in 71% of Yahoo leagues and shouldn’t be on standard league rosters.