• We’re getting down to the last few weeks, which means that potential is out the window and it is now about who is producing.  Specialists are the name of the game at this point, unless there is an obvious add who can contribute in all categories. Let’s take a look at the players who we think should be picked up as we scan The Wire. The criteria to be considered for The Wire is to be owned in less than 50% of Yahoo! Leagues.

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    Kris Dunn (26% owned) – Thibs is finally letting his young rookie loose. Dunn is getting run at the shooting guard spot and is playing quite well in a limited sample size. We don’t see a reason why he wouldn’t continue to play. Add him in standard leagues as a high potential option down the stretch.

    Terrence Ross (32% owned) – Now that Ross is over the yips, he’s back to being the player he was directly after the trade to the Magic. Ross has all the opportunity a player could ask for since there aren’t many playmakers on this Magic team. He needs to keep his FG% above 42% to be worth holding on to. If he’s doing that, he’s likely a top-75 player going forward. Add him in 12-team leagues.

    P.J. Tucker (20% owned) – DeMarre Carroll cannot seem to stay healthy so Tucker is being inserted into the starting lineup as a defensive stopper. At this point in the season, specialists are mainly what you’re looking for so if you need rebounds and steals, then Tucker is the guy you’re looking for. Give him an add in standard leagues.

    Jamal Crawford (46% owned) – Here is another specialist who is hot right now. He has been playing a lot more as the Clippers prepare for the playoffs and can help fantasy owners with points, treys, and free throws. If you’re looking for those categories, Crawford is your man.

    Tony Allen (13% owned) – You know what you’re signing up for when you’re looking at Tony Allen. He’s a steals specialist who can help in rebounds as well. Every now and then he could sit so be cautious with playing him. He’s a better option than most at this point if you need surefire production.

    Patty Mills (34% owned) – Mills is hot right now and there is always the possibility of Tony Parker sitting games, which raises his value even more. For now, Mills is a great option for treys, assists, steals and efficiency stats from the guard slot. Add him in standard leagues as the Spurs have a four-game week coming up.

    Skal Labissiere (29% owned) – Skal is back on the radar and is ready to stay. He is seeing extended minutes and showing off his double-double capabilities. When he’s getting blocks and steals he’s a high potential player. He’s still usable if he isn’t getting defensive stats, but he is more of a specialist then. Add him in standard leagues.

    Ish Smith (21% owned) – Smith has a four-game week coming up. Imagine the amount of assists and steals an owner can get by acquiring Ish. Last game was irregular – we expect Ish to play in the 20-25 minute range. Give him a look as a specialist.

    Alex Len (42% owned) – A flip switched on for Mr. Len lately. He has been shooting at a high clip and averaging nearly a double-double. He has also found a way to become an elite shot blocker over the past week by averaging above two blocks per game. The Suns will continue to invest in Len as the season winds down. He’s a good option in standard leagues with four games next week.

    Willy Hernangomez (38% owned) – We are very bullish on Hernangomez, especially since the Knicks have four games next week. Willy is a double-double machine who shoots at a high clip. If he can stay out of foul trouble, he could also supply a healthy amount of blocks as well. Willy should be owned in standard leagues.

Fantasy News

  • Nikola Vucevic
    C, Orlando Magic

    In an interview Wednesday, Magic head coach Steve Clifford said he could see Nikola Vucevic improving across all areas of his game, and echoing his player's belief that he is in his prime.

    One of the areas Clifford thought Vucevic could improve upon was his 3-point shooting percentage, and also seemed to indicate that he could contonue to up his play on defense. He's unquestionably solidified himself as the anchor of this team, and the Magic as a whole are likely eyeing to improve upon their momentum as a rising young playoff team in an Eastern Conference that looks pretty weak after the top four to five teams. Expect Vucevic to produce safe second-round value this season.

    Source: NBA.com

  • Deandre Ayton
    C, Phoenix Suns

    Suns General Manager James Jones said in a recent interview that Deandre Ayton is capable of playing PF if needed.

    One could chalk this up to either Ayton continuing his development in becoming a more dynamic offensive player, or the Suns covering up for the lack of depth on their roster at PF. In reality it's likley a mix of both, and is a positive for Ayton's value heading into this season. If he does end up spending meaningful time at the four, it would not bode well for the value of Dario Saric, who is already barely going at the end of drafts in 9-cat leagues.

    Source: NBA.com

  • DeMarcus Cousins
    C, Los Angeles Lakers

    The Lakers have been granted a $1.75 million Disabled Player Exception for DeMarcus Cousins (torn left ACL).

    This now officially rules DeMarcus Cousins out for the season. The Lakers will now have the ability to go out and acquire a player that will in all likelihood occupy the end of their bench. Because they signed Dwight Howard, using this cap space on a center isn't necessarily as big a priority as it once was when Cousins initially went down.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Mohamed Bamba
    C, Orlando Magic

    Mo Bamba will enter training camp second on the depth chart behind Nikola Vučević.

    Head coach of the Magic, Steve Clifford, told a reporter that he plans on having Bamba as his primary backup center while Khem Birch will be third on the depth chart. The Magic also have Vučević, who was re-signed in the offseason to a four-year, $100M contract. As long as Bamba is backing up Vučević, his fantasy ceiling is capped outside of standard redraft leagues.

    Source: NBA

  • Nerlens Noel
    C, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Brett Dawson of The Athletic believes that Nerlens Noel could see a slight bump in minutes if the Thunder limit Steven Adams' usage.

    Noel is a great per-minute producer of steals and blocks but only appeared in 13.7 minutes per contest last season. Additional playing time would make him more useful in deeper leagues.

    Source: Brett Dawson of The Athletic

  • Joel Embiid
    C, Philadelphia Sixers

    In a video, Joel Embiid announced that he lost about 25 pounds over the summer.

    Embiid is one of the best fantasy players around but has struggled at times with conditioning. The Sixers will gladly accept any improvements from last season's averages of 27.5 points and 13.6 rebounds.

    Source: NBC Sports

  • TJ Warren
    SF, Indiana Pacers

    According to Pacers beat writer Scott Agness, Pacers forward T.J. Warren has no injury worries heading into the season.

    Warren has missed 56 games during the last two seasons, but he hopes to stay healthy for all of 2019-20. Warren is likely to start for the Pacers and could hold top-100 value if he can stay on the court.

    Source: Scott Agness on Twitter

  • Damian Lillard
    PG, Portland Trail Blazers

    Damian Lillard expects to play for Team USA during next year's Summer Olympics.

    Lillard skipped this year's World Cup but is planning to play in Tokyo. He should be a late first-round or early second-round fantasy pick this year.

    Source: news.com.au

  • Stephen Curry
    PG, Golden State Warriors

    Warriors guard Stephen Curry expects to play at next year's Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

    Curry will have a busy year ahead of him. Still, it's no surprise that many potential members of Team USA skipped this year's FIBA World Cup in favor of an Olympics appearance. Curry will be a popular early first-round pick in fantasy drafts.

    Source: ESPN

  • Isaiah Thomas
    PG, Washington Wizards

    Wizards guard Isaiah Thomas will be sidelined for 6-8 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left thumb.

    This is rough news for the Wizards, who already have John Wall on the shelf. Thomas was a candidate to start at point guard, but instead he'll have to recover from yet another injury. Thomas averaged 8.1 points and 1.9 assists in limited action for the Nuggets last campaign.

    Source: Washington Wizards on Twitter