• Fantasy playoffs are upon us which means we’re not just looking for best player available, but also specialists to give us the boost we need in certain 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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    Point Guards

    Tyler Ulis (47% owned) – When news broke about Eric Bledsoe being out for the season, the immediate add was Ulis. After seeing Ulis with a few games under his belt, we’re starting to understand where his value is. Ulis doesn’t hit a ton of treys, but he can provide above average scoring, elite assist numbers, excellent free throw shooting and some steals. The Suns offense makes Ulis a must-own in shallow formats, especially with a couple four-game weeks on the horizon.

    Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues.

    Malcolm Brogdon (43% owned) – The Bucks also have a few four-game weeks coming up, which makes their players highly valuable. Brogdon is a staple in Jason Kidd’s lineup, which has made Brogdon a top-75 player since earning significant playing time. He does a little bit of everything so grab him if he’s still on the wire in your leagues.

    Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

    Jameer Nelson (17% owned) – Even in his old age, Nelson continues to be fantasy relevant. He is the starting point guard for one of the best offenses in the NBA and his assist numbers reflect it. Nelson gets the occasional steal and trey, but if you need assists, then he’s one of the best options out there.

    Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues as a specialist.

    Jamal Murray (36% owned) – Murray is finally getting sufficient playing time and seems to be performing quite well lately. He is a legitimate threat from deep and above average in scoring. Right now he’s a two or three category specialist who can put fantasy owners over the top on the way to a championship.

    Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues as a specialist.

    Patty Mills (23% owned) – Mills had been playing lights out as of late, but Tony Parker’s return limited his ceiling. There are plenty of treys, points, assists and steals to have if Parker cannot go. We consider Mills a nice option for the upcoming week, but not a must-own in standard leagues.

    Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues, justifiable as a specialist in 12-teamers.

    Shooting Guards

    Joe Ingles (11% owned) – With Favors out indefinitely and Hood out temporarily, Ingles has become a great fantasy option as of late. He’s not a must-own, but he can knock down treys, dish out assists and grab some steals. Give him a look if you need those categories.

    Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues as a specialist.

    Caris LeVert (18% owned) – With the Nets season spiraling out of control, LeVert continues to get ample playing time down the stretch. He may sit some back-to-backs, but he has been able to string together a couple of great games lately. He is one of the better options for steals that is available.

    Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues.

    Josh Richardson (22% owned) – J-Rich is starting to get more playing time. He has high upside but hasn’t been able to put it together for much of the season. Adding Richardson is more of a leap of faith, but it can pay off as teams head into the stretch run.

    Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues.

    Jeremy Lamb (6% owned) – Lamb is a guy who showed he’s capable of big things when the opportunity presents itself. He’s a good option for the Hornets off the bench and can step up when Batum or MKG are out. Right now, he’s a deep league player.

    Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues.

    Lance Thomas (2% owned) – Thomas has been playing a lot more and the Knicks are out of the playoff race. He has been an elite rebounder at the shooting guard slot and can help owners who need boards. We expect Thomas to continue to play a ton as the season winds down.

    Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues as a specialist.

    Small Forwards

    Terrence Ross (31% owned) – The minutes are there for Ross, but he hasn’t been able to do much with the opportunity as of late. We think that he is in a bit of a rut, but it is nearly impossible to find his usage rate on the wire elsewhere so he should be owned in 12-team leagues.

    Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

    Ersan Ilyasova (40% owned) – Since the move to Atlanta, Ilyasova lost a lot of value, but there is still value to be had. He has been putting together good defensive numbers for a while now and should be considered an end of bench player in 12-team leagues.

    Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

    Jamal Crawford (41% owned) – We meet again Mr. Crawford. The Clippers have FIVE games in the upcoming week which means plenty of four-point plays (or treys). If Crawford gets hot, fantasy owners will not want to be on the receiving end of that, so be the one who adds him for FIVE games. He should be owned in 12-team leagues for this week.

    Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

    Vince Carter (13% owned) – We never thought that we would be recommending VC as a fantasy add after the way his season started. The more the Grizz rest/sit Tony Allen, the more playing time VC gets. He has large swings in value from game to game so we only recommend him as a deeper league add.

    Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues.

    Solomon Hill (20% owned) – Hill just had one of the best games of his career in a riveting 30-point and six trey outing. The minutes are there for Hill, so we’re optimistic that he can be useful in a couple of categories in deeper leagues.

    Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues.

    Power Forward

    Marquese Chriss (33% owned) – Chriss has really impressed us as of late and has vaulted himself in the must-own category for standard leagues. He is the rare big that can make treys, grab boards and rack up blocks all at a high rate. Stop getting in foul trouble Marquese!

    Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

    Richaun Holmes (36% owned) – Holmes is starting to take form. All he has needed is minutes from the beginning. If Okafor sits soon, then Holmes can be a top-75 player. Right now, we have him as top-100. Add him in 12-teamers for the stretch run.

    Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

    JaMychal Green (24% owned) – Green is shooting well again, which makes him a player to own again. He had a game this past week where he had a double-double and two blocks and steals, which shows the potential that he has when his shot is falling. He should be owned in 12-team leagues.

    Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

    Skal Labissiere (23% owned) – The man who blew up earlier this week followed up his best performance with a below average one. Skal has a ton of potential, but he looks like a player who will only score, grab boards and shoot at a high rate. He’s a deep league add until he shows some consistency on the defensive end.

    Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues.

    Jon Leuer (31% owned) – Similar to Skal, Leuer is a player who only contributes in a few categories. His status from game to game is fickle because SVG seems to sit him at times. If you want points and a high free throw percentage without hurting your team in field goals at the center or power forward spot, then Leuer is your guy.

    Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues as a specialist.

    Centers

    Cody Zeller (45% owned) – Zeller is a defensive monster who can shoot at a high rate. He has been very unlucky with injuries so far this year, but now that he’s strung together a few healthy weeks, he is an elite center option off the waiver wire. He should be owned in shallow formats.

    Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues.

    Ivica Zubac (34% owned) – Zubac has been a stoned cold killer since entering the starting lineup and is a consistent threat to record a double-double. The fantasy gods are happy that the Lakers made Zubac a priority. He should be owned in 12-team leagues.

    Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

    Willy Hernangomez (38% owned) – Foul trouble has got the best of Willy lately, but when he actually receives ample playing time, he is a double-double threat who can also record a couple of blocks and shoot at a high clip. The Knicks have two four-game weeks coming up so Hernangomez should be owned in 12-teamers.

    Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

    Frank Kaminsky (41% owned) – Kaminsky is back from his injury and while he has not been as lights out as we was pre-injury, he is still someone who should be owned in standard leagues. He can accumulate a ton of treys, points, rebounds and blocks when he’s playing well.

    Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

    Kosta Koufos (17% owned) – Much like Skal, Koufos mainly contributes in efficiency stats and boards, but he also adds a few more defensive stats. Overall, he has a lot less potential, but he continues to receive 20-25 minutes which is the sweet spot for him. He should be owned in deeper leagues.

    Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues.

Fantasy News

  • Nikola Jokic
    C, Denver Nuggets

    Nikola Jokic posted his fourth straight elite fantasy season and his best season to date, finishing as the 9th best option in 9-category formats.

    Jokic is as reliable as they come with another season of huge popcorn numbers. He scored 20.2 points (a career-high) to go with 10.2 boards and 6.9 assists on a strong 52.8% shooting from the floor and 81.3% from the line. The cash counter output also maintained from past seasons, with 1.2 steals, 0.7 blocks and 1.1 triples. At this point, Jokic's best asset is his consistency. This is what we've grown to expect from him as someone who always shows up to work. He played every game for the Nuggets this season and has missed just 20 games total in his five-year career. As long as he is healthy, he's money in the bank.

  • Jamal Murray
    PG, Denver Nuggets

    Jamal Murray took a nice step forward in his fourth NBA campaign and approached top-50 value in 9-category leagues due to a large increase in shooting efficiency.

    Murray was limited to 55 games due to a sprained left ankle but performed well when he was on the court. The popcorn numbers were similar to his 2018-19 season, with 18.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.9 3-pointers in 32.8 minutes. The 25 spot jump to the 52nd player in 9-category format was directly tied to a 1.8% improvement to 45.5% from the floor and a 4.5% improvement to 89.3% from the charity stripe. If he can continue to improve his passing and game management, he can hop into the top-50 with ease going forward.

  • Paul Millsap
    PF, Denver Nuggets

    Paul Millsap maintained his typical per-minute production, finishing as the 97th player in 9-category formats in just 24.4 minutes per game.

    Millsap's minute decline over the past three seasons in Denver have muted the upside he enjoyed during his heyday in Atlanta. In 44 games and a few nagging injuries including a left knee contusion and a sprained right ankle, he put up 12.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 0.6 blocks on good percentages (48.6 from the floor and a career-high 83.3% from the free throw line). Millsap should continue to be a good per-minute producer even if he moves on to a new destination for 2021, but expect the minutes to be the real sticking point as he enters his age 35 season.

  • Mason Plumlee
    C, Denver Nuggets

    Mason Plumlee slogged his way to an unimpressive 2019-20 season, finishing well outside the top-250 in 9-category formats and averaging 7.2 points and 5.3 rebounds without much else worth noting.

    On top of unexciting popcorn numbers, Plumlee shot an abysmal 53.6% from the charity stripe. He was a volume play only who didn't really provide anything exciting in limited minutes. Playing behind Nikola Jokic was always going to limit Plumlee's production and keep him even out of streaming range.

  • Monte Morris
    PG, Denver Nuggets

    Monte Morris compiled top-150 value in 9-category formats as the primary backup option to Jamal Murray during the 2019-20 season.

    Morris had a strong season splitting time between backup point guard and fill-in starter when Jamal Murray went down with a sprained ankle. Morris enjoyed top-100 value during Murray's absence and put together a solid line of 8.4 points, 3.5 assists and 0.8 steals in 21.4 minutes. It was a solid campaign on compiled volume, but it was a step back from a top-100 season in 2018-19 where he got three more minutes per contest and made good for two more points with heightened efficiency. Going forward, Morris should be a solid deep-league point guard who can provide assists cheaply without any major weaknesses.

  • Torrey Craig
    SG, Denver Nuggets

    Torrey Craig played serviceable streamer minutes when called upon for the Nuggets and was an underappreciated starter at various points for a good Nuggets team.

    Craig is an unheralded player who is one of the prime examples of the "better in real life" syndrome. He won't wow anyone on the stat sheet and therefore he's hard to love in fantasy basketball. His 5.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, 0.4 steals, 0.6 blocks and 0.7 triples on decent shooting from the floor was good for just 297th in 9-category formats. He did have good stretches and was an acceptable daily play on the right night, but getting into an everyday streamer role is tough in a crowded wing situation in Denver.

  • Keita Bates-Diop
    SF, Denver Nuggets

    Keita Bates-Diop played sparingly for the Nuggets in 2019 as one of the many pieces involved in the four-team deadline trade and finished on the fringes of the top-300 for fantasy purposes.

    Bates-Diop got shuffled into the deck in a crowded Nuggets organization. He was limited to two games with his new club and just 9.5 minutes when he did appear. He spent time in the G-League after joining the Nuggets and on the season he appeared in 39 games, mainly as an injury replacement, and provided 17.1 minutes of 6.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, 0.9 defensive counters, 0.8 triples and some needed energy. Bates-Diop has some potential in the right situation to be a streamer and we'll have to see whether he makes an impact during the NBA restart and if he will be able to crack the rotation in the upcoming season as well.

  • Thomas Bryant
    C, Washington Wizards

    Both Thomas Bryant and Gary Payton II have tested positive for COVID-19 and did not accompany the Wizards to Orlando on Thursday.

    Scott Brooks mentioned that the Wizards were missing some players and didn't disclose why they were absent, so the dots were fairly easy to connect. Bryant's the big name for fantasy purposes here, and if he ends up sitting out the Orlando games it'll mean plenty of work for Moe Wagner, Ian Mahinmi and Anzejs Pasecniks. As for Payton, he was in line for minutes in a thinned-out backcourt but his potential absence would help players like Troy Brown and Jerome Robinson.

    Source: Ava Wallace on Twitter

  • Noah Vonleh
    PF, Denver Nuggets

    Noah Vonleh mainly rode the bench for the Nuggets, appearing in only four games after being acquired at the deadline in the large four-team trade that sent Malik Beasley to the Timberwolves.

    Vonleh had a decent season in New York in 2018-19 as a perfectly reasonable streamer just outside the top-150. In 33 games this season split between Minnesota and Denver, he averaged 3.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 0.5 defensive counters in 11 minutes per game. The Nuggets aren't the team to be on to try to get depth minutes in a crowded rotation so if there's any hope for Vonleh to be a streamer again, it'll be on a different team.

  • PJ Dozier
    PG, Denver Nuggets

    PJ Dozier had a forgettable stint in Denver, with 21 mostly lackluster appearances, but will be at the end of the bench during the Nuggets' restart campaign on a full NBA deal.

    Dozier played just 11.1 minutes per contest while shuttling back and forth between the NBA and the G-League. In 21 games, he scored 4.1 points and added 1.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists with minimal contributions elsewhere. The outlook for Dozier on this team are less than sunny unless there's an injury crisis in front of him. Otherwise, he'll be off fantasy radars as he was in this abbreviated stint outside the top-400.