• Week 8 Schedule

    2 games: HOU, LAC, LAL, MIA, POR
    3 games: BKN, GSW, MIN, OKC, SAC, TOR
    All other teams play 4 games.

    For My Streamers

    If possible, I try to keep a roster spot open for streaming, especially if I have multiple injured players and am falling in the standings. If you’re wont to streaming players, you’ll notice days with stacked schedules. If you’re in a daily head-to-head league, these are ideal times to add extra games.

    In Week 8, Monday has 11 games and Wednesday and Saturday have 10, which means there’s a good chance you’ll have a guy/guys on the bench on at least one of these days.  When I notice I have one or two players sitting on the bench on both Monday and Wednesday (and maybe even Saturday), I’ll drop one (or both if I have significantly fewer games than my opponent) for players that have games on Tuesday and Thursday, which are lightly scheduled days with lots of open slots.

    Most often, the players available to add are low-end assets, so I’m not necessarily trying get the best available player, only the best player for the targeted stats that play on Tuesday and Thursday. I’m also not trying to keep a meh player that’s just going to ride the pine for the whole week.

    This week the following teams play Tuesday and Thursday: OKC, PHX, UTA, WAS.

    Let’s say my Monday, Wednesday and Saturday are full, and I have Marvin Williams, a decent guy (ranked top-90 for the last 2 weeks). Am I going to ride with him on the bench three out of four games next week?

    Nope. I’ll pick up Kelly Oubre (top-140 last month, top-100 last week), Jerami Grant (top-175 last month, top-60 last week) or even Thabo Sefolosha (top-140 last month, top-160 last week) and get an extra two games.

    But, those same four teams play Saturday. What if I’m full on Saturday, too?

    No problem, I’ll make a drop on Thursday for a player with Friday and Sunday games (J.J. Barea and Fred VanVleet work; more on them later).

    That means instead of having Williams taking up space on my bench for three out of four games, I can use two smarts adds to get three extra games for Week 8. Those three extra games could mean the difference between a 2-7 loss and a 4-5 loss, much needed points when I have Kawhi Leonard and Rudy Gobert on IL in one league, and Gobert and IT3 (and The Brow, arghh!) in another, and I’m trying to keep up with the pack.

    Over four games in Week 7, Wayne Ellington (top-120 last month, top-80 last week) delivered the expected threes, and also came through with some steals. Doubleplusgood! Alas, he plays only two games in week 8, so he’s ungood until the schedule realigns.

    Some people don’t stream, and prefer having a more consistent, predictable team. This is no knock on such a management style; we all have different personalities, so do whatever floats your boat. One of my squads is so stacked, I don’t stream (I’ve been trying all year for a two-for-one trade to open up a roster spot, but to no avail).

    Now, you know how I do it, and if streaming is a strategy you want to use, come on back next week.

    Without further ado, let’s hit that wire!

    Working the Wire

    A big part of working the wire is based on what kind of wire your league has. Do you notice the same players available every other week (Norman Powell – 3s, Ish Smith – assists, Alex Len – rebounds, P.J. Tucker – steals)? You might want to grab a higher upside guy over guys who are constant wire fodder. Those guys are usually available should you need them in a few days, while Al-Farouq Aminu and Nikola Mirotic probably won’t be.

    Do you have lots of guys who stream or guys who hold for a long time? If you have high waiver turnover, it’s not a bad idea to take a relatively unknown with upside. If you need to cut them after they flash in the pan (remember Mike James?), no problem. There will be someone else to pick up soon, oftentimes the same player you had previously dropped.

    Occasionally, you’ll see goofy drops in less competitive or smaller leagues. Make sure players like Zach LaVine (knee), Kris Dunn, Jeremy Lamb, James Bloodsport Johnson, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Dario Saric, Larry Nance, JaMychal Green and Willie Cauley-Stein (lower back strain) aren’t just hanging out on your wire. Last week in one of my leagues, an owner pre-emptively dropped Lamb when Nic Batum returned, and I picked him up.

    If you’re in a Head-to-head league, what kind of team do you have? Are you punting field goal percentage? You might not be trying to, but if you have Russell Westbrook, Mike Conley, Lonzo Ball, Dennis Smith, Marcus Smart, Justin Holiday or Austin Rivers you might be anyway (all top-10 drags on FG%).

    The following players jump into the top-125 and are must-own when punting field goal percentage (all values past month): Wesley Matthews (88), Marcus Smart (91), Kris Dunn (96), Eric Gordon (102), Austin Rivers (106) and Tyler Johnson (119). They’re not on waivers, but DSJ moves into the top-120 and Ball jumps into the top-75. If you’re trying the rare punt PTS/FG%/FT%/TO build, then Lonzo is a top-15 asset, but you’re also probably punting wins, and that’s no fun.

    For FT%, besides the usual big men culprits, Ben Simmons (number one by far), Andrew Wiggins, Jaylen Brown and Elfrid Payton aka Lord Pakal are all top-10 drags on your FT%.

    Are you in an 8-cat league or punting turnovers? Although they can still be useful, there might be players that better fit your team build on the wire, or available in a trade. The following standard league must-own top-125 players derive their highest values from low turnovers (values for the past month): Marvin Williams (79), Patty Mills (86), Marco Belinelli (92), Buddy Hield (96), Norman Powell (101), Danny Green (104) and work best in 9-cat and/or Roto.

    Guards

    If Dwyane Wade is available, scoop him up. He started the year horribly, but has returned top-100 value over the last month. He’s hot now, with a top-50 ranking over the past week.

    Rajon Rondo is another old-head who has been hot, dishing out top-70 value over the past week. Like Wade, he’s an injury risk, and we saw this last year in Chicago, but nobody says you have to keep him when he falls off a cliff.

    Alec Burks has simply been on fire coming into Week 8. He dropped 28 on the Clippers and 24 on the Pelicans the last two games, compiling top-30 value over the last two weeks. Ricky Rubio has been playing less, with super-rookie Donovan Mitchell assuming more ball handling and pick & roll duties, while Rodney Hood (ankle) and Raul Neto (hamstring) mend on the shelf. I’m a little worried about his production when they get back, but Burks goes four times in Week 8, so throw him out there.

    The Sixers, Mavs and Spurs also go four times this week and Patty Mills (top-100 value over the last 2 weeks, top-90 last week) and J.J. Barea (around 100 last two weeks, top-40 last week) have been playing well, hitting threes and putting up decent points and assists.

    Keep an eye for T.J. McConnell (shoulder), who will get you fewer 3s but more steals and was returning top-60 value before his recent injury. All these guys are pretty consistent and, long term, I like all of them better than Super Mario Chalmers (top 170 last two weeks) who also plays four games, but will lose usage and value once Mike Conley returns in a few weeks. Chalmers also seems to have taken a hit with his demotion to the bench.

    If you need a point guard and can’t get Rondo, Barea, Mills or McConnell, hellooooo Fred VanVleet. As Cory Joseph has shown, the backup PG in Toronto has a solid opportunity to put up low-end stats. VanVleet is ranked 221 over the season, but 112 over the last two weeks, and is available in most standard leagues.

    Another widely available lower-end option is Shabazz Napier (top-120 value over the last month). Zach Lowe says the Blazers’ 3-guard lineup “feels a little bit like smoke and mirrors,” but Terry Stotts keeps rolling with it, allowing Napier to keep his value.

    Josh Richardson: The notorious streak shooter was on quite a few waivers the last couple of weeks when he low-key started hitting his jumpers earlier this week, which was the time to grab him. After his 27-point break out on Friday, he’s probably not on your wire anymore, but if he is, grab him for the upside while he’s hot, despite the Heat’s crowded and healthy backcourt. He’s 167 on the season, but returned top 100 value last week with some strong play. Be aware the Heat only has two games in week 8.

    E’Twaun Moore keeps chugging along. He’s under-owned as no one individual stat pops off the screen, but he’s officially putting up must-own value in standard leagues as he’s top-125 over the last month and top-100 last two weeks. Must-own doesn’t mean you need to own him, but someone in your league probably should.

    J.R. Smith is an option to look at if you need threes. He’s ranked top-110 over the last month and top-100 over the past week. We’ve seen Smith get hot for stretches and this could be one of them with the Cavs rolling.

    Caris LeVert and Joe Harris: perfect examples of players who will end up in your waiver every other week. They’re both low-end, top-175 plays over the last two weeks, and if you’re streaming and the schedule works, I have no problem with you picking ‘em up. I do have a problem with holding them as I see both returning marginal value. And that’s before D’Angelo Russell gets back. For the record, I like Joe Harris over Caris LeVert (but not Eddie or George Levert).

    Frank Ntilikina: His assists and steals evaporated, and I don’t play weekly leagues, so I had no reason to keep him. He’s a deep league/luxury/Dynasty stash.

    Denzel Valentine and David Nwaba: On Friday, second year guard Nwaba returned after missing 12 games with an ankle injury, putting up a decent line of 9 points, 9 boards and 5 assists. Prior to the injury, Nwaba was putting up top-85 value over the last month. Same for Valentine. With G-League surprise Antonio Blakeney in the rotation and Zach LaVine (knee) due back in the next few weeks, the Bulls’ backcourt is going to get crowded. There just won’t be enough minutes or usage for either considering how well Kris Dunn and Justin Holiday have been playing. You probably can find better on your wire, though Valentine might still retain lower-end (top-150) value.

    Forwards

    In a year bereft of point guards and bigs, there should be quite a few forward options on your wire.

    Continuing with the Bulls, Nikola Mirotic (broken face): I wasn’t going to include Niko, assuming he was chilling on various ILs, but he was available in the only league I’m currently in 1st place! As the axiom goes: “a fool and his money are soon parted.” Now Mirotic is on my IL.

    Related: If Bobby Portis (top-170 last two weeks) is close to a drop for you, he’s an already been dropped for me; he’s just not that good.

    Related: One time deep-league darling Cristiano Felicio is randomly catching DNPs as Coach Hoiberg looks to go smaller.

    Darius Miller has been must-own, ranking at 102 over the past month. He’s been even better (top-90) over the last two weeks and is leading the NBA in 3-points percentage at just under 50 percent. He’s your guy if you need threes with efficiency.

    Al-Farouq Aminu (ankle) is back and is about to put a major dent in Noah Vonleh’s minutes. Vonleh (top-110 over the last two weeks) might keep some value with rebounding in deep leagues, but is a cut candidate in standard ones. Aminu is a must-add in standard formats.

    Wesley Johnson (top-90 over the past month, top-60 last two weeks) continues to surprise with value despite not being a very good basketball player. With seemingly everyone on the Clippers hurt, he’s a must-add. I think Johnson can retain some value, even when Blake Griffin (sprained MCL) and Danilo Gallinari (left glute) return. Ride him while he’s hot.

    Ersan Ilyasova (top-40 last week) will get the bulk of extra usage with the Hawks’ frontcourt injuries as long as John Collins, Dewayne Dedmon and Mike Muscala are out. DeAndre’ Bembry and Luke Babbitt also deserve a look in deep leagues.

    Luc Mbah a Moute is top-100 over the last month and top-70 over the past two weeks, mostly on steals and threes. He won’t do much else, but will shoot a good field goal percentage, so if that’s all you need, he’s a fine low-upside add if the waiver provides no better alternatives.

    Centers

    Dewayne Dedmon (left tibia stress reaction) is expected to be out 3-6 weeks and was putting up top-70 value over the last month before his injury. If you have an extra IL slot and need a big, he’s must-add.

    In addition to the Tyler Ulis/Mike James hot-hand timeshare in the backcourt (I’ll pass), the Suns frontcourt is stuffed with Tyson Chandler, Greg Monroe, Alex Len, Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender (and randomly Jared Dudley) all getting play at the 4 or 5. Yuk.

    Ideally, you’d have better options, as owning any of these Suns’ bigs will be frustrating as long as coach Jay Triano keeps playing musical chairs. Monroe (hanging onto top 120 value over the last month but slipping of late) can put up non-money stats even in limited minutes and should probably be owned despite catching random DNPs.

    Chriss is still on quite a few wires after crapping the bed on Saturday, but is starting, and presents a low-end, high-upside pick. He physically looked like he started this season out of shape and has admitted as much. He’s been playing a little better of late (top-170 last week compared to top-220 over the last month), but is still a low-IQ basketball player.

    Luckily for Chriss, so is Len (top-150 last month), who will get more rebounds, but offers less upside and more DNP/injury (ankle) risk. Chandler (top-125 last month) has a high basketball IQ and can grab boards, but is old enough to be Triano’s father and is a major DNP/injury/tanking risk. I’m not considering Bender or Dudley as of now.

    Kelly Olynyk is ranked in the top-160 for the season, but has slumped lately with just top-210 value over the last week, which is sad considering Hassan Whitehead has missed time with his left knee. Olynyk is also getting outplayed by rookie Bam Adebayo, who is top-60 over the last week, top-100 over the last 2 weeks. I think Olynyk has a better chance of retaining some value when Whiteside hopefully returns in two or three weeks, but I’m not a big fan of either in Week 8 as the Heat plays just twice.

    Rookie Jordan Bell (yes, the pick that Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf sold to Golden State for some extra White Sox cash) has blossomed into top-70 value over the last two weeks while Kevin Durant (ankle) has been in and out of the line-up. Love him for Dynasty purposes, but not sure how much tic he’ll get for the NBA champs.

    He has been taking some of Pierre’s minutes, so he could hold season long value for deep leagues. It’s a situation worth watching. Related, he’s playing Sunday and Monday and I’m streaming for blocks, so I dropped Alex Len for him. #blockhunting

    Jarrett Allen hasn’t broken out like we thought, but is still holding top-180 over the past two weeks. He has value in Dynasty and very deep leagues, or as a luxury stash.

    Kenneth Faried and Mason Plumlee are short-term options worth a look as Nikola Jokic (ankle) looks to miss about a week.

    Gorgui Dieng watch is back on! Since the arrival of Thib’s boy Taj Gibson, Dieng has died and been buried on the bench (he doesn’t even crack top-250 for the season). Just as everyone forgot about him, an injured Nemanja Bjelica (foot) and consecutive games of Karl-Anthony Towns in foul trouble has resurrected the Senegalese baller.

    He’s returning top-50 value! Unfortunately, that’s just over two games and I need to see him do it again before I’ll consider an add. We know what he can do, and if he gets his minutes consistently in the low-20s, he’ll be must-own as a per-minute monster with top-75 upside.

    Random Observations

     

    -Shout out to the DJ at Vivint Smart Home Arena (try saying that 3 times fast) playing those old school hip-hop jams; respect is due for Ante Up and Simon Says, but playing GZA in an NBA arena is just dope. That he’s in Utah is just wow. Word to you, sir. Word.

    -Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde: Sometimes, Willie Cauley-Stein looks so nimble, diving off the pick and roll for a dunk, moving his feet on defense after a switch to block the shot. Conversely, I’ll see him rumble across the lane, and toss a mini-hook brick that hits only backboard. He’ll do it again on the next possession. Then, a third time for good luck. He went down with a sprained lower back on Saturday, but I’m still holding him for now.

    -Nitpick of the Night: For someone with such highly acclaimed footwork, Joel Embiid sure falls down a lot. I’m too old to remember Kevin McHale’s prime, but I don’t remember Hakeem falling down like that. I’ve got my eye on you, Process.

    On my tippy-toes,

    Chef

    Hit me with any questions, feedback or whatever on Twitter @Floppy_Divac

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Tom Laughlin

Real good stuff, lots of info. I have been in fantasy football for both college and Pros for twenty plus yrs, but no pro baskets. Keep it up.

Carol Meyer

Well done Ali, this has the kind of details that could be a must for those who are fantasy b-ball players.
Keep it up, this is great stuff!

Philippe

Props

Dan Besbris

Terrific article! I’ll help promote!

Jesse Nguyen

Do you think Mirotic will play at a top100 level player in a 9cat league?

My drop candidates are Burks (streaming for this week) and danny green /Joe Harris.

Denny Dervin

Chef ALI! WOW!! Although I haven’t been an active fan of the NBA for some years now, the amount of research and study is readily apparent in your blog. Also liked the writing style and apparent “insider” info you included. GOOD LUCK WITH THE SEASON-I THINK YOU WILL BREAK INTO THE TOP 100. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. BON APPETIT, CHEF ALI!

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