Steve Alexander

Waiver Wired

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Wired: Top NBA Pickups Week 9

Monday, December 10, 2018

Week 9 Schedule: Games Played




I’m starting a new thing this week… The number listed in front of the player’s name indicates the number of games played for the upcoming week. Simple. And the number after the player’s team name is the percentage that he’s owned in Yahoo! leagues. And before we get into this, one of the first headlines I saw on Sunday morning was “Embiid: Role since Butler trade ‘frustrates me’" on ESPN. And that, my friends, is the most Jimmy Butler thing ever. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here. And I'm not going to talk about Luka Doncic today, but let's just say I'm a bit heartbroken. Let’s go.


Point Guards


4 Collin Sexton Cavaliers 61% owned in Yahoo! leagues – His assists numbers aren’t all that great and he’s not really a stat stuffer, but he’s scored 21-plus in three straight and is averaging 19.6 points, 1.8 boards, 3.0 assists, 0.6 steals and 1.4 3-pointers, shooting 51 percent from the floor, 50 percent from downtown and 82 percent from the line over his last five. And George Hill is officially out of way after being shipped to Milwaukee.


4 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Clippers 53% - His scoring has been dicey lately and he’s scored eight points or less in three of his last four games. But he’s still averaging 10.4 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.8 blocks and 0.6 3-pointers on 49 percent shooting and 25 minutes over his last five games. I like him in a four-game week.


3 Emmanuel Mudiay Knicks 33% - Mudiay had a big week and is averaging 18.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.5 3-pointers over his last four games. It’s impossible to know how long he’ll hold onto the starting job, or how long he’ll be relevant, and he’s not a steals or blocks guy, but he’s hot right now and worth a flier.


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4 De’Anthony Melton Suns 7% - Melton’s played at least 23 minutes in three straight games and is averaging 13.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.0 3-pointers over that stretch. The Suns are a mess and Elie Okobo will share minutes with Melton, but Melton is the hotter player right now.


4 Tomas Satoransky Wizards 3% - Sato has been starting for the Wizards and is averaging 7.8 points, 5.0 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.8 3-pointers and is shooting 59 percent over his last five games. He’s worth a look with four games this week, especially with John Wall (heel) doubtful for Monday and questionable for Week 9. 


Shooting Guards


4 Jordan Clarkson Cavaliers 52% - Clarkson disappeared on Saturday with seven points on 2-of-9 shooting, but scored 26 on Friday night. He’s averaging 17.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.8 3-pointers over his last five games and Rodney Hood (toe) is a slow healer. I’m firing Clarkson up for four games in the next two scoring periods.


4 Alec Burks Cavaliers 24% - Burks started for Rodney Hood (toe) on Saturday and George Hill is in Milwaukee. Burks had 14 points, seven boards, four assists, one steal and three triples on Saturday, and it’s time to jump on him. The Cavaliers are held together with duct tape right now, and Burks should be primed for some nice numbers with eight games over the next two weeks.


4 Josh Hart Lakers 45% - He should start as long as Brandon Ingram (ankle) is out and Hart had 16 points, four rebounds, two assists, three steals, two blocks and four 3-pointers on Saturday. He’ll be an inconsistent scorer, but starting or not, he’s a nice four-game option for as long as Ingram is gone.


4 Avery Bradley Clippers 9% - Bradley’s been quiet over his last two games, scoring 7 and 5 points, but is still averaging 11 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.8 3-pointers on 49 percent shooting over his last five. He should be a decent option with four games in Week 9.


3 Monte Morris Nuggets 11% - Morris has scored in double figures in four of his last five games and is averaging 11.8 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.4 3-pointers on 49 percent shooting over his last five. Gary Harris is going to be out for a month with a hip injury, clearing the way for Morris to get some primo run through Week 12.


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Small Forwards


Jaylen Brown Celtics 54% – Brown’s been back from his back injury for two games, averaging 22 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.5 3-pointers in them. He’s going to likely be a roller coaster ride, but plays four times in Week 9, making him worth a roll of the dice. But I like how he’s looked over the last two games off the bench.


3 Juancho Hernangomez Nuggets 47% – I feel like Juancho is on this list every week and now that Paul Millsap (broken toe) and Gary Harris (hip) are out indefinitely, he’s going to be in a great situation for several weeks. And he’s on fire right now, averaging 14 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.8 blocks and 2.2 3-pointers over his last five games, shooting 53 percent. He’s scored in double figures in four straight games and played a whopping 40 minutes against the Hawks on Saturday, when he double-doubled with 17 points, 10 boards and three 3-pointers. Go get him.


3 Joe Harris Nets 53% - Harris has been back for three games since a groin injury and is averaging 12 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.0 3-pointers in them. Coach Kenny Atkinson loves him and he’s rebounding the ball well right now. I just wish the Nets played four times this week.


3 DeAndre’ Bembry Hawks 9% – Bembry went off for 18 points, three boards, five assists, a steal, three blocks and three 3-pointers on Saturday night, but the Hawks accidentally got a win. If Bembry’s going to help them win games in a tank season, it could become problematic, but Jeremy Lin and Taurean Prince are both hurt, freeing Bembry for bigger minutes and a bigger role. He’s not a must-start with just three games this week, but he’s someone who can probably help you right now.


4 Dorian Finney-Smith Mavericks 4% - Dennis Smith Jr. (wrist) and Maxi Kleber (foot) are out, and DFS has scored in double figures in three of his last four games, averaging 9.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.4 3-pointers over his last five games. The emergence of Jalen Brunson, who has averaged 12.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.5 steals and is shooting it lights out over two games, is annoying, but DFS and Brunson are both interesting options with four games this week. But if I’m picking between the two, I like DFS’s odds of playing well in Week 9.


Power Forwards


3 Noah Vonleh Knicks 50% - After a double-double on Thursday night, Vonleh had just four points and three rebounds on Saturday, but also had four assists and three steals. Over his last five, Vonleh is averaging 9.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.2 steals and a 3-pointer on 60 percent shooting. It’s just too bad the Knicks only play three times in Week 9, but Vonleh has played well enough all season to be owned in any league.


4 Kelly Olynyk Heat 28% - Simply put, Olynyk is rolling, averaging 14 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.8 blocks and 2.6 3-pointers over his last five games. Hassan Whiteside’s been at home for the birth of his child and was last seen leaving the bench early, which was a controversial move, to say the least. The Heat are in the midst of a long road trip, and we don’t know exactly when Whiteside will be back, or what his role will be. But Olynyk can play both PF and C, and has been playing well with or without Whiteside on the floor. With four games this week, Olynyk looks like a no-brainer pickup to me.


4 JaMychal Green Grizzlies 27% - JAM was on fire before Saturday’s disappearing act (6 points), but is still averaging 14.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.4 3-pointers on 58 percent shooting over his last five. Jaren Jackson Jr. can’t stay out of foul trouble and Green is getting around 25 minutes a night, making him an intriguing play with a four-game week.


3 Trey Lyles Nuggets 15% - Lyles should start for as long as Paul Millsap (toe) is going to be out, which could be several weeks. Lyles had nine points, 10 rebounds, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer on Saturday, and also had three blocks, a steal and a 3-pointer on Friday. He should be a guy who gets steals, blocks and threes every time he plays, and with Gary Harris also hurt, the minutes should be heavy for Lyles going forward. He played 38 of them on Saturday.


4 Daniel Theis Celtics 1% - After dropping 10 points and three boards on Thursday, Theis went crazy on Saturday with 22 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, a steal, four blocks and two 3-pointers. If you played him in DFS, you probably did well, but Theis has fluke written all over him. It was a career night for him and both Al Horford (knee) and Aron Baynes (ankle) were out. If either of them miss more time, Theis could remain relevant, and the big night probably gave him some confidence. If you’re in a pinch in a deep league, Theis might be worth a flier with four games this week, but expect some bad games to go along with a couple serviceable ones.


Golden State’s Kevon Looney (7%, 3 Games) didn’t make the list this week, but I think I have more faith in him for three games than I do in Theis for four.




3 Dewayne Dedmon Hawks 51% - Dedmon is averaging 6.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals over his last five games, but is shooting just 36 percent over that stretch. He can’t shoot it this poorly for much longer, and once the shots start falling, the numbers should follow. He’s also a big man who shoots 3-pointers, and his game on Saturday featured two steals, two blocks, four assists and 11 boards. Color me intrigued.


4 Bam Adebayo Heat 39% - Bam has scored in double figures in his last two games, averaging 18 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.0 blocks in them, but Hassan Whiteside has been out for both of those due to the birth of his child. As I said under Olynyk’s take, we don’t know when Whiteside will be back, nor do we know what his role will be after we last saw him leaving the bench early, abandoning his teammates in Tuesday’s loss to the Magic. The Heat have won four of their last five games and were impressive against the Clippers on Saturday, without Whiteside. Bam, Whiteside and Olynyk are all going to share minutes in Miami, but with four games and the mysterious Whiteside situation, I like Adebayo’s odds for success in Week 9.


4 Richaun Holmes Suns 16% - Holmes has quietly been productive ever since Tyson Chandler got traded, but his numbers haven’t been mind blowing, either. He’s averaging 10.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 0.6 steals and 1.2 blocks over his last five, shooting 67 percent. He’s only getting 20 minutes a night, and likely needs 25 per game to fully break out. But if you’re thin at center, Holmes is an option with four games.


3 Mason Plumlee Nuggets 13% - Paul Millsap (broken toe) is going to probably be out awhile and Plumlee was already making noise before he went down. He offers sneaky assists and should be in for a bump in playing time, allowing him to improve on his five-game averages of 6.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.2 blocks. He’s not all that appealing in a three-game week, but is still worth a deep-league look.


3 Jakob Poeltl Spurs 27% - I’m not a big Poeltl guy and try to stay away from Spurs whenever possible. Or should I say Pau-sible. Pau Gasol (foot) hasn’t been seen since around Halloween, when he was dressed as Father Time, and Poeltl has quietly been playing well for San Antonio. Over his last five, he’s averaging 10 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks, shooting a ridiculous 82 percent from the floor. He had 14 points, eight boards and three blocks on Friday, and had 20 points, seven boards and a block on Tuesday. Deep-leaguers should be aware of Poeltl’s potential rise in the upcoming weeks. 

Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for and a contributor to The 2017-18 NBA season marks (at least) his 16th year of covering fantasy hoops for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.
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