Fantasy Basketball Week 10 Waiver Wire: Alperen Sengun, Anfernee Simons’ Best Additions, Plus Calendar Notes

Good. It has been an eventful week. That’s probably the sweetest way to put it.

As COVID-19 rampages through the league, keeping track of who is in and out of health and safety protocols can seem like a full-time job. The changing landscape of entries and exits has a major impact on the waiver thread, but things change so quickly that they don’t lend themselves to a good article-based analysis. I’ll mention a few players below who appear to be in the line for more work as their teammates are sidelined, but, at least when it comes to health and safety protocols, there’s more trouble than actionable advice.

We are going through a strange time for Fantasy (and real life). But we’ll make the most of it, hopefully with some help from some of the players listed below.

As usual, players in this article must be registered in less than two-thirds of the CBS leagues. The players are listed in the order in which I recommend adding them, assuming they are an equally good fit for your team.

Additions for all leagues

Alperen Sengun, Rockets (67% registered)

Okay, the team. We all need to do better. Shame on me that I didn’t notice that Sengun’s roster rate fell below two-thirds last week. But, more importantly, shame on you (the collective “you”) for dropping it and / or seeing it on waivers and not instantly jumping. I thought we got past that.

Sengun’s minutes are frustratingly still limited. Yet whenever he had a chance he shone. Of the 10 games he’s played at least 20 minutes, he’s averaged 11-7-4 and 2.1 shares – despite averaging just 23.6 minutes. His final performance, of course, was Wednesday’s formidable 19-11-5 with two interceptions and a block in 28 minutes as Christian Wood (knee) was out. Of course, because nothing makes sense, he followed up with one of his worst games of the year even though Wood was still out.

At some point, the Rockets will lean into the tank, and Sengun’s workload will increase. We have no idea when. And even then, it could still be a bumpy ride. But he’s absurdly productive per minute, and he only needs about 22 minutes per game to get into the fantasy top 75. Even if he is your worst player for a few more weeks, I have no doubts that the eventual payout will be worth it.

Anfernee Simons, (47% enrolled)

Damian Lillard is back in action, but Simons remains heavily involved in the offense. Before Lillard came out, Simons averaged 10.1 field goal attempts and 22.9 minutes. In the last three games – with Lillard back but CJ McCollum (chest) still out – Simons is averaging 16.3 FGA in 32.0 minutes. He does very little other than scoring and making 3s, but it’s rare to find someone who can score more than 20 points per game on the waiver.

Kevin Huerter, Hawks (54% enrolled)

You know i won’t not mention it.

Cameron Johnson, Suns (39% enrolled)

Another repeated name. We finally have news from Devin Booker (hamstring) – he’s aiming for a comeback on Tuesday, December 21. But that report leaves open the possibility that he will be out for longer, and he’s likely to be on some sort of minute restriction for the games’ first couple return. Johnson was on the sidelines before Booker’s injury, and he’s averaging 15-6-2 with 3.2 3s while Booker has been sidelined. Johnson should have at least a few more viability games.

Larry Nance, Trail Blazers (40% enrolled)

Welcome back, old friend. Whenever I have the opportunity to write about a little used tall man on a cluttered depth map, I have to take it. Okay, maybe not, but Nance is a longtime favorite of this column, and he was recently promoted in the starting lineup. Nance doesn’t score much, but he’s a full producer who excels in 9-category formats or breakpoint builds. Portland traded Nance to Robert Covington this week – most importantly, a decision made when both players were in good health. Nance has averaged 28.3 minutes since the trade. Between 2016-17 and 2019-2020, Nance was among the top 90 players in 9 cats despite averaging less than 27 minutes per game each season.

Cody Martin, Hornets (49% enrolled)

The Hornets are healthier, but Martin has yet to be sent back to the bench. His days as a starter averaging 39.6 minutes per game are certainly numbered, but it’s worth adding and playing until they’re firmly in the rearview mirror. Over the course of five games as a starter, he’s averaged 14-6-4, 2.2 shares and 2.0 3s. Keep an eye on the news and try to hold him back for at least one game he leaves the bench, in case he maintains a heavy workload despite the demotion.

Garrison Mathews, Rockets (42% registered)

Mathews had been riding for a few weeks, but his hot shot turned into a three-game meltdown and is counting early this week. The crisis is obviously lessening the excitement, but the fundamentals that made him one of the best mics of the past week still hold true. Jalen Green (hamstrings), Kevin Porter (thigh) and Danuel House (ankle) are all out and with no clear return times. Mathews starts and plays a ton of minutes – 35.3 minutes per game in his first seven starts as he shot 51.3% (27.7 MPG during this crunch in which he was shooting just 18.2 %). Mathews is worth a visit as long as Green and Porter are away.

Donte DiVincenzo, Bucks (% enrolled)

DiVincenzo was set to make his season debut on Wednesday, until he too was added to health and safety protocols. Hopefully her case is mild and it just means a few more days of rest and recovery for her ankle.

There is no point in coating him in sugar: the most likely scenario is that DiVincenzo is a guy only in the deep leagues, with the exception of some teams in standard-sized leagues who need interceptions and steals. 3s. The strong starts from Grayson Allen and Pat Connaughton mean it will be difficult for DiVincenzo to win more than the 27.5 minutes he averaged last season. But it deserves attention because: 1. Some of you are in a deep league (or need to steal / 3s as standard); 2. The potential for improvement and / or more minutes remains.

DiVincenzo is a competent rebounder and passer, and 30 minutes per game or noticeable improvement in his fourth season (he’s 24) would likely make him an all-league player. If you’ve got the space to add it before its debut, which will likely come next week, it’s worth it.

Nicolas Claxton, Nets (10% registered)

I’m a huge Claxton fan, but his workload when the Nets are in full health is too low and inconsistent even for the deepest leagues. However, the Nets are in the midst of a COVID outbreak. Claxton has averaged 16.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 points in 24.0 minutes over the past two games.

Davion Mitchell, Kings (43% enrolled)

The Kings are another team in the midst of a developing epidemic, but as of this writing, Mitchell remains available. De’Aaron Fox, among several others, has tested positive and will miss some games. So far, at least, Mitchell has more potential and actual basketball skills than Fantasy’s actual worth. But his Fantasy value has improved lately, and I’m optimistic about what he can do when the Kings need him to take on a bigger offensive role. It’s an interesting stream, to say the least.

Program Notes

Like every year, Christmas week is light for the NBA, as the entire league spends Christmas Eve. Four teams play twice (Hornets, Cavaliers, Timberwolves and Trail Blazers), and only two teams have four games (Thunder, Magic).

The lightweight program means there is extra value in players with four games, and there’s a lot less harm in relying on players with just two games.

The daily schedule is pleasant and balanced, with one big exception – 24 teams are active on Thursday, December 23. There are between five and eight games on the other days that are not Christmas Eve.

The oversized Thursday slate means managers with daily queues are likely to fill their departure queues before adjusting to recent override pickups. The Celtics, Bulls, Clippers, Kings and Raptors each have three game weeks and do not play on Thursdays. For the daily roster leagues, the waiver pickups on these teams are probably just as valuable as the Thunder and Magic players. And the Cavaliers, who play twice without a game on Thursday, find themselves with arguably the most favorable schedule of any team not listed in this paragraph. They’ll be better rested than teams who have an irrelevant third game for Fantasy on Thursday.

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