Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wired, Week 15: Don’t let Ayo pass you by-o

by Zak Hanshew, Rotoworld

It’s been another exciting week in the Association! Injuries continue to pile up, but we’ve got you covered with the best fantasy basketball adds and drops of Week 15!

The format for this article will feature players who are “tired” and those who are “wired.” Tired players are those worth adding off the wire but with tempered expectations or highly rostered players who can be dropped in favor of a hot pickup. Wired players are those who are the best additions with the highest rest-of-season ceilings.

Thanks for reading! It’s going to be an exciting season bringing this column to you each and every week. LET’S GO!

Pickups in Order of Priority

  1. Paul Reed

  2. Ayo Dosunmu

  3. Aaron Nesmith

  4. Kelly Oubre

  5. Nick Richards

  6. Cam Whitmore

  7. Precious Achiuwa

  8. Bilal Coulibaly

  9. Jaxson Hayes

  10. Scotty Pippen Jr.

  11. John Konchar

  12. Gary Trent Jr.

  13. Danilo Gallinari

  14. Rui Hachimura

  15. Mo Bamba

Tired: Isaiah Stewart 40%
Wired: Paul Reed 32% ⚡

Stewart sustained a left ankle sprain Sunday against Oklahoma City and will be sidelined for 10-14 days. He was a fringe option in 12-team leagues before picking up the injury, but this latest absence offers a great opportunity for managers to cut him loose to the waiver wire.

The production hasn’t always been consistent for Reed when he’s in the starting five, but he’s managed to make a significant impact when Joel Embiid sits. In 11 games with the first unit this season, Bball Paul has averaged 12.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.4 blocks while shooting 55.3% from the floor. He posted a 7/10/4/1/2 line on Thursday night, and he should remain a starter for the foreseeable future. Joel Embiid suffered a meniscus injury against the Warriors after returning from a lengthy absence, and it’s feared the injury may be a tear. That would essentially end Embiid’s fantasy season, solidifying Reed as the starting center the rest of the way. Make sure to prioritize adding Reed.

Tired: Trey Murphy III 51%
Wired: Aaron Nesmith 55% ⚡

Murphy is ranked outside the top 140 on the season, but he’s been outside the top 200 in each of the last two weeks. Over his last three, Murphy has averaged just 11.3 points, 5.7 boards and 2.3 triples on sub-40% shooting with no defensive contributions. This certainly isn’t his ceiling, but given the Pelicans’ depth and his limited statistical output, we can’t count on him climbing much higher than this.

Nesmith has been hot! Over his last five, the 24-year-old forward has averaged 19.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.0 triples while shooting 59.7% from the floor and 80% from the charity stripe. Nesmith (as well as other Pacers) have benefited from the absence of T.J. McConnell and Tyrese Haliburton’s minutes restriction, but these numbers certainly can’t be ignored. The Pacers need another reliable scoring option to step up, and Nesmith has proved he can rebound and assist as well as get buckets. He’s started each of the games in which he’s played since December 26, and there’s no reason to expect a change. Make sure to add Nesmith if he’s still on your waiver wire.

Tired: Jaime Jaquez Jr. 47%
Wired: Ayo Dosunmu 29% ⚡

Jaquez Jr. was rolling as a starter before missing time due to a groin injury. After sitting out six straight, he’s averaged just 5.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 24.7 minutes off the bench across his last three appearances. The Heat’s injury report has shrunk considerably in recent weeks, and the addition of Terry Rozier means there are fewer quality minutes to go around. Jaquez Jr. can be sent to the waiver wire for a more productive option.

Dosunmu has been a top-45 option over the last week behind averages of 16.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.7 blocks and 2.3 triples across 37 minutes per tilt. Dosunmu has started each of those contests and could remain with the first unit for the foreseeable future. His success isn’t new, however, as Dosunmu has averaged 15.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.8 triples across his last nine, scoring in double figures in each contest. With Zach LaVine and Patrick Williams on the shelf indefinitely, Dosunmu has the opportunity to produce, and he should be a priority pickup off the waiver wire. If you’re still not sold on Dosunmu, his shooting splits in January were 53/46/91, marking the first 50/40/90 shooting month in Bulls’ history. Considering the great players who have suited up for the franchise, this is no small feat.

Tired: Jaden McDaniels 47%
Wired: Precious Achiuwa 19% ⚡

We beat the drum to drop Andrew Wiggins for weeks, but McDaniels has found himself in a similar situation. He’s consistently a “tired” player in this column, and he’ll remain there until his roster percentage drops significantly. The question to ask of McDaniels is “What does he do particularly well?” He doesn’t score a lot, his shooting percentages are far from elite, he’s not racking up a ton of defensive stats, and he’s a poor rebounder for a 6’9 forward. There is absolutely no reason to roster him in fantasy hoops.

OG Anunoby has missed three straight due to an elbow injury, and Achiuwa has filled in nicely in his absence. Achiuwa has started all three and posted strong averages of 13.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.7 blocks across 38.7 minutes. Anunoby’s absence has been a boon to Achiuwa’s fantasy value, but Achiuwa was getting it done before Anunoby got hurt. Across his last seven, Achiuwa has averaged 9.9 points, 9.4 rebounds, 0.7 steals and 1.3 blocks in 30.9 minutes. Make sure he’s not hanging around on your waiver wire.

Tired: Zach Collins 51%
Wired: Kelly Oubre 49% ⚡

Collins sat out nine straight games, played five, and has been sidelined for each of the Spurs’ last three. Missing time due to injury has been a consistent theme throughout Collins’ career, and rostering him can be a headache given the lack of availability. His fantasy value began to rapidly decline when he shifted to a bench role, and he was a drop candidate for reasons other than health. The latest injury is the final nail in his fantasy coffin.

Oubre has posted some strong numbers over the last week, averaging 20.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 0.8 steals, 1.3 blocks and 1.0 triples while shooting 50.8% from the floor and 78.6% from the charity stripe. That production is good for a top 80 ranking in that span, and Oubre’s fantasy value can only continue to climb with Joel Embiid’s fantasy season potentially over. Make sure to add Oubre wherever he’s available. He and Paul Reed should be prioritized.

Tired: Tari Eason 45%
Wired: Cam Whitmore 24% ⚡

Eason has missed 16 in a row due to a lower leg injury, and he remains without a timeline to return. The Knicks apparently “covet” Eason and will look to make a move for him before Thursday’s trade deadline to bolster the team’s frontcourt depth. Eason is a drop candidate regardless of where he’s playing when the deadline passes, but given his uncertain availability and the recent trade rumors, he’s not a guy who needs to be rostered at this point.

Whitmore has scored at least 17 in four straight, averaging 20.0 points, 6.5 boards and 3.0 triples across 21.8 minutes in that span. The rookie has been a top-80 player over the last week, and with Eason out, he should continue to see minutes in the low to mid-20s moving forward. More playing time would only bolster his ascending value, but for now, he’s worth an add off the waiver wire given how hot he’s been.

Tired: Gordon Hayward 52%
Wired: Bilal Coulibaly 9% ⚡

Tale as old as time – Gordon Hayward missing games due to injuries. Hayward hasn’t played since December 26, and there’s no timeline for a potential return. He’s appeared in just 25 games this season, and with the trade deadline looming and Charlotte speeding toward another high lottery pick, there’s no telling what this roster will look like in a week. Drop Hayward, and pick up someone who will be available.

Coulibaly has been a top 110 guy over the last week behind averages of 10.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 triples across 31.9 minutes. He benefited from Jordan Poole’s late scratch on Wednesday, finishing the loss to Los Angeles with a 19/4/2/1/2 line. Just like Charlotte, Washington is on the fast track to a top-5 pick, and the team should be highly incentivized to see what it has in the rookie.

Tired: Mark Williams 77%
Wired: Nick Richards 52% ⚡

Another frequent flyer on the “tired” list, Williams is an easy drop candidate. Still rostered in 77% of fantasy leagues, Williams hasn’t appeared in a game since December 8, and the Hornets’ lips have been sealed on a potential timeline for return. After 27 straight games on the shelf, Williams can be sent to the waiver wire to free up a valuable roster spot for fantasy managers.

Since returning from a three-game layoff, “Naughty Nicky” has averaged 15.2 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks while shooting 75% shooting across five games. He’s a top 85 option in that span, and he should continue to see big minutes at center for the foreseeable future. He’s now rostered in more than half of Yahoo leagues, so this may be the last week we’re able to recommend him before that percentage gets too high.

Tired: Ben Simmons 76%
Wired: Jaxson Hayes 3%, Rui Hachimura 18% ⚡

As the old saying goes, “Expectations are the thief of joy.” Expectations have been mighty low for Simmons for quite a while, but he gave us hope the other night only to burn us just days later. After sitting out since November 6, Simmons returned on Monday to post 10 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists across 18 minutes. He sustained a knee injury in that limited playing time, and after three months off and less than 20 on the court, he was sidelined Wednesday. Simmons is expected to play on Saturday, but fantasy managers need to quit expecting much from him. Getting your hopes up with Simmons will only lead to heartache and sorrow.

Anthony Davis has missed two straight due to bilateral Achilles tendinopathy and left hip spasms. Hayes filled in for AD admirably in those games, posting averages of 11.0 points, 8.0 boards, 1.5 assists and 3.5 steals across 29 minutes. It’s unclear how serious Davis’ injury is, but a multi-game absence certainly has our attention. Jarred Vanderbilt started Thursday against the Celtics but left that game after only 16 minutes due to right foot soreness. With multiple injuries in the frontcourt, Rui Hachimura is a name to watch, but he’s mostly been a points guy. Hayes is the preferred pickup here.

Tired: Desmond Bane 96%, Marcus Smart 74%
Wired: John Konchar 8%, Scotty Pippen Jr. 4% ⚡

We highlighted Memphis’ backcourt last week, but they deserve to be mentioned again due to their insanely high roster percentages. Both Bane and Smart won’t be back until after the All-Star Game at minimum. Given the time it would take for them to ramp up and the few remaining weeks of the fantasy season, it doesn’t make sense to hold onto them. Memphis has no incentive to play either guy in what’s become a lost season, so it wouldn’t be surprising for both to be shut down.

The Grizzlies continue to roll out a skeleton crew every week, and the injury report seemingly grows longer each time Memphis is scheduled to play. Konchar has provided top-50 value over the last week thanks in large part to his 2.0 blocks and 1.3 steals in just under 30 minutes per night in that span. Pippen Jr. has started each of the Grizzlies’ last two games and averaged 11.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 3.0 steals, 1.0 blocks and 2.0 triples across 27 minutes. Konchar’s fantasy value is predicated on big defensive numbers, giving him a more volatile skillset, but he’s seen more consistent playing time than Pippen Jr.. Pippen Jr.’s all-around play gives him a higher ceiling, but it’s unclear how involved he’ll be in the rotation as the season progresses. Keep an eye on both, but if you’re targeting upside, Pippen Jr. is your man.

Others: Danilo Gallinari, Gary Trent Jr., Mo Bamba, Ausar Thompson, Patrick Beverley

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