NBA Waiver Wire: Fallout from Wizards-Suns Swap

NBA Waiver Wire: Fallout from Wizards-Suns Swap

This article is part of our NBA Waiver Wire series.

Trades, injuries, and changing rotations. Those three factors are the biggest drivers of waiver wire value, and each one is represented in the top three pickups for Week 10. The top add saw his value jump after the Suns sent Trevor Ariza to the Wizards in exchange for Austin Rivers and Kelly Oubre. The second player has benefited from the Knicks' evolving rotation. And the third player has seen his value jump after the Nuggets suffered a series of key injuries.

The NBA will be busy in Week 10, with 19 teams playing four games. The Nuggets, on the other hand, play only two games. Playing two games always hurts a player's Fantasy value, especially potential waiver pickups, but they are even more problematic in a week when so much of the league is playing four times. Their light schedule puts managers in a difficult space when deciding whether and when to add one of their injury replacements.

As always, the players in this article must be rostered in less than two-thirds of CBS leagues. Players are listed in the order that I recommend adding them, assuming they are equally good fits for your team.

Adds for All Leagues

Editor's note: Rivers was waived by the Suns late Monday night.

Austin Rivers, Suns (13 percent rostered)
After the Suns traded Trevor Ariza for Rivers and Kelly Oubre – who gets his own section below – Rivers becomes the top add of the week. The Suns have been thirsty

Trades, injuries, and changing rotations. Those three factors are the biggest drivers of waiver wire value, and each one is represented in the top three pickups for Week 10. The top add saw his value jump after the Suns sent Trevor Ariza to the Wizards in exchange for Austin Rivers and Kelly Oubre. The second player has benefited from the Knicks' evolving rotation. And the third player has seen his value jump after the Nuggets suffered a series of key injuries.

The NBA will be busy in Week 10, with 19 teams playing four games. The Nuggets, on the other hand, play only two games. Playing two games always hurts a player's Fantasy value, especially potential waiver pickups, but they are even more problematic in a week when so much of the league is playing four times. Their light schedule puts managers in a difficult space when deciding whether and when to add one of their injury replacements.

As always, the players in this article must be rostered in less than two-thirds of CBS leagues. Players are listed in the order that I recommend adding them, assuming they are equally good fits for your team.

Adds for All Leagues

Editor's note: Rivers was waived by the Suns late Monday night.

Austin Rivers, Suns (13 percent rostered)
After the Suns traded Trevor Ariza for Rivers and Kelly Oubre – who gets his own section below – Rivers becomes the top add of the week. The Suns have been thirsty for a point guard ever since Eric Bledsoe's infamous "I don't want to be here" tweet, and now they finally have one. De'Anthony Melton (34 percent rostered), a popular add last week, is not what they are looking for, and he can be dropped. Rivers is not a particularly great distributor, but he's good enough to facilitate an offense when playing next to Devin Booker, who will still handle much of the playmaking duties. Assuming Rivers quickly takes over as the starter, he should be a solid source or points and assists while adding meaningful contributions in steals and threes.

Emmanuel Mudiay, Knicks (64 percent rostered)
The Knicks roster is starting to stabilize. All season, this column has talked about the idea that once the constant rotation experiments ended (or, at least, slowed), several players could emerge with tons of Fantasy value. Well, Mudiay has played at least 30 minutes in six of the Knicks' last eight games. Over those eight games, he's averaging 18.5 points, 5.8 assists and 1.5 threes with a 46-38-82 shooting split. Trey Burke (25 percent rostered) could be a fly in the ointment, as he was injured for seven of those games, so his return could cut into Mudiay's minutes. Whether or not you add Mudiay, you should be monitoring Burke's minutes over the next few games. In Sunday's loss to Indiana, Burke came off the bench to play 13 minutes behind Mudiay.

Mudiay is not the biggest beneficiary of the Knicks' stabilizing rotation – that would be either Noah Vonleh (73 percent rostered) or Kevin Knox, Knicks (79 percent rostered), but they are already heavily rostered. Knox would be this week's top add if he were eligible. Vonleh has started 14 games in a row, averaging 30.0 minutes per contest. In that stretch, he played fewer than 30 minutes only four times and was in significant foul trouble in two of those instances. Knox has played at least 33 minutes in each of his last four games and is putting up 20 points per game in that span.

Trey Lyles, Nuggets (26 percent rostered)
Lyles has gone 0-for-9 from behind the arc over his last two games and 2-for-21 over his last four. He's struggled with his three-ball all season, but Lyles shot 38.1 percent from behind the arc in 2017-18 – at some point, his shooting will come around. I start by talking about his three-point shooting because if it weren't for that slump, his numbers since Paul Millsap (toe) went down would be stop-everything-and-go-add-him-immediately levels of impressive. In three games without Millsap, Lyles is averaging 9.0 points, 7.7 rebounds. 1.7 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.0 blocks. If you add two threes and six points to those averages – which would be in line with his career efficiency levels – he'd be fantastic.

Millsap is out for at least the next three-to-five weeks, and Lyles shined when Millsap missed 44 games in the middle of last season. Lyles' shooting slump and the Nuggets' two-game Week 10 cut into his immediate appeal, but Millsap's injury opens the door for Lyles to provide massive value over the next month. And speaking of Nuggets injuries, Monte Morris (33 percent rostered) is another solid addition with Gary Harris (hip) out for at least the next 2-3 weeks.

Kelly Oubre, Suns (57 percent rostered)
I've heard some rumblings that Oubre might be the big Fantasy winner of the weekend's Suns-Wizards trade. That strikes me as highly unlikely, and Oubre is more of a speculative add for me. The problem for Oubre is that his depth chart situation didn't get any better, and it might have gotten worse. In Washington, he was stuck behind Otto Porter, who has averaged at least 30 minutes per game for three straight seasons and is the Wizards' highest paid player.

But in Washington, Oubre was clearly the No. 2 small forward and the team's sixth man. If Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton are the Suns' two best players, then the Suns' third, fourth, fifth and sixth are all small forwards. If I were making the decisions in Phoenix, I'd try to use T.J. Warren and Josh Jackson as power forwards as much as I can so that I could spend as many small forward and backup shooting guard minutes as possible on Oubre and Mikal Bridges (28 percent rostered). But head coach Igor Kokoskov hasn't consulted with me (yet). All we know for certain is this:

Ariza's departure opened up 34.0 minutes per game in the Suns' rotation

Oubre was good enough that he was rostered in most deep leagues while averaging only 26.0 minutes per game for the Wizards

Oubre was the centerpiece of the package the Suns received for one of their best trade assets.

If that means that Oubre is about to play 30 minutes per game, then yes, Oubre should be added in most leagues. But the Suns could just as easily elect to keep Oubre at a similar workload and give the newly available minutes to Bridges or Jackson. Oubre is a speculative add with upside -- especially if the Suns end up making another move closer to the deadline -- but Bridges is also worth a look in most settings.

Other recommendations: Derrick Jones, Jr., Heat (7 percent rostered); Kelly Olynyk, Heat (43 percent rostered); JaMychal Green, Grizzlies (42 percent rostered); Tim Frazier, Pelicans (36 percent rostered); Rodney Hood, Cavaliers (47 percent rostered); Nemanja Bjelica, Kings (63 percent rostered); Joe Harris, Nets (46 percent rostered); Allen Crabbe, Nets (30 percent rostered)

Deep League Special

Greg Monroe, Raptors (4 percent rostered)
The memory of Greg Monroe: nightly double-double threat looms large in the mind of many Fantasy managers. Though he's only 28 years old, we have to accept that that player existed in a different league and is probably never coming back. Nonetheless, Moose's skillset is still very Fantasy friendly, so he can make an impact with only a small role in the rotation. With Jonas Valanciunas (thumb) now expected to miss the next month, Monroe should see an uptick in playing time. Valanciunas was only averaging 18.8 minutes per game, so there isn't a giant window here, which is why Monroe is only an option for deeper leagues. But he's looking at a month where he could be a solid source of points and rebounds, while tossing in a handful of assists.

Other recommendations: Kevin Huerter, Hawks (22 percent rostered); Richaun Holmes, Suns (21 percent rostered); Jeff Green, Wizards (17 percent rostered); Robert Williams, Celtics (5 percent rostered)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Rikleen
Rikleen writes the NBA column "Numbers Game," which decodes the math that underpins fantasy basketball and was a nominee for the 2016 FSWA Newcomer of the Year Award. A certified math teacher, Rikleen decided the field of education pays too well, so he left it for writing. He is a Boston College graduate living outside Boston.
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