NBA Waiver Wire: Rozier Worth a Look?

NBA Waiver Wire: Rozier Worth a Look?

This article is part of our NBA Waiver Wire series.

After some complicated schedule analysis, I've determined that five games is a lot. That's how many games the Nuggets play in Week 13. It will be the fourth of just five such weeks for any team this entire season.

Unfortunately for us, there aren't a whole lot of Nuggets who look like worthwhile waiver pickups right now. So while you should be firing up any and all Nuggets in weekly leagues, none of them look like good longer term pickups. The following are the Nuggets who are widely available and worth considering for their Week 13 schedule, but who would not otherwise receive mention in this article (listed, as always, in the order I'd recommend them):

Mason Plumlee (14 percent rostered)
Torrey Craig (1 percent rostered)
Juancho Hernangomez (24 percent rostered)
Monte Morris (21 percent rostered)
Trey Lyles (6 percent rostered)
Malik Beasley (27 percent rostered) squeaks in at the end of the other recommendations list, below. That means that I'd add him before any of the other five just listed.

As it turns out, despite the Nuggets' schedule, the top of the recommended additions are players benefiting from injured teammates. It's an old formula, but it's tried and true. Most owners have already picked up Josh Hart (55 percent rostered) after LeBron James' (groin) injury, so the players to pick up are those filling in for injured All-Star point guards Kyrie Irving (eye) and Chris Paul (hamstring).

This article will focus on players available in at least 50

After some complicated schedule analysis, I've determined that five games is a lot. That's how many games the Nuggets play in Week 13. It will be the fourth of just five such weeks for any team this entire season.

Unfortunately for us, there aren't a whole lot of Nuggets who look like worthwhile waiver pickups right now. So while you should be firing up any and all Nuggets in weekly leagues, none of them look like good longer term pickups. The following are the Nuggets who are widely available and worth considering for their Week 13 schedule, but who would not otherwise receive mention in this article (listed, as always, in the order I'd recommend them):

Mason Plumlee (14 percent rostered)
Torrey Craig (1 percent rostered)
Juancho Hernangomez (24 percent rostered)
Monte Morris (21 percent rostered)
Trey Lyles (6 percent rostered)
Malik Beasley (27 percent rostered) squeaks in at the end of the other recommendations list, below. That means that I'd add him before any of the other five just listed.

As it turns out, despite the Nuggets' schedule, the top of the recommended additions are players benefiting from injured teammates. It's an old formula, but it's tried and true. Most owners have already picked up Josh Hart (55 percent rostered) after LeBron James' (groin) injury, so the players to pick up are those filling in for injured All-Star point guards Kyrie Irving (eye) and Chris Paul (hamstring).

This article will focus on players available in at least 50 percent of leagues. Players are listed in the order I'd recommend adding them.

Terry Rozier, Celtics (49 percent rostered)
Next week's schedule: Bkn, Ind, at Mia, at Orl
When Kyrie Irving (eye) is out, Rozier is an auto-play. Rozier has started in each of Irving's three missed games so far this season, averaging 16.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 2.7 threes and 2.3 steals in 33.3 minutes. Rozier doesn't provide the typical assist-heavy production profile of a starting point guard, but when he sees enough minutes his overall numbers are more than enough to warrant a starting spot in 10-team leagues. We don't really have any idea how long Irving will be out for – could be just another game or two, or it could be a lot more – but the value Rozier provides in Irving's absence is so great that Rozier should be picked up everywhere for as long as he remains the starter.

Austin Rivers, Rockets (11 percent rostered)
Next week's schedule: Den, Mil, Cle, at Orl
When the dust settled from last month's trades and roster movements, Rivers ended up on a Rockets team that is without Chris Paul (hamstring) and has no idea when they will get him back. The initial timeline the Rockets provided projected that Paul would return sometime within the next two weeks, but Paul said on New Year's Day that he had "no clue" when he would return to the court – an ominous signal implying a longer absence.

In his five games as a Rocket, Rivers is averaging 37.2 minutes. That alone should be enough to warrant fantasy intrigue. His production has been mild – 12.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.4 threes – but enough to justify adding, especially in light of his hefty minutes load.

Chandler Hutchison, Bulls (2 percent rostered)
Next week's schedule: at Por, at GS, at Uta
The Bulls just traded away Justin Holiday, opening up a gigantic hole in their rotation. Holiday had been averaging 34.9 minutes per game this season, the 14th-most in the league. It's not totally clear how those minutes will be dispersed, but Hutchison, Ryan Arcidiacono (3 percent rostered), Wayne Selden (0 percent rostered), MarShon Brooks (1 percent rostered), or even a return from the not-technically-dead-yet Jabari Parker (38 percent rostered) are all realistic candidates.

Hutchison will get the start on Friday, so he'll get first crack at the job, but it may take a few days to settle out. And, of course, there's no guarantee that any replacement becomes fantasy relevant.

If you're looking for the speculative pickup here, Hutchison looks like the best bet. Assuming he's the big beneficiary, his best categories will probably be rebounding and threes. If you want an upside swing-for-the-fences-but-definitely-might-hit-a-pop-fly-out pickup, go for Parker. Of the waiver pickups who might benefit here, Parker's game is the most fantasy-friendly.

Bryn Forbes, Spurs (30 percent rostered)
Next week's schedule: at Det, at Mem, OKC, at OKC
As has been discussed a few times earlier this season, managers should strongly consider having a rotating spot on their roster for insert currently hot three-point shooter here. The nature of the modern NBA requires fantasy teams to make more threes than ever before, and the nature of threes is that players go through hot and cold streaks. This roster spot is the one that, in a previous season, would be used for someone like a mid-decade C.J. Miles or, if you were lucky, J.J. Redick.

In 2018-19, however, this roster spot should be more of a semi-streamer – not necessarily a spot for daily or weekly movement, but a spot that still sees multiple add-drops per month.

This week, the player to add for your threes and points injection is Forbes, who has relocated his lost jump-shot. Forbes had already had several lengthy stretches of exceptional shooting – six games at 46 percent behind the arc; eight games at 56 percent; five games at 48 percent – before hitting a cold streak for most of December. Over the first nine games of that month, his long-range shooting fell below 29 percent. As typically happens when a player most valuable for his shooting goes cold, his minutes fell, and Forbes fell back onto the waiver wire in most leagues. But he's back now, in the midst of what might be his best streak of the season: over his last eight games, he's averaging 15.5 points and 3.0 threes in 30.9 minutes while shooting 52 percent from three-point land.

Other recommendations:Jeff Green, Wizards (35 percent rostered); Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Lakers (46 percent rostered); DeMarre Carroll, Nets (13 percent rostered); Gerald Green, Rockets (3 percent rostered); Dion Waiters, Heat (8 percent rostered); Willy Hernangomez, Hornets (24 percent rostered); Malik Beasley, Nuggets (27 percent rostered); Dante Exum, Jazz (7 percent rostered)

A note on Alex Len, Hawks (21 percent rostered): I'm of the firm belief than Len is not a particularly good NBA player, and that every time he flashes onto the fantasy radar it will be brief and should be ignored. That said, I feel it would be negligent to publish this article without acknowledging his last six games, during which he has averaged 16.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.3 assists in 25.5 minutes.

He started three of those games, all due to an injury to either Dewayne Dedmon or John Collins. That level of production is good enough to roster in all formats. Outside of deep leagues, however, I do not recommend adding Len, as I do not believe in his ability to sustain this production. That said, if you disagree with my assessment of Len and his long-term potential, his recent numbers would warrant placing him high on this week's list of recommended add. Personally, I'm not going to add him in any league.

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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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