Fantasy Basketball Week 7 Waiver Wire: Kevin Huerter again tops players to add

29 Nov 2021 | 10:23 | Basketball

Happy Thanksgiving, team. Thanks for spending some portion of your holiday weekend reading this column with me.

We’ve got good waiver wire news and bad waiver wire news. The good news is that there are several really good waiver wire prospects this week. The bad news is that several of them are repeat names from last week.

Next week is relatively slow and balanced schedule-wise. Only eight teams play four games, and no one day has a particularly large or small slate. The Pistons and Lakers both play only twice, but both teams finish their games before the weekend, so daily leagues managers can still use them and then sub in a replacement for the weekend.

As usual, 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
Kevin Heurter, Hawks (49% rostered)
Huerter tops this list for the second straight week. Since last week’s article, he’s clocked in as a top-90 player, averaging 13-3-4 and 2.3 3s in 30.0 minutes. He’s likely to stick in the Hawks’ starting lineup at least until De’Andre Hunter (wrist) returns, which is likely to be at least six more weeks away. He’s an all-leagues must-add.

Devin Vassell, Spurs (54% rostered)
Vassell jumps ahead of Alex Caruso for the second spot this week. Vassell is set to miss Friday’s game with a quad injury, but reports so far seem to indicate that the injury is minor and that he shouldn’t miss extended time. Vassell is still a bit inconsistent, but he’s starting to emerge as arguably the Spurs best long-term prospect. Before leaving Wednesday’s game early, he’d scored at least 15 points in five of his past six and averaged 4.2 rebounds, 2.2 3s, and 1.9 stocks over the previous month. As the sophomore continues to develop, hopefully his consistency will improve. He’s a solid producer right now, and his long-term upside is excellent.

Alex Caruso, Bulls (51% rostered)
Nikola Vucevic has returned, sending Caruso back to the bench and limiting his minutes and his upside. But Caruso was averaging 3.8 assists and 2.5 steals in 27.3 minutes before Vucevic’s illness, making him an excellent specialist, at worst. On Wednesday, with a fully healthy roster (except for Patrick Williams, who is out for the regular season), Caruso played 33 minutes and attempted 10 shots, both matching his season best for games with Vucevic active. If those numbers are a sign of a new role going forward, then Caruso borders on an all-leagues must-add. He’s considerably less valuable if his numbers fall closer to his averages before Vucevic went out, but even at those levels he’s still an attractive option for most managers.

Matisse Thybulle, 76ers (24% rostered)
After missing seven games, Thybulle is back to his full starting workload, averaging 33.0 minutes over the last two games. Before his injury, Thybulle was a top-55 player in 9-cat on the strength of his 2.3 steals and 1.7 blocks per game. He’s the worst scorer of all Fantasy-relevant players, but he’s so good elsewhere that that doesn’t matter. If your team is in the bottom 3-ish in points, I guarantee you have at least one player that you should be dropping for Thybulle.

Jarred Vanderbilt, Timberwolves (35% rostered)
Every time I swear I’m done with Vanderbilt for the season, he keeps winning me back. He’s finally become a regular starter, and he’s snagged double-digit rebounds in each of his last four games. Since re-entering the starting lineup two weeks ago, he’s averaging a massive 2.0 steals and 0.9 blocks, despite playing just 22.9 minutes.

He’s a promising 22-year-old prospect who appears to be rounding into a high impact starter, and his low workload means that there remains a lot of potential upside in addition to his already impressive productions. If it weren’t for the fact that I’ve already added and dropped Vanderbilt roughly 74 times so far this season, he’d be this week’s second recommended add, but I’m a little gun-shy after having been burned a few times already.

Brandon Clarke, Grizzlies (13% rostered)
Is Clarke back on the Fantasy map? Most have forgotten, but it was Clarke who was Fantasy’s top rookie in 2019-20 – not Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, RJ Barrett, Darius Garland, Tyler Herro, or anyone else in what’s turned out to be a strong draft class. He was a top-80 player in 9-cat that season, but slow development and a decrease in his FG% dropped him off the Fantasy radar as a sophomore. Through the first month of this season, Clarke’s third, he was playing only 15.0 minutes per game.

Over the last two games, Clarke has taken over a much larger role in the rotation, averaging 13-9-1 in 26.0 minutes. There were many factors contributing to Clarke’s initially small role, and it is not immediately obvious what led to the increase – which means it’s hard to know whether or not it will stick. Importantly, however, the entire Memphis frontcourt has been healthy for both games, so there is at least a chance that this new role has staying power (as opposed to being merely a time-restricted injury fill-in). I really like Clarke as a player, but the Grizzlies are very deep, so I don’t have a ton of confidence that he’s going to remain a 26-minutes-per-game player. But the worst-case scenario here is solid production for a few games, and the upside is a potential long-term top-100 player.

Eric Gordon, Rockets (36% rostered)
We’ve reached the boring but reliable veterans portion of the article. Gordon is a little more valuable than a high-end streamer, and he’s experiencing a boost right now after entering the starting lineup last week. In four games as a starter, he’s averaging 12-3-3 with 2.0 3s in 33.3 minutes. The Rockets have a four-game week next week, three of which are at home, and all of which are against bad teams. It’s a perfect schedule for a veteran.

Marcus Morris, Clippers (36% rostered)
Morris is back after missing 15 games, and played 31 minutes as a starter in his return to action. The last time Morris averaged 31 minutes in a season, 2019-20, he was just barely outside Fantasy’s top-100. That workload came with Nicolas Batum (Covid-19 protocols) sidelined, so the most likely scenario is that Morris ends up averaging closer to his 2020-21 workload of 26.3 minutes – which translated to top-150 production. Either way, he’s worth rostering at least until Batum is back, and it’s possible he sticks around in lineups longer than that.

Other recommendations: Alec Burks, Knicks (24% rostered); Patty Mills, Nets (46% rostered); Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (31% rostered); Herbert Jones, Pelicans (6% rostered); Monte Morris, Nuggets (42% rostered); Nerlens Noel, Knicks (24% rostered); Isaac Okoro, Cavaliers (20% rostered)

Long-term stash
Marvin Bagley, Kings (38% rostered)
The Kings finally sacked coach Luke Walton. One impact of the coaching change is that Bagley has entered the rotation for the first time this season. So far, he’s only played five games, skipping the second night of a back-to-back, and averaging just 5.4 points and 5.4 rebounds in 15.4 minutes. Those levels of production are useless, and if you need short-term help you should not even consider rostering Bagley.

If you’ve got a roster spot and the ability to be patient, however, Bagley is worth a look. He put up very similar numbers in each of his first three seasons – roughly 14-8-1 and small contributions in steals, blocks and 3s in 26 minutes per game. There are multiple avenues for him to get back to at least those levels of production, either through working his way into game shape or through trade to a team that wants him. Neither of those possibilities are guaranteed, and if they do happen we don’t know when. But there is enough potential to warrant a stash if you have the flexibility to withstand it.