A third of our fantasy regular season has passed and i hope your teams are all looking good in the standings. This past week has been all about ‘REDEMPTION’ for most of the players we’re going to discuss here. As usual, our week’s not complete without new injuries though many are on the mend and will be coming back soon. Brandon Clarke will be joining Ja Morant on the sidelines after aggravating his sore oblique. Thomas Bryant meanwhile will also be out for at least 4 weeks with a stress reaction in his right foot. On the other hand, Kyle Lowry, D’Angelo Russell, Kevon Looney and Kevin Huerter made their return from injuries while Marvin Bagley is due to return any day now.
Just this week we have seen some inspiring performances from players we’ve pretty much written off from the NBA. Markelle Fultz (50% owned) continued his strong play and is my top redemption story of the season. He has found a home in Orlando and is flourishing as a starter. He should be owned in all standard leagues. Dwight Howard (45% owned) has regained back his mojo and is thriving with the Lakers. It’s been pretty fun watching him destroy opposing 2nd units this season. Who would have thought about Carmelo Anthony (72% owned) winning Player of the Week honors after a year and 11 days hiatus from the league? Man, this season has been pretty crazy since draft day and free agency. Now take a look at this week’s waiver wire pick-ups who are looking to redeem themselves and help you win next week’s match-ups.
DE’ANTHONY MELTON – MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES PG/SG
Strengths: Boards, Dimes, Swipes
Availability: 92% of Yahoo Leagues (4 games next week)
Last week, I recommended Tyus Jones as the pick-up in Memphis after Ja Morant’s injury was announced. But boy, he made me look silly! Though I also did tweet this out to my credit haha! De’Anthony Melton has outplayed Tyus Jones in the three games since Morant’s injury. Melton flirted with a triple double in his first game out of the doghouse and has been good ever since. He’s averaged 11.0 points, 7.0 boards, 6.3 dimes, 1.7 steals and 0.3 blocks in 26 mins per game. He started the second half of their last game against the Bulls which doesn’t bode well for Tyus. Melton is such a stat magnet and I think he will make a case as the back-up once Morant comes back from injury. He could also might be able to steal some minutes at the 2 since no shooting guard in Memphis is trustworthy.
DWIGHT POWELL- DALLAS MAVERICKS PF/C
Strengths: FG% (Top 70 potential)
Availability: 63% of Yahoo Leagues (2 games next week followed by a 4 game week)
Dwight Powell and my fantasy teams have a love-hate relationship. In almost all of the leagues where I drafted him, I let Fred Van Vleet slip from my grasp. Looking back, I squirm in disgust whenever I see FVV drop a gem of a performance game after game. To be fair though, Powell did well at the start of the season. But during Doncic’s amazing run of triple double performances, Dwight piled up the duds. In his last three games though, he looked a bit better and more engaged. He dropped a gem of a performance against the T-Wolves in his last game, scoring 24 points, grabbing 5 rebounds, dishing 4 assists, stole the ball once and swatting 2 shots. He was a perfect 9 of 9 from the field and only missing once in 5 attempts at the free-throw line. This could be his high mark for the season but I hope this performance gets him going and reward us with a top-100 value moving forward.
DERRICK WHITE – SAN ANTONIO SPURS PG/SG
Strengths: FG%, Blocks
Availability: 58% of Yahoo Leagues
Derrick White belongs to those players drafted in the 90 to 100 range that continues to disappoint his owners. I was a big fan of White ever since I saw his 6-block performance against the Hawks during fantasy playoffs last season. He did disappoint a lot of his owners this year however because Coach Gregg Popovich can’t get over his man crush over Bryn Forbes, as he continues to play him over White. Many of us are still hoping for a Derrick White-Dejounte Murray starting backcourt that could terrorize opposing guards but the stubborn man in San Antonio just won’t let that happen. Derrick has played better as of late since being inserted back into the starting lineup. In the last two weeks, White has averaged a modest 10.7 points, 1.7 boards, 4.0 dimes, 0.3 steals, 0.3 blocks and 1.5 treys with only 1.3 turnovers per game. He is shooting 50% from the field and 75% from the line. I expect those defensive numbers to increase in the coming games as he familiarizes himself with the starters. He can only get better from here.
RAJON RONDO – LOS ANGELES LAKERS PG
Availability: 65% of Yahoo Leagues
I can’t believe I’m writing this now, but Rajon Rondo is a standard league add right now. In their last game against the Jazz, Rajon narrowly missed a triple double by a rebound. It was a masterful, 14/9/12/2 line with 2 treys in 32 minutes. This came of course from the thrashing of the Jazz, where most of those minutes were garbage time special. It was still nonetheless, a big-time performance for the veteran. In limited minutes this year, Rondo is averaging 8.8 points, 3.6 boards, 6.1 dimes and 1.0 steal. That production is useful in standard leagues specially that Rondo is shooting at career-high percentages this season.
LONNIE WALKER IV (5% owned) exploded for 28 points, 4 treys, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and 1 block in a win against the Rockets. He was the hero for the Spurs that night, doing much of his damage in the 4th quarter and showed poise in crunchtime. He might’ve impressed Coach Pop and could get sustainable playing time moving forward.
DAMIAN JONES (8% owned) scored a career-high 20 points on 8-of-8 from the field while also snatching 8 rebounds. He scored 16 points and also grabbed 8 rebounds in his previous game. He is coming on and I think will only get better from here. The caveat though is he’s shooting better from the field than the free-throw line.
JAXSON HAYES (17% owned) has late-season upside written over him. The other Pelican centers just can’t seem to shake the injuries and a healthy Okafor DNP-CD could mean that Hayes has thumped him over. Last Thursday’s 17-point, 5-rebound and 5-block performance should have cemented his role.
TY JEROME (1% owned) has made quite a buzz during his NBA debut. He tallied 4 points, 4 assists and 3 steals in 12 minutes and followed it up with a 5/1/7/2 performance in 18 minutes. He could make a decent role and supplant Jevon Carter and Elie Okobo as the primary back-up to Ricky Rubio. Just keep him on your watchlist as his assist and steal ratios are phenomenal.