Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire - Look to George, Mays, Robinson for Week 5

Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire - Look to George, Mays, Robinson for Week 5

This article is part of our NBA Waiver Wire series.

Welcome back! Another absolutely loaded week on the waiver wire. Once again, we've got some high-value long-term-holds (what are you waiting for with Keyonte George?) as well as a number of excellent short-term fill-ins. 

There are so many players this week that we're cutting the intro short. Read on and go add some guys.

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.

Double-check your league

Players rostered in more than two-thirds of leagues, but who are still under-rostered. Double-check to make sure they aren't available in your league.

Tim Hardaway Jr., Mavericks (68% rostered)

Jalen Suggs, Magic (69% rostered)

Adds for all leagues

Keyonte George, Jazz (64% rostered)

George is an immediate, stop-reading-go-add-him-then-come-back-and-finish-the-article, all-teams and all-leagues must-add. Some managers will be deterred by his low scoring, but that's a mistake. The most important thing about George is the progress he's already shown. During the pre-draft process, passing and playmaking was considered one of his weaknesses; now he's averaging 9.0 assists per game as a starter! That would be good for third in the league! He entered the season as Utah's 11th man (literally the 11th player to enter their first two games), and in just eight games earned a promotion into the starting lineup without an injury above him on the depth chart. As George continues to improve,

Welcome back! Another absolutely loaded week on the waiver wire. Once again, we've got some high-value long-term-holds (what are you waiting for with Keyonte George?) as well as a number of excellent short-term fill-ins. 

There are so many players this week that we're cutting the intro short. Read on and go add some guys.

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.

Double-check your league

Players rostered in more than two-thirds of leagues, but who are still under-rostered. Double-check to make sure they aren't available in your league.

Tim Hardaway Jr., Mavericks (68% rostered)

Jalen Suggs, Magic (69% rostered)

Adds for all leagues

Keyonte George, Jazz (64% rostered)

George is an immediate, stop-reading-go-add-him-then-come-back-and-finish-the-article, all-teams and all-leagues must-add. Some managers will be deterred by his low scoring, but that's a mistake. The most important thing about George is the progress he's already shown. During the pre-draft process, passing and playmaking was considered one of his weaknesses; now he's averaging 9.0 assists per game as a starter! That would be good for third in the league! He entered the season as Utah's 11th man (literally the 11th player to enter their first two games), and in just eight games earned a promotion into the starting lineup without an injury above him on the depth chart. As George continues to improve, and as injuries (and trades?) inevitably hit the higher-volume scorers around him, the points will rise. In the meantime, even if the low points are a problem for your roster build, a league leader in assists is way too valuable to leave on the waiver wire.

Skylar Mays, Trail Blazers (48% rostered)

It's been a big week and a half for Mays. Nine days ago, he was a deep bench option on a two-way contract. Then Malcolm Brogdon (hamstring) got hurt, and all of a sudden Mays isn't just on the full-time roster, he's starting and averaging 13-3-9 across 33.0 minutes per game. Portland hasn't provided a timeline on Brogdon, but given the various factors – Brogdon's injury history, typical hamstring recovery time, and the Blazers' tanking – it's probably safe to assume a return is not exactly imminent. Mays' ability to provide near double-digit assists, even if only for a short while, makes him a "must add".

Duncan Robinson, Heat (33% rostered)

Robinson was already on the fringe of rosterability before Tyler Herro (ankle) got hurt. Now, with Herro set to miss at least a few more weeks, Robinson has been thrust into the starting lineup. He's thriving in the new role, averaging 20-4-3 with 3.8 threes in 35.8 minutes. He's a priority pickup in the short term with the added chance that he can linger on rosters. As long as Herro is out, Robinson is a points and threes specialist on steroids. His role will diminish when Herro returns, but there's the possibility that Robinson's strong play will earn him extra minutes moving forward.

Brandin Podziemski, Warriors (15% rostered)

Draymond Green (suspension) is out for at least four more games, and Podziemski is thriving in an increased role during Green's absence. The rookie is averaging 18-8-4 with 3.0 threes per game over his last two games, an indication of what he's capable of over the next few outings. Furthermore, head coach Steve Kerr has made a few comments lately implying that Podziemski had earned a larger role in the rotation even after Green returns. I'm not sure he'll maintain 12-team value beyond the next four games, but it'll be worth holding to find out.

Jordan Hawkins, Pelicans (55% rostered)

Nothing new that we didn't cover last week. The Pelicans have all of the injuries, we have no idea when anyone is returning, but even when they do they're likely to get hurt again soon. Hawkins is doing well with his "I'm the only one still healthy" increased role. He's most valuable for points and threes, though the 6'4" rookie is showing surprising proficiency as a rebounder, too. Dyson Daniels (27% rostered) is also benefiting from all the injuries, and is listed in the other recommendations section below.

Marcus Sasser, Pistons (30% rostered)

Sasser's workload took a massive hit Tuesday, playing just eight minutes. Part of that was due to Jaden Ivey (illness) returning to more of a full workload. Sasser's minutes were trending up before Ivey got sick, so that is only a partial explanation. Tuesday serves as a reminder that it might be a bumpy road for Sasser all season. That said, I remain impressed by his performance and the way he steadily earned more minutes through the first month of the season. Regardless of how deep or shallow your league is, I'd want to add or hold Sasser if you have a deep bench. If you have a shallow bench, however, dropping or passing on him makes sense right now.

Bismack Biyombo, Grizzlies (36% rostered)

You know the thing in the Spiderverse movies where they introduce each new spider-person with a reluctant, "let's do this one more time"? (If not, go see those movies, they're excellent.) That's how I feel having to talk about Biyombo in a waiver column for the 13th consecutive season. We know who Biyombo is. He's a boring almost-double-double machine who helps a little, but not a lot, in blocks. The Grizzlies are desperate for a functional center, and since they couldn't find one of those, they picked up a pretty decent knock-off they found from a street vendor. If you, like the Grizzlies, are desperate for generic big man stats, Biyombo is good enough.

Other recommendations: Bilal Coulibaly, Wizards (48% rostered); Daniel Gafford, Wizards (60% rostered); Coby White, Bulls (66% rostered); Dyson Daniels, Pelicans (27% rostered); Malik Monk, Kings (60% rostered); Reggie Jackson, Nuggets (36% rostered); Jaime Jaquez Jr., Heat (32% rostered); Jonathan Isaac, Magic (13% rostered); Dennis Smith Jr., Nets (6% rostered) Rui Hachimura, Lakers (37% rostered)

Take note

Trey Murphy, Pelicans (39% rostered)
Murphy, when healthy and playing a large role, is a Fantasy force. Over the last 19 games of 2022-23, Murphy averaged 20-3-2 with 1.5 steals and 3.8 threes while posting a 51-45-90 shooting split. Fantastic stuff. Unfortunately, Murphy plays for the Pelicans, which means he's connected to the most cursed or poorly managed medical team in the NBA (opinions as to which vary, but it's definitely one of those). He suffered a meniscus injury in early September. Meniscus injuries are, to use a highly medical term, weird. Recovery timelines vary widely, as does the rate and risk of reinjury, as well as the effectiveness of the player when they do return.

There's a lot we don't know, but there are two pieces of information we do have. First, Murphy is now in the window initially given for his estimated return to play. Second, he has begun participating in team activities, including participating in shootaround before Tuesday's game. Return-to-play timelines are always tentative, but that's especially true with a meniscus injury. We still don't know when he'll return, what his ramp up will look like, or how effective he'll be. But it's worth noting that his return could come soon.

Miles Bridges, Hornets (81% rostered)

Bridges is a multi-time domestic violence perpetrator. He was suspended after pleading "no contest" to one assault. Then, in October, we learned that he was facing more legal consequences for an entirely new slate of disgusting charges (the legal case is still pending, and Bridges is entitled to the presumption of innocence during his legal proceedings, but we thinking non-jury members are well within our rights to make the logical assumption about his culpability). I'm shocked that the NBA is letting him return to action without another suspension. I'm shocked the Hornets are willing to take the PR hit of letting him play, whether or not there is another suspension. Nonetheless, he appears set to play Friday.

When Bridges last played, he was a valuable Fantasy producer. Players who miss an entire season – for any reason – often see a production hit when they return. That said, Bridges is just 25 years old and fully healthy. For some managers, rostering someone like Bridges undermines the fun of playing Fantasy. Others, however, are able to compartmentalize his behavior from his production. If you are in the latter group, then Bridges is a must add.

Deep league special

Note: multiple players rostered in less than 20% of leagues are listed in the "other recommendations" for all leagues section, above.

Sam Hauser, Celtics (9% rostered)

Despite a low minutes load, Hauser has been a stable source of production this season, scoring double-digit points in six of his last eight games. He's averaging 12-3-1 during that stretch while adding a respectable 1.0 stocks per game. Where he really thrives, of course, is behind the arc, where he's shooting 44.8% and draining nearly three per game. Importantly, Hauser adds some upside, as he proved Wednesday when he got the starting nod while Jaylen Brown (illness) and Kristaps Porzingis (knee) were out. Though Hauser's box score from that game wasn't exciting, the fact that he's the one who was selected to play 35 minutes is a good sign for the inevitable veteran rest games still to come.

Other recommendations: Jonathan Isaac, Magic (13% rostered); Dennis Smith Jr., Nets (6% rostered); Isaiah Hartenstein, Knicks (9% rostered); Haywood Highsmith, Heat (11% rostered); Jacob Gilyard, Grizzlies (2% 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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