Hello all, welcome back. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving (or a super swell Thursday, for our non-American readers). I bet I know one thing you're not thankful for – the absurd rash of injuries that tore through the NBA last week.
While we lucked out and got Ja Morant back after just one game, other stars have not been as lucky. Chris Paul (heel) and LeBron James (groin) remain stuck in a questionable-out loop (though there are indications James may return Friday), and Joel Embiid (foot) is about to miss his third game on what the 76ers initially implied would be a two-game injury. Damian Lillard (calf) is facing a longer absence. And those are just the new injuries to All-NBA caliber guys. All this carnage is brutal on our rosters, but it does add some intrigue and import to our waiver wire questing.
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
Shake Milton, 76ers (54% rostered)
In most leagues, it's too late to grab De'Anthony Melton (74% rostered), though he is the better pickup if both are available. But even if Melton is already gone, you can still benefit from the 76ers' decimated backcourt. James Harden (foot) is out for at least another week, and Tyrese Maxey (foot) is out for at least two more. In the three games since Maxey joined Harden on the sidelines, Milton is averaging an incredible 22-6-5 in 37.7 minutes. He provides no defense, but with points, rebounds and assists like that, we shouldn't be picking nits. He's an all-leagues must-start until Harden returns. Georges Niang, 76ers (5% rostered), listed in the Other Recommendations below, is also a beneficiary of the 76ers' many injuries.
Jalen Williams, Thunder (39% rostered)
Williams' production is all over the place, but he's steadily increasing in one crucial area: minutes. After playing 20.8 minutes in his first four non-injured games, he bumped up to 26.0 over his next four. That increased further over his last five, to 30.8. Williams is a high-upside rookie with a great chance to eventually claim a starting spot for Oklahoma City. It might be a bumpy ride, but he's providing enough scoring and 3s that it's worth grabbing him now and holding on for the potential long-term upside.
John Konchar, Grizzlies (31% rostered)
The initial timeline for Desmond Bane's (toe) return could have him back sometime this week, but we don't have any recent updates confirming that he is close to a return. Konchar has been the biggest beneficiary of Bane's absence, starting and averaging 33.4 minutes per game. He's putting up 12-9-3 during that stretch, and his numbers look even better if you focus only on the last three games. He's also a steady source of steals and 3s with solid shooting efficiency. A well-rounded steady producer usable in all leagues until Ban returns.
Torrey Craig, Suns (21% rostered)
Craig has mostly escaped notice the past few weeks, but he's quietly become an excellent Fantasy pickup since Cameron Johnson (knee) went down. Most importantly, he's averaging 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks since replacing Johnson as a starter. He's a slight negative on the shooting stats, but his volume is low enough that it barely matters. His only negative is his scoring, but even that has improved as he earned more minutes. After playing just 23.3 minutes across his first three starts, Craig is up to 30.2 minutes over his last six, with 11.7 points through that stretch. The early end of Johnson's return window is still nearly two weeks away, and recent NBA history with this injury suggests that the Suns should be careful not to rush him back. Craig probably has several more weeks of viability.
Shaedon Sharpe, Trail Blazers (31% rostered)
With Lillard expected to miss at least another week, Sharpe is the top waiver prospect in Portland. It might be a bumpy ride, and Sharpe is coming off two of his worst games as a pro. But in Lillard's first absence, Sharpe got the start, and he played 27 minutes – one of his highest totals this season. His wretched play pushed him to the bench and limited his minutes in Lillard's second absence, but Sharpe could have a few games of Fantasy viability coming as long as he can turn it around quickly.
Other recommendations: Mo Bamba, Magic (37% rostered); Alec Burks, Pistons (24% rostered); Thaddeus Young, Raptors (10% rostered); Bruce Brown, Nuggets (51% rostered); Larry Nance, Pelicans (36% rostered); Reggie Jackson, Clippers (46% rostered); Austin Reaves, Lakers (11% rostered); Georges Niang, 76ers (5% rostered); Jaden McDaniels, Timberwolves (51% rostered); Caleb Martin, Heat (28% rostered); Grant Williams, Celtics (30% rostered); Deni Avdija, Wizards (29% rostered); Talen Horton-Tucker, Jazz (15% rostered);
Take note: several players with roster rates below 20% - such as Thaddeus Young, Austin Reaves, and Georges Niang – are listed in the "Other Recommendations" section above. This means that I view those players as worth considering even in standard-sized leagues, making them more valuable than the players listed below.
Yuta Watanabe, Nets (7% rostered)
Watanabe is set to sit out Friday, missing his third straight game with a hamstring injury. I want to highlight him here anyway, channeling some optimism that he'll return shortly. Watanabe put up 15-4-2 on incredible shooting efficiency (63% FG, 86% FT) in 24.0 minutes per game during his last four outings, and he seems to be earning a larger role in Brooklyn's rotation. The Nets have six players they trust on a good day, so plenty of minutes are available if a bench player can prove worthy. Watanabe still has a long way to go, but there is plenty of opportunity available if he can claim it.
Other recommendations: Quentin Grimes, Knicks (11% rostered); Paul Reed, 76ers (4% rostered); Jose Alvarado, Pelicans (7% rostered); AJ Griffin, Hawks (10% rostered)