NBA Waiver Wire: Best Adds for Week 5

NBA Waiver Wire: Best Adds for Week 5

This article is part of our NBA Waiver Wire series.

Welcome back. We've got good news, bad news, good news, and bad news, in that order. 

The good news is there are tons of very attractive options on the waiver wire this week. The bad news is that many of them are listed here because their teammates suffered injuries or illness. The other good news is most of those injuries and/or illnesses should be short term. But the bad news is that means many of this week's top adds have a limited shelf life.

Another bonus bit of good news: I'm here to try to help you through it.

As for this week's schedule, a couple of notes: The Spurs are the only team with two games. The Warriors and the Clippers have the most attractive schedules in Week 5 – both teams play four games including one on Tuesday's tiny three-game slate.

Five of the six teams that play Tuesday also play Thursday and are off for Monday's and Wednesday's large 11-game slate (the Spurs, 76ers and Jazz round out the group; the Nets have a Tuesday-Wednesday back-to-back). Meanwhile, the Hawks, Cavaliers, Rockets and Trail Blazers have the worst schedules, as they play just three games, including two on the busy Monday and Wednesday slates.

As is the case each week, 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

Welcome back. We've got good news, bad news, good news, and bad news, in that order. 

The good news is there are tons of very attractive options on the waiver wire this week. The bad news is that many of them are listed here because their teammates suffered injuries or illness. The other good news is most of those injuries and/or illnesses should be short term. But the bad news is that means many of this week's top adds have a limited shelf life.

Another bonus bit of good news: I'm here to try to help you through it.

As for this week's schedule, a couple of notes: The Spurs are the only team with two games. The Warriors and the Clippers have the most attractive schedules in Week 5 – both teams play four games including one on Tuesday's tiny three-game slate.

Five of the six teams that play Tuesday also play Thursday and are off for Monday's and Wednesday's large 11-game slate (the Spurs, 76ers and Jazz round out the group; the Nets have a Tuesday-Wednesday back-to-back). Meanwhile, the Hawks, Cavaliers, Rockets and Trail Blazers have the worst schedules, as they play just three games, including two on the busy Monday and Wednesday slates.

As is the case each week, 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

A few names right at the cut line, rostered in roughly two-thirds of leagues, who are still under-rostered. Double-check to make sure they aren't available in your league.

Dillon Brooks, Grizzlies (77% rostered)

Jalen Brunson, Mavericks (81% rostered)

Seth Curry, 76ers (74% rostered)

Adds For All Leagues

Bobby Portis (60% rostered) and Grayson Allen, Bucks (59% rostered)

I'm sorry if you're sick of me harping on these two. The good news is, after next week, they'll probably be too widely rostered to qualify for this space. So, for one last (hopefully) week, let's run through why I'm so high on the "other" Bucks' starters. 

There are two open starter spots after Milwaukee's big three. The consensus opinion was that those would go to Donte DiVincenzo (ankle) and Brook Lopez (back), but both players are out and without a timeline for return. DiVincenzo never had a firm hold over his spot, and Lopez is 33 years old and averaged just 27 minutes as a starter last year. At a minimum, Allen and Portis probably have the starting roles at least until DiVincenzo and Lopez get healthy.

Allen may have already played himself into the long-term starting role. Meanwhile, Portis' play plus Lopez's age should lock the former into a larger role than he had last season (21 minutes per game) when both are active, even if Lopez reclaims the official starting spot.

Statistically, both players can score. Allen is a little better than a three-point specialist, while Portis is a multi-category maestro whose only big drawback is his FG%.

Davion Mitchell, Kings (50% rostered)

In real basketball terms, Mitchell made an immediate impact. His defensive prowess earned him an immediate role with meaningful minutes in a surprisingly crowded Kings' backcourt depth chart. But, at least at first, the only stats he was racking up were minutes. That has started to change.

He's averaging 13-4-5 and 1.5 threes in November, up from 8-2-3 and 1.0 in October. Unfortunately, though the defensive impact is obvious, it isn't translating to steals or blocks – at least, not yet. Even without defensive contributions, he's already doing enough to be rosterable, and there's justifiable optimism that some defensive stats will come eventually. 

Gary Payton, Warriors (7% rostered)

Payton's seen a surge in his minutes over the past five games. After playing fewer than 10 minutes in five of Golden State's first six, he's averaged 18.4 over this more recent stretch. His primary value is his defense, recording a whopping 2.2 steals per game despite his limited role. 

He doesn't attempt many threes, which helps his FG% – he's going to be particularly useful in certain punt builds as an atypical guard who hurts in assists and threes but helps in rebounds and FG%, in addition to his awesome steals. Payton's low scoring and limited minutes makes him hard to roster for some managers, but he's a deep-league must have with punt appeal for much shallower leagues. 

Herbert Jones, Pelicans (5% rostered)

I talked about Jones last week, but he just returned from a three-game absence so I want to call attention to him again. As I described last week, this is a big dart throw, for a bunch of reasons. And Brandon Ingram (hip) may be returning soon, further complicating things. But I'm highly intrigued by the second-round pick rookie who was elevated to the starting lineup in just his second NBA game. 

Other recommendations: Shake Milton, 76ers (48% rostered); Ivica Zubac, Clippers (43% rostered); Josh Hart, Pelicans (45% rostered); Luguentz Dort, Thunder (42% rostered); Anfernee Simons, Trail Blazers (31% rostered)

High-value Short-term Plays

Thaddeus Young, Spurs (51% rostered)

Boring and reliable, Young is once again on the fantasy radar while Jakob Poeltl (COVID-19 protocols) is out. Except, through the first four games without Poeltl, Young forgot that his box scores are supposed to be boring: he is averaging 12-6-5 with 3.3 stocks in 24.3 minutes. He'll probably be droppable when Poeltl comes back, but we can worry about that later. 

Frank Kaminsky, Suns (9% rostered)

This recommendation is predicated upon Deandre Ayton's (leg) absence. We don't have a timeline on Ayton, but the Suns are treating him as game-to-game, so there's a chance that Kaminsky's usefulness dries up real fast. In the four games Ayton missed in November, Kaminsky is averaging 19-5-2 with 2.3 stocks in 28.0 minutes per game. 

Georges Niang, 76ers (33% rostered)

As the 76ers get healthier, Niang will probably become more of a deep-league only option. But they're not healthy yet and the 76ers have an attractive schedule next week. I went into more depth on Niang last week, but the tl;dr is that Niang can benefit regardless of which starter is injured, and that when he gets enough minutes he's a solid source of scoring and threes who won't harm managers in any category. 

If Niang is unavailable, his teammate, Furkan Korkmaz (29% rostered), is a solid consolation prize.

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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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