NBA Waiver Wire: Simons, Claxton Among Top Adds For Week 13

NBA Waiver Wire: Simons, Claxton Among Top Adds For Week 13

This article is part of our NBA Waiver Wire series.

Hello! Welcome! Lots of promising pickups this week, so let's get to it. 

Frankly, this was a fun article to write. Though the rest of the US is still experiencing a COVID surge, the NBA's outbreak is clearly slowing down (finally) – which makes it easy to continue focusing on players whose increasing Fantasy value isn't tied to this interminable disease.

On top of that, there are several excellent prospects available, many of whom have strong potential to stick on rosters for the remainder of the season. Fantasy basketball was unusually challenging over the past month or so, but this silly hobby is slowly starting to feel like it's supposed to again. 

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

Anfernee Simons, Trail Blazers (52% rostered)

I'm in full Damian Lillard panic mode – which has Simons skyrocketing up my rest of season ranks. The Blazers are only one game back from the play-in, but they seem to be in a completely separate tier from the West's top nine. Lillard is struggling through a weird abdominal injury, and seems to have not yet fully adapted to the NBA's new ball. If ever there was a year to let him rest (and improve draft positioning along the way), this is it. Basic logic, combined with recent reporting

Hello! Welcome! Lots of promising pickups this week, so let's get to it. 

Frankly, this was a fun article to write. Though the rest of the US is still experiencing a COVID surge, the NBA's outbreak is clearly slowing down (finally) – which makes it easy to continue focusing on players whose increasing Fantasy value isn't tied to this interminable disease.

On top of that, there are several excellent prospects available, many of whom have strong potential to stick on rosters for the remainder of the season. Fantasy basketball was unusually challenging over the past month or so, but this silly hobby is slowly starting to feel like it's supposed to again. 

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

Anfernee Simons, Trail Blazers (52% rostered)

I'm in full Damian Lillard panic mode – which has Simons skyrocketing up my rest of season ranks. The Blazers are only one game back from the play-in, but they seem to be in a completely separate tier from the West's top nine. Lillard is struggling through a weird abdominal injury, and seems to have not yet fully adapted to the NBA's new ball. If ever there was a year to let him rest (and improve draft positioning along the way), this is it. Basic logic, combined with recent reporting – especially this from Bleacher Report's Sean Highkin – has me think Lillard is going to sit out much more than the four games he's already been ruled out of. 

The Blazers have 45 games remaining. If Lillard is out a month (including the two he's already missed; i.e out from 1/1/2022 to 2/1/2022), that's 14 more missed games. If he's out from not until the All-Star break, that's 22 games. Those hypothetical return dates have Lillard missing between one-third and one-half of the remaining games. Furthermore, at that point Portland is likely to be even farther out of the playoff race, encouraging an even lengthier absence and more load-management DNP's if and when he does return. If I'm reading this situation right, Simons is likely to play at least half of his remaining games as a starter with Lillard on the sidelines. That's a massive window of opportunity.

And I liked Simons even when Lillard was active! Simons has been in and out of this column all season, and he's been a top add any time the Portland backcourt is injury limited. He's played at least 23 minutes in 20 games this season, averaging 29.0 minutes per game – a large sample size and an easily repeatable workload as we project forward. In those games, he's averaging 16-3-3 with 2.8 threes. And he's been even better than that in starting the last two games with Lillard out, putting up 35.5 points (!) and 7.0 assists. 

Simons is an all-leagues, no hesitation, must-add. 

Nicolas Claxton, Nets (47% rostered)

Claxton is still seeing solid minutes, 27.7 over the last six games, even though the Nets are now almost fully healthy. He's finally starting ahead of LaMarcus Aldridge. Claxton is playing almost all his minutes next to James Harden, and that's a good thing – it says that the coaching staff has seen the same Harden-Claxton synergy that I am, and that they are acting upon that (and Harden's minutes aren't going anywhere). Since Christmas, Claxton has played 151 of his 166 minutes next to the former MVP. Claxton is an elite per-minute producer and one of the best sources of blocks you will ever find on the waiver wire. He's good, not great, in points leagues – but he's a must-add in category-based formats.

Cameron Johnson, Suns (61% rostered)

Another week passes, and along with it three more great Fantasy lines from Johnson. His line from last week is 19-5-1 with 4.0 threes and 1.7 stocks. In the 10 games since Devin Booker returned from his hamstring injury, Johnson has maintained 17-6-1 with 3.5 threes and 1.4 stocks. I've been banging the drum on him for weeks, and his roster rate is getting high enough that we should be able to ignore him here soon. But in case you missed those calls to action, the tl;dr is I think Johnson is likely to stick on rosters for the remainder of the season as a low-end top-100ish guy. 

Herbert Jones, Pelicans (54% rostered)

Like Claxton, Jones is a returning favorite of this column who is maintaining his value even as his teammates get healthy. His value jumped when Brandon Ingram missed a few games, but Ingram has been back for three games and Jones has maintained 33.7 minutes per game, putting up 11-5-3 and 4.3 stocks (!). He's mostly a defensive specialist, but he does enough elsewhere that he only really hurts in points. In deep leagues, he's a rest-of-season add-and-hold. He's more fringe in standard or shallow settings, but I'm holding him in a few 12 teamers.

Omer Yurtseven, Heat (65% rostered)

Yurtseven was listed ahead of Johnson and Jones in last week's column, and he was arguably better since that came out than he was before it. The only reason I drop him here is because Yurtseven is almost certainly a short-to-medium term add, whereas I see the players above as likely to stick on rosters long-term. But in that short term, Yurtseven is indisputably more valuable than either Johnson or Jones. Since joining the starting lineup, he's averaging 13-15-2 with 1.3 steals. He's playing well enough that he may remain the starter when Dewayne Dedmon (knee) returns – which could be any day now – but Bam Adebayo's (thumb) eventual return will probably send Yurtseven back to the waiver pool. 

Kevin Huerter, Hawks (39% rostered)

I know, I'm a broken record on this guy. As a starter, he's averaging 14-3-3 with 3.4 threes and excellent shooting efficiency. He doesn't do much defensively, and none of those numbers jump off the page, but most teams probably have at least one player worse than him.

Rajon Rondo, Cavaliers (25% rostered)

Covered Rondo in detail last week, and he still hasn't made his post-trade Cleveland debut, so nothing new to report. The short version – Rondo's old, so don't get your hopes too high, but there's plenty of opportunity and he showed last year that he can still be a top-20 passer even in limited minutes. 

Larry Nance, Trail Blazers (50% rostered)

Last week's top add got hurt Wednesday, and is set to miss the next week. Assuming he actually returns in a week, he's good enough to add, or hold, or pickup if a league-mate gets impatient. That said, not everyone is in a position where they can afford a week of no production from a waiver prospect. Hence the precipitous fall from top to bottom of this list.

Other recommendations: Bismack Biyombo, Suns (4% rostered); Terrence Ross, Magic (42% rostered); Coby White, Bulls (45% rostered); Malik Monk, Lakers (44% rostered); Patrick Beverley, Timberwolves (47% rostered); Gary Harris, Magic (34% rostered); Obi Toppin, Knicks (21% rostered); Brandon Clarke, Grizzlies (25% rostered); Jalen Smith, Suns (20% rostered); Maxi Kleber, Mavericks (10% rostered)

Schedule Notes

The NBA follows up one of its busiest weeks with one of its quietest. Only one team has a two-game week, the Lakers, but there are also very few four-game weeks. Only 11 teams play four times.

The quiet week means that playing someone with only two games – either a Laker, or someone likely to miss one game and return mid-week – is not nearly as harmful as it usually is. The flip side of that is that players with four games are extra valuable.

Day to day, it's a mostly balanced schedule. Saturday has 10 games, which is somewhat busy, but most daily lineups managers will still have room to start a waiver wire pickup. Ditto for Wednesday and Friday, which have nine games.

On the other end of the spectrum, Sunday has only four games, while Thursday has five and Tuesday has six. That provides a noticeable boost to players in action on any of those games, especially those in action on Sunday. The Warriors and Nuggets both have four-game weeks including games on all three quiet days (Tuesday-Thursday-Sunday); the Timberwolves also play all three days, but they have only three games.

For those with strict acquisition limits, a few things to consider. The Warriors are the only team to end the week with three games in four nights. But 10 teams have Wednesday-Saturday 3-in-4s, so managers have plenty of options for players to target and then ditch for a Sunday streamer. Also, the Nets play four games in five nights, beginning Sunday of Week 12. That means managers can use a week 12 pickup on Sunday that sets them up to start Week 13 with a 3-in-4. Finally, the Bulls have a mid-week 4-in-5, running from Tuesday through Saturday.

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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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