Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Adds
Nikola Mirotic – PF CHI
Nikola Mirotic made his first start of the season on Dec. 8, after missing the beginning of the season due to a broken face suffered during a preseason scuffle between him and teammate Bobby Portis. After a pretty quiet first game back, in which he scored six points with three rebounds over 15 minutes, he stepped it up to 19 points over 20 minutes in his second game and has gone beast mode in three games since. Over the three-game span, he has averaged 25 points and 8.7 rebounds in just 32 minutes per game.
He is shooting .538 from the field and .500 from 3-point-land, which has helped him be the most efficient player on the Bulls right now. With very little guard depth on the team, the Bulls have been keeping it all down low, giving Mirotic, Portis, rookie Lauri Markkanen, and veteran Robin Lopez opportunities to score huge numbers. Mirotic has been a terrific Fantasy Basketball waiver wire add in his time back, but any of the four could be worth owning going forward based on who has the hot hand.
John Collins – PF ATL
John Collins played for the Hawks for the first time in two weeks on Thursday, after missing six games due to a shoulder injury. He picked up right where he had left off. The rookie out of Wake Forest was arguably one of the best players for the Hawks in the weeks leading up to his injury. In the eight games before getting hurt, he averaged 13.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and one assist, all in just 26.7 minutes per game. In his two games back, he has had two very different but pretty decent outcomes. During the first game back, he was able to put up 17 points and seven rebounds. In his second game, he only scored two points all night, but he was able to notch seven rebounds again, along with four assists, two steals, and four blocks. He averaged just 22 minutes in the two games.
Collins is worthy of at least a bench spot now, but he will be a starter in most leagues as his minutes trend upward. In his two starts the week prior to the injury, he averaged 18.5 points and 9.5 rebounds, which is starter production in most leagues, especially when you consider that he can play either PF or C in most leagues.
Jonathon Simmons – SG ORL
Jonathon Simmons has been quietly sneaking his way up the leader boards since becoming a full-time player at the end of November after the loss of Terrence Ross, who had been receiving 25-plus minutes per game. Simmons has played 30-plus minutes in every game since their November 27 matchup against the Pacers, after averaging just 24.7 minutes all season coming into the contest.
More playing time created more opportunities and more efficiency as well. In his 10 games as a starter, Simmons has averaged 17.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game, which peaked with a 29-point, seven rebound, five assist game against Atlanta last week. Simmons has shown that he can be one of the key players on this Orlando team, and he should continue to produce as long as Ross is out, which is still indefinite at this time.
Start or Sit Advice
Kelly Olynyk MIA – START ‘EM
Hassan Whiteside has been ruled out through at least December 20, meaning that Olynyk will stay in the Heat’ starting lineup for at least a little longer. There isn’t a timetable yet for Whiteside’s return, and he is a High Injury Risk according to Inside Injuries, so it’s likely that he will be out for at least the rest of this week. In Whiteside’s absence, Olynyk hasn’t been amazing, but the minutes are there (at least 25 in six of the last seven). He produces enough across the stat sheet to provide value. He also can provide valuable 3-point production from the center position. He’s worth starting in deeper leagues this week.
Yogi Ferrell DAL – SIT ‘EM
Yogi has been solid recently, but his minutes will take a hit once Dennis Smith, Jr. returns, which could be as soon as Monday. Smith Jr. is questionable for Monday night’s game, and has an Above Average Health Performance Factor according to the Inside Injuries algorithm. If Smith Jr. returns this Monday or some point this week, Ferrell is too risky of a start without consistent minutes. He’s been a solid asset in the week without Smith Jr., but it’s time for him to return to the bench.
Austin Rivers LAC – START ‘EM
Rivers suffered a concussion Wednesday and has not played since, but he is expected to return Monday against the Spurs. With Patrick Beverley out, Rivers has been a solid fantasy option. He has averaged close to 35 minutes a game with Beverly out, putting up 16.2 points, 4.3 assists, 1.0 steal and 2.5 made threes (38.8% 3PT) a game. Milos Teodosic has finally returned to the Clippers lineup but hasn’t supplanted Rivers or Lou Williams, mostly due to his defensive limitations. Rivers hasn’t shot the ball great, but expect him to get back to the solid output he had been putting up prior to the concussion. Plug him back into your lineups this week.
Mason Plumlee DEN – SIT ‘EM
Plumlee was an interesting Fantasy option without Nikola Jokic in the lineup for the Nuggets, but Jokic returned Friday. Jokic came off the bench in that contest against the Pelicans, but expect him to return to the starting lineup moving forward, relegating Plumlee to a bench role with just 18-20 minutes a game. Jokic has an Above Average Health Performance Factor and isn’t expected to have much of a minutes limit. Plumlee still has the ability to add some value across the box score, but the limitations on his minutes are just too much for him to garner a starting role in most fantasy leagues. He can still be an option in a pinch in deeper leagues, but most should stay away.
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