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Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 9 (2021-22)

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Dec 19, 2021
kevin love

It’s Sunday, and you know what that means. It’s time to get ready for another week of fantasy hoops. We are already heading into Week 9, as this season has flown right out of the gate.

Typically, we hop right into things, where I explain what the column is about and list the players. We’ll get to that, of course, but first, a little word. It feels awkward writing this column. It’s just like it’ll feel awkward writing the trade chart and the buy/sell for next week, just like it felt awkward writing the category analysis piece yesterday.

When there’s a COVID outbreak, and new players are being put into league protocols daily, it’s weird to think about fantasy values. I emailed my editor and expressed this, and he gave me the option of skipping this week’s piece.

I’m going to give it a go, but it’s tough to worry about things from a fantasy angle and gauge values for players who are missing time with COVID concerns or are being elevated due to their teammates’ missing time. Each week, we’ll look at players that you should consider picking up who are rostered in four different rostership tiers:

  • 50-60%
  • 30-49%
  • 15-29%
  • 0-14%

What’s more, we’ll give you a breakdown of how many games each team has for the upcoming week so that you can maximize the minutes of your streamers. Without further delay, let’s get to it, starting with the schedule and offensive pace ratings, thanks to our friends at Razzball.

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Five games:

SAS

Four games:

BKN, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, LAL, MEM, MIL, MIN, NYK, OKC, ORL, PHI

Three games: 

BOS, CHA, CHI, GSW, HOU, IND, LAC, MIA, NOP, POR, SAC, UTA, WAS

Two games:

ATL, PHX, TOR

Rostered in 50-60% of leagues:

Alperen Sengun (C – HOU) 58%

The per-minute monster seems to be getting more run with Houston, and the numbers love Sengun and Christian Wood on the floor together. Sengun should see plenty of run moving forward for the young Rockets, as Daniel Theis offers nothing of value as a player. He’s probably a great guy, but yeah. Sengun has averaged two blocks per game over the last week of play.

Kevin Love (PF/C – CLE) 60%

The Cavs are so much fun, and we’ll be talking about a second-year player later in this column. For now, let’s look at the veteran. Evan Mobley is in health and safety protocols, and he’s battling a hip injury. While Love isn’t exactly vintage Love, he is a top 50 player over the last two weeks by averaging 12.8/9 during that stretch. He should be rostered and streamed in 12-team leagues. 

Rostered in 30-49% of leagues:

Kemba Walker (PG – NYK) 44%

Walker’s long-term outlook is still bleak, but the Knicks are so shorthanded that Walker had to play Saturday night. And play he did to the tune of 29 points, six boards, and three dimes. It’s not a sign of things to come, but like all teams right now, we are taking it day by day, and as long as the Knicks are undermanned, Walker could be a solid streamer.

Chuma Okeke (PF – ORL) 39%

Okeke is a polarizing player, as his ceiling differs depending on who you ask. For me, he’s a fine player who has an opportunity ahead of him. He scored 18 points with ten rebounds, four assists, and six steals Friday night. While he won’t come close to that production nightly, he can be a top 120 player by volume alone. With the absence of Wendell Carter Jr. Saturday night, Okeke followed up his big performance with 15 points, two blocks, and two steals. 

Rostered in 15-29% of leagues:

Isaiah Hartenstein (PF/C – LAC) 22%

Hartenstein was in this column earlier in the year, but he fell out. He’s back now as he’s been the 77th-ranked player in fantasy during the last month with 7.9 points, 4.2 boards, 2.4 assists, and 1.5 blocks per game during that stretch. He’s giving consistent production, and his minutes have been trending up over the last week. He’s a 12-team streamer.

Isaac Okoro (SG/SF – CLE) 19%

Okoro has broken out of late for the Cavaliers, who seem to be the real deal. When he dropped 20 on the Kings after scoring 16 against Minnesota, it was nice and all, but it’s the Kings. But he followed up those performances with 18 and 20 points, respectively, in his next two games. What’s more, he’s averaged three three-pointers per game in his last three games. It’s a great sign for the second-year player as he continues to take a step forward, but it’s worth noting he is in the league’s health and safety protocols as of Saturday night.

Rostered in 0-14% of leagues:

Saben Lee (PG – DET) 8%
Lee is sitting at top 80 value over the last two weeks of play, and he’s putting up top 125 value in the previous month. As a reward, he’s overtaken Cory Joseph in the rotation. The steals have been the best part of Lee’s game, but he’s sandwiched 28 points over a two-game stretch between two low-scoring outputs. He’s likely to be a streamer moving forward in just deep leagues, but he has some 12-team value for now with all of the players who are missing time.

Jalen McDaniels (SF/PF/C – CHA) 7%
McDaniels returned after missing time due to the league’s health and safety protocols, and it’s been a tale of two games so far. In his first game back, he posted a double-double (15/10) in 33 minutes, but Friday night, he played just 16 minutes and only scored four points. The talent and production should be closer to a 10/7.5 at around 22 minutes on most nights, so right between his two performances. We’ll take that for a deep league streamer and a 12-team watchlist guy. 

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Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.

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