The Wire Troll: Atlanta Besieged By Injuries
Aaron Holiday (3) should get more burn in Atlanta. (Benny Sieu-USA Today Sports)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy basketball. With December nearly halfway done, we’re about a third of the way through the season. Employ the wire!
This week, Dejounte Murray suffered an ankle injury that will cost him around two weeks (see below for the Fantasy opportunity this presents); Rudy Gobert played in Utah as a visitor for the first time ever and really enjoyed himself with a big double-double in a win; and so much for Obi Toppin (leg) staying healthy — he’ll miss two or three weeks.
And now, let’s get to this week’s…
Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Picks
Aaron Holiday, PG, Atlanta Hawks (ESPN: 0.2 per cent; CBS: 1 per cent): With Murray out another two weeks (plus John Collins and D’Andre Hunter also hurting), Atlanta is really shorthanded right now. This has allowed Holiday to move into the starting lineup, and while he only played 19 minutes on Friday, he did manage three steals and a couple of boards. Yes, he’s shown he can put up some decent points in limited minutes (see video below), but it’s safe to assume he’s going to get more PT for the next couple of weeks (he saw 30 minutes of action on Wednesday), making him a worthy addition in deeper formats. You may recall that at the end of the 2020-21 season, Holiday was the Pacers’ sixth man, earning himself some Fantasy love from us. He justified the pick with big minutes in the season’s final month. Unfortunately, it’s been pretty much downhill for Holiday since, but he’s got a chance to reestablish some value right now, so he bears watching. Sure, he’s generally only about a top 65 point guard usually, but while he’s starting he’s worth considering. Remember that when Holiday came out of UCLA, he was considered small, but was also seen as a good defender with strength and quickness.
- Bam Adebayo came up huge on Thursday with 31 points, 10 boards, four assists and a steal for his second straight double-double. He’s been shooting a bit better lately and has seen a boost in minutes so far this month. With more touches than ever, Adebayo is headed for the best scoring season of his career, so maybe he’s not overrated after all.
- Early this season, we recommended Nugget two-guard Bruce Brown, a pick that’s garnered mixed results. His outside shooting regressed last month, but his PT keeps rising as the season has progressed. Brown’s rolling now, with three straight double-digit scoring games and decent rebound and assist numbers. Overall, good health has allowed him to put together what’s looking like his best season yet.
- The Clippers have been slipping, but Reggie Jackson is doing his part, scoring 13 or more in three straight as his PT has risen each month so far. He’s still not playing as much as last season, but has been lights out from the charity stripe.
- Jeremi Grant had a quiet scoring game Thursday (18 points), but has been red hot lately. He had scored 27 or more in six straight with three 30-plus efforts, including a 44-point contest two weeks ago. Grant’s touches keep rising and he’s never done a better job of getting to the free throw line. Career season alert for the 28-year-old.
- A Wire Troll All-Star in 2020-21, Keldon Johnson has mostly done us proud with his progression this season. He nailed his first nine shots en route to 32 points on Thursday, and with at least 27 points in back-to-back games, seems to be coming out of a month-long slump, a skid which coincides with a long losing streak by the Spurs. Johnson’s work at the line has really slipped since the start of the season, and we’d like to see more contributions on the offensive glass, but his scoring keeps getting better.
- Detroit guard Cory Joseph is seeing more PT lately, but not contributing consistently enough to consider for Fantasy purposes. On Tuesday, he scored 11 points with five dimes, but was then shut out Wednesday and managed just one point on Friday (although he did put up another five assists). Joseph’s touches are down this month and his overall shooting this season has regressed again. You can safely ignore him.
- Jabari Smith Jr., the third overall pick in the draft, is starting to heat up with 13 or more points in four of his last five, including a career-best 23 on Thursday. He’s scoring more buckets so far in December and has proven himself a very strong FT shooter. Smith came out of Auburn physically ready for the league, but definitely needed work in creating his own shot. Some believe he could be the next Chris Bosh, so he definitely bears watching.
- We’re finally getting to see what a healthy Zion Williamson is capable of, and damn, it’s been worth the wait. He poured in another 35 points on Friday, giving him five straight games of 25 or more. Willamson’s PT keeps rising as the surprisingly good Pels set him free. Hell, he’s even getting better as a FT shooter, although he may want to tone down the hot dogging before someone takes him out.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
American hip hop band The Roots got their start in 1987, and are still at it today. In 1999, they released their fourth album, Things Fall Apart, and the first single was “You Got Me,” featuring vocals by the wonderful Erykah Badu, one of our personal faves.