The Wire Troll: Alex Caruso Remains a Strong Play
Alex Caruso should maintain his value for another few weeks. (Kamil Krzaczynski/USA Today Sports)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy basketball. We’re nearly halfway through December and over a quarter of the way through the season, so you know what to do: avail of that sweet, sweet waiver wire.
This week, Kristaps Porzingis (calf) returned to action; soon-to-be-39-year-old LeBron James led the Lakers into the NBA Cup Final; and Giannis Antetokounmpo wasn’t too thrilled with his team after they lost to the Pacers in the Eastern final.
And now, let’s get to this week’s…
Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Picks
Alex Caruso, PG/SG, Chicago Bulls (ESPN: 13.3 per cent; CBS: 28 per cent): When we last checked in on Caruso, his health had opened the door for others; now, he’s getting a shot at extended PT thanks to an injury to Zach LaVine, whose foot woe will keep him sidelined another 3-to-4 weeks. Caruso is dealing with his own toe woe, but has mostly played through it, supplying solid all-around production. On Wednesday, for instance, he put up 12 points with six boards, two assists and two blocks, and he’s improved his already solid shooting rate so far this month. Caruso, whose relentless D (see video below) makes him a fan fave, is attempting far more treys this season, so don’t be shy about using him as long as LaVine remains out. Update: Caruso hurt his ankle and left early on Friday, so check for a report to see if he’s ready to return for Chicago’s next game on Monday.
Orlando Robinson, C, Miami Heat (ESPN: 1.8 per cent; CBS: 6 per cent): Robinson is a tremendous short-term add and streaming option while Bam Adebayo (hip) is out. Starting in Bam’s place the last couple of games, Robinson has looked solid, including posting a double-double on Wednesday with four assists, three steals, two treys and a block. On Friday, he didn’t play much, but did manage this sweet hoop and harm. Robinson doesn’t jack up a ton of treys, but man, is he ever deadly when he does, and his overall shooting touch has improved this season. Last season, his rookie campaign was interrupted by a broken thumb, but he’s fully healthy now and worth considering if you need a big man this week.
Patrick Williams, SF/PF, Chicago Bulls (ESPN: 5.5 per cent; CBS: 34 per cent): It’s been nearly three years since we last pimped Williams, and it wasn’t a bad pick as his role increased as his rookie season continued, even if his production was inconsistent. Injuries decimated his sophomore effort, but last season he returned to being mostly a full-time starter and enjoyed his finest campaign. Williams is off to a slow start this season, not nailing as many treys, but with double figure scoring in seven of the last eight games (including 20 on Friday) and a good sprinkling of rebounds, blocks and steals, he’s coming around and is definitely worth adding again.
Aaron Holiday, PG, Houston Rockets (ESPN: 0.2 per cent; CBS: unowned): Almost a year ago to the day, we recommended Holiday as we anticipated an uptick in PT; unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to give him Fantasy value. Now with Houston, Holiday is once again getting extra minutes thanks to injuries, and with eight or more points in five straight games, he makes for a deep league option, even if his PT has dipped a bit this month. He’s still getting his most action since 2019-20 and should Fred VanVleet get hurt, Holiday would instantly become a must-own player.
Others to Consider
Obi Toppin, PF, Indiana Pacers (ESPN: 15.5 per cent; CBS: 49 per cent): Over the last couple of weeks, Toppin has been providing value in both scoring and FG percentage, and given his connection to Tyrese Haliburton, he needs to be scooped up in all formats.
Caleb Martin, SG/SF, Miami Heat (ESPN: 4.6 per cent; CBS: 33 per cent): Martin is one of those players who always seems to be just on the Fantasy periphery, sometimes proving useful, other times winding up cut-worthy. However, with at least 14 points in six straight (including a rare double-double on Wednesday), he’s in one of his valuable stretches.
Quentin Grimes, SG, New York Knicks (ESPN: 0.8 per cent; CBS: 8 per cent): Grimes has been awful this season, but his demotion to the second unit could wind up being a blessing in disguise. On Friday, he enjoyed his highest scoring game in over a month, and while his usage has dropped each season, perhaps he’s finally bottomed out and can start rebuilding value. Grab Grimes in deeper formats and see how this plays out.
Dean Wade, PF, Cleveland Cavaliers (ESPN: 0.1 per cent; CBS: unowned): Wade, recently coming off an ankle woe of his own, got the start Friday with Evan Mobley (knee) out, and really impressed with his defense while contributing six boards, five points, three steals and a trey. Consider Wade on a short-term basis in extremely deep leagues.
Caleb Houstan, SF, Orlando Magic (ESPN: unowned; CBS: unowned): Houstan is not yet recommended given his inconsistent role, but his six attempted treys in 25 minutes of (mostly) garbage time on Friday caught our eye. Put him on your deep league watch list, especially if more of his attempts from downtown actually start going in.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
Former Buzzcocks co-founder Pete Shelley also enjoyed a solo career and all told remained active from 1976 until his death in 2018. His big hit as a solo artist was “Homosapien,” which reached the top 10 in both Australia and Canada. Here’s an extended remix of this classic…