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The Wire Troll: Payton Pritchard Producing in Beantown

March 23, 2024 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Payton Pritchard is seeing heavier minutes for the Boston Celtics.
Payton Pritchard has been helping spell Boston’s starters. (Erik Drost)

Welcome back to another week of Fantasy basketball. With the Fantasy playoffs here, this will be the season finale of the NBA Wire Troll, so we hope you’re still in the mix thanks to some prudent waiver wire pickups. Stay tuned for our 2023-24 All-Star Team in a few weeks.

This week, Brandon Ingram (knee) will be out for a while (see below for the Fantasy opportunity); Giannis Antetokounmpo (hamstring) managed 21 points in his return to the starting lineup; and DeMar DeRozan and Dillon Brooks got into it and were kicked out of the game.

And now, let’s get to this week’s…

Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Picks

Payton Pritchard, PG, Boston Celtics (ESPN: 6.2 per cent; CBS: 18 per cent): Early last season, we pimped Pritchard as a short-term add with the Celtics dealing with backcourt injuries, and while he did see more action that month he never really got enough burn to offer Fantasy value until the very end of the season. Well, here we go again, as the Celtics are starting to rest players down the stretch and he again is stepping up. Pritchard has played at least 31 minutes in four straight games and responded with at least 14 points in each. His shooting has gotten better as the season has progressed and he’s jacking up more attempts from beyond the arc than ever before. Pritchard’s emergence of late has been a great story for Boston, highlighted by Sunday’s performance when he recorded his first double-double of the season (including a career-high 13 dimes). This kid has serious confidence, but is limited by his size (6’1″) as he’s not really an above-the-rim player.

T.J. McConnell, PG, Indiana Pacers (ESPN: 29.7; CBS: 32 per cent): McConnell headlined our picks almost a year ago to the day when he was excelling with Tyrese Haliburton out. It was a nice pick as McConnell shot extremely well from the line that month and then got more buckets despite less PT in April. Currently, he’s showing amazing efficiency, scoring 11 or more in five straight despite not seeing any more than 21 minutes in a game over that stretch. McConnell’s PT is up a smidge this month, but it’s the increase in touches that has given him more value. Strangely, as he relies less and less on three-pointers in recent seasons, his scoring has gone up. Even weirder, McConnell sees 8.4 minutes fewer now than when he got his most action ever as a sophomore, yet his scoring is up 2.4 PPG. As mentioned… efficient.

Patty Mills, PG, Miami Heat (ESPN: 0.2 per cent; CBS: unowned): We last recommended Mills two and a half years ago when we expected him to benefit from the fact that Kyrie Irving refused to get vaccinated. Mills made us look good as the Australian received more and more PT in the first half and wound up seeing the most action of his career. He hasn’t had much of a role anywhere since then, but he’s suddenly starting in Miami with both Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson out, so if you need short-term help in a very deep format, Mills may be useful (although he didn’t get much PT on Friday). Hey, if nothing else, Mills has emerged as a great role model for the work he’s doing to further the game in his native country.

Naji Marshall, SF, New Orleans Pelicans (ESPN: 1.2 per cent; CBS: 4 per cent): At the beginning of last season, we flogged Marshall with Ingram out. Well, history does repeat, as Ingram (knee) is now out for at least two weeks, so it’s time for more Marshall love. Marshall’s PT has been inconsistent lately, but he should now get enough minutes to offer value, and definitely won’t hurt you from a percentages perspective. On a deeper Pelican squad, his role has diminished this season, but now is his chance to step up. With more PT, Marshall should be able to produce at a similar level to Josh Green.

DeJon Jarreau, PG/SG, Memphis Grizzlies (ESPN: 0.3 per cent; CBS: 2 per cent): Jarreau is a deep league option with both Desmond Bane and Scotty Pippen Jr. hurting. Recently signed to a second 10-day contract, Jarreau is starting to see enough PT to put up some interesting numbers (10 rebounds and five assists on Wednesday) including a 25 per cent assist rate. On Friday, however, he didn’t see much action, so consider him someone to just watch for now.

RotoRob Tune of the Day

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers formed in Gainesville, Florida in 1976. In 1985 they released their sixth album, Southern Accents, featuring the lead single “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” which was co-written by Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics.

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