Special to Yahoo Sports
We’re less than a week away from the NBA trade deadline, plus it has been a rough week in terms of injuries. This combination amounts to a waiver wire that’s ripe and ready to be picked ahead of Week 16. This week’s column focuses on four players who ought to be considered due to injuries, two players whose roles may be on the rise due to high-level play of late, and one rookie to consider stashing for the post-trade deadline and post-All-Star break stretch. Without further ado, let’s begin with the latter.
With the trade deadline looming, Malcolm Brogdon has been featured heavily and performing admirably over the last couple weeks. Given the likelihood that Brogdon is acquired by a playoff contender, Henderson is worth picking up if he has been dropped in your league. There are just too many scenarios in which Henderson ends up being valuable down the stretch of the fantasy season to overlook him, particularly in points leagues. If Brogdon is dealt, Henderson would probably see a significant uptick in playing time. Still, even if Brogdon remains with Portland beyond the deadline, it’s likely that he’d settle into a bit less-demanding role given Portland’s position in the standings. And then there’s always the possibility of an injury to Brogdon, which unfortunately has been a common occurrence throughout his career.
Paul Reed, Philadelphia 76ers (44% rostered)
The injury status of Joel Embiid (knee) is obviously the major factor here; and while there have been conflicting reports, none of them scream short-term absence. As such, Reed has seen his rostered percentage rise rapidly (+31% last day) — and with good reason. Through 11 starts this season, Reed is averaging 12.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.2 steals in 25.9 minutes, numbers which make him valuable in all formats. Moreover, he has been on a tear of late, averaging 16.0 points, 9.7 boards, 2.7 dimes, 1.3 blocks and 1.3 steals in 31.3 minutes across his last three starts. Whether you’re rostering Embiid or not, Reed is a must-add player.
Across his last five appearances, Aldama is averaging 13.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.8 threes in 30.3 minutes. He’s not a reliable source of defensive stats and can be erratic offensively. However, in points leagues especially, Aldama seems like a solid add for the second half of the season. Xavier Tillman (knee) is a more well-rounded player but has been hampered by injuries for most of the campaign and seems unlikely to play a demanding role down the stretch of this losing season. Aldama, on the other hand, could soon be seeing 30-plus minutes on an almost-nightly basis and has been trending in that direction over the last couple weeks.
Over the last 10 games, Nembhard has been making the case for increased involvement, with averages of 14.2 points (50.0% FG, 37.0% 3PT, 83.3% FT), 6.6 assists, 2.1 boards, 1.0 threes and 0.7 steals in 27.7 minutes. Tyrese Haliburton (hamstring) has been back for two games, resulting in Nembhard returning to a reserve role. Nevertheless, he has managed to remain effective in that role and could continue to be a prominent part of the Pacers’ rotation. If you need scoring and assists, Nembhard is worth a look.
Whitmore has been making the most of his increase in playing time lately; the rookie forward is averaging 16.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.7 threes in 22.2 minutes across the last seven contests. Tari Eason (leg) could return as early as next week, which would throw a wrench into Whitmore’s short-term upside. However, if Houston opts for caution with regards to Eason’s return, Whitmore makes sense as a streaming option in deeper points leagues.
Vanderbilt drew the start during Thursday’s matchup versus the Celtics, as LeBron James (ankle) and Anthony Davis (Achilles) were held out. While Vanderbilt exited early due to foot soreness — and the extent that this injury will affect him remains to be seen — he has been performing at a high level lately. In fact, across the last 10 games, Vanderbilt is averaging 9.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 1.7 assists in 22.7 minutes. Those in deeper leagues of all formats could do far worse than taking a shot on Vanderbilt in case his foot is fine.
Achiuwa has been playing heavy minutes with Julius Randle (shoulder) sidelined; in the three games since Randle’s injury, Achiuwa is averaging 13.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.3 steals in 38.7 minutes. Randle won’t be re-evaluated for another two or three weeks, so Achiuwa seems like a strong pickup, at least through the All-Star break — if not for longer.
Recent recommendations still rostered in less than 50% of leagues: Tari Eason, Ausar Thompson, Marvin Bagley, Ayo Dosunmu, Brandin Podziemski, Cody Martin