Especially for Yahoo Sports
We’ve reached December and the fantasy exemption thread is still very much alive. The constant cycle of injuries (and recurrence of injuries) essentially ensures that this trend continues. As such, most of this week’s suggested picks fall into one of two categories: players whose value has risen due to injuries, and those who are recurring injuries themselves. And as usual, this article focuses mainly on players I haven’t recommended yet this season, with one exception.
Without further ado, here’s who to add heading into Week 8.
Reggie Jackson, LA Clippers (48 percent rostered)
Over the last eight games, Jackson averaged per-game averages of 16.8 points, 5.5 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 2.1 threes over 30.8 minutes. Based on the injury history of Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and John Wall in the past few seasons it only makes sense to take a flier on Jackson if he’s still available in your league. He too suffered many injuries during his career, but in recent years Jackson has been the healthiest of the four.
Fultz made his season debut on Wednesday, turning in a well-rounded streak of eight points, four dimes, two steals, one board and one block in 17 minutes. While he’s played in just 26 games combined over the past two seasons due to injuries, he also has an established record of filling the stats in about 20 minutes a night. There’s more competition for game time and on-ball replays in Orlando than in years past, but Fultz will likely earn a demanding enough role to achieve fantasy relevance, especially in deep leagues.
On his second game back after a four-game absence due to injury, LeVert exploded for 22 points, six boards, four dimes, three threes and one steal in 33 minutes in an upset victory over the 76ers. although Ricky Rubio (knee) is believed to be making steady progress in his recovery and threatens LeVert’s long-term fantasy relevance. At the moment, Rubio has no timetable for returning.
With averages of 11.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.6 threes and 0.7 steals in 32.1 minutes, LeVert is at least worth watching in point competitions, plus his career low field goal percentage (37.8% FG) would move toward his career average (43.4% FG) as the campaign progresses.
Earning his third nomination of the year in this waivers category, Monk is enjoying a breakaway campaign, racking up 50 points and 14 dimes combined in the past two games. Sports career-high averages in scoring (14.6 PPG), assists (4.4 APG), field goal percentage (48.8% FG), and free throw percentage (89.1% FT) in just 22.5 minutes per game, Monk already makes for an excellent pick-up in all formats.
In addition, his minutes have been on the rise lately, earning more than 23 minutes in five of the last seven matches.
Small sample warning! Starting instead of Karl Anthony Steden (calf) Anderson amassed 10 points, six rebounds, five assists, two treys, one steal and one block in 39 minutes during Wednesday’s win against the Grizzlies. Minnesota doesn’t have much depth on the power forward front, which could lead to heavy reliance on Anderson in December and maybe even longer.
Once Towns is healthy, Anderson can probably be dropped, but until then he’s worth bragging rights in all but the shallowest leagues.
Warren is expected to make his first appearance against the Raptors on Friday for the first time since December 2020. While he probably won’t be ready for a heavy load of minutes for a while, Warren is an intriguing speculative addition based on his impressive level of play before the stress fractures. During his last completely healthy season (2019-20), Warren averaged 19.8 points (53.6% FG, 40.3% 3PT, 81.9% FT), 4.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1, 4 threes and 1.2 steals over 32.9 minutes. Players who have posted such a stat line in recent memory are not often found on the waiver.
McConnell played in just 27 games last season due to injury and got off to a slow start this season, earning less than 20 minutes in 12 of his first 14 appearances. However, over the last six games, McConnell averaged 9.7 points, 6.3 dimes, 3.3 boards and 1.8 swipes in 21.7 minutes. Indiana puts the ball in Tyrese HaliburtonMcConnell is not an effective off-ball player, but over the years, the veteran has proven his ability to contribute quality assists and steal averages even while operating in a reserve role.
Seasoned fantasy basketball managers know how hard it is to find dimes and steals through the free agent pool, especially in deep leagues, so McConnell is definitely worth considering.
Recent Recommendations: Caleb Martin, Mason Plumlee, Ayo Dosunmu, Alec Burks, Jalen McDaniels, Deni Avdija, Jalen Williams, Thomas Bryant, Ricky Rubio