By Gabe Allen and Alex Barutha, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
The fantasy waiver wire looked barren this week, but we had some big news break Thursday. James Harden is expected to be out for at least a month, while the Nets have suspended Kyrie Irving for at least five games. Those situations will dictate plenty of activity on the wire in the coming days. If you're in a Sunday waivers league, you'll at least get to see both teams play before decisions have to be made for your roster.
But those aren't the only situations to take advantage of, as there's value across the league if you know where to look.
De’Anthony Melton, 76ers (30 percent rostered)
The announcement of James Harden being out at least a month with a right foot tendon strain should vault Melton into the starting five. Melton has played well in his two starts, averaging 14.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.5 steals in 32.0 minutes. The workload is encouraging since he’s a great per-minute performer. With Harden off the court, Melton has averaged 1.0 fantasy points per minute, translating to 13.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.5 steals per 36 minutes.
Someone on Brooklyn
Thursday evening, Kyrie Irving was suspended by the Nets for at least five games. It’s unclear how interim head coach Jacque Vaughn will handle the absence. Edmond Sumner and Joe Harris have seen the most total minutes with Irving off the floor, but Sumner saw many of those minutes when Harris was sidelined. Seth Curry may get involved, though he's back on the shelf for now with ankle issues. Plus, Ben Simmons is out until at least Monday.
It’s bedlam in Brooklyn.
However, the Nets play both Friday and Saturday, so fantasy managers in leagues with Sunday waivers will at least get a two-game sample before making a decision.
Jalen McDaniels, Charlotte Hornets (48% rostered)
Through eight games, McDaniels is averaging 10.9 points (41.9% FG, 50.0% 3PT, 91.7% FT), 5.8 boards, 2.4 assists, 1.8 threes, 1.3 steals and 0.8 blocks across 26.3 minutes. He is posting career highs in every area except field-goal percentage. Moreover, Gordon Hayward (shoulder) exited Wednesday’s contest and did not return. McDaniels’ rostered rate is rising rapidly; add him now if you still can.
And while you’re at it, pick up fellow Hornet Mason Plumlee (21% rostered), who is still flying under the radar. The center is averaging 8.4 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists.
Marcus Morris, LA Clippers (41% rostered)
Kawhi Leonard (knee) is set to miss his sixth straight contest. While his return may be imminent, Leonard will likely be brought along slowly during the regular season. As such, adding Morris makes sense. Through six games this season, Morris is managing 14.8 points (52.9% FG, 37.9% 3PT, 100.0% FT), 5.8 rebounds, 2.2 dimes, 1.8 threes and 1.0 steals in 29.2 minutes. His field goal and free-throw shooting percentages will come crashing back down to Earth — and he is yet to average more than 0.9 swipes per game in his career — but the 33-year-old Morris has never been shy offensively. He should maintain decent fantasy value even when Leonard and Robert Covington (health and safety protocols) are active.
Patrick Williams, Chicago Bulls (27% rostered)
Williams has earned more than 30 minutes in each of the last three games and has scored in double figures in four of the previous five, averaging 11.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.0 assists in 26.2 minutes during that. Chicago is desperate for someone to step up at the forward positions, and Williams appears to have put his early-season slump behind him. If he’s going to keep earning 30-plus minutes on a nightly basis, he’s worth adding in most leagues. If you can afford to take a flier on someone, Williams possesses plenty of upside. At the very least, add him to your watch list.
Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks (15% rostered)
Quickley has seen his scoring (9.0 PPG) take a slight dip compared to last year. However, he’s supplying 6.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 23.3 minutes per night. If Quickley can get back on track from a scoring perspective while maintaining his production in the boards and dimes departments, he’ll be worth rostering in deep leagues, at the very least.
When Derrick Rose inevitably misses time, Quickley should be the one to step up.
Zach Collins, San Antonio Spurs (13% rostered)
Collins has been stuffing the stat sheet — albeit in limited playing time — contributing 8.3 points, 4.4 boards, 2.9 assists, 1.3 blocks, 0.8 threes and 0.6 steals in 17.3 minutes. He has been committing his fair share of turnovers (1.8 TPG) and fouls (3.1 per game), and there’s no guarantee that his minutes will be increased significantly. Nevertheless, for those who can afford to stash a player with considerable upside — maybe Jakob Poeltl gets traded — Collins is an intriguing option, as he could fill it up if he ends up carving out a meaningful role for himself.
Other recommendations: Norman Powell, Lonnie Walker IV, Max Strus, Bruce Brown, Tre Mann, Mason Plumlee, Naji Marshall