Fantasy Basketball 2021: Streaming Options for Injured NBA Players for Week 6
It's never easy to tell precisely when identities change during an NBA season.
In the fantasy basketball realm, that means prominent players becoming stars, sleepers becoming lineup fixtures and waiver-wire residents becoming waiver-wire targets.
The thing with that latter transition, though, is that it doesn't necessarily matter if it sticks. If someone makes enough noise on the waiver wire to get your attention, that's usually reason enough to act. Deeper leagues or dynasty formats might make you think harder about sustainability, but in a standard-sized league, a hot streak could be enough to help you snag an unlikely win or two.
This week's waiver wire finds include possible long-term keepers and short-term helpers.
Alex Caruso, PG/SG, Chicago Bulls
Chicago crushed the offseason, and Alex Caruso quietly played a massive role in it.
He isn't traditionally flashy for fantasy purposes and has yet to post a double-digit scoring average.
But he shines in the sport's subtle side, and the more he does with the little things, the greater his opportunity for meaningful fantasy production will grow. He is already up to a career-high 29.5 minutes and entered Sunday having logged at least 34 in each of his past four outings. During this small stretch, he has tallied 7.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.0 blocks.
Would it help if he were more consistent as a shooter? Sure, but then he would never come close to the waiver wire. Given all the ways he can help without steady scoring or sniping, his question marks in that category are far less important than the exclamation points he puts in all of the others.
Kevin Huerter, SG/SF, Atlanta Hawks
It may not be possible for modern NBA teams to have too many wings, but the Hawks might challenge that notion. Between the congestion and some uncharacteristic shooting woes, Kevin Huerter sputtered out of the gate this season.
But the loss of De'Andre Hunter to wrist surgery looks like the kick-starter for Huerter. The first time Hunter sat out with the injury, Huerter immediately popped for 26 points and six three-pointers.
While he hasn't cleared that mark again, he is handling this opportunity increase just fine. Starting with the breakout, he has averaged 13.5 points on 55.2 percent shooting and 2.7 threes over his past six outings. But that stretch included the one game Hunter returned for and another Huerter left early with a hamstring problem. Take those out, and he's at 18.8 points on 61.7 percent shooting and 4.0 triples in the other four.
Hunter could lose multiple months to this injury, so Huerter might offer worthwhile fantasy value for quite some time.
Monte Morris, PG/SG, Denver Nuggets
In a perfect world for the Denver Nuggets, Monte Morris would be organizing offense for their second unit and spelling a starting unit featuring a healthy Jamal Murray and a third-year, leaping Michael Porter Jr. In the actual world, Morris is starting in place of Murray (torn ACL) and upping his usage since back pain forced Porter off of the floor.
It isn't hugely shocking for the fantasy community to be slow to come around to Morris, who is only rostered in 46 percent of Yahoo leagues, per FantasyPros. Neither Morris' production nor his play style jumps off of the page, and as a fifth-year veteran, he's not exactly brimming with upside.
However, he is becoming a vital piece of this offense, and that's particularly true since Porter went down. During the first nine games with Porter, Morris was averaging 10.6 shots on 10.1 shots, 3.7 assists and 0.7 steals. Entering Sunday, Morris had suited up seven times since and averaged 11.6 points on 11.7 shots, 4.9 assists and 1.3 steals in those contests.
Again, nothing knocks your socks off here, but if you need a bump in points, assists and steals, Morris can scratch those itches without hurting (and quite possibly help) your shooting rates from the field and the foul line.