Waiver wires are starting to pop as a combination of injured players and emerging hot free agents are emerging on a nightly basis. Bilal Coulibaly is turning heads in Washington and Skylar Mays is making noise in Portland, while players like Draymond Green, Bradley Beal and Andrew Wiggins are making some of us reconsider our draft-day decisions.
Here are my Risers and Fallers as we prepare to enter Week 5 of the NBA season!
Bilal Coulibaly, SG/SF, Washington Wizards 7.5% rostered in ESPN leagues: While he's not breaking any scoring records, Coulibaly has scored in double figures in four straight games and in five of his last six, while averaging 13.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.7 steals, 0.7 blocks and 2.3 3-pointers over his last three. The Wizards play four times in Week 5 and the time to move on Coulibaly is right now.
Reggie Jackson, PG, Denver Nuggets (5.7%): The Nuggets are one of just three teams that play four games in each of the next two weeks, Jamal Murray is out for the remainder of November, and Jackson has averaged 17.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.0 3-pointers over his last three games. He's not stealing or blocking, but is getting 30 minutes a game and is the only starting option at point guard for Denver until further notice.
Keyonte George, SG, Utah Jazz (5.7%): George has been starting at point guard for the Jazz (sending Talen Horton-Tucker to the bench) and while the shooting hasn't been great, he finally broke out with 15 points, four rebounds, seven dimes, a steal and two 3-pointers against the Blazers on Tuesday. The Jazz only play three times next week, but George is likely to start at point guard the rest of the way in Utah and is only going to get better. Just don't expect any miracles early on.
Skylar Mays, PG/SG, Portland Trail Blazers (12.9%): Mays has cooled off over his last two games but over his last four he's still averaged 13 points, 3.0 rebounds, 9.3 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.5 3-pointers on 45% shooting. The threes should be coming, Malcolm Brogdon, Anfernee Simons and Scoot Henderson aren't close to returning from their injuries, and Mays should run the point in Portland for at least the next couple weeks. The only downside is the Blazers play just three times in each of the next two weeks.
Jordan Hawkins, SG, New Orleans Pelicans (6%): Filling in for CJ McCollum, Hawkins scored 25 points with six rebounds, three assists and five triples on Tuesday and has averaged 15.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.8 steals and 3.3 3-pointers on 36% shooting in his eight November games. The shooting and lack of steals are a bummer, but if you're looking for a four-game option who can fill it up when he gets hot, Hawkins might be your man. Teammate Dyson Daniels is also worth a look if you need boards, assists, steals and threes.
Cam Reddish, SG/SF, Los Angeles Lakers (5.4%): Reddish has been on a nice roll for four games by putting up 15.3 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 1.0 APG, 2.8 SPG and 2.8 3PG in nearly 31 MPG during that stretch. The Lakers only have three games next week but Reddish has been hustling, making big plays and performing well for the Lakers, who have won three of their last four. He's at least worth a look in all leagues as long as he stays hot.
Duncan Robinson, SG/SF, Miami Heat (13.2): Robinson is helping to fill in for Tyler Herro (knee) and has scored 26 points in two of his last three games, knocking down 14 triples in them. He's not going to get you many steals or blocks but he's averaging 23.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 4.7 3-pointers over his last three games. He's going to see at least 30 minutes a night until further notice and the Heat play four times next week.
Miles Bridges, SF/PF, Charlotte Hornets (26.7%): The controversial Bridges is set to make his season debut on Friday and last saw an NBA court on April 12, 2022. Coach Steve Clifford said "he'll have a significant role right away" and on Thursday Bridges said he's "anxious" and that it feels "like the first day of school." The Hornets play three times next week and Bridges averaged 20.2 points and 7.0 rebounds in 2021-22. He also has chemistry with LaMelo Ball and is worth a flier until we see how this plays out.
Jaime Jaquez Jr., SF, Miami Heat (8.2%): Jaquez has scored in double figures in five straight games and has been helping Robinson fill in for Herro's absence. In those five games he's averaging 13.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.4 3-pointers in 31.4 minutes. He has four games next week and is worth a look, especially if you are good in scoring and are looking for peripheral stats.
Cade Cunningham, PG/SG, Detroit Pistons (96.2%): The Pistons only have two games next week but that's the least of Cunningham's worries right now. His scoring has fallen dramatically in his last two games (10 and 9) and while he's averaged 21.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 0.9 steals and 1.5 triples in November, he's shooting just 39.4% from the floor and 24.5% from downtown this month. The dismal shooting has him ranked as an 18th-round fantasy player this season and while the counting stats are fine, he's one of those guys that might actually be doing more harm than good to your fantasy squad.
Tyus Jones, PG, Washington Wizards (72.1%): Jones looked like a serious value pick in the later-to-middle rounds of fantasy drafts a month ago but has failed miserably for the 2-9 Wizards by putting up just 9.6 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 4.8 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.2 BPG and 1.3 3PG on 45.9% shooting. Maybe he's worth one more shot with four games on tap in Week 5, but if things don't change quickly he's going to be showing up on a lot of waiver wires. And rightfully so.
Andrew Wiggins, SF/PF, Golden State Warriors (62.8%): I was expecting Wiggins to have a bounce-back season but it's not happening. He's currently ranked as a 36th-round fantasy value (not a typo) and he's averaged just 10.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.4 blocks and 0.4 3-pointers this season on 39.5% shooting. The Warriors play just three times next week and Wiggins is a bona fide cut candidate if you're looking to pick up a rising player.
Bradley Beal, PG/SG, Phoenix Suns (85.9%): After a long history of leg problems Beal now has a bad back and will be on the injury report a lot this season. He's also no longer the alpha dog in Washington, but instead the third or fourth option for the Suns, giving way to Kevin Durant and Devin Booker. He's doubtful to play on Friday and is averaging just 17.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.3 blocks and 1.7 3-pointers on 39% shooting in just three games on the season. Let him blow up for a game or two and then try to trade him. Good luck.
Klay Thompson, SG/SF, Golden State Warriors (82.3%): Even with Stephen Curry and Draymond Green out on Thursday, Thompson hit just 1-of-10 shots for five points in a loss to the Thunder. In November's nine games he's averaged just 13.6 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.5 blocks and 2.0 3-pointers on 40% shooting and, sadly, doesn't look like his old self. He has time to turn it around but he doesn't come close to passing the eye test right now and the Warriors only play three times next week.
Jabari Smith Jr., PF/C, Houston Rockets (61.4%): Smith has had two good games this season and the rest have seen him struggle, to say the least. It's amazing the Rockets have won six straight games with Smith producing just 12.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.2 steals, 0.7 blocks and 2.0 3-pointers during the run. He's got time to turn it around but isn't a must-have fantasy player right now and the Rockets only have three games next week.
Draymond Green, PF/C, Golden State Warriors (64.6%): In his seven November games Green has averaged just 9.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.6 blocks and 1.3 3-pointers. He'll serve four more games of a suspension for putting Rudy Gobert in the 'choke hold heard round the world' and doesn't currently look like a guy who should even be rostered in most fantasy leagues.