Working the waiver wire is pivotal to succeeding in fantasy basketball. With so many games, injuries and endless shifts in rotations throughout the season, we’ll need to source stats from free agency to maximize our imaginary rosters.
Here are some of the top options widely available in ESPN leagues to pick up ahead of this week’s games.
Kris Dunn, Chicago Bulls (Rostered in 47.1 percent of ESPN leagues): It’s understandable to see Dunn’s popularity plummet recently given a multi-week recovery from a concussion, but it’s also important to remember that during the 10 games prior to his injury he averaged 15.1 PPG, 7.8 APG, 4.6 RPG, 2.2 SPG and nearly a block and a 3-pointer per game. The steal rate is simply elite, which helps buffer any expected loss in usage now that Zach LaVine is proving capable.
Ish Smith, Detroit Pistons (36.9 percent): I’ve been championing Smith as a quality addition ever since the team netted Blake Griffin. During his past six starts, Smith is averaging 15.5 PPG 5.5 APG in 31.7 MPG.
Terry Rozier, Boston Celtics (36.6 percent): Even as Rozier has cooled down over the past several games, he’s still consuming valuable minutes and touches in place of Marcus Smart. Once his shot starts falling again, Rozier will return real value for patient managers.
Tomas Satoransky, Washington Wizards (11 percent): John Wall‘s injury has vaulted Satoransky to a starting role, as he’s gotten the call in eight straight. During these eight starts, the former FC Barcelona star has averaged 11.8 PPG, 5.3 APG and 1.6 SPG per game while sinking 68 percent of his 3-point attempts. For some positional context, he’s sixth among point guards on the Player Rater over the past 15 days. If he’s getting starting minutes, Satoransky is worth rostering in deeper and more challenging formats.
Shelvin Mack, Orlando Magic (2.3 percent): One of the best speculative investments in the league at the moment, Mack might just be the de facto replacement for Elfrid Payton in Orlando. It might just be a one-game outlier, but it appears the team trusts Mack to do the heavy lifting, and not D.J. Augustin.
Rodney Hood, Cleveland Cavaliers (32.2 percent): I’ve been a Hood believer for much of the past year. For whatever can be made of his weak defensive metrics, Hood is a gifted scorer and shooter who should see a ton of minutes and opportunities on the new-look Cavs. It won’t matter if Cleveland doesn’t feature him right away. Hood, after all, is 10th in the NBA in points per touch (0.398) among players averaging at least 20 minutes.
Allen Crabbe, Brooklyn Nets (9.6 percent): On a uniquely prolific scoring bender, Crabbe is averaging 31 PPG during his past two starts. What I find most revealing is that he’s averaged 33.3 MPG the past six games, all starts. With a massive shooting workload (9.2 attempts per game from 3-point range over this recent stretch) on one of the league’s fastest offenses, Crabbe is a top specialist to consider.
Josh Jackson, Phoenix Suns (39.5 percent): I’ll freely admit when I miss on a piece of analysis. I doubted Jackson’s ability to sustain a scoring binge from a few weeks ago and he’s proven me wrong; he’s averaged 17.3 PPG and 6.2 RPG during the past 10 games. The biggest key is a positive correction on interior shooting, as he’s been among the worst in the league on layups and within three feet of the rim for much of the season. It’s great to see Jackson regularly top 35 minutes on the floor lately, as heavy exposure is the most realistic path to sustaining fantasy value.
Rudy Gay, San Antonio Spurs (23.6 percent): The options are getting leaner at the wing this late into the campaign, which means it’s time to stash an ailing vet like Gay. Once he returns to the floor, Gay could provide a nice blend of 3-pointers, steals and blocks.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, Sacramento Kings (15.7 percent): This guy is more than simply a shooting specialist; he’s averaging nearly five dimes in addition to 2.3 3PG and 1.8 SPG during his past four starts. There should be plenty of minutes and shots available to him down the stretch as the Kings trend young with the rotation.
Stanley Johnson, Detroit Pistons (12.8 percent): Another beneficiary of the team’s blockbuster deal, Johnson has averaged 34.8 MPG during the past seven games. Being on the floor this often naturally leads to rewarding scoring and defensive results.
Markieff Morris, Washington Wizards (47.6 percent): You need to embrace the variance of this stretch forward’s game … he’s going to endure hot and cold stretches from the field. Helping to buffer his volatile scoring profile, Morris has 13 steals during his past eight appearances.
Joe Ingles, Utah Jazz (37.6 percent): This dude is simply a very good basketball player. It doesn’t always translate well to fantasy stardom, but his versatile floor game and deft shooting touch supports top-100 value in all formats.
Bobby Portis, Chicago Bulls (33.3 percent): During the past five games, Portis is tied with Al Horford with 13.6 rebounding chances per game (within 3.5 feet of an available rebound). Throw in a quality steal rate, and Portis is a fine utility addition.
Larry Nance Jr., Cleveland Cavaliers (24.7 percent): Cleveland appears rebuilt to play small-ball lineups that feature Nance as a rim-running glue guy. I could buy into Nance having better usage and opportunity rates in Cleveland than he enjoyed with the Lakers over the past month.
Dwight Powell, Dallas Mavericks (10.8 percent): The Mavericks are affording Powell more opportunities of late; he’s averaged 27.2 MPG leading to 12.2 PPG and 8.2 RPG during the past six outings. With a shooting rate of 74.4 percent during this stretch, Powell can help in several categories.
John Collins, Atlanta Hawks (44.4 percent): It doesn’t take a ton of minutes for Collins to exceed value these days, as he’s tallied 9.1 PPG, 7.7 RPG and 1.2 BPG during the past 10 games. If he’s still floating in your league, it’s time to acquire this gifted rookie.
Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn Nets (36 percent): In what is an emergent rookie class at the position, Allen is finally getting meaningful minutes for the Nets. For blocks, boards and efficient scoring, Allen is a gem for the stretch run.