2017-18 Fantasy Basketball Waiver Advice: February 9
Justin Fensterman dives into the fantasy basketball waiver wire in hopes of delivering productive additions to your season-long leagues.
Now that the trade deadline has passed, it’s time to focus on those teams that made trades. The Cavs and Lakers are two teams that will go through rotation changes. The Kings, Jazz, Magic and Suns will also have to change things up a bit in the offense. When looking at a team that just made a trade, don’t only look at the player who was traded. Look at the depth of the team that the player just left. That’s how to take advantage of the situation. With Elfrid Payton off the Magic, did you pick up D.J. Augustin for the immediate fill-in? Focus more on the situation and depth over the player himself when focusing on pickups.
Emmanuel Mudiay PG NY - 12% Ownership: The Nuggets made it clear that Jamal Murray is the Guard of the future. Mudiay has tremendous speed and is a good ball handler. His shooting has been the main question mark surrounding him. He’s had a better shot selection this season and he’s helped with steals. The scoring will be up and down until he settles in to the Knicks rotation. Right now, the Knicks are rolling with Jarrett Jack as the starter with Frank Ntilikina and Trey Burke as the backup options. Mudiay can overtake the starting role in a few weeks if he shows an immediate impact. The Knicks relied too much on Jack early in the season and he looks exhausted. Mudiay can keep the Knicks at a quick rate and he’s a decent enough passer that his assists should improve. Mudiay had a tough time getting a true rotation commitment from the Nuggets and the Knicks can absolutely give him 20 plus minutes per game once he settles in. The Knicks will need him to hit the knockdown jumper. He scored in double figures in two of his last four games. Owners should expect scoring, dimes and steals from Mudiay. A fresh start is just what he needed.
Josh Hart SG/SF LAL - 30% Ownership: With the Lakers trading away Jordan Clarkson, Hart should be able to see more action in the offense. Hart can play PG, SG and SF and he’s played good defense lately. Even with the addition of Isaiah Thomas, the Lakers will need to pose a threat on defense and that’s where Hart comes in. Hart won’t get as many shots when Thomas gets involved in the rotation and will be in a minutes battle once Lonzo Ball returns (if he returns), but he’s grabbed steals in his last four games. Hart has also grabbed double digit rebounds in three of his last four games and has even blocked shots in his last two games. His defensive presence alone should earn him minutes, but even his shooting has been on the money. Hart’s scored in double figures in his last four games. Hart is currently getting playing time in the 30’s, but even when Thomas is fully acclimated, Hart should still be able to play at least 20 minutes per game moving forward. He’s part of the Lakers future plans, while Thomas future is unknown. They’ll want to give Hart as many reps as possible, even if the Lakers fall out of contention.
Fred VanVleet PG TOR - 15% Ownership: VanVleet has been a scoring machine lately and he’s been getting a true rotation commitment from the Raptors. He’s not only scored in double figures over his last four games, but he hit long-range shots in all four. The steals and assists have gone up lately as he has two multi-steal games in his last three and he’s dished at least six assists in his last three games. VanVleet has a quick drive to the basket and the journey’s he takes making it shocking he can maintain control. VanVleet’s even been more active on the glass. He’s a good last guy off your bench and he’s getting rewarded with playing time in the 30’s. Expect VanVleet to be getting an uptick in minutes because it’ll help preserve Kyle Lowry as the Raptors look to make a serious Playoff run. The Raptors prioritize their scoring by giving their backcourt the majority of plays and even when VanVleet is in there with DeMar DeRozan, he’ll still see open long-range three-pointers as the bailout option.
Tyson Chandler C PHX - 15% Ownership: Somehow, someway, he wasn’t traded! Now what? Since Greg Monroe is off the team and Alex Len has been struggling a bit, Chandler is a good source of cheap rebounding. Scoring is absolutely a bonus, but making it to double figures isn’t out of the question. Chandler has been one of the most disciplined defenders in the post for the last decade-plus. He’s excellent at tipping the ball back out to the perimeter and with a good ball-handler in Elfrid Payton playing with him, expect a lot of good, crisp passes into the lane. Payton being on the team gives Chandler a better chance to score in double-digits. Chandler doesn’t even need a lot of time to produce. Reports say that he should be playing in back to back games moving forward. Chandler also blocked shots in two of his last three games. The Suns already bought out Monroe and I don’t believe that’s in the cards for Chandler.
Bogdan Bogdanovic SG/SF SAC - 30% Ownership: Bogdanovic has been getting more playing time over the last few weeks and he’s been a helpful in multiple categories. He’s grabbed steals in his last five games. He’s also dished at least four dimes over his last three games. Bogdanovic is a reliable long-range shooter who’s not afraid to attack the rim. He’s a good free-throw and shooter and with George Hill off the team, he’ll pick up more time with the ball and more shots. Expect more consistency in scoring and his assist numbers should be in the four to six range moving forward. He provides minor rebounding help. Bogdanovic has scored in double figures in two of his last three games and the Kings are looking to buy out Joe Johnson. Bogdanovic, along with De’Aaron Fox will be priority scorers moving forward. He’s got good agility and has improved his driving ability. He slows down a lot more when approaching to defenders to try to work his way around them rather than try to go through them. Expect him to be taking more shots down the stretch.
Dejounte Murray PG SAS - 39% Ownership: Murray is currently dealing with a minor Ankle injury, but the torch of Floor General has been passed to him from Tony Parker. Murray will continue to see starts and he’s scored in double figures in six of his last eight games. Murray shows a true commitment to defense and rotates nicely through screens. Murray grabbed double-digit rebounds in three of his last five games. When the shot goes up, he sneaks to the elbow to try to grab the loose ball and keep the play alive. Murray will also help grab steals. He had a seven-steal game a few weeks ago. He’s been playing steadily in the 20’s and even though he’s only averaging 2.8 assists, he’s dished 3 or more in six of his last 7 games. Murray is more of a driver than jump shooter and he’ll attack the paint. He’ll provide help with blocks every few games. At this point, control is in his destiny and the Spurs will want to preserve the more experienced Tony Parker for the Playoffs. Expect the leash to get longer as the Spurs get closer to clinching.
Reggie Bullock SG/SF DET - 27% Ownership: With Tobias Harris and Avery Bradley off the team, Bullock’s usage will continue to increase. The playing time continues to stay in the 30’s and Bullock’s provided help on both sides of the ball. Bullock’s scored in double figures in five of his last seven games. Bullock will attack the rim and has a small high post game. He’s also an effective set shooter and see’s a decent amount of open jumpers. Both Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond command a lot of attention and Bullock should see open jumpers on the wing. Bullock has also grabbed steals in two of his last three games and is a consistent three-point shooter. As he plays more and spends more time in the high post, expect more long rebounds to come his way. Bullock has to set screens at the top of the paint and he’ll step inside a bit more as the season continues. Bullock’s minutes should stay consistent for the rest of the way, as he’ll be a major part of the Pistons second unit. Reggie Jackson still has weeks to go and Bullock should continue seeing close to 10 shots per game. He’ll get more shots against teams with weak perimeter defense and forwards.
Dwight Powell PF/C DA L- 16% Ownership: Powell took advantage of the playing time given to him while Harrison Barnes was out. He’s been given more of a commitment over the last five games and he’s thrived. Powell grabbed at least six boards in all five games and he even grabbed double-digit rebounds in two of them. Powell has been more of a factor on offensive end. The Mavs haven’t had the easiest time scoring points this season and Powell scored in double figures in two of his last three. Owners of Powell are almost guaranteed steals as he’s been consistent in that area for weeks. Even before Barnes injury, Powell was producing and playing in the late 20’s. He’s seen playing time in the early 30’s and should get the most minutes of any big man coming off the bench for the Mavs. Powell is a good physical defender in the post and he’s added a baby jumper to his game. He’ll draw contact off of pump fakes inside.
Mario Hezonja SG/SF ORL - 21% Ownership: With Aaron Gordon still hurt, Hezonja has taken full advantage on both sides of the ball. He’s grabbed at least five boards in his last five games and grabbed steals in four of those games. He’s a good driver, but also shows his range. Expect more jump-shooting then driving and now that Elfrid Payton’s off the team, expect his usage rate to stay high even when Gordon and Nikola Vucevic return to the court. Hezonja scored in double figures in four of his last five games and owners can expect him to hit multiple three-pointers in most games. Hezonja is also scrappy on defense and often goes after steals. He has three multi-steal games in his last four and he’s even blocked shots in two of his last four games. We’ve been waiting for this multi-category production and as the Magic continue to battle the injury bug, Hezonja will still make a consistent impact on both sides of the ball.
WILD CARD PICK UP: Shelvin Mack PG ORL - 2% Ownership: Looking for a possible super sleeper who will benefit from Payton being traded? Mack is currently the back up point guard and we can’t expect D.J. Augustin to play all of the minutes and Mack will get his chance. Mack has played over 20 minutes in his last six games and dished at least four dimes in four of his last six games. Mack has also recorded steals in four of his last five games. He has quick moves to the basket to go along with a decent long-range game. Mack is more of a driver and he’ll go to the free-throw line more often than not. Mack even grabbed seven rebounds in two of his last four games. He’s scored in double figures in three of his last six games and the scoring will improve as the season continues and being that the Magic lack depth at PG, Mack will stay involved in the rotation and his minutes should be safe and secure for now. View scoring as a bonus and pick him up if you need assists and/or steals, even if it’s just for the short term.
Ownership percentages courtesy of Yahoo! Sports