Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire: January 17
Justin Fensterman offers up some players you need to have on your radar as you try to improve your fantasy basketball teams through the free agent market!
As we approach the one month mark since the fantasy basketball season began, it’s time to start looking at these teams with a finer lens. To find trendy players before the rest of the world does, look at how some of the players have done in the last week or two rather than for the full season. Look at playing time to start and if you see a small increase in minutes, especially if the player was already given a true rotation commitment of 20 minutes per game, hop on that player. Try to watch these players yourselves for a bit so you can see how they are utilized on the court during these games.
Cedi Osman F CLE-26% Ownership: Even though the Cavs have more firepower up front, there should still be plenty of playing time for Osman at SF moving forward. He’s scoring over 13 points per game and has exceeded that total in 4 of his last 5 games. Going back to last year, as much as Osman hustled, he was used mainly as a bailout shooter. Osman has actually grabbed over three boards and dished over three dimes per game thus far. Who knows when we’ll see Kevin Porter Jr. take the court and both Darius Garland and Collin Sexton have been banged up. Osman should be prioritized over rookie Isaac Okoro. Osman has played over 30 minutes per game and he’s been playing decent perimeter defense. He swipes a ball per game. Will he consistently put up outstanding stats? No! But, he takes almost 13 shots per game, plays deep into games and the Cavs don’t have a lot of mid-court depth. He’s been more than a one-category producer thus far and we can put short-term trust into him.
JaMychal Green PF, C DEN-17% Ownership: With Michael Porter Jr. still out with COVID, Green should continue to play steadily into the 20’s and between his ability to stretch the floor, flex to center and his strong rebounding thus far, he might have carved himself a final committed rotation spot even when Porter returns. He’s scored in double figures in six of his last seven games. When you play alongside Nikola Jokic , you’ll often be the kickout option because of his explosiveness and ability to handle the ball and Green, who is making nearly two and a half three-pointers per game, will be fed high-percentage shots. We may see Porter return within the next week and let’s not forget that Paul Millsap is still there as well, but Green can help out at both PF and C and he’s shooting 51.6 percent from the field and 52.8 percent from the arc. With this hot of shooting, it’s hard to justify removing him from the rotation.
Willie Cauley-Stein PF, C DAL-19% Ownership: Is Cauley-Stein an exciting add? Not really! But, with Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber still out and Kristaps Porzingis being limited, it gives Cauley-Stein week by week value and he’s grabbed double-digit boards in his last 2 contests. He’s lanky, but never really learned how to use his agility and he’s not a great driver. If he can keep up with Luka Doncic on the break, it will benefit him from an offensive standpoint. He’s a defensive add and any offense he provides should be looked at as an added bonus. He should be added as an end of the bench big man if boards and blocks are needed. Cauley-Stein has played 30 minutes in his last 2 games and because of the Mavs depth issues, they don’t really have any other options besides Boban Marjanovic to protect the paint.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope G LAL-13% Ownership: Since returning from injury, Caldwell-Pope has been on a double-digit scoring streak of three games. He scores 10.7 points per game and if the three-pointers are falling, he’ll get fed more. The Lakers have a lot of attackers and between LeBron James and Dennis Schroder constantly attacking the paint with the ball, Caldwell-Pope is often left open on the outside. He earns his rotation spot from his tenacious defense and has grabbed steals in his last four outings including two of those games being multi-steal games. Expect Caldwell-Pope to continue taking eight to 10 shots per game and if he can improve his rebounding a bit more, he’ll have more staying power for your teams. He’s actually grabbed three or more in three of his last four games.
Patrick Williams F CHI-22% Ownership: Even with Otto Porter Jr. able to stay healthy for the most part, Williams has worked his way into the rotation. Some of the Bulls having COVID issues like Tomas Satoransky and Lauri Markkanen also propped Williams up in the rotation as well. Williams has scored 10.6 points per game this season and he’s scored 14 or more in his last 2 games. Williams has seen over 30 minutes in his last 3 games and he should continue seeing more minutes as the season continues. The Bulls don’t have a ton of midcourt depth. Williams has also grabbed steals in three of his last four games and if he continues to show defensive prowess, he’ll earn more minutes. The Bulls should look to preserve Porter a bit more to keep him healthy. Williams rebounding could use a bit of work, but, he’s grabbed seven-plus in two of his last three contests.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker SG, SF NO-20% Ownership: With the Pelicans dealing with guard injuries, they gave Alexander-Walker a bit more run recently and he’s come through. His speed keeps the Pelicans moving at a quick pace and if they’re smart, they’ll let him run the offense with the second unit a bit more even when Lonzo Ball is healthy. Alexander-Walker has actually scored 11.6 points per game and he’ll frequently look to drive and draw contact. He can hit outside shots as well, but knows, especially on transition you have to attack the rim. He’s also grabbed steals in two of his last four outings. Alexander-Walker isn’t lazy on defense and has made a bit of an impact and his stats show the potential. He’s posted five or more boards in two of his last four games. Eric Bledsoe and Josh Hart may cause roadblocks for him when Ball returns to the lineup, but let’s ride Alexander-Walker while he’s producing.
Patty Mills PG SAS-38% Ownership: Even though he doesn’t have as many guards to deal with, Mills will still provide investors scoring relief as he has posted 14.2 points per game. Mills will continue to play into the late-20’s for the most part and he’ll look to drive if the lane is open. When the Spurs aren’t on the run, he’ll often pass off and then find an opening at the arc. He’s scored over his average in three of his last five games and shoots over 45 percent from the field and over 43 percent from the arc. He’s hitting nearly three triples per game. Mills has been helpful with distributing the ball as well and he’s dished 3.2 assists per game making him more than just scoring dependant thus far. Derrick White is still out with a fractured Toe and there’s room for Mills to continue to get steady minutes and time with the ball.
Delon Wright SG, SF DET-35% Ownership: Other players besides Jerami Grant are going to have to produce and Wright has picked it up in recent games. While he hasn’t been scoring in double figures consistently, he’s been helpful in other areas. Wright has the ability to operate at both guard spots and Luke Kennard off the team and Killian Hayes hurt, he’ll be needed to run point a bit more so the Pistons can continue preserving Derrick Rose . Wright plays over 26 minutes per game and he has seen 32 minutes or more in his last 3 contests. Wright has grabbed at least four boards in each of his last four games. Wright has also posted six or more dimes in three of his last four outings as well and he’s even blocked shots in his last three and grabbed steals in two of his last three games. He’s more versatile than Wayne Ellington , Frank Jackson and even Josh Jackson and should continue to see strong minutes.
STILL GOOD TO ADD: (MENTIONED LAST WEEK)
Jeff Teague G BOS-28% Ownership:
Royce O’Neale F, UT-23% Ownership:
Justin Holiday SG, SF IND-33% Ownership:
Payton Pritchard PG BOS-15% Ownership: