Every week when this fantasy basketball waiver wire piece comes out expect to see different players each week written in the article. Even though team circumstances change due to players being in and out of the lineup, unless the player is a “must add now”, I will avoid bringing up the same players week after week so we can get as much variety as possible.
Malik Beasley, G MIN-33% Ownership:
D’Angelo Russell has been hurt and Beasley has been taking more shots and it has resulted in more scoring. Beasley has scored 11 or more points in 4 straight games. He can also bring up the ball if needed, but they also have Patrick Beverley (suggested in this article last week) to help keep the offense organized in Minnesota. Beasley has taken at least 12 shots in his last 4 and he’s grabbed a steal in each of his last 6 games. The shooting hasn’t been strong to start the year but the shots will still be there because even when Russell is back on the court, Beasley could still be the fourth option behind Russell, Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards. Let’s also not forget that he grabbed 4.4 rebounds per game a year ago and we should be able to rely on Beasley to grab long rebounds. He makes nearly three three-pointers per game.
Nicolas Batum F LAC-39% Ownership:
It shocks me to include Batum in this article this early in the season but with no Kawhi Leonard and Serge Ibaka and Marcus Morris Sr hurt, the Clippers lack frontcourt depth beyond Ivica Zubac and Batum has been pulling down 6.4 boards per game and he’s blocked shots in 3 of his last 4 contests. He still takes his leaning in three-pointers and he’s hit multiple three-pointers in four of his last five outings. He’s been playing late-20s/early-30s minutes and he’s even grabbed a steal in five of his last six games. He’s been as helpful as he can be on the defensive end and we don’t know when we’ll see Ibaka or Leonard back on the floor. Justise Winslow has been helpful as well in fillings voids missing in the Clippers frontcourt, but Batum has been locked in and will continue to be locked into the Clippers rotation and he’s taken double-digit shots in three of his last five contests.
Blake Griffin PF, C BKN-12% Ownership:
Nicolas Claxton is sick (non-COVID according to reports) and he will miss some time meaning veterans LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin will see more run and while it will be a lot harder to find Aldridge on waivers, Griffin should see there and we have seen him play more minutes in the Nets last two games. He’s played 27-plus during that span. Griffin isn’t the banger he used to be. He can help stretch the floor a bit and he’s hit three-pointers in his last three games. Griffin can still post up and spin to the middle of the paint to get a good look at the basket when trying to score in the post. He’s grabbed 5.1 boards per game and has blocked a shot in 2 of his last 3 battles. Griffin will also pass from the top of the key and he’s contributed eight assists total in his last two games. Expect him to take more shots and we should see his scoring and rebounding rise over the next few weeks until Claxton returns. It’s up to Griffin, Aldridge and Kevin Durant to guard the interior for Brooklyn.
Devin Vassell SG SAS-27% Ownership:
The Spurs lost a big offensive asset in Jakob Poeltl and they don’t have a lot of established scorers to begin with and Vassell, who was getting minutes more for his defense than offense last year, has been taking more shots and scoring nearly 12 points per game. He’s taken 12 field goals in each of his last 3 games. Speaking of defense, Vassell is grabbing 4.1 rebounds per contest and he has swiped multiple balls in 2 of his last 3 games. He’s excellent at rotating through screens. You see the agility he brings to the court on both sides of the ball. Vassell has swatted away shots in four of his last five contests as well. Expect him to play close to 30 minutes per game and the Spurs backcourt and midcourt will have to handle most of the offensive burden until Poeltl returns from dealing with COVID.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope G WAS-12% Ownership:
Caldwell-Pope is another player who earns his minutes from his defense and he’s hit the 30-minute mark in 7 of 9 games so far and he’s scored in double figures in five of his last seven contests. Caldwell-Pope has been pulling down 4.3 rebounds per outing and he’s grabbed multiple steals on 3 of his last 4 games. With the amount of attention Bradley Beal gets, Caldwell-Pope will be set up for a good amount on high-percentage shots. He’s been taking 10 or more shots more frequently and it will be fascinating to see how Rui Hachimura fits into the Wizards offensive plans when he’s ready to go, but for now, Caldwell-Pope will have room to shoot and he provides enough in other categories to deserve a reserve spot on fantasy benches.
Pat Connaughton SG, SF MIL-25% Ownership:
This will be the first of a few times that Connaughton will be brought up in this article and he can help out in the Bucks back and midcourt and with Khris Middleton out, Connaughton should see more action. He’s been scoring 10.3 points per game. Connaughton shoots nearly 47 percent from the field. He’ll take a lot of long-range shots, but, he won’t just camp out at the arc until the possession is over. He’ll step right in and fight for longer rebounds out by the elbow and he’s grabbed 4.8 boards per contest. He’ll be competing with Grayson Allen for shots when the Bucks are at full strength and he hits at least two three-pointers per game. He’s grabbed a steal in the majority of games. Expect him to continue to log close to 30 minutes per game until Middleton is ready to return. Donte DiVincenzo being out also benefits Connaughton.
Josh Hart SG, SF NOP-36% Ownership:
Hart should be on a short leash because once Brandon Ingram’s hip is all healed up, Hart will lose a good amount of that usage but until that time comes, he definitely has value as the Pelicans are still without Zion Williamson as well and other bigger players have to fill the void in the post making more openings in the backcourt and even at SF and Hart has taken full advantage. Hart has scored in double figures in three of his last four battles. He has taken 11 shots in 2 of his last 3 contests as well. Hart isn’t afraid to drive with the ball. He’s been shooting 55.8 percent from the floor. Hart’s rebounding production in his last few games has been eye opening. He grabs 5.4 boards per contest for his career, but lately we’ve been seeing him post a few games in which he grabbed 8 or more boards and that will give him some staying power in the rotation and on fantasy rosters. He’s played 30 minutes or more in his last 4 games.
Thaddeus Young PF, C SAS-40% Ownership:
As mentioned before, Poeltl is out and Young and Drew Eubanks will guard the post. We had been waiting for Young to get love in the Spurs rotation and slowly but surely we’ve seen him get more involved. Young has played at least 22 minutes in his last 2 contests and he’s hit double figures in scoring in 2 of his last 4 contests. We’ll start to see Young’s scoring and rebounding numbers rise as he fills in for Poeltl for a bit. He’s grabbed multiple steals in three of his last four games and Young has even blocked five shots total in his last two contests. He’s more of a defender, but because the Spurs lack depth, expect him to be taking seven to 10 shots per game while in the post. Young has scored 13.1 points per game for his career and he’s been a strong defender in the post and has swiped 1.4 balls per game.
Georges Niang F PHI-32% Ownership:
Niang could be just a short-term solution because Tobias Harris is in the league’s COVID protocol for a few more games. Niang has picked up the production lately by scoring 14 or more points and playing over 30 minutes in each of his last 3 games. Niang has hit three or more three-pointers in his last three contests and he’s taken double-digit shots in all three of those games. We’ve seen Niang pull down a few more boards lately as he’s grabbed at least five in two of his last three battles. He’s played over 22 minutes per game this season and even when Harris comes back he can still stay in the mix for 20 minutes in the Sixers rotation, but he’ll have to show that he’s a two-way player and Niang has stolen the ball in both of his last two games. The Ben Simmons situation has put the Sixers in a very tough spot because they can’t trade him and they need the size in the lane and Niang fills that void.
Jarred Vanderbilt PF, C MIN-11% Ownership:
It isn’t easy finding available centers on the waiver wire, but Vanderbilt is someone to keep an eye on because the Timberwolves don’t have a lot of frontcourt depth. Vanderbilt has played 22 or more minutes in 4 of his last 5 contests and grabbed at least 8 rebounds per game during that span. He doesn’t take a ton of shots but has scored in double figures in three of his last five games. View Vanderbilt as a last player on your fantasy basketball bench and keep your head on a swivel looking for other options to help grab you boards down the road. For right now, he can be trusted as he’s getting the minutes and we’ve seen an uptick in his scoring. Vanderbilt shoots 50 percent from the floor, but playing next to Karl-Anthony Towns isn’t easy because he commands a lot a of shots.