Working the waiver wire is pivotal to succeeding in fantasy basketball. With so many games, injuries and endless shifts in rotations throughout the marathon campaign, we’ll need to source stats from free agency to maximize imaginary rosters.
A willingness to entertain competition for the last few spots on your fantasy hoops roster can prove rewarding. When curating this fluid collective of statistical contributors, it helps to consider your end-of-bench players in direct competition with the talent floating in free agency.
The goal of this weekly series is to identify players available in at least half of ESPN leagues at each position. Some nominations are specialists capable of helping in one or two categories, while others deliver more diverse and essential statistical offerings.
In the breakdowns below, I’ve ordered players at each position with priority of acquisition in mind, rather than roster percentage in ESPN leagues.
Tomas Satoransky, Washington Wizards (0.1 percent of ESPN leagues): In three games as the starting point guard since we learned of John Wall‘s season-ending surgery, Satoransky has averaged 14 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.7 3PG, and one steal while netting 34.2 MPG. I’ve done my part in adding Satoransky where possible in my ESPN leagues, and now it’s your turn.
Derrick White, San Antonio Spurs (0.1 percent): Eighth on the Player Rater among point guards the past 15 days, White’s emergence as an efficient perimeter scorer has been a key part of the Spurs’ torrid stretch of play since the start of December.
Deep additions (players available in at least 90 percent of ESPN leagues): With Kyle Lowry working his way back from a back injury, Fred VanVleet (1.6 percent) should maintain some fantasy utility for the next several games as the top distributor for Toronto.
Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee Bucks (38.5 percent): This cool and calm combo guard has made a league-best 98.5 percent of his free throws this season and nearly 43 percent of attempts from 3-point range. Ever efficient, Brogdon is an excellent source of rebounds, assists, 3-pointers and shooting percentages.
Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics (7.0 percent): I wouldn’t endorse Smart so consistently or zealously if he were solely an elite steal specialist, as he’s helpful in assists and 3-pointers while also proving atypically strong on the glass for his position.
Tyler Johnson, Miami Heat (3.5 percent): Goran Dragic‘s injury opens additional minutes and touches for Johnson in the weeks ahead. His scoring production won’t wow you, but helpful assist, steal, and 3-point rates drive a healthy overall profile from this combo guard.
Deep additions: A savvy shooting specialist for the Nets, Joe Harris (1.5 percent) offers Korver-like efficiency from 3-point range.
Justise Winslow, Miami Heat (0.9 percent): Thriving in a new role as the team’s top distributor, Winslow has added a good deal of assist production to his profile, resulting in him being the most overlooked player in ESPN leagues this week.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, Sacramento Kings (24.3 percent): Bogdanovic is a consistent offensive microwave off the bench for the Kings. This past Saturday night, Bogdanovic was dynamic as a playmaker in nearly downing the Warriors, further evidence he’s a valuable fantasy asset in even high-leverage matchups.
Trevor Ariza, Washington Wizards (8.4 percent): Just his raw numbers with Washington scream fantasy starter; 15.2. PPG, 5.3 RPG, 4.3 APG, 2.1 SPG, and 2.8 3PG. With coveted freedom to shoot from all over the floor, particularly from beyond the arc, Ariza is a must-add in all formats.
Deep additions: Mikal Bridges (0.9 percent) has been on the floor for 30.3 MPG the past week for Phoenix and is found at 11th on the Player Rater among small forwards the past 15 days thanks to an excellent blend of steals and blocks from the wing.
Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies (39.6 percent): The rare player averaging more than a block and steal per game this season, Jackson also flashes effective 3-point and scoring rates worthy of more attention from fantasy managers.
Nemanja Bjelica, Sacramento Kings (3.0 percent): A mostly quiet December has given way to a strong start to 2019 for Bjelica, who has slashed for 12 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 1.8 3PG, and 1.3 combined steals and blocks the past seven days. The Kings love to push the pace and crash the boards, feeding Bjelica added possessions and opportunities.
Thomas Bryant, Washington Wizards (0.2 percent): While the results are somewhat inconsistent, the overall numbers Bryant has posted as the team’s starting center of late have been impressive; the young big is averaging 15.4 PPG, 8,7 RPG, 1.5 combined blocks and steals and an absurd shooting rate of 74.1 percent from the floor during the past seven games.
Noah Vonleh, New York Knicks (3.5 percent): Awesome on the glass of late, Vonleh has averaged 17.8 rebounding chances (defined as being within 3.5 of an available rebound) the past 10 games, which ranks 16th in the NBA. Vonleh has capably converted on these opportunities with 11 RPG during this sample. His shot isn’t falling of late, but when he’s hitting from beyond the arc, Vonleh provides a rare mix of shooting and rebounding production at a shallow center position.
Deep additions: Dewayne Dedmon (1.7 percent) of the Atlanta Hawks is now a surprising 3-and-D source who blends traditional frontcourt production (14.3 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 1.5 combined blocks and steals the past eight games) with deft shooting touch (56.3 percent from 3-point range on good volume during this recent sample).