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 at each position widely available in free agency in ESPN leagues. Some nominations are specialists capable of helping in one or two categories, while others deliver more diverse and important statistical offerings. In the breakdowns below, I’ve ordered players at each position with the priority of acquisition in mind, rather than roster percentage in ESPN leagues.
Monte Morris, Washington Wizards (rostered in 54.6% of ESPN leagues): The scoring will never be very impressive Morris, but few players this widely available produce as many assists as Washington’s distributor.
Markelle Fultz, Orlando Magic (27.7%): With 10 steals across his last four games and strong rebounding and passing production, it’s easier look past the modest scoring and shooting clips Fultz provides.
Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks (15.0%): It’s clear yet if Quickley is enjoying an enduring leap as a playmaker for the Knicks or if he’s merely thriving amid recent injuries to RJ Barrett and Jalen Brunson. We’ll learn more about Quickley’s value once the rotation is healthy, but he’s been fairly remarkable in a larger offensive role recently.
Donte DiVincenzo, Golden State Warriors (10.5%): A bigger role in the wake of Stephen Curry‘s injury has resulted to some nice numbers. DiVincenzo has slashed for 12 points, 6.3 boards, 4.4 assists, 1.7 steals, and 2.9 3-pointers in his last games, all starts. Until Curry gets back, these are top-100 numbers from the former Villanova star.
Jalen Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder (5.2%): Shifting to the starting lineup has led to a statistical leap from Williams, with the rising rookie producing nearly 16 point per game with impressive defensive rates during the past week.
Quentin Grimes, New York Knicks (7.6%): Earning the trust of Tom Thibodeau can prove very valuable, as the coach is well known for affording his starters heavy minutes. Grimes has averaged 36 minutes over his past eight games en route to averaging 15.8 points, 3.1 3-pointers and 1.6 combined blocks and steals.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, Atlanta Hawks (52.3%): It’s a good sign that Bogdanovic keeps producing strong lines even with Dejounte Murray back in the fold. This playmaker has upped his 3-point volume by 40% over his career rate, leading to a career best 17.4 points per game as a key secondary scorer for the Hawks.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Denver Nuggets (17.8%): Serving as a satellite shooter working off of Nikola Jokic has been a fruitful move for KCP, who is hitting an absurd 47.4% of his 3-pointers in his debut season with Denver.
Rui Hachimura, Washington Wizards (10.6%): The Wizards are hot and Hachimura is a big reason why; since returning from injury a few weeks ago, the third-year forward has become a productive bench scorer for Washington, averaging 21.4 points on stellar percentages during his last five games, all wins for the team.
Jeremy Sochan, San Antonio Spurs (8.0%): This unique rookie is beginning to score with sustained success, a great sign for increased fantasy value given he’s already providing some fun rebounding and defensive production.
Torrey Craig, Phoenix Suns (3.6%): Cameron Johnson doesn’t appear very close to a return, while Jae Crowder remains away from the team. This all means that Craig continues to play an important role in the Suns’ rotation as a glue guy on both side of the court.
Mason Plumlee, Charlotte Hornets (41.1%): Even as rookie Mark Williams is starting to produce, Plumlee remains a productive veteran pivot for fantasy managers to consider. Consider that Plumlee ranks 12th on the Player Rater among centers the past two weeks and has slashed for 12.7 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists while hitting 68.6% of his shots from the floor.
Jalen Duren, Detroit Pistons (16.5%): Only Domantas Sabonis has pulled down more boards than Duren since this rookie became a starter for Detroit back in early December. Foul trouble can surface at times for an aggressive young defender, but elite rebounding is already a foundation of his game.
Thomas Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers (18.4%): It’s a good week for value at the position, with the likes of Duren and Bryant so widely available while appointed to starting positions. With Anthony Davis sidelined indefinitely, Bryant should be the roll man for LeBron James for weeks to come.
Onyeka Okongwu, Atlanta Hawks (16.4%): For as long as Clint Capela is dealing with his calf injury, Okongwu is poised to excel. The former lottery pick is starting to flash strong block numbers while already providing efficient scoring and rebounding results.