Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire: Week 17
The trade deadline has finally passed, and it turned out to be more than worth the wait. In the last three hours before the February 8, 3 PM trade deadline, fans were treated to news of what seemed like an endless number of deals taking place across the league. It was crazy trying to keep up with it all as the Jazz, Kings, Heat, Suns, Magic, Knicks, Nuggets, Mavericks, Nets, Pelicans, Bulls, Blazers, Hawks, Wizards, Raptors, Pistons, Lakers, and Cavaliers all accepted trades shortly before the deadline.
The NBA feels like a completely different league — if you happen to be a Cavs fan, you probably don’t even recognize your team anymore — and that means that the waiver wire is jam-packed with available talent ripe for the picking. So, with much to cover, let’s cut this intro short and get straight to what really matters.
Ownership percentages are for ESPN leagues as of February 9.
Larry Nance Jr. (PF – CLE) 21.2%
Larry Nance Jr. has had his moments of fantasy relevancy this season – unfortunately, for owners, however, they’ve been few and far between. Nance has simply been too inconsistent to be relied upon in standard leagues on a weekly basis, but that may change now that he’s with the Cavaliers. With less competition at his position in Cleveland, Nance should see a boost to fantasy value, possibly making him a player worth owning for the long haul.
Whether the Cavaliers want to make him part of their future or end up trading him, they will want to give him plenty of court time – the lack thereof being the only thing that held him back in Los Angeles. Even if, for some reason, Nance doesn’t see much up an uptick in his minutes per game, having someone like LeBron James playing next to him should open up more scoring opportunities for Nance, thereby still improving his fantasy value. He should be owned in most leagues, but keep in mind that it may take some games for him to find his stride on a new roster, so be patient with the young forward.
Rodney Hood (SG – CLE) 28.9%
Rodney Hood, one of the other new faces in Cleveland, may also receive a value boost playing in a new system alongside new teammates. His path to playing time is going to be a bit tougher than Nance’s, so there’s no guarantee that we see this trade help his fantasy value, but the situation is worth monitoring nonetheless.
Given how he was playing towards the end of his stint with the Jazz — he averaged 16.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 2.1 threes in just 23.6 minutes over his last eight games — Hood should stay on your fantasy radar at least until we see his new role take shape. And, with Kevin Love out for what looks to be the rest of the fantasy season, there is a chance that Hood finds himself playing 25 or more minutes per game — but again, we’ll have to wait and see what happens with the new look Cleveland roster.
George Hill (PG – CLE) 21%
Next up, we have a third newly acquired Cavalier in George Hill. With Cleveland trading away Isaiah Thomas and Derrick Rose, Hill should step right into the starting point guard spot resulting in a sizable increase to his workload.
He no longer has to compete against an up and coming rookie in De’Aaron Fox, so not only should his per game numbers improve, but his totals should come around as well (less rest, as he saw in Sacramento, equals more games played in Cleveland). Just like our previous two suggestions, Hill should be allowed some time to fit into the new offense, but once he gets going, the veteran point guard should be worth owning as a handy bench player in standard leagues.
Emmanuel Mudiay (PG – NY) 1.6%
Now that Emmanuel Mudiay can call himself a Knick, things may be looking up for both him and his fantasy owners. He was having a pretty rough time in Denver, as the three-year pro couldn’t compete with sophomore Jamal Murray for the starting spot, relegating the former to a bench role.
As a backup, Mudiay’s playing time dropped to 17.9 minutes per game, which simply wasn’t enough to produce fantasy relevant numbers. In New York, however, only Jarrett Jack stands in Mudiay’s way of a starting spot, and at 34 years old, he might not stand there for long.
The Knicks are in rebuild mode and just lost their best player in Kristaps Porzingis, so with their sights now turned to future seasons, there’s little reason for them to waste much time playing an aging veteran nearing the end of his career. Of course, this trade didn’t magically make Mudiay a better player — he’s still going to have to improve certain aspects of his game like finishing at the basket — but with more court time, he should at least be able to do more for owners.
Jarrett Allen (C – BKN) 31.4%
Rookie Jarrett Allen has been hot ever since cracking the Nets’ starting lineup. He’s played six straight games as their starting center and over that span has averaged 15.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.8 blocks in 25.5 minutes per game. While those numbers are certainly impressive for a rookie, they may only represent a fraction of what Allen can do the rest of the season.
In his last game against Detroit, the rookie put up 13 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, one steal, and two blocks in 32 minutes. Tthe rebounds, assists and minutes were all season highs. Fellow big men Timofey Mozgov and Jahlil Okafor totaled just six points and two rebounds in 16 minutes.
Allen looks like he could be an exciting part of Brooklyn’s future, and they’re treating him accordingly, so the opportunities should keep coming. If he’s still available in your league, he won’t be for much longer so do yourself a favor and find a spot for him now, before you miss out.
De’Aaron Fox (PG – SAC) 40.6%
De’Aaron Fox was already playing well before the trade deadline, but now that George Hill is gone (see above), things should get even better for the rookie point guard. Fox is now the definitive starter and should play huge minutes the rest of the season making him a near must add in standard leagues.
He is still a rookie, so you should expect some ups and downs, but Fox has proven enough already and should instill confidence in any owners who pick him up – but you’re going to have to be quick about it as he’s going fast and probably won’t be available much longer. Fox is currently dealing with an ankle injury, but it doesn’t appear to be severe, and as of writing this, he’s listed as probable for Friday’s matchup against Portland.
Michael Beasley (SF/PF – NY) 50.4%
If Michael Beasley is somehow still available in your league, you’re doing it wrong. Please, start doing it right and pick him up now. With Kristaps Porzingis out for the season, Beasley’s usage is going to increase quite a bit and remain that way going forward.
D.J. Augustin (PG – ORL) 10.5%
Elfrid Payton is out, which means that D.J. Augustin is in. In his last game, Augustin put up 18 points, nine assists, three rebounds, two steals, and two made threes in 35 minutes.
That kind of performance may feel like an outlier, but with little to no competition for the starting point guard spot, it may be more the rule than the exception in this case. If you need help in those categories, go ahead and grab him now.