Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 7
Deck the halls with boughs of holly. Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la. ‘Tis the season to be jolly.
You know the rest. It’s that time of year when many may get distracted with buying presents, looking forward to the upcoming holiday vacation, or figuring out which resolution to pursue and give up by February. In addition, after six weeks into the fantasy season, there are those that are beginning to prep for fantasy baseball. Bah humbug! You’re here reading this because you’re either bored and enjoy my writing or laser focused and driven by the pursuit of fantasy hoops glory. I’m good with either. As usual, I will highlight players that are under 50% owned in the Yahoo database.
Wayne Ellington (SG/SF – MIA) – 23% owned
Over the past five games, Ellington has been starting and averaging 31.9 minutes, 12.2 points, 3.4 three-pointers, 2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2 steals, and 0.6 blocks. He’s been a top-30 player for fantasy. Known primarily as a three-point specialist, the uptick in assists and steals has been eye-opening. Now, the increase in production can be attributed to the Goran Dragic and Tyler Johnson injuries, but they are still questionable to return as I’m writing this. When they do return, Ellington will slide back to the bench and the numbers will take a hit, but even then, you can expect around 25-27 minutes of playing time and a bunch of three-pointers.
Marvin Williams (SF/PF – CHA) – 43% owned
Over the last three games, Williams has been playing 34.5 minutes per game and has averaged 15.3 points, 3.3 three-pointers, and 9 rebounds. Prior to that, he had topped 30 minutes only two times and averaged 23.7 minutes per game. He won’t be the top-50 player from two years ago, but fringe top-100 seems feasible as long as he continues to get the minutes.
Jeremy Lin (PG/SG – ATL) – 31% owned
The minutes are the issue with Lin, as he’s received over 25 minutes in a game just twice all year. The normal range is from 16-24 minutes per game. Not great and tough to count on for fantasy, but when he’s on the court he produces. The usage rate is 23, the field goal percentage is 50%, free throw percentage is 84%, and he’s contributing assists, steals, and three-pointers. Lin is currently dealing with an ankle issue, so that puts a slight damper on his short-term prospects, but the Hawks play at the fastest pace in the league and will be involved in plenty of blowouts, which is when Lin does most of his damage.
Fred VanVleet (PG – TOR) – 48% owned
VanVleet is the backup to Kyle Lowry, so he’s not climbing the depth chart. What he provides are 1.4 three-pointers, 4.4 assists, and 0.8 steals in 24.3 minutes per game. Not sexy, but productive. The bonus, and the reason he’s in this week’s edition, is that he starts on occassion when a player rests or gets injured. In the last four games, VanVleet has notched two starts and played 29 and 36 minutes respectively. It’s not something you can count on, but it does provide some upside to a solid floor.
Cedi Osman (SF/PF – CLE) – 32% owned
For the season, Osman is the #214 player for fantasy, primarily due to the atrocious field goal percentage (37%). Over the last five games, though, he’s increased that number to 39% and slashed the turnovers in half (2.2 to 0.8), which has resulted in Osman being the #106 player. He provides over 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and is playing over 33 minutes per game. Let’s not forget that he’s only 23 years old and has a grand total of 78 games experience in the league. Now, the Cavaliers just acquired Alec Burks via trade, so that has the potential to negatively affect Osman, but I get the sense that the Cavaliers like Osman a lot and want to continue developing him. Something to keep an eye on, though.
DeAndre’ Bembry (SF – ATL) – 20% owned
Bembry has played 26 and 27 minutes the last two games and averaged 15 points, 1.5 three-pointers, 6.5 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 2.5 blocks, and shot 52% from the field. Small sample size, but it’s an encouraging development considering he played more than 20 minutes just once in the prior seven games. Bembry is very athletic and can stuff the stat sheet. The shooting efficiency is erratic, but he’s shown a ceiling. With the Hawks not battling for a playoff spot, the team will want to develop their young pieces and execute the “Trying for Zion” campaign. While Bembry won’t supplant Taurean Prince at small forward, he could soak up those backup minutes, in addition to the backup minutes at shooting guard behind Kevin Huerter. Currently, Kent Bazemore is filling that role, but there’s a good chance that he gets traded sooner rather than later.