Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 14
Fantasy basketball is EZ-PZ. Just go and acquire James Harden, as he is single-handedly leading owners across the Sinai Desert and through the Red Sea to the Promised Land. Will he break down come playoff time? Probably, but we aren’t concerned about that here, nor do we care because you aren’t acquiring Harden unless your only goal is to acquire a trophy player. But fear not, fellow reader. While you won’t find any Harden-esque players on the waiver wire, you can acquire pieces to fill in the holes and complete your team for the upcoming playoff push.
I utilize the Yahoo database to highlight players who are owned in less than 50% of leagues.
Kevin Huerter (SG – ATL) – 31% owned
I first wrote up Huerter back in Week 8, when he was 2% owned, but it’s crazy that Huerter is still not owned in the majority of leagues. Over the past seven games, he’s been playing a whopping 38 minutes per game, for a Hawks team that plays at the fastest-pace in the league. He’s been jacking up 13 shots per game, which includes over 6 three-pointers, pulling down 4 rebounds, dishing out a tick under 4 assists, and contributing almost 1 steal per game. He’s been a top 100 player. The season-high for points is 29, for rebounds is 10, for assists is 7, and for steals is 3. The floor is high for Huerter, but there’s access to ceiling as well. The team is committed to him and he’s a rookie, so there’s a chance he continues developing. There’s also the chance that he hits a rookie wall, but since you’re acquiring him for free, you can easily cut him if that happens.
Alec Burks (PG/SG – CLE) – 43% owned
Burks has started the past six games and averaged 29.3 minutes, 13.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.7 blocks. He’s shot 48% from the field, 50% from downtown, and 90% from the line. That’s been top 50 production over that span. Now, he’s a career 42% shooter from field, 36% from downtown, and 77% from the line, so some negative regression should be expected. In addition, the usage rate of 17 and field goal attempts of 9 per game are relatively low, so it’d be tough to rely on the efficiency. With that said, he’s starting, playing a ton of minutes, is contributing a little something across the board, and even if the efficiency takes a dive, you’re still looking at a top 100 player. Plus, the Cavs stink, so there shouldn’t be much pressure and the minutes floor should be secure. At least for now.
Austin Rivers (PG/SG – HOU) – 23% owned
I think Rivers sucks, but I’m just some guy writing from his mom’s basement, so it doesn’t matter what I think. All we care about are minutes and production. Since being acquired by Houston, Rivers has played 12 games. He’s started the last nine. Over that span, he’s averaged 39.1 minutes, 14.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 0.9 steals, and 2.9 three-pointers. He’s shot 45% from the field and 40% from downtown. Now, the Rockets are expected to get healthy soon. Eric Gordon returned back for the last game, yet Rivers played 46 minutes in an overtime game. Plus, Chris Paul is expected to return possibly next week, but the Rockets will likely bring him along slowly. At least for the next week or so, Rivers should continue getting plenty of run.
Reggie Bullock (SG/SF – DET) – 34% owned
Over the past four games, Bullock has been a top 60 player. He’s averaged 32.8 minutes, 14.5 points, 3.3 three-pointers, 2.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1 steal. He’s been hot, shooting 46% from the field and 43% from downtown. Bullock plays a vital role for the Pistons by stretching out the defense so that Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond have more space to operate. As a result, his minutes floor is high while he often gets open looks to shoot. The efficiency will likely come down, but he should still continue offering a handful of three-pointers, rebounds, and assists per game.
Maxi Kleber (PF – DAL) – 8% owned
Dennis Smith Jr. has missed the last four games. During that span, it was Kleber who replaced him, as the Mavericks shifted Luka Doncic to point guard. Now, there are rumblings that Smith Jr. is on the trading block, so there’s a chance that Kleber remains in the starting lineup. Over the past four games, Kleber has averaged 29.6 minutes, 9.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 1.5 blocks. He even contributed 1.8 three-pointers. In addition, he shot 50% from the field, 53% from downtown, and 90% from the line on 2.8 attempts.
Harry Giles (PF/C – SAC) – 9% owned
It could be something, it could be nothing, but Giles is someone I’m very intrigued by. The talent is unquestioned. The health and playing time are another matter, though, With that said, there seemed to have been a changing of the guard three games ago, as Kosta Koufas was surpassed by Giles on the depth chart for backup center minutes. Over the past three games, Giles has averaged 19.4 minutes, 10 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 0.7 steals, and 1.3 blocks. That’s been good for top 100 value.