Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 15
Out of all the fantasy sports, basketball is the most predictable because of the vast number of possessions each game. With that said, it often seems like the most unpredictable due to injuries and rotation manipulations. The flip side to that conundrum, though, is that variance providing fresh meat on the waiver wire, which is good or else I wouldn’t have an article to write each week.
I utilized the Yahoo database to highlight players who are owned in less than 50% of leagues.
Allonzo Trier (SG – NYK) – 13% Owned
The undrafted rookie out of the University of Arizona showed flashes of brilliance earlier in the season when scoring more than 20 points four times in November. One does not acquire the nickname Iso Zo if one cannot score. Unfortunately, Trier missed seven games due to injury, and David Fizdale has been experimenting and changing his rotations all season long. The playing time has been inconsistent and sparse over the past month. Over the past three games, though, Trier has played 23, 30, and 33 minutes. In the most recent contest against Houston, Trier had a 30.4% usage rate, scored a career-high 31 points on 12-of-18 shooting from the field, grabbed 10 rebounds, dished out three assists, and stole one pass. With Luke Kornet (ankle) expected to miss a few weeks and Enes Kanter getting DNP-CDs, the Knicks have played more small ball lately, which has afforded Trier more minutes. Fizdale has been all over the place, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Kanter starts playing 30 minutes again. Yet it really doesn’t make sense to keep playing him. The Knicks are not playing for anything, so give the young kids run and “Stop Tryin’ for Zion.”
Ivica Zubac (C – LAL) – 35% Owned
Over the past three games, Zubac has averaged 23.4 minutes, 20.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 0.7 blocks. He’s shooting a ridiculous 82% from the field and 93% from the line on 5.3 attempts. The usage rate jumped to 24.1. Yes, the Lakers have a three-headed monster at center right now, but over the past three games, Tyson Chandler has averaged 12.7 minutes while JaVale McGee has averaged 14.6. Zubac has defensive limitations, but he’s been too efficient on the offensive end for Luke Walton to keep him out of the rotation. Earlier this week, the Lakers coach said Zubac has “earned a bigger role” with “bigger minutes.”
Terrance Ferguson (SG/SF – OKC) – 5% Owned
Billy Donovan stayed true to Ferguson all year long, and his patience is now being rewarded. Over the past four games, Ferguson has been a top-50 player, averaging 30.7 minutes, 13.8 points, 3.5 three-pointers, 2.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.8 steals. The 55% shooting from the field and 51% from downtown won’t continue, but he’s still attempting 8.5 shots per game with 6.8 from beyond the arc. He’s a 3-and-D specialist, so if you need three-pointers and steals, here you go.
Jonathan Isaac (SF/PF – ORL) – 46% Owned
I should’ve heeded the advice of Flava Flav when projecting Isaac for this season: Don’t believe the hype. It was just too mouth-watering and tantalizing. Isaac did suffer some injuries, but he just wasn’t aggressive on the offensive end and was a fantasy dud for most of the season. He’s picked it up lately, though. Over the last four games, Isaac has averaged 32.4 minutes, 9.8 points, 1.0 three-pointer, 6.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.8 steals, and 1.8 blocks. The usage rate is still low (13.6%), but he’s averaging 9.0 shot attempts per game. He was only averaging 7.0 shots prior.
Mitchell Robinson (C – NYK) – 13% Owned
If only Robinson could stop fouling. He’s played 17 and 16 minutes the past two game and fouled out in both! If Fizdale isn’t going to play Kanter, and since Robinson is likely a part of the future, then it would make sense to give him as much run as possible. The physical talent is obvious. At 7′ 1″ and 240 pounds, Robinson can leap tall building with a single bound and has the agility of a crab. Dunks, blocks, rebounds, and steals are what he will provide. It’s just a matter of staying out of foul trouble and getting the minutes.
Ante Zizic (C – CLE) – 34% Owned
While Tristan Thompson deals with a left foot injury, Zizic has productively slid into the starting role. In the four games Thompson has missed, Zizic has been a top-100 player, averaging 31.5 minutes, 17.5 points, and 8.3 rebounds while shooting 60% from the field and 70% from the line on 4.3 attempts. While he offers few assists and defensive stats, he’s getting minutes and providing points and rebounds. Larry Drew said that Zizic will continue receiving major minutes, and why not? The Cavs aren’t going anywhere, so developing their 22-year-old center seems like the best course of action.