Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 16
Baseball prep season is upon us and there is likely a handful of teams in your league that has waved the white flag. The same can be said for many teams in the NBA. As a result, the trade deadline, which is February 7, will likely usher in a shifting of the paradigm.
Veterans will be moved, while the young guns will be given more opportunity to play. This should enhance the waiver wire pickings over the next few weeks. Be vigilant and ready to pounce when opportunities arise. As always, I highlight players that are owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues.
Dwight Powell (PF/C – DAL) – 8% owned
With the massive trade between the Knicks and Mavericks consummated on Thursday, and DeAndre Jordan going to New York, Powell has moved atop the depth chart at the center position for Dallas. On the season, he’s been outside the top 200, averaging 16.3 minutes, 8.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1 assist, 0.5 steals, and 0.6 blocks. As Michael Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher) of Rotoworld pointed out, though, in 198 minutes with Luka Doncic on a Per 36 minutes basis, Powell averaged 22.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.7 three-pointers, and 0.9 blocks with 69% field goal percentage. Dirk Nowitzki and Salah Mejri are the other centers, so a huge spike in minutes should be expected.
Mikal Bridges (SG/SF – PHO) – 24% owned
If you haven’t noticed, Bridges has been a top-60 player over the past two months, with most of the increase in production over the past month or so. If we zoom in, over the past four games, he’s been playing at a top-40 level, with seven more minutes and three more rebounds than his overall season averages. The most noticeable improvement, though, has been the shooting efficiency (58% vs. 43%). If we double the sample size of games from four to eight, the shooting percentage is still an excellent 49%.
Bridges is entrenched in the starting lineup, as he’s started 39 of the past 40 games, and is the perfect three-and-D player for both real-life and fantasy. The usage rate is low (11), but the floor is high due to the contributions in the peripheral categories. When he does shoot, which I can see happening more frequently, Bridges can access his ceiling in some games.
Jeff Green (SF/PF – WAS) – 31% owned
Otto Porter Jr. injured his toe, the same one that was bothering him earlier in the season, so much of this recommendation is predicated on that news. With that said, Green has also been playing small-ball center, much to the detriment of Thomas Bryant, so there are still “outs” if Porter doesn’t miss much time. If Porter does miss time, Green will likely see his minutes spike above 30 per game. If so, he can deliver top-75 value. He won’t contribute much in the defensive categories, but points, three-pointers, rebounds, and assists should all be on the menu. Plus, the low turnover rate and good percentages are bonuses.
Davis Bertans (PF/C – SAS) – 26% owned
Over the last two games, Bertans has been a top-15 player, as he’s averaged 32.1 minutes, 19.5 points, five three-pointers, two rebounds, 3.5 assists, two steals, and 0.5 blocks. Ok, small sample, and he did start one game as DeMar DeRozan has been out and Pau Gasol is a gazillion years old, but guess what? Gasol isn’t going to get younger and, even when the DeRozan was healthy, Bertans was still averaging around 25 minutes per game. A big man who can shoot and contribute across the board is appealing, especially when we know he can access ceiling games. Now, we know Popovich can be hard to trust from a fantasy perspective, but the floor/ceiling combination is worth the risk, which is negligible outside of the player being dropped.
Marcus Smart (PG/SG – BOS) – 43% owned
Kind of strange that Smart is owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. Since entering the starting lineup 30 games ago, he’s been putting up top 60-70 numbers consistently. Yes, the shooting percentage isn’t great, but he’s shooting 38% from downtown. The points won’t be voluminous, but he contributes three-pointers, rebounds, assists, and steals. Assists and steals are probably the most difficult stats to acquire so I’m baffled.
Jerryd Bayless (PG/SG – MIN) – 14% owned
Let’s see, Jeff Teague (foot), Derrick Rose (ankle), and Tyus Jones (ankle) have all been out due to injury. While none are season-ending, all could linger, and neither player is expected back immediately. That gives Bayless more playing time in the short term and possible value going forward. Over the past four games, Bayless has been averaging a whopping 37.6 minute per game. The shooting efficiency has been dreadful (39% from the field and 66% from the line), but he’s been hoisting up over 15 shots per game. 16.3 points, 2.8 three-pointers, five rebounds, 7.8 assists, and one steal are no laughing matter.
Ante Zizic (C – CLE) – 38% owned
Zizic has started the last seven games and been a top 110 player. He’s posted averages of 14.4 points, and 9.7 rebounds. The defensive stats have been minimal (0.5 for both steals and blocks), but he’s been getting over 30 minutes of run each game and shooting 56% from the field and 71% from the line. Tristan Thompson (foot) is still out for a few more weeks, but that could be longer as what’s the motivation for the Cavs to bring him back? Wouldn’t it be prudent for them to give Zizic experience and increase their chances at landing Zion Williamson?