Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 18
The All-Star break is upon us, which means there’s a little more than two weeks before most head-to-head playoffs begin. I made a little chart over at Razzball.com, which shows the number of games each team plays and the defensive efficiency and offensive pace numbers for each matchup. That should help with trade and/or waiver wire pickups. In this column, I will highlight players who have been performing well over the past week and/or been afforded more opportunity. Only players who are owned in fewer than 50% of Yahoo leagues will be discussed.
Mitchell Robinson (C – NYK) – 44% owned
When the Knicks acquired DeAndre Jordan, I thought they would buy him out, which would have elevated Robinson to the top of the depth chart. Alas, that did not happen. There has been chatter that the Knicks are keeping Jordan on the roster because he is good friends with Kevin Durant, and we know what the Knicks would like to do this summer. So Jordan has started six games with the Knicks and averaged 25.5 minutes. Robinson has averaged 21.9 minutes over that span, but…he’s been a top-30 player! 11.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks while shooting 74% from the field will do that.
To make things even juicier, the minutes have increased in each of the past four games: 15, 22, 24, and 28. Now, Jordan is still going to get playing time, but Robinson has shown he can produce in limited minutes and there’s upside that the split skews into his favor as the season progresses. In fact, it may have already happened.
Reggie Bullock (SG/SF – LAL) – 15% owned
Since arriving in Los Angeles, Bullock has started two games and played 35 and 31 minutes, respectively. His debut game was a dud, as he only scored two points on five shot attempts, but he did contribute across the board. The most recent game, Bullock scored 15 points, grabbed five rebounds, and contributed one assist, one block, and two steals. He is primarily a three-point specialist (career 39% shooter from downtown), but he will fall into peripheral stats if he continues starting and playing over 33 minutes a game on a Lakers team that plays at the third-fastest pace in the league. In addition, there’s some guy named LeBron James who will set him up for some clean, open looks.
Avery Bradley (PG/SG – MEM) – 18% owned
Since being acquired by the Grizzlies, Bradley has been a top-70 player (three games). He was brutal during his stint with the Clippers, as he was outside the top 200 for fantasy. The last two years with Boston, though, Bradley was a top-60 player, so his recent stretch isn’t without precedent. He’s been hoisting up 14.3 shots per game, garnering a 24.2 usage rate, and shooting a robust 58% from the field. With the Clippers, he had a 16.2 usage rate, averaged 8.9 shot attempts, and converted 40% from the field.
He has mentioned that the Clippers did not utilize him properly, and there looks to be some merit in the statement, especially since he’s been handling the ball more in Memphis and running more pick-and-roll action. The efficiency is going to come down, but if he continues getting the minutes and opportunities, Bradley can be an asset who provides points, three-pointers, rebounds, assists, and steals.
Landry Shamet (PG – LAC) – 15% owned
So many available guards this week. Anyways, Shamet has essentially replaced Avery Bradley on the Clippers. Since arriving in Los Angeles, Shamet has averaged 27.9 minutes, 13.3 points, 3 three-pointers, two rebounds, three assists, and 1.3 steals. He’s shooting 56% from downtown!
That’s obviously not going to continue, but he was shooting 40% from beyond the arc in 54 games with Philadelphia, so the boy can shoot. He started the last game and it looks like Doc Rivers will let him run buck wild to end the season.
Allen Crabbe (SG/SF – BKN) – 38% owned
Crabbe missed 24 games due to injury, but he’s back and has played 13, 21, 31, and 33 minutes. The Nets are a tough team to rely on because they have so many wing players and Atkinson often divies out minutes to a bunch of players, but when healthy, Crabbe does seem to get steady and significant minutes. If you need three-pointers, Crabbe is your guy, as he will routinely hoist up 10 a game and convert at a 40% clip. Outside of that, you may get some rebounds and steals, but not much else.
Jake Layman (PF – POR) – 13% owned
Jake from State Farm he is not, Layman has been a top-35 player over the past five games. He’s been averaging 28.8 minutes, 16.2 points, 1.8 three-pointers, 3.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.8 blocks. He’s also been shooting 64% from the field! 45.1% of his shots come from within 10 feet of the basket. Tons of dunks and alley-oops.
It was thought that the acquisition of Rodney Hood would negatively affect Layman, but that has not been the case. Layman has been the key piece off the bench for the Blazers. There should be regression expected in the shooting efficiency as 64% is nuts, but he’s shooting 54% on the season in 46 games, so maybe it’s not so crazy.
Robin Lopez (C – CHI) – 9% owned
Lopez has scored double figures in five straight games. He’s played 32 and 33 minutes the past two games and attempted 15 and 13 shots, respectively. The usage rate has been 23.8 and he’s actually been a top-80 player. What a world! For a big man, the rebound numbers are light (4.3), but he does provide blocks (1.3) with excellent percentages (67% from the field and 76% from the line over the past four games).
Marquese Chriss (PF/C – CLE) – 6% owned
First things first, I am not a Chriss guy. I think he stinks and he lacks basketball IQ and awareness. With that said, he’s getting playing time in Cleveland and producing. Since arriving in Cleveland, Chriss is averaging 24.2 minutes, 14.3 points, 2.3 three-pointers, 6.3 rebounds, one assist, and one steal. The usage rate has been 21.4 and he’s attempted 10.3 shots per game. 53% shooting from the field, and 80% from the line on 1.3 attempts tops it off. I know, you feel dirty, but if he need a big man, there’s production and some upside here.