Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 21
For many of you, the playoffs start on Monday. The number of games played and matchups are important, so here’s a playoff primer to help you out with that. The most important matchup, though, is the head-to-head opponent you’re going up against. Break down his/her lineup, schedule, and projections. Find the strengths and weaknesses, then tailor your team to give yourself the best chance to defeat them. Keep those in mind when you mine for potential candidates off the waiver wire.
As usual, I utilize the Yahoo database to highlight players that are owned in fewer than 50% of leagues.
Luke Kennard (SG – DET) – 27% owned
Over the past six games, Kennard has averaged 29.1 minutes and 12.3 shot attempts with seven from downtown, while scoring double figures in five of those games. That’s been good for top-50 value. He’s been shooting a robust 55% from the field and the usage rate has been above 20%.
While he won’t contribute much in the defensive categories, Kennard will provide points, three-pointers, and a handful of rebounds and assists. Minutes and shot attempts are gold in fantasy, and Kennard is receiving both. The efficiency may come down, as he’s more like a 45% shooter from the field, but the volume should negate that to some degree.
Landry Shamet (PG – LAC) – 10% owned
Speaking of minutes and opportunities, Shamet has seen an increase in both since arriving in Los Angeles. The first seven games he played with the Clippers, Shamet was averaging 27.8 minutes and 7.8 shot attempts with 5.2 from downtown. Over the past three games, the minutes have spiked to 31.7 and the shot attempts have elevated to 10.7 with 9.3 from downtown. He’s been shooting 53% from beyond the arc and scored 12, 21, and 20 points.
Patrick Beverley (PG/SG – LAC) – 46% owned
Although Beverley does provide some three-pointers, he’s a low usage player who only attempts around six-to-seven shots per game. His value comes from the defensive stats, low turnovers, and contributions in the other categories. Over the past seven games, he’s been providing a ridiculous 8.4 rebounds from the guard position. In addition, he’s contributed 4.4 assists. In terms of stocks, Beverley hasn’t disappointed with his bread and butter and provided 1.6 steals and 0.9 blocks. He’s been a top-40 player.
Avery Bradley (PG/SG – MEM) – 43% owned
Bradley said that he was miscast in Los Angeles. So far, all indications point to that being the case. Since arriving in Memphis, the usage rate has climbed up by 5 (from 17-22) and the shot attempts have gone from 9 to over 13 per game. Bradley won’t provide any blocks, but he will contribute points, three-pointers, steals, and around 4 rebounds and assists each. Oh, he’s also playing over 32 minutes per game.
Maurice Harkless (SF – POR) – 29% owned
It’s been all about guards and three-pointers so far, which makes sense because threes are the easiest and most plentiful resource available in the fantasy landscape. With that said, it’s nice to finally come across a “big” man. Ok, maybe not a “big man who plays the center position, but a bigger man than the guards we’ve mentioned so far. Harkless was flat out terrible earlier in the year, as injuries negatively affected his play.
Now healthy, he’s posting top-30 value on the heels of double-digit points, seven rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 2.1 steals. He doesn’t block or contribute many three-pointers, but he does give a little in those categories. The minutes are secure at 28 per game and the only bugaboo, the 62% free throw shooting, is mitigated by the low volume (1.1 attempts per game).
Robin Lopez (C – CHI) – 42% owned
Lopez was on the precipice of being bought out, to now playing over 33 minutes a game. He’s averaged 16.4 points and 11.6 shot attempts over the past eight games. The rebounds are light for a big man at 6.6, but it’s the two blocks per game that provide the most value. In addition, the 76% shooting from the free throw line on 3.3 attempts is a nice bonus.