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NBA Waiver Wire Pickups by Category: Week 1

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Oct 24, 2019

For those of you who play fantasy baseball and stayed up to date with our tremendous coverage here at FantasyPros, you may be familiar with my category analysis that I deliver each week during the regular season to recommend some players who can help you during your marathon season.

I’m bringing that flavor to fantasy basketball, too, baby.

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Every other week, I’m going to be looking at players who are widely available and rostered in fewer than 50 percent of fantasy leagues on Yahoo.

Truth be told, I’m a points leagues guy for hoops. It’s a personal preference, but it’s just more fun for me. But when it comes to category leagues, I’m an eight-cat truther, so that’s what we will be using here. We’ll be looking at players who can help you in each of the eight categories who you can get before your leaguemates catch on.

The eight categories we’ll focus on each week are:

  • Points
  • Rebounds
  • Assists
  • Steals
  • Blocks
  • Threes
  • Field-goal percentage
  • Free-throw percentage

Let’s get to it.


Dwayne Bacon (SG – CHA) 25%
Opportunity. It’s one of the main things I look for when I’m building my fantasy basketball roster. Bacon has just that, and he came out sizzling in the Hornets’ opener. He dropped 22 points and, more importantly, played 33 minutes in the win against the Bulls. He was first on the team in Usage (32.9%), and without Kemba Walker, Bacon, along with PJ Washington, Terry Rozier, and Miles Bridges, will be jockeying as the USG% leader and primary scorer each night. He was a sleeper pick of mine as a points contributor and three-point guy.


Mo Bamba (C – ORL) 22%
Bamba is stuck behind Nikola Vucevic on the depth chart, but let’s not pretend that Vucevic is exactly the poster boy for health. He played 80 games last year, but the year before, he played just 57 games. Bamba had a solid preseason, and in 14 minutes in the Magic’s opener, he pulled down seven rebounds. He’s a deep-league guy right now, and while he may max out at 20-22 minutes even if Vucevic gets hurt, he would be a must-grab option if he gets thrust into a starting role. 


Tyus Jones (PG – MEM) 8%
Dillon Brooks got the start in the opener, but it’s Jones who is going to be the fantasy contributor as the season goes on. He overlapped with rookie Ja Morant for four minutes in the opener, which is big news and should increase as the season goes on. Jones’ presence will take some of the pressure off Morant. In the opener, he dropped seven dimes in 24 minutes. 


Ish Smith (PG – WAS) 24%
Assists and steals. That’s what Smith gives you. This is more of a short-term add as Isaiah Thomas is working his way back from (surprise) an injury, but these games count just as much as the games in January do. Smith didn’t have any steals in the Wizards’ first game, but look for him to get you a steal or two per game as long as he has the role. 


Matisse Thybulle (SF – PHI) 16%
Two blocks. Two steals. Twenty-two minutes. That’s what you’re getting from Thybulle, and that’s what you should expect. He’s a defensive specialist, and the 76ers are high on the rookie, so the playing time with the second unit will be there. Look for his role to expand as the season goes if he can limit the foul trouble.


Landry Shamet (PG – LAC) 32%
The Clippers’ bench showed off Tuesday night in the opener. Moe Harkless was impressive, and Patrick Beverley showed that he would fight a bear with his bare hands if it meant saving two points. Point is, the Clippers are deep with a lot of options. Shamet was a guy I liked to target late in drafts to help me with three-pointers. It was a quiet debut for him, but with Paul George’s rest and the load management that will be coming with Kawhi Leonard as the season goes, Shamet should have a regular role on the team and help you tremendously with your threes. 

Field-goal percentage

Kevon Looney (C – GSW) 44%
I’m writing this before the Warriors take the court, but Looney is listed as probable, and he should get the bulk of the minutes at center. Do you really think Willie Cauley-Stein is a threat to playing time? The volume wasn’t there for Looney last year, but he shot 62.5 percent from the field, which would have been third in the league behind only Rudy Gobert and Clint Capela had he qualified. With an increased role, you’ll see the percentage dip, but he should be a safe option for you.

Free-throw percentage

Marcus Morris (SF/PF – NYK) 35%
Morris played a team-high 39 minutes in the Knicks’ opener against the Spurs, and he showed off with 26 points, shooting 50 percent from the field, and going 5-of-5 from the free-throw line. Morris shot 84.4 percent from the line last year, and if the Knicks intend on giving Morris this high-volume run all season, he’ll be a sneaky free-throw contributor, as well as an option to help in points. It is the Knicks, after all, so proceed with caution.

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Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.

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