Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 7 (2019)
We are officially in the Christmas spirit season. Hence, it’s a time to be joyful, charitable, generous, kind, and forgiving. From a macro life perspective, I am all about the Christmas spirit. In fact, I am so about it that it should be an everyday thing, don’t you agree? With that said, when it comes to fantasy, yes, we should be joyful, but charitable, generous, kind, and forgiving? As Conan so eloquently responded when asked the question of what is best in life, “To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women.” Just Win, Baby!
Mining the waiver wire is a useful tool to accomplish that goal. Unfortunately, it’s been picked clean in most leagues, which makes us a Grinch. There can be happy endings (No, not those! Get your mind out of the gutter), though, as some players are still under-owned while others are specialists who can be exactly what you’re looking for. Happy hunting!
Ownership percentages are from the Yahoo database and only those players owned in fewer than 50% of leagues will be highlighted.
Danuel House Jr. (SG /SF – HOU) – 45% owned
Another week, another recommendation for House. Still boggled why he isn’t owned in more leagues. All he does is contribute in every category. Will he win a week for you? No, but there are few players who provide across-the-board production that he does. Fine, I do kind of get it. He’s missed games due to injury and/or illness, but still. He’s a top 50 player on a per-game basis for the season! That kind of player should not be available. When healthy, he starts and plays a ton of minutes. The Rockets play at one of the fastest paces in the league and playing alongside Russell Westbrook and James Harden will provide plenty of good looks.
Elfrid Payton (PG – NY) – 9% owned
Elf hasn’t played since October 28th due to a hamstring injury. He’s getting close to returning, though, and now could be the time to pick him up. Let me get this out of the way right now. I’m not an Elf guy and I think he’s not very good. With that said, David Fizdale loves him some Elf for some reason and hates Frank Ntilikina. Plus, did you see Dennis Smith Jr. play the other night? If Elf gets the minutes, he could be fantasy viable, as he can provide rebounds, assists, and steals. The shooting percentage won’t be great, so that’s someone to consider. Over the past three seasons, when he averaged around 29 minutes per game for New Orleans, Phoenix, and Orlando, Elf finished as the 134th, 129th, and 94th player for fantasy respectively.
Nerlens Noel (PF/C – OKC) – 41% owned
The upside is limited because he averages around 20 minutes per game, but if you need defensive stats, rebounds, and excellent field goal percentage, then it’s time to sing your praises for Noel. He’s a top 100 player on the per-game basis, despite the low playing time.
Justin Holiday (SG/SF – IND) – 7% owned
It’s the Holiday season! Over the past six games, Justin has been a top 40 player for fantasy, primarily due to the three-pointers, steals, blocks, and field goal percentage. He’s converted 56% of his shots and contributed 1.7 steals with 0.7 blocks. Now, the shooting is obviously going to regress, as he’s a career 39% shooter from the field, and the defensive stats will come down, but enjoy the heater for as long as it lasts. Just know that the good times will not last.
Markelle Fultz (PG/SG – ORL) – 46% owned
I’m surprised that Fultz is available in over 50% of leagues, especially with how valuable assists are. Over the past four games, Fultz has received at least 30 minutes of playing time in three of the four games. He’s shooting 50% from the field on 12 attempts and providing rebounds and assists. The contributions in three-pointers and defensive stats are light, but the floor looks to be high and there’s room to access the ceiling.
Dillon Brooks (SG/SF – MEM) – 27% owned
If you need points and three-pointers, then Brooks is a viable option. The Grizzlies play at a fast pace and, with Ja Morant out due to injury, there is usage and shot attempts available. Now for the bad. Brooks is inconsistent, the shooting efficiency is poor, and he doesn’t contribute defensive stats.
Moritz Wagner (PF/C – WAS) – 24% owned
Wagner is only averaging around 21 minutes per game, but he’s been a top 125 player. For a big man, he is excellent from the perimeter, will grab some boards, and chip in some defensive stats. He’s shooting 60% from the field, so that will regress, but the floor is relatively high because he is a very good shooter. Case in point, he’s converting 84% of his free throw attempts. Now, what is really intriguing about Wagner is the fact that Thomas Bryant will be out for a few weeks due to a stress reaction in his foot. He should see a bump in playing time, as the Wizards are thin in the front court.
De’Anthony Melton (PG/SG – MEM) – 4% owned
With Ja Morant missing time due to injury, all eyes have been on Tyus Jones, but Melton has been the better player. He’s averaged 23.8 minutes, 12.5 points, 1 three-pointer, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, and 0.5 blocks in the two games. The shooting efficiency of 40% is downright dreadful, but he’s looked better than Jones and has been a top 45 player for fantasy over the two games. This is a more speculative add, but there’s upside here. He could carve out a role even when Morant returns and/or play himself ahead of Jones while Morant is out. The probabilities of those two scenarios playing out aren’t high, but it’s within the range of outcomes.
Jakob Poeltl (C – SA) – 13% owned
Poeltl has started five of the last seven games. Over that span, he’s averaged 23.1 minutes and been a top 70 player for fantasy. Poeltl is a rebounds and blocks specialist. Now, you never know what Pop is going to do, but Poeltl looks to have a carved out a niche for himself.