Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 11 (2019)
As the infamous Billy Ray bellowed in Trading Places, Merry New Year! We are at the halfway point for most fantasy basketball leagues, so things are about to get hot and heavy. At least I hope so. Now that I think about it, you wouldn’t be reading this piece if there wasn’t a chance of rounding third base and sliding into home. Start looking at playoff schedules and send out the scouts and emissaries to gather trade intelligence. Don’t forget about the waiver wire, though. Injuries, changing of rotations, and teams developing the young players should provide plenty of opportunities to help your squad achieve fantasy glory.
Ownership percentages are from the Yahoo database, and only those players owned in fewer than 50% of leagues will be highlighted.
Gorgui Dieng (PG/C – MIN) – 32% owned
Dieng has started the last seven games because Karl-Anthony Towns has been dealing with a knee issue. During that span, he has been a top 25 player, averaging 30.1 minutes, 13.4 points, 1.9 three-pointers (!!!), 10.9 rebounds, 2 steals, 0.9 blocks, and shooting 82% from the line on 3.3 attempts. Dieng it! Now, when Towns is healthy, Dieng will go back to playing around 12 minutes per game, but the knee issue could persist and there are now rumors that Towns is unhappy and could be traded. The probabilities of that happening are slim, but the upside is worth the free cost of a waiver wire pickup.
Nerlens Noel (PF/C – OKC) – 46% owned
Noel only averages 18.5 minutes per game. That’s the bad. Now for the good. Despite the limited playing time, he’s been producing top 70 overall value, primarily on the back of 1.1 steals and 1.5 blocks. Over the past three games, he’s averaged 2.7 steals and 2 blocks! He won’t score many points but will grab rebounds and shoots well, as the field goal percentage is 67% while the free throw percentage is 81% on 2.1 attempts.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (PG/SG – LAL) – 12% owned
When Avery Bradley returned to the Lakers rotation, it was assumed that the playing time would decrease for Caldwell-Pope. Well, not much has changed in that department, as he is still playing close to 28 minutes per game. KCP is a 3-and-D player who won’t provide much in the way of rebounds and/or assists. Over the past four games, he’s averaged 12.8 points, 0.8 steals, and 0.8 blocks, though. Now, he’s not going to continue shooting 73% from downtown as has been the case over the past four games, but he’s shooting 43% from beyond the arc on the season, so the floor is relatively high.
Duncan Robinson (SG/SF/PF – MIA) – 47% owned
Robinson has started 28 games for the Heat and is averaging 29.1 minutes in that role. He will grab some rebounds, but his primary skill is delivering the goods from downtown. He averages 3.3 three-pointers on 7.1 attempts. That’s good for 9th in makes and 13th in attempts in all of basketball. If you need three-pointers, take a stroll in Duncan Robinson’s neighborhood.
Dwight Powell (PG/C – DAL) – 48% owned
Powell isn’t sexy by any means, but’s he’s solid across the board. Over the past six games, he’s averaged 28.9 minutes, 10.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.8 blocks. The free-throw shooting has been decent at 79% on four attempts and he’s even chipped in 0.3 three-pointers. That’s been good for top 90 production. The playing time is relatively secure because he and Luka make up one of the best two-man lineup combinations for the Mavs.
De’Anthony Melton (PG/SG – MEM) – 7% owned
Like with Nerlens Noel above, Melton doesn’t receive much playing time, as he’s averaging only 18.8 minutes over the past three games. He’s been uber-productive, though, producing top 60 value. He’s averaged 11 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.7 steals. The Grizzlies play at the eighth-fastest offensive pace, so that helps Melton’s situation a bit.
Danuel House Jr. (SG/SF – HOU) – 28% owned
House will never be on the cover of Architectural Digest, but the foundation is solid. There’s a reason he’s owned in less than 30% of leagues, which still baffles me. Anyways, he plays a ton of minutes and provides across-the-board production. Over the past three games, he’s averaged 35.8 minutes, 16 points, 3 three-pointers, 5.7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 0.7 blocks. The shooting efficiency isn’t great (40% from the field and 75% from the line), so keep that in mind. The Rockets play at the second-fastest offensive pace, so the environment doesn’t get much better for fantasy goodies.
Kevin Huerter (SG – ATL) – 45% owned
The shooting efficiency has been dreadful this season, as Huerter is converting 39% of his shots on the season. With that said, he shot 42% from the field during his rookie campaign, so positive regression should be expected. Let’s not forget that he missed some time due to injury, so he’s still getting into a groove. Now for the good. Atlanta plays at the fourth-fastest offensive pace, so the environment for fantasy is juicy. In addition, with Trae Young (when healthy) and John Collins garnering much of the defensive attention, Huerter will get plenty of good looks. He’s also not a zero in the defensive categories, but what separates him from most 3-and-D players is his contribution in assists. He’s currently averaging 3.4 on the season, but a number over four is not unreasonable.