Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 5 (2021)
We are all beholden to our new COVID master. Players are unable to play, and games are being postponed. Why is our new god such a Negative Nancy? It is what it is, though. Luck will play a huge part in fantasy success this season, but we have some semblance of control: mining the waiver wire.
In this weekly column, I will highlight players rostered in fewer than 50% of Yahoo leagues who may assist you in ascertaining fantasy glory.
There are no teams who play two or five games this week. 18 teams play four games while 13 play a back-to-back. For a look at the schedule grid with offensive pace ratings, click HERE.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker (SG – NOR): 20% rostered
Lonzo Ball has missed the last two games due to bilateral knee tendinopathy. There has been no timetable given for his return. In his place, Alexander-Walker has started, with mixed results. He went off in 33 minutes against the Clippers for 37 points and eight rebounds but then came crashing down with 12 points, three rebounds, and two assists in 20 minutes versus the Lakers. Now, keep in mind that the Clippers are very generous to opposing point guards while the Lakers are the top defensive team in the league, and that game was a blowout. If Ball continues to miss time, then Alexander-Walker can be a source of points, three-points, and steals with a sprinkle of rebounds.
Willie Cauley-Stein (PF/C – DAL): 19% rostered
With the Mavericks frontcourt ravaged by COVID protocols, Cauley-Stein has started the past five games and been a top 70 player. He’s averaged 26.8 minutes, 8.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 0.6 steals, and 1.2 blocks while shooting 68% from the field and 78% from the line. The free-throw shooting is an outlier, as he’s more of a 60% shooter, but expect excellent field goal percentage, rebounds, and defensive stats for as long as Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber are out. They should be returning soon, but no date has been announced as of yet.
Patrick Williams (SF – CHI): 22% rostered
Williams has started every game this season and delivered top 140 production. Over the past five games, though, he’s been a top 80 player, averaging 30.6 minutes, 12 points, 1.6 three-pointers, 4.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.4 steals, and 0.4 blocks. The most encouraging development has been the 36 mpg over the last two games, despite the return of Lauri Markkanen to the lineup. Williams provides solid defensive numbers, and his offensive game is refined to score from all three levels. He won’t ever win a week for you but provides solid contributions across the board. And he plays a ton of minutes, which is half the battle. Yo, Joe!
Gary Harris (SG/SF – DEN): 18% rostered
Harris has missed the last two games due to personal reasons but should be good to go for this week. He’s a top 190 player on a per-game basis on the season, but over the past four games, he’s been a top 80 player. The usage is low at 15, but he’s playing over 30 minutes per game, hoisting up nine shots, and providing three-pointers and steals.
Patrick Beverley (PG – LAC): 19% rostered
Beverley missed the last game due to a family issue but looks to be good for this week. The minutes have fluctuated all season, as he was playing 22 minutes per game to start, but over the past five games, he’s played over 30 minutes three games, with a high of 36. Beverley won’t provide many points but will contribute three-pointers and defensive stats while rebounding very well for his position.
Delon Wright (SG/SF – DET): 35% rostered
With Killian Hayes out, Wright has started the last five games and played over 32 minutes in three of them. He’s not a scorer, and the usage rate is in the low-teens, but he rebounds well for a guard and has notched 10 and seven assists the past two games. Wright will also provide some three-pointers and defensive stats. The shooting efficiency is the major bugaboo, though, as he’s shooting sub-40% on the season and is at 31% over the past six games.
Luguentz Dort (SG/SF – OKC): 33% rostered
Dort exploded for 21 points, eight rebounds, six steals, and one block in 40 minutes last game! That’s obviously a ceiling outcome, but at least he’s shown that it’s within the range of outcomes. He’s averaging 12.8 points, 2.3 three-pointers, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.1 steals on the season. The percentages haven’t been bad at 46% from the field and 78% from the line. With that said, he will go stretches shooting 40% from the field and sub-70% from the line.