Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 7 (2021)
This weekly column will highlight players rostered in fewer than 50% of Yahoo leagues who may assist you in ascertaining fantasy glory.
All teams play three or four games this week. 22 teams play four games while 23 play a back-to-back. For a look at the schedule grid with offensive pace ratings, click HERE.
De’Anthony Melton (PG/SG – MEM): 6% rostered
Melton played 32 minutes last game and contributed 20 points, four three-pointers, five rebounds, two assists, and two blocks. The game was a blowout, and the Grizzlies were down a few players. I have no idea if this is the New World Order, as he was playing around 20 minutes per game in the prior six games. There’s upside here, especially since he’s only 22 years old, but there’s a risk as well because his role and playing time are not assured.
Thaddeus Young (PF – CHI): 23% rostered
Over the last two games, Young has played 29 and 31 minutes. He’s scored eight and 16 points while notching a steal in each game, which is what he’s known for. The eye-popping numbers have been the 11 and 9 rebounds and 11 and 9 assists. He had never averaged more than two assists in any of the last five seasons, so this looks to be an outlier. With that said, with Wendell Carter Jr. out for a few weeks, Young should continue to see significant playing time.
JaMychal Green (PF/C – DEN): 16% rostered
Green only averages 20 minutes per game. Yuck. With that said, he provides points, three-pointers, and rebounds. Green has scored double figures in 10 games, provided at least two three-pointers in 12, and grabbed at least five rebounds in 13 contests. How many 10/2/5 games, you ask? 11. He’s also garnered a usage rate of at least 20 in 10 games.
Royce O’Neale (SF/PF – UTA): 24% rostered
O’Neale is the opposite of sexy. His wife or girlfriend would beg to differ, but it’s the truth from a fantasy perspective. The usage rate is often sub-10%, and he will never win a week for you. What he does do, though, is contribute a little something in every category without hurting you in any. And he plays over 32 minutes per game. On the season, he’s averaging 32.4 minutes, 7.8 points, 1.7 three-pointers, 6.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.6 steals, and 0.6 blocks while shooting 47% from the floor and 81% from the line.
Gary Trent Jr. (SG/SF – POR): 31% rostered
With the injury to C. J. McCollum, Trent has started the last three games and played 37, 38, and 41 minutes. He’s scored 18, 23, and 22 points while contributing four, seven, and four three-pointers. He has also pilfered four, one, and two steals. This has translated to top 20 production for fantasy! Now, he doesn’t contribute much outside of points, three-pointers, and steals. There are also issues with his efficiency as he can go ice cold from the field. He’s shot sub-40% in six games this season. With that said, he’s going to play a ton while McCollum is out.
James Johnson (PF/C – DAL): 3% rostered
Johnson only plays around 22-23 minutes per game, but he provides across-the-board production when he’s out on the court. Think of him as swap meet Royce O’Neale. He’s averaging 7.3 points, 0.7 three-pointers, 3.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block on the season. The field goal percentage is a respectable 49%, but the free throw shooting is his only bugaboo, as he’s converting 54% of his attempts. The volume is low at 1.2 per game, so the effect is mitigated.
Justin Holiday (SG/SF – IND): 39% rostered
Holiday has started the last 10 games and is averaging around 34 minutes per game. He will grab some rebounds but is primarily a three-point and steals specialist. He’s shooting 48% from the field on the season, but there are plenty of stretches in which he shoots sub-40%. Half the battle for fantasy is minutes, and Holiday is getting a ton of those.
Jarred Vanderbilt (SF/PF – MIN): 23% rostered
Vanderbilt had started six consecutive games before coming off the bench last game. It made no difference to his playing time, though, as he received 24 minutes in either capacity. Vanderbilt won’t provide three-pointers but can score, rebound, and provide defensive stats. The field goal percentage is robust (64% on the season), but the free-throw shooting is an eye-sore (45%). Now, Vanderbilt has been receiving a lot of playing because Juancho Hernangomez has been out of action. He’s expected to return soon from COVID protocols, so it will be interesting to see what direction the coaching staff takes. Will they prefer Hernangomez’s shooting ability to space the floor or Vanderbilt’s defensive prowess?
Immanuel Quickley (PG – NYK): 35% rostered
This is a more speculative suggestion because the production and playing time have been all over the map for Quickly. He’s played 23-24 minutes in each of the last three games. Before that, though, he played 17, 11, and 15 minutes. Before that stretch, he received 21, 28, 22, and 29 minutes. Shrug. He’s shown the ability to score and initiate the offense, but Coach Thibideau continues to play Elfrid Payton due to his defensive and veteran presence. He’s also been inconsistent with his scoring. Over the past four games, he’s gone for 25, six, 31, and eight points. With all that said, he’s shown that he can play in the league, and there’s a chance that he overtakes Payton at some point. If that happens, then the sky is the limit.
Jeff Green (SF/PF/C – BKN): 27% rostered
After languishing for much of the early season schedule, Green has been a fixture in the lineup over the last 13 games. Even though he’s been coming off the bench for the past five games, Green has been averaging 29 minutes and scored double-digits in each game. Nash has been utilizing Green as the small-ball center when he wants to space the floor, and he’s often been in the closing lineup. Outside of points, Green can contribute some three-pointers, rebounds, assists, and steals.
Cody Zeller (C – CHA): 26% rostered
Zeller missed 13 games this year, so it took him some time to get back up to speed. In his return, he played 11 minutes, then 15 the next, and 18 after that. In the fourth game, he received his first start and played 30 minutes. Last game, he played 34 minutes and looks completely healthy and raring to go. He’s pulled down 15 and 14 rebounds while dishing out seven and four games in two separate games. The scoring isn’t a huge part of his game, but he has attempted nine, 11, and 10 field goal attempts in each start. As we advance, the question is the playing time, as he averaged 23, 25, and 19 minutes per game in each of the last three seasons and has never played more than 28 minutes per contest.