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Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 8 (2021)

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Dec 12, 2021
NBA Waiver Wire De'Anthony Melton

De’Anthony Melton is stepping up his game in place of the injured Ja Morant.

It’s Sunday, and you know what that means. It’s time to get ready for another week of fantasy hoops.

Each week, we’ll look at players you should consider picking up who are rostered in four different tiers:

  • 50-60%
  • 30-49%
  • 15-29%
  • 0-14%

What’s more, we’ll break down how many games each team has in the upcoming week so you can maximize minutes. Without further delay, let’s get to it, starting with the schedule and offensive pace ratings, thanks to our friends at Razzball.

Four games:

ATL, BKN, CHA, CLE, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, MEM, MIA, MIL, PHI, PHX, POR, SAC, TOR, WAS 

Three games: 

BOS, CHI, DAL, IND, LAC, LAL, MIN, NOR, NYK, ORL, SAS, UTA

Two games:

OKC

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Rostered in 50-60% of leagues:

De’Anthony Melton (PG/SG -MEM): 55%
Melton has contributed across the board since Ja Morant’s injury, but we’ve been waiting for the steals to appear. Wait no more, as Melton has 11 swipes in his last five games. He’s put up 10th-round value over the last two weeks, which should continue as long as Morant is out — regardless of if Melton starts.

Royce O’Neale (SG/SF/PF – UTA): 54%
No disrespect to O’Neale, but is there a more boring player in the league? Jeremy Lamb, maybe? O’Neal nevertheless gets it done for fantasy managers as a mid-tier player. He’s averaging 6.5 boards over the last two weeks and has been a top-40 player in that same stretch. Sometimes boring is good, folks. 

Rostered in 30-49% of leagues:

Terence Davis (SG/SF – SAC): 48%
Davis is the top grab if he’s still available off the wire. He should surpass the threshold by next weekend. He’s put up 95 points in his last five games, and he’s had three swipes in two of them. Davis has earned his playing time, averaging 25.6 minutes per game this month despite getting only 17 minutes — mainly in the fourth quarter of a failed comeback attempt against the Kings — Saturday night. Grab him and enjoy the return.

Dennis Smith Jr. (PG – POR): 35%
Here’s what I wrote about Smith earlier this week in my Buy or Sell column:

The Trail Blazers are slammed with injuries right now in their backcourt, making Smith a must-roster player right now. But, like, we’ve seen this story with him before.

“But Michael, you said the opportunity is as important as skill.”

Yes, opportunity is huge, and that makes him a must-roster guy. But Smith has 11 turnovers in his last two games. Eleven.

I get streaming him, but if I have him rostered and I’m not in need of a guard, I’m trading him to a team who needs someone right now and taking whatever they offer me.

The Trail Blazers’ backcourt is a mess, and Smith will play his way into a must-roster option until Damian Lillard returns.

Rostered in 15-29% of leagues:

Marvin Bagley (PF/C – SAC): 29%
Bagley started on Saturday night. Yes, he started. Take that, Luke Walton. Was it a good line? Well, no. He posted seven points and seven rebounds on 30% shooting, but he was up against Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley in a blowout loss. Don’t rush to add Bagley, but see if he continues to start moving forward. 

Otto Porter Jr. (SF/PF – GS): 22%
I write a lot about Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (did you see his missed dunk where he was rejected by the side of the backboard Saturday?) and his inconsistency. Well, the same can be said for Porter. Just as we started to trust him, Porter put up three straight disappointing lines — including a DNP — this week. However, he gave us a reason to buy back in by dropping 15 points Wednesday. It’ll be up and down, but grab Porter in 15-team leagues.

Rostered in 0-14% of leagues:

Isaac Okoro (SG/SF – CLE): 7%
Okoro’s value is in his defense, and he’s a much better real-life player than a fantasy player. However, he’s contributing more steals lately and has scored 36 points over his last two games, including a 20-point performance against the Kings on Saturday night. Yet Okoro shot over 70 percent from the field in each game. We can’t expect those outputs to continue from a 41.4% shooter. Perhaps he’s earned more of a role in Cleveland’s offense, so he’s a fine speculative add in deeper leagues. 

James Bouknight (SG – CHA): 2%
I wrote about Bouknight last week, and I happily grab him in a few spots. I expected some playing time and maybe a double-digit scoring performance for the short-handed Hornets. On Friday night, Bouknight exceeded everyone’s expectations by dropping 24 points, including six three-pointers, with six boards in 26 minutes against the Kings. The scoring output was great, but the rookie isn’t exactly a sharpshooter from deep. Still, you have to love the showing.

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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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