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Fantasy Basketball Category Analysis & Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 6 (2023)

Fantasy Basketball Category Analysis & Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 6 (2023)

Before we get down to business, I would like to thank you, the readers, and members of our FantasyPros community. Your choice to read and engage with this article as a part of your fantasy basketball strategy means a lot. In a world packed with tons of options to satisfy your fantasy needs, including this article as part of your means to address those needs is humbling and immensely appreciated. Now, let’s get into it!

This is your weekly dose of fantasy basketball possibilities as we explore and identify players who can help take your team to the next level in your quest for the championship crown of your league. It’s a long season, so it’s beneficial to maintain an “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” mindset as you strategize and tailor your approach, whether weekly or season-long, to maximize your team’s value and potential.

Each week, we will look at widely available players rostered in fewer than 65% of fantasy leagues on Yahoo. We will focus on building strategies in eight-category leagues with standard scoring (more details outlined below).

Insights about the highlighted players will concentrate on how they can contribute to the aligned category but also touch on how they can contribute to various other categories.

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Fantasy Basketball Category Analysis & Waiver Wire Pickups

(The statistics and data used in the writing of this article were sourced from nba.com)

Fantasy Format

Scoring Type: Head-to-Head (Most Categories)
Player Stat Categories:

  • Points Scored (PTS)
  • Total Rebounds (REB)
  • Assists (AST)
  • Steals (ST)
  • Block Shots (BLK)
  • 3-Point Shots Made (3PTM)
  • Field Goal Percentage (FG%)
  • Free Throw Percentage (FT%)

Roster Positions:

  • Point Guard (PG)
  • Shooting Guard (SG)
  • Guard (G)
  • Small Forward (SF)
  • Power Forward (PF)
  • Center (C) x 2
  • Utility (UTIL) x 2
  • Bench (BN) x 2
  • Injured List (IL) x 3

Points

Santi Aldama (PF, C – MEM): 53% Rostered

Aldama has excelled this season, showing his value as a multi-categorical contributor for a vulnerable Grizzlies squad. His breakout performance against the Celtics showcased his potential. Since then, he has consistently delivered, proving his worth as a fantasy asset demonstrating his ability to produce solid performances when given the opportunity.

His performance averages across 14 games with at least 30.0 minutes of play were impressive, as seen in his game logs from this and the last season. In those games, he averaged 15.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.0 blocks, and 0.9 steals, shooting 51.3% from the floor and 34.3% from beyond the arc. When focusing on the four games this year where he played at least 30.0 minutes, his overall production was on par with his combined averages from both seasons, but his scoring increased significantly to 20.8 points per game.

OFFENSIVE PROFILE
CATEGORY STAT RANK
Field-Goals Attempted 12.4 90th
Field-Goals Made 5.8 T-77th
Field-Goal Percentage 46.3% 220th
Three-Pointers Attempted 5.7 62nd
Three-Pointers Made 1.8 T-86th
Three-Pointer Percentage 32.4% 263rd

His consistent performance across various categories, particularly in scoring, highlights his potential for sustained success and value on fantasy rosters. Despite potential uncertainties about his role when the team is fully healthy, his top 100-150 production potential still makes him an asset worth considering for your rotation. Currently, Aldama is averaging 14.5 points per game (90th in the league), with a 46.3% field goal percentage (220th in the league). He has a 22.2% usage rate, a plus-minus of 0.0, and averages 26.9 minutes, 6.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.6 steals, and 0.7 blocks per game while shooting 32.4% from beyond the arc. The Grizzlies have two games in the upcoming week, the week of Monday, December 4th, 2023.

DATE OPP OPP PTS RANK
Wed: Dec. 6 @DET 118.5 24th
Fri: Dec. 8 MIN 105.3 1st

Rebounds

Dereck Lively II (C – DAL): 45% Rostered

Lively showed upside early this season as a rookie, demonstrating his value as a multi-categorical contributor. His impressive blocking rate got my attention and landed him on this list in week one. Now he returns with more upside as he has posted an impressive rebounding rate that could be a game-changer for your roster’s production. Lively is currently averaging 7.3 rebounds per game this season (42nd in the league). When paired with his blocking prowess, his rebounding upside can lead to a solid combination of value that can open more opportunities for your overall strategy.

REBOUND PROFILE
Rebound Percentage 14.4%
Offensive Rebound Percentage 10.7%
Defensive Rebound Percentage 18.4%

Lively’s scoring production is pretty hit or miss from game to game, so pairing him with other high-volume point producers could be the best way to maximize his value and impact. Still, his value in rebounding makes him an invaluable acquisition for those who need additional rebound production. Lively has a usage rate of 11.4%, a plus-minus of 2.3, and averages 24.2 minutes, 7.9 points, 1.3 assists, 0.6 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game while shooting 69.1% from the floor and 63.6% from the free-throw line. The Mavericks have two games this upcoming week, the week of Monday, December 4th, 2023.

DATE OPP OPP REB RANK
Wed: Dec. 6 UTA 42.4 7th
Fri: Dec. 8 @POR 45.1 26th

Al Horford (PF, C – BOS): 60% Rostered

Horford continues to dodge father time and continues to demonstrate his value on a competitive Celtics squad. Although his scoring has decreased compared to last season’s averages, he has seen an increase in production across all other performance categories. Starting him as a critical part of your strategy could be a tad uncomfortable as you think today could be the day we begin to see the “fall-off.” Yet, he remains competitive in his contribution. Horford continues to be a pleasant surprise in the box score from his solid performances, often prompting us to think, “Dang…shouldn’t have underestimated him, won’t make that mistake again,” only to make that mistake again.

The underestimation of Horford at this point in his career is understandable, especially given his significantly low usage rate and conservative-utility-based playstyle. However, he is still a solid multi-categorical contributor who makes his “bones” through his rebounding. Horford is averaging 6.6 rebounds per game (56th in the league) and can be leveraged as a viable asset who can be a difference-maker in your rotation.

REBOUND PROFILE
Rebound Percentage 11.7%
Offensive Rebound Percentage 6.1%
Defensive Rebound Percentage 16.7%

Horford has a usage rate of 11.7%, a plus-minus of 4.4, and averages 26.2 minutes, 7.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.5 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game while shooting 48.5% from the floor and 35.9% from beyond the arc. The Celtics have one game this upcoming week, the week of Monday, December 4th, 2023.

DATE OPP OPP REB RANK
Mon: Dec. 4 @IND 43.9 11th

Assists

Keyonte George (PG, SG – UTA): 45% Rostered

Considering his low assist rate at Baylor University, George’s role as an assist leader was unexpected. Averaging just 2.8 assists per game with the Bears, he seemed to profile as a scoring-focused point guard; however, his performance in the league has surprisingly diverged from that trend. He is currently averaging an impressive 4.9 assists per game (49th in the league) and appears to have accessed a new facet of his game. As George grows more accustomed to his role, his scoring and scoring efficiency are expected to increase, reflecting the scoring prowess he exhibited in college with an average of 15.3 points per game. Increasing his scoring production could enhance his value as a multi-categorical contributor, further bolstering his fantasy appeal.

ASSISTS PROFILE
Assist Percentage 27.6%
Assist Ratio 28.5
Assist Turnover Ratio 2.33

In addition to his early season success, his rapid promotion to lead facilitator as a rookie is notable and could reflect not only the successful progression of his development but also the growing level of trust he’s earned from both coaches and teammates. This trust and other intangibles could further bolster his fantasy appeal. He has the potential to be an excellent waiver-wire acquisition, especially if he consistently showcases his ability, maturation, and potential. George has a 19.7% usage rate, a plus-minus of -5.7, and averages 25.5 minutes, 9.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 0.5 steals, and 0.1 blocks per game while shooting 34.1% from the floor and 32.6% from beyond the arc. The Jazz have two games in the upcoming week, starting Monday, December 4th, 2023.

DATE OPP OPP AST RANK
Wed: Dec. 6 @DAL 27.9 26th
Fri: Dec. 8 LAC 24.8 8th

Steals

Kelly Oubre Jr. (SF – PHI): 62% Rostered

Oubre is set to possibly return in the Sixers’ upcoming game against the Wizards after a remarkable recovery from a significant setback. Despite his absence, his 62.0% roster rate reflects his value as a dynamic, multi-categorical contributor. While there are some risks with rostering him due to uncertainties about his return and load management, there is a high possibility that he won’t be available long enough to confirm his availability for Wednesday’s game due to the sensational upside he’s demonstrated so far this season. Oubre made it challenging to determine which category to put him in, but his strength in steals ultimately stood out. His 1.4 steals per game (tied for 31st in the league) presents a unique opportunity to bolster your production in this niche category while also doing so across several other performance areas.

If Oubre is available in your league, having some urgency in investing in his utility and talent could bode well for your immediate and long-term success. He has a usage rate of 19.7%, a plus-minus of 4.8, and averages 29.0 minutes, 16.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 0.6 assists, and 0.4 blocks per game while shooting 50.0% from the floor and 37.8% from beyond the arc. The Sixers have two games this upcoming week, the week of Monday, December 4th, 2023.

DATE OPP OPP STL RANK
Wed: Dec. 6 @WAS 7.8 19th
Fri: Dec. 8 ATL 8.3 23rd

Blocks

Xavier Tillman Sr. (PF, C – MEM): 20% Rostered

Tillman returned after a six-game absence against the Mavericks and was productive as he filled each category of the stat sheet. He offers a lot of utility and could be an excellent complementary piece to integrate into your strategy. Despite being less consistent, Tillman’s scoring can be a valuable part of his overall contribution by further bolstering his value as a multi-categorical contributor. However, his value as a scorer pales in comparison to his value in niche categories like blocks and steals.

He has an elite rate in steals, 1.6 per game (11th in the league), but the addition of his understated blocking skills could make him an even more attractive fantasy asset as he is posting a respectable 1.0 blocks per game (tied for 38th in the league). But why is he in the blocks category if he is ranked better in steals? That is a good question I had to grapple with when making this pick. In the end, the decision to focus on blocks over steals, despite his higher rank in the latter, stems from the goal of maximizing his overall value and contribution when meeting the needs of your rotation.

He has a usage rate of 17.1%, a plus-minus of -3.1, and averages 25.3 minutes, 8.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game while shooting 41.4% from the floor and 30.4% from beyond the arc. The Grizzlies have two games this upcoming week, the week of Monday, December 4th, 2023.

DATE OPP OPP BLK RANK
Wed: Dec. 6 @DET 6.5 27th
Fri: Dec. 8 MIN 4.9 12th

Three-Pointers

Duncan Robinson (SG, SF – MIA): 47% Rostered

Robinson has excelled this season, improving in all performance categories compared to last year. Despite a thumb injury, he’s been a consistent scorer, showcasing his offensive skills. A key aspect of his game is his three-point shooting, as he averages 3.1 three-pointers per game (14th in the league). His production in this category has significantly contributed to his 14.5 points per game (89th in the league) and has compensated for the absence of Tyler Herro. While concerns exist regarding his role with the emergence of Jaime Jaquez Jr./a>. and Jimmy Butler‘s return, Robinson has continued to prove his worth as the team’s primary sharp-shooter.

SHOOTER PROFILE
CATEGORY STAT RANK
Three-Pointers Attempted 7.1 27th
Three-Pointers Made 3.1 14th
Three-Pointer Percentage 44.2% 60th

His scoring is a significant part of his value, so it’s essential to consider the matchup when assessing his potential impact. Despite the risks associated with deploying a scoring-dependent play, Duncan’s consistent production level and potential upside could be enough to overcome most concerns. He has a usage rate of 18.2%, a plus-minus of 2.1, and averages 29.5 minutes, 2.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 0.4 steals, and 0.2 blocks per game while shooting 48.1% from the floor and 44.2% from beyond the arc. The Heat have two games this upcoming week, the week of December 4th, 2023.

DATE OPP OPP 3PM RANK
Wed: Dec. 6 @TOR 12.3 14th
Fri: Dec. 8 CLE 12.7 16th

Field-Goal Percentage

Jaime Jaquez Jr. (SF – MIA): 56% Rostered

Jaquez has made a notable impact in his rookie season, performing well despite coming off the bench. His time at UCLA and recent performances suggest he can contribute across multiple categories. He averages 12.0 points per game (132nd in the league), and his efficient play enables him to maximize his time on the court. Even with the presence of Duncan Robinson, Jaquez has managed to secure a significant role in the team’s rotation. His shooting efficiency stands out, with a 52.9% field-goal percentage (91st in the league). Though less highlighted, this aspect of his game is critical for his overall upside.

SHOOTER PROFILE
CATEGORY STAT RANK
Field-Goals Attempted 9.2 136th
Field-Goals Made 4.8 T-117th
Field-Goal Percentage 52.9% 91st

Jaquez’s versatility enhances his value as a developing multi-categorical contributor, underscoring his overall fantasy appeal. He has a usage rate of 18.1%, a plus-minus of 1.2, and averages 26.6 minutes, 3.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.1 steals, and 0.2 blocks per game while shooting 39.0% from beyond the arc. The Heat have two games this upcoming week, the week of December 4th, 2023.

DATE OPP OPP FG% RANK
Wed: Dec. 6 @TOR 47.0% 17th
Fri: Dec. 8 CLE 45.2% 5th

Free-Throw Percentage

Moritz Wagner (C – ORL): 32% Rostered

With all the focus on teammates Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner, Jalen Suggs, and even Cole Anthony, the other Wagner is quietly posting one of the best seasons of his career. He has increased his production across several performance categories and has contributed impactful output during his time on the floor.

Although Wagner is splitting time with Goga Bitadze at the center position, he offers more offensive upside than the latter. He provides solid scoring and efficiency rates that could add depth and nuance to your rotations production level. Wagner’s free-throw percentage, at 82.7% (159th in the league), is a strategic asset for strengthening your competitive advantage while enhancing overall team utility.

His ability to contribute to multiple categories can give you an edge over your opponents when combined with other high-performing players. Wagner has a usage rate of 22.1%, a plus-minus of 2.2, and averages 19.4 minutes, 12.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.5 steals, and 0.4 blocks per game while shooting 63.1% from the floor and 33.3% from beyond the arc. The Magic have two games this upcoming week, the week of December 4th, 2023.

DATE OPP OPP FT% RANK
Wed: Dec. 6 @CLE 78.3% 17th
Fri: Dec. 8 DET 82.1% 27th

Tim Hardaway Jr. (SG, SF – DAL): 51% Rostered

Hardaway is dealing with back spasms, which could lower his fantasy appeal; however, I wanted to include him because of his offensive upside and free-throw percentage rate. You could realize impactful gains in your offensive production by leveraging his free-throw efficiency. Hardaway has a free-throw percentage of 89.2% (68th in the league) and one of the best rates of his career. In addition to his increased free-throw percentage, he has produced increased value in his scoring, 16.8 per game (70th in the league), and his shooting efficiency from the floor to 42.0% compared to last season’s averages.

Hardaway also shows substantial value in three-pointers, averaging 3.4 made three-pointers per game (sixtth in the league) and 8.9 attempts per game (6th in the league). Even though he doesn’t offer much upside outside of his scoring, his offensive contribution can still be enough to overcome the risks of deploying a scoring-dependent asset in your lineups.

Hardaway is dealing with a tricky injury that could keep him out of a couple of games or longer; however, he still may be worth picking up should things turn around and if you are willing to take a chance to bolster your points production. He has a usage rate of 22.9%, a plus-minus of 0.8, and averages 3.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 0.2 steals per game while shooting 38.4%. The Mavericks have two games this upcoming week, the week of Monday, December 4th, 2023.

DATE OPP OPP FT% RANK
Wed: Dec. 6 UTA 77.3% 10th
Fri: Dec. 8 @POR 80.0% 23rd


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