With fantasy playoffs right around the corner, I thought it would be a fun exercise to go team by team and point out one player that should be available on waiver wire in most fantasy leagues. With most fantasy trade deadlines passing, I thought it would be informative that you know who’s available on waivers. A quick note before we get into the article, the percentages are based off of ESPN leagues, the numbers may vary on other platforms, however they shouldn’t change to a significant degree.
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Celtics vs Hornets
One of the hottest teams since the trade deadline faced off against the coldest teams since the trade deadline. The results? Jayson Tatum torched the entire Hornets roster, scoring 44 points on 66% efficiency. The Boston Celtics run a strict rotation, with few bench players getting minutes, so there’s no underrated person on the roster. Derrick White is the closest player but he’s owned in 80% of leagues. He’s seeing 25 minutes per game and averaging 12 points, 3 assists and 3 rebounds.
While Boston lacks any true waiver wire claims, Charlotte has a few gems to look into. P.J. Washington has been starting ever since Gordon Hayward went down with injury a few weeks ago. In his last 10 games, he’s averaged 6 rebounds, 10 points and 1 steal. He’s 65% rostered so he could be available. Someone who’s definitely available, at only 25% ownership, is still starting center Mason Plumlee. While his performances leave a lot to be desired, he is fantasy junk food when given starters minutes, averaging nine rebounds in his last 10 games.
Bulls vs Pistons
The Pistons have surprisingly been one of the hottest teams in basketball heading into last night and, despite playing a good game, they fell short against the Bulls. Rebuilding teams are typically ripe with opportunities for fantasy steals, unknown players getting more minutes then they would anywhere else. The fact that Cade Cunningham’s fantasy ownership isn’t at 100% says everything you need to know right there. As for my fantasy steal, Saddiq Bey isn’t quite as valuable as he once was but he’s still averaging 19 points in his last 10 games. Marvin Bagley III is also averaging a healthy 7 rebounds and 13 points with starting minutes. At 70% and 41% ownership respectively, either option could be a quality bench piece.
As for the Chicago Bulls, rookie Ayo Dosunmu’s ownership still only being 22% is criminal. As we get further into this article, rebounds and points will be the main focus, as they are the most common scoring metric. Waiver wire players who can generate you a lot of assists are super hard to come by, and that’s exactly what Ayo Dosunmu does.
Suns vs Heat
Since returning, Cam Payne has been unstoppable for the Phoenix Suns. Averaging 16 points, 4 rebounds and 11 assists. Until Chris Paul returns Cam Payne is the floor general for this team. At only 22% rostered, stream him until Paul returns.
Duncan Robinson is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, he can have nights where he pops off for 22 points on 54% 3pt shooting. On the other hand, he can have nights like last Thursday against the Nets, scoring zero points and shooting 0% on three attempted threes. At only 13% ownership if you need to make a desperate playoff, full court heave keep him in mind.
Hawks vs Bucks
The Atlanta Hawks have the same problem the Washington Wizards had earlier this season, too many decent players with only one ball to go around. Choosing one in particular feels ultimately pointless as on most nights it feels random who’s gonna heat up and who’s gonna take a step back. If forced to choose I’ll go with Danilo Gallinari, as he’s averaged 28 minutes, 38% from three, and 14 points in his last 10 games. With how much John Collins and Clint Capela have struggled recently, they tend to look towards Gallinari for big man minutes off the bench. At only 4% ownership, he might be the most underrated player I talk about in this article.
As for the Milwaukee Bucks, Bobby Portis has been consistently good all season long. At 80% ownership you may be surprised to find him on waivers, but it’s worth a check at least. Other than him Grayson Allen keeps getting starting minutes and opportunities as the team’s sharpshooter. Jordan Nwora has been getting steady minutes, and is only rostered in 0.7% of leagues. If you have a claim left and he’s playing that night, he has 15-point potential.
Lakers vs Rockets
I used to think the Los Angeles Lakers were a tragedy, but now I realize, they’re a comedy. How do you not only waste a LeBron James triple-double, but need to force overtime against the worst team in the league? At this point we know what the Lakers are, we know how their season has gone, and we most likely know how it’s gonna end. The question still remains, is there anyone worth owning on the Lakers roster other than LeBron James? That answer is arguably no, but if forced to choose, rookie Austin Reaves has been generating a larger and larger role as the season has progressed. Similar to Jordan Nwora, he has 15-point potential every night, putting up 17 last night. With less than 1% of fantasy players rostering him, he’s readily available and expendable for your fantasy team.
Jalen Green, on the other hand, should be a mandatory roster in every league he’s available in. Growing throughout the season, he’s blossomed into a scoring machine putting up 32 last night and averaging 19 in his last 10. A perfect guard for points leagues, and category teams that need that boost in scoring.
Thunder vs Timberwolves
Tricky to base my recommendations on last night’s match between the Thunder and the Timberwolves. I presume if the game were close Malik Beasley wouldn’t have been allowed to take 17 three pointers, but he made 11 of them. He’s still top five in three pointers made and attempted, with only 36% rostering he’s a great boost to that if nothing else.
As for the Thunder, take your pick. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey are the only two players to have any significant fantasy ownership. Isaiah Roby has been consistently in the rotation all year, however players like Lindy Waters III and Aaron Wiggins have been getting more opportunities lately. The only constant with OKC’s players is their +/- numbers being absolutely terrible.
Magic vs Pelicans
Last night’s winner for games we all wish we had taken the under on, the Magic upset the Pelicans 108 to 102. Unlike the rebuilding Thunder, the Orlando Magic have a very consistent line up, consisting of Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs, Mo Bomba, Wendell Carter Jr. and Franz Wagner. With no one having a fantasy ownership over 82%, every single player is worth a flier at least. Franz Wagner in particular has been consistently good for the Magic this year. With only 65% ownership he’s is worthy of a bench role on a 10-man squad.
The Pelicans are equally easy to pin down. Herb Jones and Jaxson Hayes are obvious candidates for selection, playing starting minutes alongside CJ McCollum leads to higher production for both players, especially with Brandon Ingram sidelined.
Knicks vs Mavericks
What’s with the Mavericks getting blown out by New York this year? Did Luka Doncic make a deal with Trae Young the night they were drafted? He gets to own Los Angeles and Trae gets to own the Garden? Regardless, the Knicks get a desperately needed victory, led by comeback players of the year RJ Barrett and Juluis Randle. Both players are already rostered in 86% and 99% of leagues respectively so for a fantasy steal we head to the bench. What Immanuel Quickley lacks in volume, he makes up for in efficiency. Shooting 47/40/96 in his last ten games, he’s a great boost to those percentages in category leagues.
As for the Mavericks, trade deadline acquisition Spencer Dinwiddie has been a great boost to bench production. Averaging 18 points on 53% shooting since arriving, he’s a great addition to both category teams needing a boost in scoring and points leagues.
Raptors vs Spurs
Similar to the Boston Celtics, the Toronto Raptors don’t have anyone outside their starting roster worth owning from a fantasy standpoint. Gary Trent Jr. has been struggling as of late and Thaddeus Young is performing exactly as advertised. Dalano Banton is only owned in 0.1% of leagues and played 21 minutes last night, but he’s irrelevant to all but the deepest fantasy leagues. No one truly fits the mold on the Toronto Raptors.
The Spurs, on the other hand, have a plethora of players to choose from. Devin Vassell has been getting consistent minutes all year and he’s averaged 14 points in his last 10 games and is available in over 80% of leagues. Keldon Johnson has seen more touches since shipping away Derrick White, averaging 19 points and five rebounds in his last 10. He put up 27 points last night.
Trail Blazers vs Jazz
The Trail Blazers sit in a similar boat to the OKC Thunder, with the injuries and young roster, there’s not a lot to choose from in terms of underrated players. Anfernee Simons still only being 65% rostered is a crime., He is listed as questionable right now but if you have a bye week right now, he’s the focal point of the offense for the baby Blazers.
As for the Utah Jazz, Royce O’Neale doesn’t put up flashy scoring numbers but his defensive numbers are solid. Averaging 5 rebounds and over a steal per game for a player rostered in less than 10% of leagues, he’s worth a check in for 12-man categories leagues at the very least. For 30-team leagues, Trent Forrest is averaging 16 minutes per night and is rostered in 0.1 percent of leagues. The minutes alone warrant a pick up.
Nuggets vs Kings
Denver may as well be the kings of this exercise, no pun intended, with key players being injured all season and role players such as Monte Morris becoming integral pieces. The two players I would like to focus on however are two bench shooters for the Denver Nuggets. Combining deadly shooters with the best passer in the league tends to lead to great efficiency. The two players I have in mind are Bryn Forbes and Bones Hyland. Hyland didn’t play last night but he’s averaged 17 minutes, 9 points on 40% three point shooting, and is available in 99% of leagues. A similar story with Forbes, who is playing 20 minutes per game and scoring 11 points on 48% three point shooting. He’s available in more leagues than Hyland. Speaking of underrated guards, Donte DiVincenzo is available in 60% of leagues, averaging nearly 2 steals, 9 points, and four rebounds. If you need a depth guard piece for a defensive CAT team, look towards DiVincenzo.
Wizards vs Clippers
I was gonna write about Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis, on how they are underrated and both number one options on the team right now, but they are both rostered in over 90% of leagues. In fear of repeating myself, I won’t mention Raul Neto or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as I talked about them in last week’s round up. That leaves me with only deep cuts for Washington, so we turn to rookie Corey Kispert. He’s averaged 31 minutes and 10 points in his last 10 games. Nothing too impressive efficiency wise, but a lot of opportunities for a player only rostered in 0.7% of leagues.
As for the Clippers, they’re in a similar boat to the Nuggets, with star players out and bench players getting significant minutes. Reggie Jackson only being rostered in 75% of leagues feels weird. How hasn’t everyone caught on to how well he’s been playing? He’s averaging 18 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds over his last 10 games. Luke Kennard and Amir Coffey are both are getting large opportunities and have the potential to have 20 point games on any night. Final shout out goes to Marcus Morris Sr. who absolutely went off last night with 27 points and eight rebounds, another player with huge potential and only rostered in 19% of leagues.