Working the waiver wire is essential for success in fantasy basketball. With so many games, injuries, and endless shifts in rotations throughout the marathon campaign, we’ll need to get free agency stats to max out fantasy rosters. A willingness to entertain the competition for the last spots on your fantasy hoops list can prove rewarding. When curating this fluid collective of stat contributors, it’s helpful to consider your end-of-the-bench players in direct competition with the talent floating around in free agency.
The goal of this weekly series is to identify players in every position available in free agency in at least one-third of ESPN leagues. Some appointments are specialists who can help in one or two categories, while others offer more diverse and significant statistical offerings. In the breakdowns below, I’ve ranked the players at each position with acquisition priority in mind, rather than roster percentage in ESPN leagues.
Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers (enrolled in 48.7% of ESPN leagues)
Cool kids might call Simons a “bucket,” as he’s supremely confident in his own shooting and has been empowered to create in a starting role given Damian Lillard’s absence. Proving himself capable as a distributor in that capacity as well, Simons has averaged 21.6 points and 6.4 dimes with a stellar offensive rating of 125 in 12 starts this season.
Coby White, Chicago Bulls (enrolled in 24.3% of ESPN leagues)
Found among elite fantasy playmakers such as Ja Morant and Luka Doncic on the Player Rater over the past week, White’s rise as a regular shooting and scoring source now looks more sustainable with the injury on the important wrist of Alex Caruso.
Patty Mills, Brooklyn Nets (21.8%)
Similar to White in that you primarily line up Mills for his 3-point and scoring volume as a floor stretcher for Brooklyn, this veteran combo has seen a fantastic points-per-minute boost whenever Kevin Durant is off the floor. this season .
Kevin Porter Jr., Houston Rockets (60.1%)
With at least seven assists in three straight games entering Monday’s roster, Porter can provide exceptionally strong passing production for a young wing. With Houston letting Porter grow into his role as a creator for others this season, he’s likely underappreciated by the fantasy market at this point.
Chris Duarte, Indiana Pacers (22.9%)
Injuries have swept through Indiana’s rotation, pushing this rookie back into the starting lineup. Posting a positive net rating in five of his last six games while playing long minutes for a depleted roster indicates just how well Duarte has played.
Gary Trent Jr., Toronto Raptors (58.3%)
Back in the lineup after missing about two weeks with an ankle injury, it’s worth noting that the 3-point sniper ranks fourth in the league in steals per game.
De’Andre Hunter, Atlanta Hawks (17.0%)
With the Hawks seemingly considering major roster changes ahead of the looming trade deadline, Hunter seems likely to stay with Atlanta given his combination of defensive acumen and scoring on a rookie pact. Averaging just over 18 points and nearly 35 minutes in his last four appearances for Atlanta, Hunter could play a big role if the team hands out some veteran wings in the coming weeks.
Jae’Sean Tate, Houston Rockets (28.9%)
As with Porter, Tate enjoys a particularly long run on the Rockets’ roster, as he’s able to show off some fun passing skills in addition to performing important defensive duties.
Robert Covington, Portland Trail Blazers (63.5%)
Finally offering special defensive rates and acceptable offensive results, Covington is once again a “stock” machine. Covington has averaged 2.1 steals and 1.5 blocks in his last 11 games, proof that he should be listed in almost any fantasy format.
Aaron Gordon, Denver Nuggets (48.7%)
Going into Sunday’s game against Detroit averaging 21.3 points with strong defensive ratings over his last three games, Gordon has re-emerged as a steady statistical sidekick for Nikola Jokic in Denver’s frontcourt.
LaMarcus Aldridge, Brooklyn Nets (29.8)
Assuming Toronto’s Chris Boucher is already lined up in your league, I would consider Aldridge the best center of the week. Like Mills, Aldridge has enjoyed a relatively massive stat boost whenever Durant is on the floor. Durant’s absence will likely last until after the all-star break, Aldridge makes a strong recovery to a shallow center position.
Kelly Olynyk, Detroit Pistons (22.4%)
If you can afford to hide Olynyk while he spends time in health and safety protocols, there could be a rewarding outcome considering he’s been quite productive while active for the Pistons.