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Fantasy Basketball: Looking at the waiver wire

Seeing what kind of talent is available is most leagues.

NBA: Chicago Bulls at New York Knicks Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets, led by our man Professor Spencer Dinwiddie, have beaten the Washington Wizards twice this season, and Los Miami Heat twice this season. They’ve defeated the Cavs by 5 points (lol), the Blazers by 4, OKC by 5, Minnesota by 1, and Detroit by 1. That’s 7 teams that have playoff aspirations that will likely regret losing to this tough, fun Brooklyn team come the postseason and seeding. (Hell, Detroit probably won’t make the playoffs, at all. They’re sub-.500 and in the “9th seed” in the East, which is just a polite way of saying that they’re butt and they don’t deserve to compete for the championship with the big boys. Sweet Lord Jesus, please just trade everyone in Detroit not named Toby and Drumothy. Did you know that the Pistons owe Boban Marjanovic $9.5 million next season? As my brother pointed out, Langston Galloway makes $7 million. Detroit is outta the playoffs, their, ugh, starting point guard is injured, and this thing just ain’t working; it’s a great time to restock. Trade Avery to the Cavs; trade Tobias and Ish to the Spurs; trade Leuer to the hospital for some black market CHIP insurance; trade StanJohn to the Bulls for Niko (PLEASE! PLLLEEEAAASE!); and, trade Langston Galloway back to the 1930s. A paragraph about the Nets became a paragraph about the Pistons. Almost seems like a prophecy: Brooklyn will overtake Detroit and the Pistons will be bad for another decade…)

Professor Dinwiddie beat the Pistons with a last second shot last night. IN Detroit. He somehow maneuvered between two different defenders while he was shooting, probably got fouled, and still put the orange in the bucket. He’s better than Reggie Jackson by a country mile. We cut him for nothing. Sigh.

Anyway, since there’s no hope for the Pistons, here’s some hope for you: good players who are available in a significant amount of fantasy leagues. I’m not going to list their lines, for the most part, because I think that that sometimes dissuades folks if the numbers don’t look top 10 or top 20. Instead, we’ll just point out where their values lies in the context of the entire league, and give you some numbers that might make you interested enough to look at them and how they’d fit on your team. They’re likely available in your league.

Courtney Lee, 38%

Lee is the 54th best player in my league, and he’s the 43rd best player in ESPN basic. He’s only owned in 38% of leagues. I think this is due to personal animus by fantasy guys and gals who’ve been burned by Lee before. Lemme tell you something: this year ain’t that. Dude’s played better (fantasy-wise) than Bob Covington, Hoodie Melo, Eric Bledsoe, Kuzma, and Andrew Wiggins (who is owned in 96.3% of leagues). People just DO NOT want Lee on their team, or they don’t want to trade that much to get him. They probably think this is a one year thing. But, Courtly Courtney is hitting his threes (43 3PT%), getting steals, and it ain’t all noise if you watch him play. He’s getting minutes and he’s whipping the ball around, and he’s trying hard on defense, even if that area of his game could be, um, much better.

Regardless, he’s a top 75 player who’s owned in less than 40% of leagues. He should be on somebody’s roster.

Justin Holiday, 44%

Technically, Holiday is available, and so I am listing him in this space. However, I was raised to not say anything if you can’t say something nice, and so we’ll avoid his ratios, and just concentrate on what he brings you: basically, 3PM with a little bit of everything else, including steals. He still gets a lot of minutes, so his volume-based stats may continue (he’s top 30 in minutes, buuuuut he has the lowest shooting percentage of that group at 38%).

Josh Richardson, 53.8%

Jamal Murray, 57.8%

Kent Bazemore, 56.2%

All three of these guys are good and young, so I don’t get it (Bazemore’s 28, but he’s still good/useful/available). If you have open roster spots, scoop these dudes IMMEDIATELY.

Kelly Oubre, Jr., 24.8%

Slow Kyle Anderson, 17.4%

Earlier in the season I was writing that both of these guys are good stashes for next year. I was wrong: they’re good players right now. Oubre had 26 points with five 3s the other night, and SloMo Kyle has gotten more playing time than anyone predicted, due to the injuries to Rudy Gay and Kawhi Leonard. Both are young, both have bright futures, and both are highly, ridiculously available. I’ve been trying to trade for Oubre all season. The bastard in my league just won’t let him go. He’s correct not to. Damn and blast!

Here are a few guys quickly to check out:

  • Bismack Biyombo, 41.4%, top 50 player over the last month
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic, 34.5%, top 50 player over the last month
  • Delon Wright, 5.9%, top 50 player over the last month
  • Shabazz Napier, 9.5%, top 50 player over the last month
  • Larry Nance, Jr., 23%, top 70 player over the last month
  • Allen Crabbe, 11%, top 70 player over the last month
  • Kelly Olynyk, 28.8%, top 75 player over the last month

Over the last month, 16 players have averaged at least three 3PM. Wayne Ellington, owned in only 13.6% of leagues, is 5th on that list with 3.5 3PM per game.

Out of the top 50 players in field goal attempts over the past month, the lowest owned player is Rodney Hood at 28.4% ownership, shooting 14 times a game (as much as Kyle Kuzma).

Only 12 players averaged double digit rebounds over the past 30 days. Tyson Chandler is one of them. He’s owned in only 20% of leagues. Phoenix is a tough time to predict with playing time, but Chandler’s averaged at least 20 minutes in his last 10 games played. If you need cheap boards, he’s your man.

22 players averaged at least 6 assists over the last 30 days. Only three of those players are owned in less than half of leagues (and, Reggie Jackson, but he doesn’t count because he’s injured). They are JJ Barea, Jarrett Jack, and De’Aaron Fox. If Fox is available in your league, go get him right now. The other two are cheap dimes, which, hey: if you need assists, then they’re priceless.

Here’s TJ McConnell’s line over the last 30 days: 27.5 minutes per game, 10 ppg on 55% shooting, 4.5 assists, 3.5 boards, AND 2.2 steals. The steals are 6th best in the league over the last month. We’ve said it before in this space and we’ll say it again: Embiid and TJ like playing together. If Philly decides to do something crazy, and either shut Fultz down for the season or trade him, then TJ could all of a sudden be the primary “true” point guard for the 76ers. Simmons is still the man distributing (hopefully), but could you work out a trade where Philly gets back Niko Mirotic? Then the sixers starting five would be Simmons, Old Man Redick, Robert Bob Covington, Mirotic, and Embiid, with McConnell and Saric off the bench. I really, really like that team.

I also really, really like imagining where Niko will end up. I honestly believe that he’d fit in almost anywhere. He’s really good! He came back from injury December 8th; since then, the Bulls are 15-8, the 7th best record in that span in the NBA. Since Niko’s return Chicago is scoring the 5th most points in the league, with the 6th most 3PM per game, the 2nd best three point percentage, sixth most rebounds per game, 4th most assists, and the third highest pace. Get real, the Bulls have been a top 10 team with Niko, Dunn, the Dentist, and Baron Markkanen all healthy and able to play. If the Bulls can get good value for Niko, then sure, trade him. But, Chicago’s a damn good team with him (just like they always thought they would be). They may regret trading him away.