We’re in that “Jeff Green time of year,” when the winter doldrums, injured players, and changing rosters result in fantasy basketball owners scouring the waiver wire and free agency like carrion birds flying over a battlefield. That’s maybe a touch morbid, so instead, let’s say we’re desperate panhandlers sifting for hidden gold. If we don’t find anything, we’ll starve to death and die alone in the wilderness, our only company the carrion birds that pick at our bones.
Here are 25 possibly useful players, a la Jeff Green, that you may want to take a ganders at to see if they can help your team. Some are trade targets and some are free off the wire, either to roster or stream. All of the below players have been in the top 100 of total minutes played over the past month, so they’re all seeing plenty of action.
P.J. Tucker, SF, HOU, 1.3% owned, Player Rating (Year) 3.02 (127th overall), Player Rating (Last 30 Days) 2.35 (138th over the past month)
Season line: 8+ points per game, 6+ rebounds per game, 1+ assist per game, 1+ steal per game, 1+ 3-pointer made per game, 40+ FG% and 3PT%
Amazingly, only 15 players in the NBA can match or exceed those numbers this season. The PPG are mediocre, but the baseline of production in 5 stat cats has kept PJ Tucker relevant as a top 150 player. Ignore the low PPG, and instead focus on the fact that Tucker has upped his 3PT shooting over the last month and is now averaging 2+ 3PM per game. Only five players are currently averaging 8+/6+/1+ with 1+ SPG and 2+ 3PM per game: LeBron, Paul George, Victor Oladipo, Luka Doncic, and Lauri Markkanen.
Mikal Bridges, SF/SG, PHO, 1.5% owned, PR 3.18 (121st), PR30 5.46 (77th)
Season line: 7+ PPG, 2+ RPG, 1+ APG, 1+ SPG, 1+ 3PM, 40+ FG%, 33+ 3PT%
The past month has been better: 9/4/2 with better three point shooting (only 33 players are averaging that, or better, on the year). Over the last 30 days, he’s been second in minutes on Phoenix, behind only Devin Booker. He was the 10th pick in last year’s draft, so he should be given plenty of leash. He’s been a top 100 player the past month. Don’t leave those players on the wire, if they’re available.
Jerami Grant, SF/PF, OKC, 62.7% owned, PR 4.90 (83rd), PR30 6.34 (52nd)
Season line: 12+ PPG, 4+ RPG, 1+ blocks per game, 1+ 3PM, 50+ FG%, 36+ 3PT%
Did you know that Jerami Grant is only 24 years old? He’s a top 100 player and he’s still hella young. He’s owned, but he’s probably still under owned. This 2nd round pick is having the best season of his career: only 23 players in the NBA are averaging 12 and 4 with at least 1 block per game. If you consider his 1+ 3PM per game, also, then only nine players in the NBA are meeting or exceeding Grant’s season line: Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid, Karl-Anthony Towns, Nikola Vucevic, Marc Gasol, Robert Covington, Brook Lopez, Al Horford, and Grant himself. Jerami Grant is a damn good player; if you can trade for him on the cheap, you should. Who’s to say he won’t get you 15 and 5 next year, with good steals and blocks, too? He’s 24 years old.
Garrett Temple, SG/SF, MEM, 0.2% owned, PR 3.23 (118th), PR30 3.03 (120th)
Season line: 10+ PPG, 3+ RPG, 1+ APG, 1+ SPG, 1+ 3PM, 40+ FG%, 36+ 3PT%
I know you don’t know who Garrett Temple is, but he’s having a career year: most field goal attempts per game (8.2 FGA), most three point attempts per game (4.2 3PA), and the second best field goal percentage of his career (43.8 FG%). Now, 50 players total can match Temple’s line on the year, but he’s the only one who’s shooting fewer than 9 times a game. If he upped his shot attempts even a smidgen, he’d be in Otto Porter, Jr. territory, and Porter is 80+% owned. Temple’s been a bit banged up recently, but he’s a cheap source of top 150, solid production: he’s a good streamer, or a temporary replacement for an injured player.
Kevin Knox, SF, NYK, 58.8% owned, PR -1.97 (262nd), PR30 1.74 (158th)
Season line: 12+ PPG, 4+ RPG, 1+ 3PM, 36+ FG% and 3PT%
Knox is 19 years old and he’s only played in 33 NBA games total. And, he plays on the Knicks, which must be as bewildering an experience as it is to watch the Knicks. Anyway, he started slow, but he’s really turned it on since. Over the past month, he’s averaging 17+ PPG, 5+ RPG, 1 APG, and 2+ 3PM, on (nearly) 40% shooting. If Knox keeps this up, he’ll be joining some very fine company as a scorer. He and Kristaps Porzingis will make a very interesting duo next season. Knox is 6’9”, by the way. On the off chance that he’s unowned in your league, please pick him up immediately. Again, 19 years old, and scoring like this. Over the past 15 games, he’s gotten his ratios up to 39%, too, both FG and 3PT.
Josh Hart, SG, LAL, 6.5% owned, PR 3.31 (117th), PR30 2.83 (123rd)
Season line: 9+ PPG, 3+ RPG, 1+ APG, 1+ SPG, 1+ 3PM, 40+ FG%, 35+ 3PT%
This is not an impressive line, nor are Hart’s ratios that impressive. What they are, instead, is acceptable. Less than 60 NBA players can match Hart’s unimpressive line this year, and honestly, he should be doing better than this: all of his ratios (FG%, 3PT%, True Shooting, Effective Field Goal) are down from last year. He shot 47% from the field last year, and nearly 40% from three. He can do better than this, so let’s chalk it up to a sophomore slump, combined with the difficulty of learning how to play with LeBron James, combined with the Lakers’ wacky lineups this season. Over the last month, he’s starting to put it together, as he’s basically averaging 10/5/2, with 1+ 3PM and 1+ SPG. If that was his season line, he’d only be matched by 18 other players. He’s played better with LeBron out (as do most players), but there’s no reason to think that his play is empty, or that he won’t improve on his game heading into his third season. Whether Hart remains on the Lakers or not, he’s a top 150 player with upside. As his shooting ratios improve, so will his PPG and ownership level (and, eventual ADP).
Trevor Ariza, SF, WAS, 7.9% owned, PR 4.52 (93rd), PR30 5.42 (79th)
Season line: 11+ PPG, 5+ RPG, 3+ APG, 1+ SPG, 2+ 3PM, 36 FG% (yuck), 34 3PT% (yuck)
Since joining the Washington Wizzle-Wazzles, Ariza’s played less than 30 minutes in only one game (28 minutes). The fact that he’s so underowned despite being a top 100 player, AND despite Dr. John Wall missing the rest of the season, is baffling (unless it’s all about those shooting ratios). Disregard the percentages, though, and just look at his counting stat production: only 25 players, TOTAL, are averaging 11/5/3 on the year. If you consider his steals and threes, as well, then only EIGHT PLAYERS IN THE NBA ARE MATCHING ARIZA’S PRODUCTION. He’s less than 10% owned and less than 10 players are averaging what he’s averaging. Pick this dude up, please. Free top 100 players are, y’know, helpful. He’s been more valuable than CJ McCollum over the past month, and McCollum’s over 90% owned.
Al-Farouq Aminu, PF, POR, 3.6% owned, PR 4.52 (94th), PR30 3.95 (97th)
Season line: 9+ PPG, 8+ RPG, 1 APG, 1 SPG, 1+ 3PM, 42 FG%, 35 3PT%
The Chief has arrived! Aminu, who’s only 28, is having his best rebounding season and, before you dismiss his pedestrian-seeming 9 and 8, consider this: only 30 players in the NBA are averaging better than Aminu in PPG/RPG. Aminu costs nothing to acquire. He’s at least worthy of heavy streaming, if not an outright roster spot since, OH YEAH, HE’S A TOP 100 PLAYER. Portland’s shot selection is dominated by their guards, Dame Lillard and McCollum, but Aminu is third in minutes on the Trail Blazers, and fourth in shot attempts. For a player with such an elite fantasy floor, it’s unacceptable that he’s so little owned. Only 26 players averaged 8 and 8 last year; that’s how rare Aminu’s boards are. Pick him up and enjoy the quietly elite production.
Jeff Green, PF/SF, WAS, 1.2% owned, PR 4.64 (90th), PR30 5.81 (66th)
Season line: 11+ PPG, 4+ RPG, 1+ APG, 1+ 3PM, 48+ FG%, 35+ 3PT%
There are five fantasy relevant Greens in the NBA: Draymond, Danny, JaMychal, Gerald, and Jeff. Somehow, Jeff Green is possibly the most relevant so far this season. God help us all. He, too, has been helped by John Wall’s absence, and his line over the past month is a healthy 13+ PPG, 5+ RPG, 2+ APG, and 1+ 3PM, on 39% shooting from three, and 48% shooting overall. Only 24 players are doing that on the season. If Green can keep up his numbers from this past month, then he’ll continue his unlikely ascent into top 50 player territory. Dismiss his history, and embrace his future because Jeff Green is NOW.
Josh Richardson, SF/SG, MIA, 65.9% owned, PR 6.93 (52nd), PR30 5.73 (70th)
Season line: 18+ PPG, 3+ RPG, 3+ APG, 1+ SPG, 2+ 3PM, 40+ FG%, 37+ 3PT%
15 players are averaging at least 18/3/3 with 2+ threes and 1+ steals. JRich is the only one of those players owned in less than 70% of ESPN leagues. He’s 25 year old and he’s improved every year of his career. He’s an underowned top 100, possibly top 50 player, so if you can buy him at any kind of a discount from a fellow owner, you should do so.
Fred VanVleet, PG, TOR, 2.3% owned, PR 2.72 (131st), PR30 5.70 (72nd)
Season line: 10+ PPG, 4+ APG, 2+ RPG, 1+ 3PM, 40+ FG%, 36+ 3PT%
FVV is the backup PG to Kyle Lowry on the Raptors, but we all know that Lowry misses games from time to time, and VanVleet’s an above average backup. He’s a good handcuff for Lowry, or a good streamer for when the Raps starting PG is out. He doesn’t maintain top 100 production when Lowry plays, but who knows how often that will be going forward?
Bryn Forbes, SG/PG, SAS, 2.2% owned, PR 3.74 (109th), PR30 6.45 (48th)
Season line: 12+ PPG, 2+ RPG, 2+ APG, 2+ 3PM, 46+ FG%, 43 3PT%
Bryn Forbes and Derrick White are both young Spurs who are worthy of roster spots. Forbes has been a top 150 player on the year: out of the 33 players averaging at least his line on the year, Forbes has the 7th best overall FG%, and the 5th best 3PT%. Over the past month he’s been even better, averaging 13/3/3 with a 50 FG% and 47 3PT%. A top 50 player is a top 50 player, and Forbes should be rostered accordingly. The Spurs took awhile to find their best lineups: Forbes is now 3rd in minutes on the Spurs, and fourth in shot attempts per game. Over the past month both Forbes and Derrick White (see below) are shooting better than 50%. The Spurs are 12-3 over that same span, tied for best in the NBA with the Rockets and the Bucks.
Joe Ingles, SF/SG, UTA, 43.5% owned, PR 5.63 (72nd), PR30 2.81 (125th) (Buy low?)
Season line: 11+ PPG, 4+ RPG, 4+ APG, 1+ SPG, 2 3PM, 43 FG%, 36 3PT%
14 players in the NBA meet or exceed Ingles’ 11/4/4 with at least one steal and two made threes per game. Fourteen. Ingles isn’t the sexiest name in fantasy, but that kind of production is ELITE. Bonus: his three point percentage is 8 points lower than the last two seasons (44 3PT%), suggesting that he’ll start making more threes. Only two players from the fourteen mentioned are shooting better than 40% from three: Steph Curry and Kyrie Irving. Ingles is going through a bit of a slump, so you may be able to trade for him on the cheap. Only ten players matched or exceeded Ingles line last season.
Marvin Williams, PF, CHA, 0.3% owned, PR 3.14 (123rd), PR30 5.75 (69th)(!)
Season line: 10+ PPG, 5+ RPG, 1+ APG, 1+ 3PM, 42+ FG%, 38+ 3PT%
Uncle Marv started the season slowly due to injuries and general Charlotte inanity, but he’s gotten it going over the past month: 12+ PPG, 6+ RPG, 2+ 3PM, an assist, and a steal per game. Only five players are averaging that on the year: LeBron, PG13, ‘Dipo, Luka, and Lauri Markkanen. That’s production every fantasy team could use. Williams may not maintain this, but he has nearly averaged 12 and 6 for a season before (2015-16), so this isn’t out of nowhere. He costs nothing and he’s been great; this is the type of fantasy player who can help solidify your playoff team, especially if he keeps his ratios up.
Thaddeus Young, PF, IND, 14.6% owned, PR 3.91 (105th), PR30 6.50 (47th)
Season line: 12+ PPG, 5+ RPG, 1+ APG, 1+ SPG, 52 FG%
Here’s Thad Young’s line over the past 30 days: 15+ PPG, 7+ RPG, and nearly 2 steals per game. Only Sergeant Russell Westbrook and Paul George are besting those numbers on the season. That’s why Young’s rated so highly over the past month. Only six players are averaging at least 2 steals per game this season, and Young has the 12th most steals on the season total (62, one less than Jimmy Butler). Thad should be avails on your league’s wire, and you should go pick him up immediately.
J.J. Redick, SG, PHI, 40.6% owned, PR 6.52 (59th), PR30 4.72 (87th)
He’s literally the best shooter on the NBA team that needs shooting more than any other. I have no idea why JJ isn’t owned more. He has the 7th best 3PM rate, and he’s having his best season ever. He’s been more valuable than Donovan Mitchell and Kyle Kuzma, and they’re both owned twice as much as Redick. He’s a top 100 player and he’s owned less than Josh Jackson (0.37 Player Rating on the year). C’mon. Only six players have made more threes than Redick this season. Seems pretty good to me.
Other guys to pick up
Kevin Huerter, SG, ATL, 0.3% owned, PR 1.20 (171st), PR30 2.31 (141st)
Bojan Bogdanovic, SF, IND, 25.6% owned, PR 5.74 (69th), PR30 4.50 (90th)
Kyle Anderson, SF/PF, MEM, 48.1% owned, PR 4.38 (98th), PR30 6.27 (55th)
Larry Nance, Jr., PF/C, CLE, 43.1% owned, PR 6.19 (65th), PR30 10.26 (21st!)
Bogdan Bogdanovic, SF/SG, SAC, 39.9% owned, PR 1.95 (150th), PR30 4.89 (85th)
Tomas Satoransky, PG, WAS, 6.3% owned, PR 1.98 (149th), PR30 2.77 (127th)
Danny Green, SG, TOR, 1.7% owned, PR 4.95 (81st), PR30 3.83 (104th)
Derrick White, PG, SAS, 3.6% owned, PR 1.40 (163rd), PR30 8.12 (39th)
Marcus Smart, PG/SG, BOS, 7.3% owned, PR 4.38 (99th), PR30 5.47 (76th) (Top 100 Player owned in less than 10% of leagues, GET REAL and get Smart!)