The NBA season is HERE. We’ve already seen some INcredible performances (hello, Giannis!), and some...less so (Russell. Hello.).
The fantasy basketball season is ALSO here, and it’s already a goddamner. However, it’s tough to stay on top of early season basketball when the MLB playoffs are burning, the NFL season is churning, and the NHL season is turning up the scoring. Oh yeah, and uh the Lions are yearning, but, yknow, so it goes.
Here are five (six) players who are differently available on the waiver wire in ESPN leagues. I think all six players are worth a roster spot RIGHT NOW. If you have open spots on your roster due to injury, give these players a look.
PLAYER TO ADD UNDER 50% ROSTERED (ESPN LEAGUES)
Evan Mobley, PF/C, CLE, 45.6% rostered
Rookie Evan Mobley started for the Cavaliers and he had himself a helluva debut: 17 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, and he went 1 for 3 from three, and 2 of 3 from the free throw line.
Mobley was considered one of the most talented players in the draft with a sky-high ceiling. I was skeptical that he’d show big early in the season because A) the NBA is hard, and B) he’s a rookie, and C) Bigs tend to need more time to develop. Well, maybe not Mobley! If he continues to get starts and excel, then he should probably be at least 70% rostered, no? Perhaps more, just because of his upside? Obviously, this is just one game, but I was very impressed by Mobley in his first game.
By the way, Kevin Love played 17 minutes, went 1 for 6 from the field, 0 for 2 from three, grabbed 3 boards, 4 dimes, and ended the game with 4 points. Doesn’t look like he’ll be challenging for a starting position anytime soon.
PLAYER TO ADD UNDER 40% ROSTERED
Kyle Anderson, SF/PF, MEM, 37.7% rostered
SlowMo Kyle Anderson came off the bench for the Grizzlies in their first game, but that may not last. Even if it does, he may still get starter’s minutes on a regular basis. He scored 10 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, went 2-3 3PT, and 2-2 FT. SlowMo gives you a bit of everything, and he’s a valuable player to have on your roster. He may be akin to Joe Ingles this season, a sixth man who transitions between bench and starting. He’s too good for Memphis to limit too much, and I think he has a good chance of starting more games as the season goes along, OR eventually being traded to a team who will start him.
PLAYER TO ADD UNDER 30% ROSTERED
Duncan Robinson, SG/SF, MIA, 29.9% rostered
Duncan Robinson is the starting sniper for the Miami Heat, which is more than you can say for Tyler Herro. Robinson is an ELITE three point shooter, and his minutes and shots are safe so long as Jimmy Butler needs Robinson’s outside threat to create driving lanes inside. And, he’ll need that all season, so Duncan’s got an enormous role on this team, no matter what, really (plus, he got paid). Robinson’s amongst a cadre of snipers in the league right now (Buddy Hield comes to mind) who are basically desired by every team. (Sacramento is obviously an outlier in how they handle their rotation, but everyone wants a player like Buddy Hield.) Duncan has the potential to be a top 75 fantasy player every season. I love having him on my team.
Bonus Player: Patty Mills, PG, BK, 25.1% rostered
So, I dunno know if you watched that amazing Nets-Bucks game, but Patty Thrills went wild, going 7 for 7 from outside. He scored 21 points, grabbed two boards, dished two dimes, stole a pocket, and blocked a shot. He is the MAIN beneficiary of Kyrie Irving’s absence, and his fantasy value as the sixth man for the Nets is enormous. He should be rostered in at least 50% of leagues, I think, maybe more so long as Ky can’t (won’t) play.
PLAYER TO ADD UNDER 20% ROSTERED
Tyrese Maxey, SG (soon to add PG), PHI, 14.6% rostered
Should Maxey be rostered in 70% of fantasy leagues? I kinda think so! He’s another beneficiary of an absence, this time Ben Simmons on the Sixers. Maxey, a sophomore, STARTED at point guard in Philly’s first game. He went for 20 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2-3 from three, and 2-2 from the line. Unlike Ben, Tyrese can shoot threes and sink freebies. Maxey’s fantasy value is MAXIMUM this year: he’s a vital part of what the 76ers intend to do, with or without Ben Simmons. If the Chosen One actually returned and started for the Sixers, I think Maxey would start over Seth Curry. If Maxey is available in your league, PLEASE! pick him up.
PLAYER TO ADD UNDER 10% ROSTERED
Desmond Bane, SG, MEM, 3.4% rostered
Did you see what this kid did?? Bane, who’s on Memphis to score and provide spacing for Ja Morant, similar to Duncan on the Heat, started in the Grizzlies’ first game. He scored 22 points, grabbed 3 rebounds, 3 assists (I like this mucho), 2 steals, and went 2-6 from three, and 4-4 from the line. Bane’s production will determine whether he starts, but even if he comes off the bench eventually, I still think he’s worth rostering in waaaaay more leagues. He’s a guy, like Maxey, whose team wants him to excel, and they’re willing to give him the minutes and the shots to do it, judging by their first game. Grab Bane, who was born in the darkness, before someone else does, because if he has a few more games like this one, he’ll be unavailable.