The second half of the NBA season is starting and it’s going to be WILD. Gosh dang jam PACKED with games, and probably plenty of player movement. Here are 16 players who may be available in your fantasy basketball league, and who are worth your attention.
Under 60% rostered on ESPN:
Kevin Huerter, Atlanta Hawks (56% rostered)
#80 on ESPN’s player rater for the season
Huerter is third in minutes per game on the Atlanta Hawks, with a stat line of 12+ points per game, 3+ rebounds per game, 3+ assists per game, and 1+ steals per game, while attempting nearly 6 three-pointers per game with a 36.5 3PT%. Only 33 players match or exceed those numbers, but only two average less than 11 shots per game: Huerter and Tyrese Halliburton. They are 22 and 21 years old, respectively. Huerter’s home/road splits for shooting are extreme: 31 3PT% on the road, 43 3PT% at home. On the other hand, he’s a somewhat available top 100 player who’s super young and who’s on a team that needs him out there. Who knows, maybe Huerter’s shots will go up as the season goes along?
Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets (55.3% rostered)
#69 on ESPN’s player rater
Bridges is on a crowded team (he’s only started two games this year), and he’s only sixth in MPG on the Hornets, but he’s been efficient when he plays. He has a 60+ True Shooting percentage this year. Only 13 players are averaging Bridges’ line of 10+ PPG, 5+ RPG, 2+ APG, with 3+ 3PA and a 38+ 3PT% and a 49+ FG% overall (descending order of 3PT%): Paul George (45 3PT%), Zach LaVine, Kevin Durant, Khris Middleton, Mikal Bridges, Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Tobias Harris, Harrison Barnes, Jaylen Brown, Kawhi Leonard, and Miles Bridges. Miles and SGA are the youngest on that list, both 22 years old. If that efficiency sticks with more minutes, then Miles Bridges won’t look like an anomaly on that list of stars above.
Carmelo Anthony, Portland Trail Blazers (52.4% rostered)
#99 on ESPN’s player rater
Carmelo’s playing on a Blazers team that absolutely NEEDS him, and he’s been averaging over 41% from three over the past month, leading to his #64 Player Rater ranking over the past month. Ride Melo’s stats while you can or trade him while he’s playing so well, but at least pay attention to him, because he’s playing more efficiently than he has in several years.
Under 50% rostered:
Duncan Robinson, Miami Heat (47.9% rostered)
#100 on ESPN’s player rater
Robinson isn’t sinking threes as well as he did last year (44 3PT% last season, 39 3PT% this year), but he’s still one of only 13 players to take 8+ 3PA per game, and he has the 6th best 3PT% of that group, behind guys like Steph Curry and James Harden and CJ McCollum. Robinson’s role as an elite perimeter threat is secure on Miami, and if the Heat are actually getting healthy after multiple absences and covid-related recoveries, then Robinson’s stats could ascend along with his team’s record.
Jakob Poeltl, San Antonio Spurs (42% rostered)
#149 on ESPN’s player rater
Poeltl is a top 100 player over the past month, and LaMarcus Aldridge is apparently on his way out of town from San Antonio, so there’s no telling how valuable the Spurs big might be over the second half. He’s averaged 8+ PPG and 9+ RPG with 2+ blocks per game since February 1st, and he’s playing the third most minutes on the team. If he starts to get 30+ MPG, he’ll be an automatic double-double, to go along with those beautiful blocks. He’s now the fer-sher Big on the Spurs, so invest in him accordingly, especially if you need Center stats.
Under 40% rostered:
Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks (39.5% rostered)
#115 on ESPN’s player rater
Brunson is tied for 14th in TS% with Steph Curry at 64.6. That alone is pretty nice for your rate stats. Since February 1st he’s averaged 14+ PPG on 55% shooting (hello) with 4+ RPG and 3+ APG. He’s shooting 42% from three in 2021. He’s 24 years old, and is definitely a player to keep your eye on.
Josh Jackson, Detroit Pistons (30.3% rostered)
#156 on ESPN’s player rater
Jackson is second in FGA on Detroit since the start of February, behind only Jerami Grant on the rebuilding Pistons. With rumors of Grant possibly getting traded, Jackson could be first in shots on the ‘stons before too long. This is purely a volume play as Jackson’s efficiency is lacking, but if he gets the minutes, he’ll give you the counting stats. Detroit has a fairly “easy” schedule in the second half, so Jackson’s stats could be inflated even further against lesser opponents.
DeMarcus Cousins, Free Agent (38.9% rostered)
#186 on ESPN’s player rater
This is an opportunity add. If you have an open roster spot you can burn, then why not use it on Boogie until we know where he lands? There’s always the possibility that he ends up on a team that grants him a big role, or he could inherit one due to injury/covid. Keep him on your watch list, because his ownership will probably go up as soon as he’s signed by a team, especially one that promises heavy minutes.
Under 30% rostered:
Royce O’Neal, Utah Jazz (24.5% rostered)
#87 on ESPN’s player rater
O’Neal, like his teammate Joe Ingles, gives you a bit of everything. He’s second in MPG on the Jazz since Feb. 1st, behind only Donovan Mitchell, with a line of 7+ PPG, 7 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1 steal per game, and he has a 60+ TS% on the year. The points aren’t sexy, but efficiency combined with other counting stats is hella useful. O’Neal, like Ingles, is somewhat boring to roster, but you love the contributions, especially at such a low cost.
Davis Bertans, Washington Wizards (26.2% rostered)
#173 on ESPN’s player rater
The Latvian Laser started slow this season, but he’s been a top 75 player over the past month. He’s averaged 7+ 3PA since the start of February with a 43+ 3PT%. That’s the high volume perimeter threat the Wizards were hoping for when they signed Bertans. The Wizards are rolling, somehow (7-3 over their last 10 games prior to Wednesday’s games), and Bertans sinking his shots, at long last, has a lot to do with it. He could absolutely be a top 75 player the rest of the season, and he’s under 30% rostered. Go get yourself some shooting.
Saddiq Bey, Detroit Pistons (22.3% rostered)
#172 on ESPN’s player rater
Another Detroiter with a lot minutes in his future, Saddiq Bey has been the 63rd best player on fantasy over the past month. Do you need other information? He’s a 3&D rookie, he’s starting, and all the vets are getting traded. He shot 44% from three in February. If you’re looking for a rookie to invest in, here’s your man. There’s no doubt in my mind that Bey will have a voluminous second half, especially if (again) Jerami Grant or even Josh Jackson gets traded.
Under 20% rostered:
Jae-Sean Tate, Houston Rockets (17.7% rostered)
#101 on ESPN’s player rater
The Rockets look dreadful with Christian Wood out, but Tate’s been a bright spot. He’s shooting 55% from the floor over the past month (with a 60+ TS% on the season), along with his defensive contributions, and he’s fourth in MPG since February began. The Rockets might also start (continue) jettisoning vets, like Eric Gordon, so Tate’s role could grow as the season proceeds. He’s been a top 100 player over the past month, and I don’t see why that will change going forward, especially since Houston needs his defense.
Patrick Williams, Chicago Bulls (18.4% rostered)
#122 on ESPN’s player rater
Williams has been a quiet player, so far, not a boring one. This Chicago rookie is already a top 125 player, which basically tells you everything you need to know, because, judging by his roster levels, no one knows anything about him. He’s started every game for the Bulls, and that kind of commitment to a rookie from a team that was hoping to make the playoffs speaks volumes to their belief in his talent. His counting stats won’t wow you right now, but his role seems assured, and his future looks bright. If you can end your rookie season near the top 100, then you had a good rookie season. I want Williams on as many dynasty teams as I can. I wouldn’t break the bank to acquire him, but if he’s just sitting there on your waiver wire, then do yourself a favor and add a good young player with a big role in his team’s future for free.
Michael Carter-Williams, Orlando Magic (15.4% rostered)
#82 on ESPN’s player rater in the last 15 days
MCW has been a top 100 player over the past two weeks, gasp! Orlando’s lost a plethora of point guards this season, and while their rookie, Cole Anthony, may return soon, it’s MCW’s team until he does. Over the past month he’s averaged 10/4/5, and while he may not be efficient, dishing dimes has no substitute. Roster Carter-Williams until/unless Cole Anthony returns. He’s on a bad (well, injury-riddled) team, and he’s getting minutes, and producing volume. He’s precisely the kind of midseason acquisition you want to ride while you can, particularly if you’re dealing with injuries of your own on your fantasy team.
Isaiah Roby, Oklahoma City Thunder (10.7% rostered)
#153 on ESPN’s player rater
This is the speculative add of the piece. Roby is the backup to Al Horford, and Horford could get traded. If that happens, then Roby’s role increases. Roby’s per-36 numbers are 14+ PPG, 9+ RPG, 3 APG, 1+ SPG, 1 BPG. If Roby gets the minutes, he’ll give you the numbers. He’s also a good streaming option, as OKC doesn’t play Horford in back-to-back games, so Roby’s assured of starts for the rest of the season, at least some times. There are also more games stuffed into the second half of the season, so those Horford DNPs could actually become even more regular.
Under 10% rostered:
Justise Winslow, Memphis Grizzlies (9.7% rostered)
Winslow didn’t play for most of the season, and his shot’s been rusty since he returned, but that has NOT stopped him from taking them. The idea behind picking up Winslow is his incredibly high ceiling. If he can knock the rust off, and start producing points to complement his other counting stats, then he could quickly become a top 100 value. The Grizzlies traded for Winslow as a point forward hybrid distributor, and goddamnit, that’s why I added him, too! It may take a minute for him to get his sea legs back, but I love Winslow’s upside, enough to stick with him through the rough early going.