We’re in the dog days of the NBA, but the standings are tight, and trade season tantalizes with player moves. We in the fantasy basketball game need to stay on top of our rosters and try to find available value off the waiver wire. Below are some players who’ve delivered fantasy value this season, but who aren’t rostered as much as they should be. We’ll start with some players who are currently top 100 on the ESPN player rater for the season.
(All numbers and stats are prior to Thursday’s games, and come courtesy of ESPN.com, NBA.com, and Basketball-Reference.com. Thank you!)
HERB JONES, NOP, SF/PF, 16.9% rostered, #76 PLAYER RATER (SEASON)
Young Herb has averaged 13 points per game, 3 rebounds per game, 1 assist per game, 1+ 3PM, and has a 60 FG% over the past two weeks. Jones has cemented himself as one of the best young defenders in the NBA, and his scoring is slowly catching up. He’s been a top 100 player on the season, and he’s available in more than 75% of ESPN leagues. Pick him up.
ROYCE O’NEALE, UTA, SP/PF, 9.5% rostered, #79 PR (SEASON)
I know you don’t know who Royce O’Neale is, and his stat line isn’t all that sexy: 8-7-3 over the past two weeks, with 1+ steal per game and 2 3PM per game. Disregard the 8 PPG for a sec, though: O’Neale is one of only FOUR players this season to average at least 5 RPG, 2 APG, 1 SPG, 3 3-point-attempts, AND has a 40 3PT% or better. The other three players are Devin Booker, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Lonzo Ball, all players who are rostered in a vast majority of leagues. Obviously, the scoring isn’t there with Royce, but the other counting stats matter, AND you get efficiency, too. Prior to Thursday’s games, O’Neale had some interesting totals for the season: he’s one of only 15 players in the NBA this year with at least 200 total rebounds, 100 total assists, and 60 3PM. He’s one of only SIX players to accumulate those in under 1350 total minutes. That list is: Royce, KEVIN DURANT, the Big KAT, LaMelo Ball, LEBRON JAMES, and Luka Doncic. That’s a goddamner of a list to be on, especially for a guy available in 90% of leagues (and, who is also a top 100 player on the season!). Sexy, he ain’t; but, valuable, he sure as hell is. Pick him up.
JAE’SEAN TATE, HOU, SF/PF, 30.2% rostered, #82 PR (SEASON)
One of my fantasy boyfriends this year, Tate’s just been solid all season (top 100, as you can see). He’s averaging 13-6-3 the past two weeks with a nice 55 FG%. Pick him up as a steady player you never have to worry about.
PATTY MILLS, BK, PG, 21.3% rostered, #85 PR (SEASON)
Kyrie Irving is back (on the road, anyway), but Kevin Durant is out, so Patty Mills’s minutes and role keep on providing fantasy value. Mills is one of the best providers of 3PM in the entire NBA. He’s averaging 12-2-2 with 3 3PM the past two weeks. He has his down nights, but he’s shooting more threes than ever, and he’s giving fantasy owners an elite option in a tough counting stat category. Pick him up and win 3PM. He’s been a top 100 player for a reason.
JARRED VANDERBILT, MIN, PF, 20.1% rostered, #95 PR (SEASON)
You probably don’t know who V8 is, but he’s been improving each month of the season for the Minnesota TimberKATs, and he’s been a top 100 player for the season. Averaging 9-11-2 the last two weeks, with more than a steal per game, along with a delicious 64 FG%, Vanderbilt continues to earn more minutes and shot attempts as the season progresses. He’s a good provider of boards (15th in rebounds value on the season), but there may be double-double potential for him down the road. Fingers crossed.
AARON GORDON, DEN, PF/SF, 45.1% rostered, #99 PR (SEASON)
AG is averaging 15-5-3 with more than a 3PM per game the past two weeks on 55% overall shooting. There’s no way in hell you don’t need that on your fantasy team. He should be rostered in at least half of all leagues, he’s a goddamn top 100 player! Pick him up. He gets to play off the MVP, and Jamal Murray and Michael Porter, Jr., both remain out, meaning Gordon’s minutes and shots will stay up.
JOSH HART, NOP, SG/SF, 47.1% rostered, #100 PR (SEASON)
Hart’s averaged 14-8-3 the past two weeks, with 1+ SPG, and 1+ 3PM. He’s a sensational source of rebounds from the guard position, he has secure minutes and shots, and he’s literally a top 100 player. PICK HIM UP.
COBY WHITE, CHI, PG, 21.6% rostered, #31 PR (LAST 30)
Zach LaVine, the Dentist, is out for the Bulls’ current road trip, AND Lonzo Ball will be out after surgery for 4-6 weeks, perhaps longer. This opens up minutes for Coby White (and, Ayo Dosunmu, see below). He’s been a top 50 player the past month, and he’s averaging 17-3-3 with 2+ 3PM recently, on 52% shooting from the floor. He’s been on a roll and there’s opportunity available in Chicago. Pick him up while he’s this hot.
LAURI MARKKANEN, CLE, PF/SF, 45.4% rostered, #35 PR (LAST 30)
The Finnisher is averaging 15-5-1 the past two weeks, with 1+ SPG and 2+ 3PM. I’ll take steals and threes any day. He’s got a secure role on the playoffs-bound Cleveland Cavaliers, and his outside threat is vital for the dynamic front court duo of Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen. There are perhaps three legit All Stars on this team, including Darius Garland, and Markkanen’s perimeter scoring is helping all three.
AMIR COFFEY, LAC, SG, 6.9% rostered, #36 PR (LAST 30)
Damn, Paul George is out for longer than anticipated (GASP), and Kawhi Leonard remains out, so what are the Clippers to do but play the guys available? Marcus Morris and Nic Batum are out, as well, and those absences have resulted in Coffey playing the second most minutes per game for the Clips the past two weeks. He’s got an opportunity for volume here that can’t be ignored. He’s averaging 13-4-3 with 1+ SPG and 2+ 3PM, but those counting stats could go up depending on how long Morris & Batum are out. He’s been a top 50 player the past month, and there’s no reason to think that won’t continue if he keeps playing this much. Pick him up for basically free and see what happens, because there’s a significant chance that the Clippers crater, whether they want to or not, which presumably means BIG minutes and shots for Coffey.
MALIK MONK, LAL, SG, 20.5% rostered, #39 PR (LAST 30)
The Mad Monk is averaging 14-4-3 with 2+ 3PM over the past two weeks. He’s the essential outside threat that the Lakers desperately require in order for their offense to work. He’s in an ideal fantasy position, especially if he continues getting boards & dimes. I think it’s unlikely the Lakers would trade him since he’s so vital to their offense, but keep your eye on the trade rumors, just in case.
ANFERNEE SIMONS, POR, SG/PG, 44.7% rostered, #47 PR (LAST 30)
PICK UP SIMONS IMMEDIATELY. HE’S IN DAME’S POSITION, AND HE’S AVERAGED 24-2-8 THE PAST TWO WEEKS, WITH 4+ 3PM. While it’s HIIIIIIGHLY unlikely he continues at that torrid pace, you cannot ignore nor dismiss the position Simons finds himself in. He’s a player with tremendous upside and he now has an opportunity for massive minutes. Pick him up RIGHT NOW.
ERIC GORDON, HOU, SG/SF, 10.4% rostered, #79 PR (LAST 30)
The eternally available Eric Gordon, mainly because he’s interminably out injured, is averaging a robust 16-3-2 with 2+ 3PM per game on 59 FG%. Is he auditioning for a trade or just finding his groove on the young Rockets? To a fantasy owner, we don’t much care. So long as Gordon’s producing efficiently with good minutes he’s worth streaming, AT LEAST.
AYO DOSUNMU, CHI, SG, 5.9% rostered
Dosunmu has a chance for minutes and shots with Lonzo Ball out and LaVine dealing with an injury. He’s averaged 11-3-4 with more than a steal and 3PM per game the past two weeks. He’s not a must add, but he’s daaaamn close. I picked him up in my main league, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with his production. If you’ve an open roster spot, why not take a chance on a youngun who suddenly has some volume?
LU DORT, OKC, SG/SF, 24.8% rostered
Another one of my steadfast fantasy boyfriends, Dort’s averaging 18-3-1 with 2+ 3PM recently. He’s been a boring, but solid, counting stats producer this season, though without the efficiency. If you just need basic counting stats, though, Dort’s not a bad option. He’s second on the OKC Thunder in minutes this season, and his role is secure.
DE’ANDRE HUNTER, ATL, SF/PF, 14.5% rostered
Cam Reddish is now a Knick, and Hunter’s back from injury. This is a pure opportunity play, but it’s one I took myself, and it’s paid off. Hunter’s averaging 17-3-1 with more than a block per game, and 2+ 3PM since he returned to the court. The Hawks may be intent on consolidating their roster with some trades, but Hunter remains one of their young players with pedigree, and perhaps more importantly, an ability to play good defense. The Hawks want/need Hunter to become their 3&D compliment to Ice Trae Young. He’s in prime position to do so now. I absolutely consider him worthy of a roster spot for the foreseeable future.
JONATHAN KUMINGA, GSW, SF/PF, 11.6% rostered
Another opportunity play, Kuminga’s averaged 14-5-1 with 1 3PM the past two weeks. Draymond Green is out, and rookie Kuminga’s been taking advantage of his inherited minutes. He’s another rookie with pedigree, and the Warriors defense is in dire need of another stopper. Can Kuminga keep up and claim a larger role? The combination of him and Andrew Wiggins on the wing could be impressive, defensively. If he performs well, his roster percentages may go through the roof, so it may behoove you to invest early.