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2021-2022 Fantasy Basketball: Who is on the waiver wire?

Natty talks fantasy hoops adds for Week 5.

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Here’s an interesting list: 8 NBA players currently average at least 4 rebounds per game, 1 steal per game, 2 three-pointers made per game, AND have a 40 3PT% or better. They are the Big KAT, Karl-Anthony Towns, CJ McCollum, Harrison Barnes, Fred VanVleet, Will Barton, Lonzo Ball, Devin Vassell, and Nic Batum. (Technically, Brook Lopez counts, too, but he’s only played in one game.)

Here are those players’ roster percentages on ESPN and their player rating for the season thus far:

Karl-Anthony Towns, 99% rostered, #7 Player Rater

Fred VanVleet, 99% rostered, #14 PR

Harrison Barnes, 91% rostered, #22 PR

CJ McCollum, 98% rostered, #23 PR

Lonzo Ball, 97% rostered, #29 PR

Will Barton, 61% rostered, #69 PR (Currently day-to-day with back issues)

Nicolas Batum, 32% rostered, #79 PR

Devin Vassell, 15% rostered, #93 PR

Will Barton has benefited from the absences of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter, Jr., but now he’s dealing with his own health issues. This means, I think, that Aaron Gordon will continue to get more minutes and shots while he and Nikola Jokic try to keep Denver afloat. Gordon is currently 34% rostered on ESPN and he’s #81 on the player rater, and he’s averaging 14-5-2 over the past week. He’s a player you should pick up off waivers and ride for as long as he’s getting volume. If Barton happens to be available on your wire, too, then pick him up immediately, because he’s been vital to the Nuggets to start the season.

Nic Batum, a guy I’ve been skeptical of, just continues to deliver...except in points. He’s averaging 10+ points per game and 6+ rebounds per game with 1+ steals per game. That doesn’t seem that sexy, except his ratios have been excellent: 44% from three and 52% from the floor overall. He’s been great in his role on the Clippers, a team I was skeptical of, and he’s currently fifth in minutes. What stands out to me is that Batum hasn’t averaged under 2 assists per game since 2011-12, and his career average is 3.6 APG. Could his assists go up as the season goes along? He has six total over his last three games. I don’t know if Batum can keep the efficiency up, but I do think he could start to gather more counting stats, so perhaps his value will remain static. He’s only 32 years old and he’s on a team that wants to compete, with or without Kawhi Leonard. He should probably be rostered more, but I understand why folks are hesitant. I would at least be streaming him, though, because a top 100 player is a top 100 player.

Devin Vassell (15% rostered) is a top 100 player. That list from above, players who average 4+ RPG, 1+ SPG, 2+ 3PM, and have at least a 40 3PT%? Devin Vassell is the youngest player on that list by three years (he’s 21 years old), and he plays the least minutes per game than anyone else on that list. He currently comes off the bench for the Spurs, but he’s averaging the fifth-most MPG and the fourth-most shots per game. Vassell has intrigued me ever since San Antonio drafted him with the 11th pick two drafts ago. He’s sporting a 58.5 true shooting percentage so far this season, a vast improvement over his rookie year. He’s a guy I’m targeting in dynasty leagues, and he’s definitely a guy I’m rostering for this season since, again, he’s a top 100 player in fantasy while coming off the bench. If his role increases, if his minutes and shots go up, then his fantasy value will correspondingly improve.

Another player to mention to pick up off waivers is Talen Horton-Tucker on the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s starting for the Lakers since returning from injury. In his two games back he’s averaging 22+ PPG, 5 RPG, 1+ APG, and 1 SPG. He’s only 12% rostered right now, but that’s already rising from the 3% it was just a day ago. Pick him up IMMEDIATELY. He probably won’t be a 20+ PPG scorer, but he WILL be a starter, and he’ll receive volume in games that one of the stars miss. LeBron is rumored to return soon, but the Lakers chose to sign THT in the offseason because they liked how he played with Bron and AD. They intend for him to have a healthy and significant role on the team. Horton-Tucker’s been impressive in his first two games back. Since it costs you nothing, you should pick him up to find out if he can keep it up.

(All numbers prior to Tuesday’s games. All stats courtesy of ESPN.com, NBA.com, and Basketball-Reference.com. Thank you!)