Brandon Clarke among top fantasy basketball free-agent finds

Brandon Clarke of the Memphis Grizzlies has shown some unexpectedly nice reliability for a fantasy rookie during the first month of the season. Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Working the waiver wire is pivotal to succeeding in fantasy basketball. With so many games, injuries and endless shifts in rotations throughout the marathon campaign, we'll need to source stats from free agency to maximize imaginary rosters.

A willingness to entertain competition for the last few spots on your fantasy hoops roster can prove rewarding. When curating this fluid collective of statistical contributors, it helps to consider your end-of-bench players in direct competition with the talent floating in free agency.

The goal of this weekly series is to identify players available in at least half of ESPN leagues at each position. Some nominations are specialists capable of helping in one or two categories, while others deliver more diverse and important statistical offerings. In the breakdowns below, I've ordered players at each position with the priority of acquisition in mind, rather than roster percentage in ESPN leagues.

Point guard

Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics (Rostered in 30.3% of ESPN leagues): Ranked 15th on the Player Rater among point guards the past two weeks, one spot behind Ben Simmons, Smart's unique blend of steals, dimes and 3-pointers combine to create legitimate fantasy impact.

Ky Bowman, Golden State Warriors (2.3%): Sometimes all it takes is time, as in minutes. Bowman has played 30.2 MPG the past four outings and such exposure has helped fuel 13.8 PPG to go with seven combined assists and rebounds per game and a nice blend of shooting (2.3 3PG) and defense (1.8 SPG).

Frank Ntilikina, New York Knicks (1.6%): Almost solely a steals specialist for those in roto leagues, it does help those in deeper head-to-head format that the French combo guard has also averaged 1.0 3PG, 4.6 APG, and 0.8 BPG during his past eight appearances entering Sunday.

Shooting guard

Bogdan Bogdanovic, Sacramento Kings (37.3%): This savvy combo guard played through a hamstring ailment over the weekend and delivered 21 points off the pine for Sacramento on Sunday to give him at least 18 points in six of his past seven games. With De'Aaron Fox still sidelined, Bogdanovic has become the team's premier playmaker and merits much more attention from fantasy managers.

JJ Redick, New Orleans Pelicans (36.3%): The splits are dramatic enough to merit mention; as a starter for the Pelicans the past two weeks, Redick has averaged 22.1 PPG and a gaudy 4.9 3PG in 33.6 MPG for a depleted Pelicans roster. It's safe to assume his minutes and scoring will dip once the team's backcourt depth is restored, but it's also clear Redick still can drive 3-point production for fantasy teams when he's featured for New Orleans.

Alec Burks, Golden State Warriors (12.3%): A series of injuries above him on the depth chart and his own strong play has earned Burks a starting gig with Golden State the past two weeks. During his past five games, four of them starts, Burks has impressively slashed for 17.4 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.4 APG and 1.2 3PG in 31.8 MPG.

Malik Monk, Charlotte Hornets (4.2%): With double-figure scoring in six of his past eight outings and a steadier role in the rotation than last season, Monk is worth streaming for those in need of shooting and scoring depth.

Small forward

OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors (41.6%): Quiet on the defensive end over the past several games, Anunoby is due for some positive regression, given how stable his larger sample of steal and block production proves

Joe Harris, Brooklyn Nets (36.5%): A shooting specialist with increased offensive equity whenever Kyrie Irving sits, Harris is in a good spot to return value in the coming games, given the star point guard's shoulder ailment.

DeAndre' Bembry, Atlanta Hawks (1.2%): Only Jimmy Butler has provided more positive impact in the steals department among small forwards in ESPN leagues than Bembry during the past 15 days. With multiple starters missing from the lineup for the Hawks, Bembry has played more minutes and thus proven more larcenous on defense during the past few weeks; he's averaged 1.9 SPG and 0.8 BPG during his past eight games. Don't sweat the sluggish scoring results and instead stock up on stocks (steals + blocks) with Bembry in deeper leagues.

Duncan Robinson, Miami Heat (2.2%): He won't help you much beyond some nice shooting and scoring lines, but Robinson is playing plenty of minutes for a young Heat rotation and should continue to serve as floor-spacer for Miami in the coming weeks.

Power forward

Eric Paschall, Golden State Warriors (34.9%): The Nova product has continued to post solid numbers for the Warriors' depleted roster; he's averaged 18.7 PPG during his past six games, even while struggling to find his touch from beyond the arc.

Nemanja Bjelica, Sacramento Kings (30.3%): A surprisingly stellar steal rate is supported by a recent surge in rebounding and shooting success for this versatile stretch-forward.

Davis Bertans (4.9%) and Moritz Wagner (8.3%), Washington Wizards: Bertans brings shooting volume and efficiency reminiscent of Harris and Redick at times, while Wagner is a unique 3-and-D athlete emerging as a worthy fantasy wing.

Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors (1.8%): Impressively averaging 12.7 PPG and 10.0 RPG during his past three games in just 17.9 MPG, this wildly efficient bench asset for Toronto gets shots up whenever he's on the floor.


Brandon Clarke, Memphis Grizzlies (47.5%): The rare high-floor rookie for fantasy purposes, Clarke has proved nearly unstoppable as a scorer around the rim and brings enough defensive savvy to the floor to merit trust each week as a solid starting option.

Richaun Holmes, Sacramento Kings (30.4%): Entering Sunday's slate, Holmes was slashing for 13.8 PPG, 10.4 RPG and two stocks per game during his past five outings, all starts. The Kings might have found a gem in the efficient rim-runner, and now it's time for fantasy investors to follow suit.

Nerlens Noel, Oklahoma City Thunder (4.7%): In just 22.5 MPG during his past five outings, this defensive dynamo has averaged 1.8 BPG and 1.6 SPG. All it takes is minutes for Noel to surface with elite defensive rates, thus he's worth streaming whenever he's seeing around 20 per night.

Jaxson Hayes, New Orleans Pelicans (9.2%): Derrick Favors is ailing, and it's unclear if the team will eventually pivot to moving some of its veteran talent in lieu of a youth movement. Hayes has started the past four games with three stocks per game and respectable scoring and rebounding rates for a rookie pivot. Whenever Favors is sidelined, Hayes becomes a meaningful acquisition.