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.
Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics (Rostered in 33.3% of ESPN leagues): Found at 20th among point guards on ESPN's Player Rater, a simple standard deviation index that values statistical diversity, Smart has been one of the better complementary combo guards in the league this season. Prior to leaving this past Sunday's win in Madison Square Garden with an abdomen ailment, Smart had slashed for 14.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 4.8 APG, 2.0 SPG and 1.5 3PG during his past six appearances. Since minutes are essentially the coin of the realm in fantasy hoops, it's notable that Smart has averaged 34.5 MPG during this recent six-game spell of production, signaling he can sustain such impressive statistical balance.
Tyus Jones, Memphis Grizzlies (1.0%): With gifted rookie Ja Morant sidelined with back spasms that the team has said requires a week-to-week recovery plan, Jones steps in to a strong distribution role that could support a nice blend of assists and efficient scoring. For those who wanted Jones to be elevated in the rotation in Minnesota, it looks like he'll get a few weeks at the helm of Memphis' offense.
De'Anthony Melton, Memphis Grizzlies (0.0%): Available in essentially every league, Melton nearly registered a triple-double in the first game Morant missed with this recent injury. Even as he has moved around the league early in his career, Melton had many fans as a draft prospect and could surface as a fun bit of competition for Jones.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, Sacramento Kings (36.8%): Battling through a hamstring ailment lately, Bogdanovic's scoring pop has waned in the past week, but his overall mix of dimes, 3-pointers and steals continues to support strong fantasy value. The eventual return of De'Aaron Fox will curb some of Bogdanovic's creation rates (such as assists and scoring off the dribble), but I trust he can at least mimic last season's impressive slash upon his teammate's return.
Tomas Satoransky, Chicago Bulls (11.4%): Another player without a ton of scoring prowess, and yet real value, given a diverse collection of contributions, it at least helps that he has scored in double-figures in five of his past six outings. Awesome assist and steal rates are complemented by strong shooting efficiency (44% from 3-point range the past six games), setting up "Sato" as a quietly valuable option.
JJ Redick, New Orleans Pelicans (38.7%): Injuries continue to influence the Pelicans' rotation, affording Redick gobs of minutes and shots in the process. With the Duke legend netting 4.0 3PG and 15.7 PPG during the past week, he has become a helpful specialist after a somewhat slow start to the season.
T.J. Warren, Indiana Pacers (45.7%): Posting 23.5 PPG during the past week proves impressive for Warren when you consider Malcolm Brogdon and Jeremy Lamb have been back in the mix -- evidence this shoot-first wing can sustain impressive scoring pop even when the rotation is flush.
Joe Harris, Brooklyn Nets (37.1%): Posting stellar scoring (19.3 PPG) and shooting (3.8 3PG) rates during the past week, Harris has enjoyed increased offensive equity with Kyrie Irving ailing. Given the Nets' reliance on Harris' spacing, he should sustain value even when Irving is fully back in the mix.
Norman Powell, Toronto Raptors (6.2%): Enjoying a torrid week from the floor that includes 16.3 PPG to go with 2.5 3PG and 2.3 stocks (steals plus blocks) during the past seven days, Powell has emerged as yet another useful wing from Toronto.
Eric Paschall, Golden State Warriors (35.8%): With Draymond Green in and out of the rotation and the team truly reliant on Paschall's scoring and rebounding each time out, it has become clear that the Nova product is dramatically under-rostered in leagues at the moment.
Davis Bertans, Washington Wizards (17.1%): Another shooting specialist earning an endorsement this week, Bertans has averaged 14 PPG with 3.8 3PG during the past week and has even flashed 1.3 stocks per game during this rousing sample of production.
Christian Wood, Detroit Pistons (0.5%): Those in truly deep formats can give Wood a look whenever Blake Griffin rests -- which should be fairly often this season. Wood just posted a monster 28-point performance in just 22 minutes on Sunday, signaling he's capable of meaningful numbers when featured.
Larry Nance Jr., Cleveland Cavaliers (48.3%): Kevin Love has been dealing with a back issue that has opened up more minutes and increased usage for Nance. In just the past week, Nance has averaged 16.3 PPG to go with 10.7 RPG and a Love-like 2.3 3PG and a un-Love-like 1.7 stocks during this stretch.
Kelly Olynyk, Miami Heat (8.6%): A borderline top-100 fantasy contributor despite being largely ignored by managers, Olynyk will produce some empty box scores that can rightfully turn off the crowd, but he's also capable of impressive shooting, scoring and steal rates whenever he's featured in given matchups.